One Particular Baby

August 28, 2012 · 28 comments

in Inspiration, One Particular Baby, Relationship, Uncategorized

 

“If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” -Steve Jobs, Stanford commencement address 2005. (My answer is, “Yes, I would!”)

Right now, there are no words that come easily, and I’m no poet, so all I have to offer is unvarnished, straightforward, and honest facts. I’ve struggled with what (if anything) to say on this blog about recent changes in my life, but so many of you have opened your hearts, trusted me, and shared your most tender feelings, questions, and fears, I feel it’s important for me to return the favor.

Three weeks ago, the phone rang. From across the country, my aunt shared news that would turn my world upside down- my brother and my Dad both weathering serious health crises, and my brother and his girlfriend were expecting a baby, due August 7.

Little R. came into this world a bit earlier than expected, on July 22. A new life, precious and vulnerable. Because her parents were unable to assume caring for her, she was placed with a foster family under an emergency order. A week of sleepless nights, and countless phone calls and conversations later, I found myself on a plane to visit both my brother and my Dad, with no clear answers, and only a hope of actually being able to meet R.

Meeting My New Niece For The First Time

 

Miracle of miracles, I was able  to spend three hours with R. over the course of two visits in the week that I was in the state that I once upon a time (a lifetime ago) called my home. My brother and his girlfriend expressed a desire to have me assume R.’s foster care, and although the decision is ultimately up to the courts, I immediately realized that this was a request I could not and would not refuse- however, my husband was just as clear that this was a situation that he could not accept.

There are times in life when none of the choices are easy or ideal, and we are called upon to step up and live into our values and ideals even if it is hard and involves personal sacrifice. In this case, my course of action is clear, given who I am and what I believe in when it comes to babies and families in general, and this particular baby, who is a part of my family, and who is in need. This post, called Faithfulness, by Vanessa Kohlhaas, has been a source of inspiration, comfort, and food for thought in recent days.

“Our faithfulness is continuously tested.  We do not get to be in relationship with others in a vacuum – and why would we want to.  We are challenged in our relationships to change, develop and grow.  And through this work we allow our love to deepen and grow with us.” Vanessa Kohlhaas

I am in the process of doing what I must do to prepare to move to Florida for the time being, to support my family and see them through to the other side of this crisis.There is sadness and loss, but there is also joy, and the promise of new beginnings, as I step into the unknown and say goodbye to the family I have loved and cared for for six years, and the community, friends, and life that I have built here in Santa Cruz, over the past three and a half years. It also means letting go of the wedding celebration Bence and I had been planning, and putting aside plans to grow Regarding Baby in new ways- at least for the time being.

There are more unknowns and unanswered questions than there are sureties right now, but if I’ve learned anything in the (almost) forty nine years I’ve been alive, I’ve learned that change is the only constant in life, and I need to just keep showing up with love, while trusting and following my heart where it leads me, even if it’s not where I planned on going. It’s a bit of a bumpy ride right now, but I am being carried by the outpouring of love and support from friends and family both near and far.

I will continue to write this blog, and I will continue to provide phone consultations, (and who knows?), maybe I will bring RIE parenting classes to South Florida. I’m sure I will have much to share with all of you as I navigate night time feedings and wakings, assuming I’m not too bleary eyed to write at all!

For those of you who have asked how you can help, at this time what I most need is help to find a good home for my beloved kitty Pandera. I’m not able to take her with me, and while that is heartbreaking, my mind will be much more at ease if I can find her a loving home. Pandera is a beautiful, healthy, intelligent, curious, and most of all, gentle soul, who loves nothing better than to curl up on your lap and purr. She is good company, and a talker. She must be an only cat, and she must be an indoor cat, but she does well with dogs and children. She is about four years old, and is a silver tipped Bengal. I’d appreciate any help or leads in finding her a good home. You can comment here, call me (831-296-2229), email me (lisa at regardingbaby dot org), or find me on facebook.

 

 

 

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Suchada @ Mama Eve August 28, 2012

Dear Lisa,

I am in absolute awe of you watching your journey, and I wish I could do more to support you. Know that I’m here for anything I can help with — if it’s only a shoulder to lean on. It sounds like you’ve found the path you need to take, and it’s so brave to trust it will all work out. Much love to you!

XOXO
Suchada

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2 Anna August 28, 2012

not that you need to hear it from me, but i think what you are doing is amazing, especailly as it is living your ideals. hope you will share more of your exciting, wonderful journey ahead. will be thinking of you and sending good thoughts as you make this big move!

