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September 4, 2009

2 Shades of Pink Story: Part 3

Sit back because those of you who wanted to just keep reading and reading...this one is a little long.
So on that life changing Wednesday I decided to watch the news.
I am not a news watcher. Probably due to the fact that the house I grew up in had CNN and later, Fox News on 24 hours a day. If we were in a car, then it was AM talk radio. So as an adult, I must say that the news was a way for me to catch up on the weather and maybe to see what time it was. So the fact that I was watching the news was completely divine intervention.

At that point in my life I was a Resume Writer and Interview Coach working out of my home office. Now if I had not been working from home I would have missed this segment. I think it started around 4 in the afternoon. So as I popped on the news for a reason only a supreme God would know, I saw the segment of Wednesdays Child where a child up for adoption was featured. This little girl with huge eyes and long brown hair was the most precious thing I had ever seen. The news anchor was at a playground talking to this little girl who actually asked Marty Matthews (the anchor) to be her Mommy and take her home. Marty hugged her and you could tell she was trying to remain professional. What a pure cry from that little innocent heart! And I sat there mesmerized. Compassion like I have never known invaded my entire being. I saw with new eyes, (God's eyes, I think) a child who needed parents to love her.

And who better to fill that need then a couple who want a child to fill their hearts?

I literally wanted to adopt this little girl. Right then and there. I get on the website to check this all out and I am stunned to see something called The Heart Gallery where there are so many children needing a loving home. I literally had no idea. None. I read on about the need for foster parents right in our county and how there are more children needing to be fostered and adopted then homes to put them in. This was so devastating to me.

I crank out an impulsive but heart felt email to my husband. I tell him that while seeing this news segment I have this deep and terrifying feeling that God is calling us to become foster parents. Of course, I ask him to pray with me about this to know whether I am reacting to emotion of if this really was God moving us. His reaction was not surprising.

Where in the world did this come from?

Um, God. Duuuuhhh.

But of course he is not a mind reader and he knows me. Thank you, Lord. And listens and takes it all in agreeing to pray about this. I am so excited because the knowing just continues to grow. By the end of that week, after praying together and on our own, hubby comes back to me and tells me he is as excited as I am about becoming foster parents.

This is now around September of 2005. I send an email to get additional information and I find out about an orientation meeting being held at the Safe Children Coalition (now Eckerd Youth Alternatives) So we go. And an evil presence decided to carpool with us to the meeting. A presences who's intent is to steal, kill and destroy.

Oh, you should have seen me. This informational meeting is almost a means to chase those who are merely curious for the hills. They tell you everything in worse case scenario. How these kids come into foster care. What it might be like once they are in your home. How the primary goal is reunification with parents. That if you are looking for an infant to eventually adopt those situations are incredibly rare. And on and on and on. And if you were looking at me, I looked like a rebellious teen, slumped in my chair, my arms crossed and a snarling scowl on my face.

I look at hubby and say, "I am not sure I want to do this." But I find myself filling out paperwork as if I am totally ready to do this. But I had no conscious idea that I was terrified. Out of my mind scared.

None of these thoughts actually came to my mind in clear sentences but rather I detected jumbled emotions and scattered impressions of thoughts. Like, how could I bond with a child only to lose him or her? Could I go through the pain of infertility only to feel teased with loving a child and losing that child too? Why go through this torment? Am I even worthy to do this? Am I being selfish and self serving? Is this actually for me or for a child? What will they think of me if I admit I only want Caucasian children since there may be the off chance we would adopt him or her? Will our family support us? Would they love a child in our home?

On and on I anguish. For the next few months. But then the calm after the storm finally arrived. By December we were enrolled in a MAPP class, one of many requirements of becoming a licensed foster parent. By January of 2006, we were in the midst of having a home health inspection, filling out paperwork an inch thick, conducting two home studies, getting references filled out and mailed, redoing our guest room to be ready for a child between and ages of 0-2 and preparing our hearts for the child God would bring. Any child, I might add.
Often, we would go into the room to pray for the child who would come to us. And on March 27, 2006, we received the call that we had become Licensed Foster Parents.

That evening, little 6 month old Anthony came into our world.

These pictures were literally taken within 10 minutes of his arrival into our home. We carried him and his little bag into the house, grabbed the camera and started clicking. It was such an anticipated moment that we wanted to capture it forever.

