I’ve written in this space before about how my wife and I are fostering a few children with the hope of adopting them. When we started this process, we indicated we wanted two children and that we would accept children up to about 4 years of age. We felt that our baby days were over, and our expectation was that we would receive two toddlers. However, we were surprised that we ended up with one toddler and a newborn.
What surprised us even more was how exceptionally strong our emotional bonds with the baby would be and the ferocity of our love for her. My wife had previously stated that this baby girl was the one we didn’t know we wanted, which states it pretty well. One could attribute our attachment to typical parent-child bonding that happens with a newborn, but contrasting how strongly we feel for her with the experience with even our own biological children is surprising.
One should not misinterpret these statements as ones that indicate a lack of love for any of our other children, as we most assuredly do love them, but one should understand that she comes from a very different place. Born of a drug-addled mother, two to three months premature, she was so very tiny when she came to us. She was literally half the size of our largest biological child when she was born. Her needs for care and attention were great. It was initially exhausting, but we were surprised by our ability to care for her, perhaps because of our depth of parental experience with babies – nothing was “new” and we knew never to panic, but to just take every day as they came.
To complicate this, though, all along we have known that there is a risk that we may not be able to keep her, and I think it is this fear that has intensified our feelings for her.
Just yesterday, we received the news that we can now move forward to adopt our foster son. This greatly pleases us as we love him and are grateful for him. His half-sister, on the other hand, is further behind in the legal process, and we have learned that there are additional efforts being expended to identify if there are any options for placing her with a biological relative on her presumed father’s side. Should this occur, our worst fears would be realized and we would lose this baby that we so dearly love.
So, we are in a bittersweet moment. On the one hand, we are delighted to be able to move forward with adopting our foster son, but on the other hand we are filled with fear and dread at what could happen with his half-sister. Should this fear be realized, this bittersweet moment would only extend and taint our experience when we are finally able to take our foster son to the temple to be sealed to our family forever – something we wish to do with both of them.
We understand there is a court date in January where the baby girl could (should) be made available for us to adopt, if no qualified biological family members are identified who are willing to take her.
It will be a long wait.
The emotional roller coaster goes on, and we love these children through every peak and trough, especially the baby we didn’t know we wanted.