This is the first post in the series "Memoirs of Fostering, Adoption, and Safe Surrender." If you haven't read why I'm doing this series, I encourage you to click on the above link and read through that post first. Also, please remember that some small details and names have been changed in order to keep confidentiality. However, the main points and overall account is truthful and accurate.
Krysten opened her eyes as the sun poured into her bedroom through the slats of the window-shades. She closed her eyes again and breathed in deep. “Mmmmm, it’s Monday,” she thought as she rolled over onto her side. Without even opening her eyes she felt around the left side of the bed, but there was nothing there. Kurt was up and out of the house about an hour earlier to get an early start on the week ahead. She smiled as she thought about her hard-working husband and said a quick prayer for his day. Still with her eyes closed she began running through her “to do” list for the day. “First, shower and get ready for the day. Second, have my Quiet Time of prayer and do my daily Bible reading. Then, NOTHING!! Ahhhh…nothing! What a glorious way to spend my day off, with absolutely nothing to do!” She began to drift back to sleep for a few moments before her eyes shot open as she remembered, “Oh, wait! I have that doctor appointment at 3 today.” A scowl broke out across her forehead as she thought about the one appointment that was going to intrude upon her day of rest and relaxation. “Oh well,” she thought, “it’s just one quick appointment.”
She threw off the covers, swung her feet over the side of the bed and jumped in the shower to begin her day. Once out of the shower the day began to fly by more quickly than she would have liked. Quiet time, check. A couple loads of laundry done, check. Grocery list written, check. She looked at the clock. It was already time to head out the door for the doctor appointment. As she reached for her purse, her cell phone rang. “My Husband” flashed across the screen of her phone. She happily answered the phone as she plopped onto a chair at the dinning room table, purse in lap, keys in hand and ready to head out the door to that appointment. “Hey Babe!” she said sweetly as she answered the phone, “I’ve only got a few minutes to talk before I head to my appointment but I…” Kurt quickly cut her off. “Krysten,” was all he had to say, and she instantly knew what was about to happen. There was something in the tone of his voice that made her stomach drop. She sat upright in the chair and immediately stopped talking. Her heart began pounding so loudly, she was afraid she wouldn’t hear the next words that he uttered to her, although, she already knew what he was going to say.
A short 2 months earlier, Krysten and Kurt completed their foster-to-adopt license. Exactly a year had gone by since the time they embarked on the journey to grow their family through adoption. They had known before they got married that they would be unable to have biological children and always knew this would be the way that they would form a family. 4 years into their marriage, and after much prayer, they felt it was the right time to begin the process. And now, here they were. Facing their first call about a child.
“The social worker called and there’s a baby….” that’s the last thing Krysten actually fully heard. She could hardly process the words that she was hearing as her heart did indeed begin to pound louder and stronger within her. As she sat there with her head-spinning and her heart pounding she managed to pick up a few words that Kurt was saying, “newborn baby boy…short-term placement…we have 30 minutes to decide and call them back…I’m coming home right now.” Completely overwhelmed, she let out a nervous laugh and said, “Ok, see you in a couple minutes.”
Thankfully, Kurt’s office is right across the street from their home and it literally only took a couple minutes before he was in the living room with her. However, those couple minutes felt like a couple hours as she sat there staring at the wood grains in their dining room table. The words of their social worker played over and over in her head, as if on repeat, “Oh, you won’t get a newborn. Everybody wants them and people wait years to get them. You will get an older child.”
Kurt barely had his foot in the door as he excitedly declared to his wife, “We need to pray.” He took long, quick strides to meet her where she sat, still stunned by the news. And there, at the kitchen table, they grasped hands, looked excitedly into each others eyes and bowed their heads as Kurt prayed, “Oh Lord, we are excited but we are so scared. God, we thank you for the gift of life that you have given this newborn boy. Thank you for bringing him into the world safely. Please Lord, give us wisdom now as we make one of the most important decisions of our lives. Let us be of one mind and unified in our decision. Thank you, for being the Giver of life and breath and everything else. In Jesus’ name, Amen.” They opened their eyes and each knew without the other one uttering a word what their decision was. They were going to bring home a baby. Kurt reached for his phone, with only 5 minutes to spare of the 30 minute dead-line, and called Social Services. As soon as the social worker on the other line picked up he quickly said, “We’ve decided. Yes, we would love to have him!”
The next 90 minutes were a whirlwind. Both Krysten and Kurt hardly spoke to one another as they called, texted and emailed every family member and close-friend they could get ahold of to relay their exciting news. They must be at the hospital in a mere hour and 30 minutes in order to give the baby his first feeding.
Before they knew it, they were in the car, headed to the hospital for the baby’s 5pm feeding. The entire car-ride was filled with lots of nervous laughter as they anticipated meeting their new foster son. What would he look like? What would he be like? Would they be good parents? These thoughts flooded their minds as they drove the 45 minutes to the hospital, but they drove hand-in-hand and filled with excitement.
Finally arriving at the hospital, they stopped at the front counter where the security guard was checking-in all visitors.
“Who are you here to see?” he said calmly.
Krysten and Kurt stared blankly at him and then at each other.
“Uuuuhhh…that’s a good question, sir. We aren’t sure what his name is,” Kurt answered. Krysten and Kurt laughed nervously as they realized they never even got the name of the baby. The security guard, completely unamused and unimpressed with the situation, called up to the NICU to get their clearance. With their nametags on, they walked silently, but still hand-in-hand over to the elevators. They stepped inside and Kurt pressed the button for the 4th floor. This was it. They gave each other reassuring smiles and squeezed one another’s hand as the elevator took them up.
The doors to the elevator on the 4th floor opened and there, waiting for them, was a kind-faced nurse, named Evelyn. Evelyn had spoken to the security guard and knew the new foster parents were on their way up to her floor. She introduced herself and led them through the doors of the NICU. “Please wash your hands here,” she said, as she pointed to the sink right outside the room with all the cribs. With clean hands and hearts feeling like they were about to explode, Krysten and Kurt followed Evelyn to a crib right in the center of the room. This was it. The moment they had been waiting for, for over a year. The moment they would see their foster-child.
They stood above his crib and as they looked down, Krysten couldn’t help but let out a deep breath. In the crib was a perfect, adorable, round faced, rosey-cheeked baby boy. There he lay, swaddled up tightly, with mocha colored skin, the sweetest little mouth, a perfect-tiny nose, a mostly bald-head, looking absolutely perfect. He was beautiful.