How could you not just want to nibble on those chubby little cheeks? Was he not the most precious thing in the world? Oh that sweet little boy. My heart is beating faster at the love I still carry in my heart for him.

OK. Now I am crying right at this very moment. I am so shocked by this response even as I look at the blurry letters appearing on the screen. Looking at his face is so bittersweet that I have just stopped to ask God to help me breathe. This little boy swiftly entered our hearts within the first seconds upon laying eyes upon him. And every fear I had about fostering disappeared like a vapor upon the solid realization that this boy deserved nothing less than every ounce of love we could give him.

And how we loved him.

There are too many details to share and I also want to protect the confidentiality surrounding his particular case. But the summary of this was that within one month of his stay, we received the devastating news that his birth mother had been found dead in an elevator after overdosing at the age of 32. I almost fell to the floor upon hearing this news. He had no other relatives who wanted him and though they could not promise anything there was a chance we could have him long term and indefinitely.

Wow. As first time foster parents we were convinced that through such awful circumstances, this little boy would be given a chance at life and we would be there to give him a home and all the love we could give.

But what actually happened was the maternal grandfather and wife had wanted him all along. We just never heard that. They live in the Northwest and had already adopted her first 2 children for the last 10 years and wanted Anthony and his older brother who was also currently in care. And that is what happened.

On July 19, 2006, we experienced heartbreak and pain like no other I have ever experienced. Ever. At 4 am we drove him to the airport to say good be to him. The night before I was rocking him to sleep, praying, crying, asking God for strength. Because as he peacefully slept in my arms I knew I would never hold him like this again, I would never put him to bed or sing him worship songs to sleep. I held him for over 30 minutes. Just swaying back and forth in the dark room, grieving that this child I wanted for my own was indeed not the child God planned for us.

At the airport we were a mess.

The picture is blurry but this is me getting Anthony out of his car seat at the airport. I was not holding it together well.

Anthony with Daddy Bamm. (I was Mommy Jess)

I was a little better here waiting for the Case Manager to check in.

This may sound so funny but when we had to say goodbye at Security I had one hope. I had told this to Brandon the night before. I said, "I pray as he leaves he does not look back." I would never be able to live with that being the last moment with him in my mind's eye. He was going to live with his 3 half brothers and Grandparents. He was going to be loved. And he was moving forward. It was symbolic for me. When it came time to say goodbye, we hugged him, kissed him and told him we loved him, the pain was more than I could ever have known. We were sobbing so loud. A chunk of my heart had been gauged out. Though there would be healing, I felt like my heart would never be whole again.

As the case manager pushed his stroller away, Anthony looked straight ahead as he got ready to go home. Not once did he look back. Oh how God honored that prayer and a peace came over me. I knew we were going to make it.


  1. My sweet friend, I am just sobbing as I read your story. How idyllic we feel when we welcome that first child into our home. The stark reality is just never a thought, only loving these precious babies. I am feeling your heartache, reading between the lines and knowing you much you love this little man. And I'm feeling an intense desire to scoop up Cati and hug her tight. You said this beautifully. You captured the emotions of these times so well. You planted seeds in this sweet boy's life that will not return void. And if we're ever asked to give up our precious girl, you're going to be my first call. Please keep writing, even though it's so painful. It's healing for you, and it's healing for your readers as we walk this with you right now.

  2. Bless your sweet heart.

  3. Oh my gosh Jessica. You've even told me most of this before, but it is so gut-wrenchingly horrible and yet wonderful at the same time. You and Brandon loved him with all your hearts and that's exactly what he needed at that time. You guys were so brave to open your hearts to such a thing as this.

  4. Oh, Jess. I know how much you love him. My heart is aching all over again. What a special and sweet baby boy. It overwhelms me to think of God's mighty plan and how he's been working it out over the years. Your family is so special to me. Thank you for sharing your lives with us. We love you all.

  5. Okay, I can't finsih this segment tonight, but the "rebellious teenager" is too much, it is like I am reading something I myself wrote. I was so angry the first night of MAPP class, I couldn't contain it, and my body language was JUST LIKE your described yours.

    I don't think I could have managed reading this blog a few weeks ago, but the timing is a God thing. Thank you so much for writing this.


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