Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Update

So how am I doing with a new, larger brood? Not bad. Also not the paragon of grace and with-it-ness. Mallory has now been here for a week, and each day she's become more relaxed and comfortable. She's more willing to let me walk away from her on occasion, more comfortable with Mark and the kids. Her nap schedule is becoming a bit more predictable. I kind of feel like I just went through a mini baby's-first-trimester and am now ready to emerge from the fog of overlapping, unpredictable demands and rejoin the land of the living.

I've dusted off my repertoire baby skills--like how to make dinner with your left hand while holding a baby in your right, how to drive a van while feeding grapes to the baby in the seat behind you (it involves biting off two-thirds of each grape before passing it back), how to narrate your entire life in baby talk.

Yesterday I took Mallory to a DCFS office for a visit with her parents. They were a good-looking young couple who seemed ill equipped to navigate the huge foreign government machine that has taken over their family.

Mallory did not smile or reach out to them when they entered the room. But she did reach out to me when I showed up to retrieve her, and I saw Mom give Dad a wan smile. Our first foster daughter used to do that and, man, did it infuriate her mom. It seems to me that little ones need to attach to one primary mommy at a time, and the sad fact is that for now, I'm it. I kept feeling sorry for those cute little parents, full of good intentions, trying to make a family out of nothing--and then I'd remember the two bone fractures.

When we got home, I laid down on the couch for a moment before launching into dinner time. Sweet Mallory tumbled over and around me like a pretty little kitten. When I made eye contact, she'd give me that serene little smile I now know she gets from her mother. Every few moments she'd pause and lay her head down on my cheek. Someone is definitely going to come out of this with a broken heart. And it's probably going to be me.

9 comments:

  1. I've been waiting and waiting for an update. Love hearing about your experiences for your new family member. Hope we can get together soon and get to know her more. :)

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  2. You don't have to be the paragon of grace and with-it-ness. Just living through a day is sometimes enough. I'm glad to hear you're getting the schedule figured out and regulated. I'm sure you're doing great. That she is already bonded to you in just a week says something about how well you are doing, I think.
    Keep it up!

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  3. this is so incredible. the things you do!

    p.s. I like your (new?) personal statement on the sidebar

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  4. You truly amaze me!! I will be there for you with your broken heart because I have seen first hand how beautiful and precious that little girl is. You are doing great!

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  5. This is a great post. So honest, so telling.

    I never considered foster care until a good friend of my began fostering children a few years ago. After several children coming and going, they settled on adopting one sweet little boy who had been found in the dumpster. He is a dear heart and a love. And has changed their lives dramatically...for the better.

    Now, I'm considering fostering children when before it wasn't even on my radar.

    Thanks for this post, which hopefully puts fostering children on other people's radars, too.

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  6. I've been thinking about how I am going to save the world a lot lately, and I know you have thought a lot about that too. If saving one life at a time is your conclusion, I have to ask: Isn't there an easier way, like leaping tall buildings in a single bound?

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  7. Thank you for keeping us posted. I hope we get to meet her when we're there in August.

    I'd like to know more about how it works. You are in the room with the parents? Do you interact? It seems like the strangest social situation imaginable. But I don't doubt that you demonstrate all kinds of grace and with-it-ness.

    We've been praying for you guys!

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  8. Yet again...you are amazing. What an experience. Just try to remember a broken heart is better than no heart at all.

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  9. Wow you are amazing. I hope for the parent's sake that they can get it together. But it sounds like Mallory is such a precious little spirit, I hope that she ends up where she will be safe in the long run.

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