After receiving our license, we waited about three months for a placement. We were assigned a new resource family consultant (RFC), and when she came out to meet us, we told her we were willing to do respite while we waited for a placement. She told us she had three sisters needing respite in a week. We said yes. More on that whole story later.
But on the 6th day of being a family of 7, I got a phone call in the middle of my violin lessons.
It was April 25, 2017.
“Hi Kaytlynn. This is Mandi. I’m calling to see if you’d be interested in a placement.”
My heart soared and dropped at the same time.
He was in the NICU. He was in 8 weeks old. He was a premie. And for the time being, he needed a clean, pet-free, smoke-free home.
We said yes and asked when we could see him.
DCFS put our name on the ok-to-visit list, and that evening after dinner, Joe heroically watched all 5 kids while I went to meet this little guy.
We’ll call him Baby T.
I’ll never forget walking into that hospital and ringing the buzzer to the NICU. I told them I was visiting Baby T, and they were a little confused until we figured out that he had a nickname. The nurse walked me to his little corner where I laid eyes on the cutest little, olive skinned, dark haired, dark eyed baby.
I stayed for a long time, rocking, singing to, and praying over that little guy.
The next day, Wednesday, Joe and I took turns trying to stay with him for most of the day. The three girlies were picked up that night.
When I showed up on Thursday morning, I was told that he could come home. I made a flying trip back home to pick up our infant seat and blankets. We didn’t think he was going to be discharged until Saturday, so this was a happy surprise!
The doctors came to visit and wrote his discharge papers. One of the last things we had to do was the car seat test. Baby T had a tough time staying calm to pass it (they have to sit for an hour or so and be monitored to make sure their oxygen levels don’t drop too low), but we finally rocked him to sleep and he made it through.
The nurses got word that Baby T’s bio parents were wanting to come see him one last time, so I ran over to the DCFS office to pick up baby’s home-to-home packet with all his medical information, medicaid letter, WIC approval, and the letter stating that he was placed in our home. I grabbed lunch, and when the nurse called to say the family was headed out, I made my way back to the hospital.
What I saw next will be forever ingrained on my heart. My heart ached. I couldn’t imagine. As I was walking into the hospital, I passed a young couple. Mom had tears in her eyes, and dad was carrying an empty car seat.
While welcoming a new child into our home was a happy occasion for us, it was also bittersweet. This isn’t how babies are supposed to come. Mommies and daddies should be able to take their own babies home to love on and snuggle.
And as excited as we were to love this little guy, we knew that he probably wouldn’t be with us forever. But that didn’t stop us from falling head over heels for this baby.
Even now, a year later, when that little guy has been gone for over four months and probably wouldn’t even remember us, a little corner of my heart still does and always will belong to him.
Note: All photos in this post are public domain to protect the privacy of Baby T and his family.