Dear Baby Girl,
Welcome to our family! Sometimes I don’t know what I’m missing until I find it, and that has certainly been true with you. We didn’t know this family was missing a tiny bundle of pink cries and coos until you arrived. Now it feels like you always belonged.
When we got the phone call that you needed a place to be, I said yes. I said yes before I even checked with Brian because I knew he’d say yes, too. In very general terms we had been talking about your arrival for some time and when we finally heard your name it just seemed to make the pieces fit. God had prepared our hearts for you and I have to believe he prepared your heart for us. That might be the only way to explain how quickly you’ve seemed to find peace in our home even though we are strangers to you. You are happy in my arms or sleeping on Brian’s chest as though there is something familiar about us. I am so thankful that this transition has seemed easy for you, although I know things are not always as they seem.
I hope you’re okay with being a fifth child. I know that means sometimes you have to cry a bit while I’m taking another child to the potty or fixing lunch. I know there are downsides to being the youngest in a big family, but there are also some major benefits. You are absolutely adored by the big kids in the house. They are charmed by your funny faces and they get so worried about any little unhappy noise. You are blessed to get to come into this family and live with these amazing kids. I’m blessed to get to be their mom. They are each anxious to help care for you and teach you what they know about the world. They are happy to share their mom with you even though it means less attention for them, just because they love you and want you to be happy. They are amazing little people and they understand that while you may not be here for long, we want to make each day special.
And what an extended circle of love you have joined! Within hours of your arrival friends and our extended family members were dropping off bags of clothes, diapers, formula, and meals have come nearly nightly. We have been able to just focus on learning you while our practical needs have been met by those who support what we’re doing. Little Lady, you are celebrated and treasured by more people than you can imagine. They love you not out of pity or obligation, but because they see you as a life of worth. We are blessed to have their understanding and support as we walk this journey with you.
Baby Girl, there’s so much I want to promise you. I want to promise you a safe home forever (wherever it is best for you to be). I want to promise you stability and permanency as quickly as possible. I want to promise you that lawyers and judges and caseworkers will always make decisions that make sense and are obviously for your good. I want to promise you that those who gave you life will prioritize your needs. But I can’t promise you any of those things because they are all outside of my control.
Instead, I will promise you what I can. I promise to love you. I promise to treat your family with respect and kindness. I promise to be sure your needs are met. I promise to do what I can to help you be safe and loved as long as I can, even if that means providing support after you’ve returned to your family. I promise to be the keeper of your story—guarding your privacy from those who don’t need to know and documenting your milestones for those who wish they could experience them with you.
Sweet Girl, you will not fall through the cracks. We will fight to be sure your voice is heard, even if what you need causes us pain. We love you and serve your family because it is the right thing to do, not because it is easy or always rewarding. We will stay in the moment with you and not try to rush ahead of your story. Our love for you isn’t about emotions or ownership, but is deeply entrenched in our commitment to you and meeting your needs.
So, welcome home! However long this is your home, we are glad to share it with you. We hope the smiles we see in your sleep are just previews of your happy days to come.
Maralee (Your Temporary Mama)
Maralee is a mother of six pretty incredible kids ages seven and under. Four of my kids were adopted (one internationally from Liberia, three through foster care) and two of our sons we made ourselves. Prior to becoming parents my husband and I were houseparents at a children’s home and had the privilege of helping to raise 17 boys during our five year tenure. I’m crazy passionate about caring for kids, foster parenting and adoption, making my husband a fairly decent dinner every night, staying on top of the laundry, watching ridiculous documentaries, and doing everything I do for God’s glory.
Read more from Maralee at www.amusingmaralee.com.