the wait

Little M has been with us for almost a month now, and the details of our days before we met her are already fading in my memory! I wanted to write about our wait – the time between when we were licensed and when Little M came to us – before I forget the details altogether.

Shawn and I excitedly attended our licensure meeting on a Thursday morning [conveniently while the boys were in school]. The whole thing lasted about an hour, and we met with our placement coordinator, case manager, and a few other agency staff. Our case manager went over our daily, monthly, and quarterly paperwork expectations with us, and we assessed with our placement coordinator the age range and behavioral issues that we’d be willing to accept. She had us add her contact name and number into our cell phones, and told us that because we agreed to emergency placements she may call at any hour of the day or night.

24 hours after the licensure meeting we got a call.

Cohen woke me up Friday morning the way he usually does – by standing next to me and awkwardly staring at me until I notice him. It’s so weird but so sweet, which is really just an indication of his personality as a whole.

Mommy!” he whispered. “Hmmm?” I sleepily replied. “I hope we get the call to be a foster family today! I’m just so ‘cited!

I wrapped him up in my arms and we prayed together that we would get a call that day, that God would be protecting his foster brother or sister, and that He’d be preparing us to love them well. The truth is, I was hoping just as much as he was that we’d get a call that day. We shuttled the kids off to school and almost as soon as we got home, our phone rang. We put the placement coordinator on speaker and listened intently while she told us about a 1-year old little girl, and gave us some details about why she was in foster care [that I’m not able to share here.] Armed with very little information, we told her we’d call right back and began praying.

It didn’t take us long to agree that we needed to say, “yes” to this placement, despite her being younger than we’d planned. After speaking again with our placement coordinator, we learned that they were hoping to place her that afternoon. While waiting for the call to find out the exact timing, Shawn and I started thinking through the things we needed to get. The list was long, and many of the things we needed would have to wait until we could physically see her and assess her size [diapers, shoes, socks, clothes, etc.], but we began rounding up the things we could get ready. A few hours later we learned that there was an error in her paperwork, so it would likely be another five days until she would be placed with us…if at all.

Nothing in foster care is ever set in stone [I’ve heard stories of people who were told they were being placed with a boy, but then a girl showed up], so we certainly understood why her placement arrangements had changed, but we were no less disappointed.

Once again, we found ourselves praying and waiting.

Three days later [two days earlier than expected], our placement coordinator called us again to tell us that the paperwork got worked out, and asking if we’d be available for her placement the next day around noon. Of course we were, and we once again began scrambling to get as many things in place as possible before she arrived.

Most of the parties involved were running late, so she didn’t end up with us until that afternoon. Those hours between when we thought she’d be there and when she actually arrived were downright torturous – for us and the boys! Every car door they heard elicited an excited, “Is she here?! Is she here?!” I acted calm and patient about the wait, but in my heart I was just as eager as they were.

Little M showed up in the caseworker’s arms, and our entire family just fell head over heels for her. We signed paperwork, listened to a scant few more details of her story and an hour later we were on our own as a family of five.

A family of five, it’s crazy to see that written out. A month later, and it still feels surreal and chaotic.

Surreal, chaotic, and more fantastic than either of us could have ever hoped for or prayed.

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