When You're About To Become Foster Parents and..... You Discover You're Pregnant.

Friday, August 21, 2020

When I drove home from Target, after learning I was unexpectedly pregnant, I kept the positive pregnancy test in my lap so I could re-examine it at every stoplight, verifying its reality (I was almost certain I had imagined one of those lines).  

Alone in the car (unless you count the half a dozen butterflies in my stomach) (oh, and the little baby in utero),  "Me!" by Taylor Swift came on XM.  Normally, I would have changed the station (my feelings about that song could have been summed up in that one tweet that said, "Brendon Urie may write sins but this song's a tragedy.").  Now inextricably linked with my unborn child, however, it would henceforth be known as The Most Special Song Of All Time.

As soon as I shared the news with Joe (that's another story for another day), I immediately asked him (heart pounding in my throat for fear of what his response would be), "We can still move forward with our foster placement, right?"  In that celebratory moment, he told me: yes, of course we can.  I sighed with relief.

But it wasn't long after that that it became clear I'd suffer again from hyperemesis this pregnancy -- something that debilitates me for months and renders me almost entirely useless both domestically and professionally....not exactly the ideal conditions for assuming the role of caregiver-to-a-child-of-trauma.  How, for example, do you baby-wear when you're spending the afternoon with your cheek pressed against the soothing tile of the bathroom floor?  How do you hold and comfort a child when your own arms are seeking comfort from the familiar chill of the cold porcelain toilet bowl?  Many mornings, I'd text a co-worker from the floor of the shower, asking her to cover for me as I showed up late for work yet again; suffice it to say, I wasn't in a position to appear in court or meet with birth parents.

In fact, the less I was able to meet the basic needs of our biological 2-year-old, the more I succumbed to the reality that we just couldn't accept a foster placement anytime soon.

I avoided our case worker's calls for days at a time; I couldn't bring myself to tell her we were backing out.  After all, we'd made it this far -- 6 months of paperwork, interviews, meetings, trainings, and for what?  What was the point?  

I'm the kind of person that needs there to have been a point. 

Now that our baby is here, of course I understand that everything is as it should be.  But there are still moments that I fall prey to that inner struggle; if we hadn't conceived a child, we would have been able to give a safe, loving home (however temporary) to a child in need.  We brought a child into the world to love and support for life, but there was, in theory, a child who already existed who needed the same (if not more) from us.  Who were we to deny them that?  

If I allow myself to think on this long enough, I begin to feel selfish, irresponsible, unreliable, cowardly, and above all else: guilty.

I'm not sure I'll ever know why the events unfolded the way that they did.  All I know is that I love our infant -- born of the aforementioned unexpected pregnancy -- and I will love our foster kid(s) whenever we return to fostering later on in our lives.  I know it will play a role in our family's story, I just don't know when.

And until then, I'll still keep smiling to myself -- that giddy feeling when you know a secret that you can't wait to tell -- every time I hear Taylor Swift's "Me!"

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