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3 Amanda @NotJustCute August 28, 2012

Lisa – You are an amazing woman! Best wishes to you, your family, and particularly that beautiful baby who is so blessed to have you. You are a true angel, a hero, and an inspiration!

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4 Kaylia August 28, 2012

I am so proud of you and so so sad to see you go. Thank goodness we live in the “future” and you are only a phone call , text, or FB message away! I know FL will be lucky to have you and so will baby R. Much love and hugs and hope for this transition!

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5 catharina August 28, 2012

Oh my word Lisa. Thank you for sharing…I too stand in awe of your journey. Very selfishly I find myself hoping that yes you will keep writing; your blog is one of my (and the mums that I counsel) absolute favourites. Your family (and South Florida!) are so blessed to have you there. Hope you find a home for gorgeous Pandera; wish she could come to Aus.
Sending love and prayers
Catharina

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6 jeanne August 28, 2012

Lisa – Clearly, I have been on vacation and have missed some major news about life events. Please know I am thinking of you, am inspired by your calling to support your family and that sweet baby, and send you wishes for breathing and joy amid the transition that lays before you. I would immediately adopt your beautiful Pandora, as would my husband, except that he is allergic :(
You are a true blessing to all you touch in Florida. We are here for you in the blogosphere and also in real life :)

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7 diane August 28, 2012

Welcome to the world of fostering! Mothering kids in transition brings new skills. Bond like she is yours until the day she changes mommies~the bonding skills you teach she can quickly use once change happens. Bonding with a film might seem safer or more protective to the adult~but kids can feel the film. Don’t let the PRIDE classes freak ya~they just need more RIE techniques…CPS needs baby steps (social workers are very over stimulated people)….and remember social workers are not personal friends~they are team members who get to know everything and then some about foster parents.

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8 Lisa August 29, 2012

Diane,

Thank you for the perspective! I was hoping you’d chime in here. I don’t think there is any chance that I’ll bond “with a film”- I was a goner from the minute I laid eyes on R. It’s already occurred to me that CPS would benefit from RIE- hmmm…

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9 diane August 29, 2012

Hi Lisa…

CPS needs child development people hired on! I am still shocked at the interruptions they put kids through in the names of keeping them safe. The parents are the focus which I get, but the Judge is the acting parent by way of the social worker. Be a fast observer of “the rules” cause if the foster parent breaks any (including confidentiality) they can move the baby instantly. Get Ok’s on most all interactions with your brother and birth mommy~meeting them at the park without CPS’s Ok can get social workers thinking you are codependent (which is a subjective opinion they can quickly come to and is the kiss of death for the placement). You might already have a sweet deal of being able to observe all visits and starting the transition to birth family early to keep bonding happening.

I hope the South is progressive like Santa Cruz! Even the best social workers have bosses to report to and have huge case loads and lots of toxic interactions~it seems to change people. After 38 placements i find I have to proactively prune off the stress of CPS so it doesn’t change me! You might find your skills very helpful with newborns with exposure issues and find yourself on a new career path..and you too might build your family through foster babies that just stay via adoption! I am super excited for you but feel a little protective since we come with ECE skills and personalities that seem off CPS’s radar (like they don’t even have a place for such thinking yet.) Do come back to Santa Cruz Lisa~we have purity here in our cut off cove~

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10 leyla August 28, 2012

Lisa, I hope that the transition and move is as smooth as possible. Your niece is extraordinarily lucky to have you! WOW! What you are doing makes sense, but it’s also just incredible. Lots of love and best wishes on this journey! – Leyla

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11 Kate August 29, 2012

Lisa,
As we know, change for the sake of change is pointless. But change for the sake of love, family and faith – well… what better reason could there be? I wish you nothing but the best. I hope for a smooth transition and happy outcomes, for you, the baby, and your kitty.
♥ Kate

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12 Elanne Kresser August 29, 2012

Thank you Lisa for sharing your story. A cousin of mine was a social worker in the Canadian foster system for many years and would talk at length and with great pain about how taking children out of their family networks causes such great harm and that if possible, it’s always so much better and healthier for children to remain with someone in the family. I can only imagine that this will be hugely magnified by the incredible skill, devotion, and respect you will bring to this relationship. Your family is very lucky to have you and I suspect much richness is coming to you out of this too. I’m touched by the profound sacrifices you are making and my thoughts are with those who must now let go of you. This must be very big for them as well. But devotion to our path and our highest vision always seems to entail sacrifice. Many blessings to everyone involved in this big change in your life. And thank you for your continued support to all of us who read your blog and find inspiration here.

