June 16, 2019
We often think of motherhood as this linear thing. You get pregnant, have a baby, and then become a mother.
But mother isn’t just a physical title. It’s an emotional role that we as women provide.
We often neglect to consider women who open their homes for a child they didn’t birth.
We often fail to think of the women who open their hearts to children they know cannot stay forever with them, physically, but will reside in their hearts always.
I was introduced to Melaney and her story a couple months ago by Allie.
Her story is beautiful, endearing, and heart-wrenching.
Melaney is the most selfless of mothers.
Melaney is a single, foster mother who has opened her heart and home to children who need her.
Becoming a foster mother isn’t for the faint of heart, but for those who are truly angels among us.
Read Melaney’s story below.
Mom of the Month: Fostering Motherhood
This evening, I looked out the window at a beautiful sunset. Now that it’s spring, the sky is clear and the setting sun colors the sky in beautiful warm pastels. It was so gorgeous, I began to reach for my daughter to share the moment with her. I had forgotten that she’s gone. You see, I’m a foster parent; I’m a single foster parent. In the past year, I’ve welcomed three beautiful baby girls into my home and heart.
The first, was a spunky six-month old. We fell in love with each other at first sight, and I knew as I looked into her eyes that there was nothing I wouldn’t do for her. This child had me completely, body and soul.
I knew when I brought her home that she would leave in ten months to reunite with her biological parents, and I was on board with that.
Surprisingly, just a few months later, I was asked by her social worker to adopt her. I was shocked and delighted at this opportunity and began eagerly awaiting the opportunity to officially give her my last name. This all came to a screeching halt when I received a call from her social worker telling me that parental rights had been terminated and there was a relative approved to adopt her. I was losing my baby and there was nothing I could do about it. I had no legal rights to her, so I began the process of preparing her and myself for the transition.
One week before I was to hand my daughter over to her new mother, I got another call from her social worker, “We have a four-month-old baby girl at the hospital. She needs a home tonight; will you take her?”
I couldn’t believe it was happening, but I nervously accepted and settled into parenting two children under the age of two over the next few days. When I returned to work a few days later, I was both exhausted and exhilarated at the same time. Though I knew I had just a few days left with one daughter, I was looking forward to what was to come with the other.
And then, I got two calls, two minutes apart, one from each of my parents. My beloved grandfather’s battle with cancer had ended. Though I knew it was coming, it didn’t hurt any less. All I wanted was to hold my baby, so I left work to go see my youngest and hold her for awhile.
As I was on my way to the daycare, I got another call from the social worker. A judge had ordered for her to be returned to her biological parent immediately and they were on their way to get her. I picked her up, took her home, packed her up, and handed her off. Then, I returned to work knowing that just five days later, I would do it all over again with my older daughter.
Saying goodbye to two young daughters and my grandfather in the same week was beyond devastating. It broke me in ways I never could have imagined possible. I put on a brave face and went through the motions of each day to get through work and interactions with family over Christmas and the New Year, though, inside I was empty.
Grief would hit me at the most unexpected times, and it still does.
Even though I felt like I had nothing left of myself and no desire to continue living without my babies, I did little things to try to practice self care. I ate anything I wanted whenever I wanted. I took bubble baths and listened to sad songs to have a good cry. And while there were times when I thought I wanted to give up on being in this world, I fought hard to find the will to stay in it.
So I stayed.
And I got another call, and I said, “Sure, I’ll take her.”
She was a four-day-old newborn, and she came with the snow. She was actually handed to me in the street as the first flurries of Seattle’s 2019 Snowmageddon began to fall.
She was five pounds of tiny feist and once again, I fell completely in love. This was supposed to be just a few days, but that turned into one week, another, and a few more. The case was a hot mess from beginning to end. From the illegal hand-off, lack of paperwork and communication, and exclusion from any part of the decisions regarding my youngest daughter’s future, this case was one of the worst handled.
Just two days after I finally accepted that this child would likely be staying with me long term and unpacked her few belongings, I received another call. A new social worker introduced herself and informed me that she'd taken over the case and the decision was made to return this newborn to her biological mother's care as soon as possible..
Thirty-three days after entering my life, my baby was gone.
Three weeks have past, and I’m sitting on my sofa bawling my eyes out because the beauty of a sunset is too painful to witness without my children here to share it with me.
It still hurts. I still feel empty. And right now, I haven’t much to give.
So I’m taking some time for myself to fill up again, so that I can continue to pour love into more children.
I know I’m not done yet, and I look forward to having more children in the future. For now, this mama is doing the best she can to put the pieces of herself back together again.
I know I’ll get there; one little piece at a time...