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13 janetlansbury August 29, 2012

Wow, I was out for the day and totally missed this!

Lisa, how beautiful of you to share your personal story with us. You must be living at the very depths of your being right now. Such an incredible and empowering time! You are embarking on what will probably be one of the richest periods of your life… and I’m a little envious…

Thank you for *all* you give to us, Lisa. And all my love to you and Bence! I feel certain that you two will figure all of this out. <3

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14 Lea August 29, 2012

You are amazing! What a blessing you are to your family and the new baby. I will be praying for you as you embark on this new journey in your life.

How exciting for you!

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15 Andrea Klein Lacy August 29, 2012

Lisa, I wish you and baby R and the rest of your family all the best. Thank you for living your values and showing us it canbe done. What a heroic, loving act.

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16 Eleanor August 29, 2012

Wow Lisa, what a courageous decision to make. All the best for your move. Your niece and family are so lucky to have you in their lives!

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17 Aunt Annie's Childcare August 29, 2012

You must know what I think, Lisa, because you know that my page is all about love and respect- and you have followed the most loving and respectful course. Your compass is true.

I am just cursing that I can’t jump across the ocean and adopt your cat!

My biggest love to you as you embrace this huge challenge. I will be there on the end of the ‘Scrabble’ chat at all hours of your night, remember!

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18 Emily Plank August 29, 2012

Oh, Lisa, thank you for sharing your journey! And what a journey it is! Yes – there are no simple answers…the most we can ever do is discern our next footstep with the tools and information we have. And what I know from you after reading your blog is you have the ability to do that in spades. Sending you all the wholeness I can muster as you embrace your new path and grieve the loss of a path you were expecting. <3 Emily

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19 Terri August 29, 2012

She is beautiful. And judging by the look on your face, you are doing the right thing. Please keep us updated on your new life journey.

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20 Lisa August 30, 2012

I want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart. Your care and concern for my family and me is much appreciated, and much needed. Aunt Annie, I’m counting on you to be there to play ‘Words’ with me, even as my skill is questionable at the moment! Love and thanks to all of you, Lisa

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21 Roseann Murphy/Little River School August 31, 2012

Lisa,

I saw your facebook post about your kitty and your move to Florida..but I did not see your blog until this moment. This is a life-changing moment…Will you actually go thru the system and become a foster parent? Your niece will not be part of the system will she…if you would message me personally I would love to chat. All three of my children started in the system. I was a foster parent for years…and then thank goodness after a long long struggle a parent of adopted children. My brother-in-law is an attorney in Florida…anything we can do to help. Of course, you do not need to answer at all…I do not want to intrude…but anything at all….We send love and prayers…

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22 Magdalena S. Palencia August 31, 2012

Your family is very lucky to have you. Changes are hard, but you are a very strong person. You and your family will overcome this and come out stronger.

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23 Gina Osher September 2, 2012

Lisa, you are brave and strong and so full of love. I know none of this can be easy for you, yet I know you are doing what is deeply right for you. Your niece is blessed to have you come to care for her. I know this isn’t what you planned to be doing at this point in your life, but I know you will make the best of it. I will post about your kitty on my FB page.
Much love,
G.

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24 Grace October 12, 2012

Wow… I had just “found you” recently and have SO been appreciating your posts and thoughts. I know this little baby will be a lucky child indeed to have you in her life, in whatever shape that takes. All best wishes for you and your family and your work,
Grace

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25 Alissa at Creative With Kids October 12, 2012

Lisa,
That is one particular baby who is very lucky to have you. I know how difficult it can be to juggle writing and interacting with people outside your family when you have huge changes going on. Thanks for writing your post and for all of the inspirational and helpful writing you’ve put out there. Your actions are courageous and loving.
Wishing you well on this journey.~Alissa

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26 Christine@TheAums October 12, 2012

Well, all I can say is how honored I am to have met you ever so briefly while you lived in Santa Cruz. I’m just now catching up on recent events in your life and wow…you really are something. I wish you the best in the next chapters of your life’s book.

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27 Michelle October 13, 2012

My daughter was born on 8/14 and I have really enjoyed your posts. I just read your story and want to thank you for sharing. My nanny is learning about RIE and has introduced me to it. We are in South Fla so let me know if you get something started. We have a small group that gets together weekly to learn about RIE.

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