Ds18 came home from high school with a nasty virus a week ago. He’s still home, and so is the virus – that has generously been shared with just about everyone else in our family!
This has been a rough week for everyone and I spent three days in bed sick, which isn’t typical for a busy mom even if feeling under the weather. But I couldn’t do anything else – I was completely knocked out.
I pumped vitamin C and fluids, listened to healing meditations and slept non stop for many hours because I didn’t want to miss our scheduled date to meet Baby R. And I was there – I was weak, I couldn’t speak very loudly and my brain felt like there was a layer of fuzz overlaying it, but I was there!
Usually the visit to the hospital takes place with both sets of parents and a social worker to facilitate. I guess we did so well handling the initial meeting privately that they trusted us to handle this one on our own! The reason there wasn’t a social worker wasn’t because it was ideal – it was done in order to accommodate the differing schedules of all involved – there was no possibility of all of us being available on the same date otherwise. This was the issue that would have kept the placement from happening with our family, but they had told us they would work with us and they really did.
I very much like and respect the birth parents, and I know they feel that way about us. But that didn’t make this an easy visit. Not for us and not for them.
What do you do, when shown the baby that you hope and anticipate will soon be your son, and told by the staff you can hold him….when the parents who gave birth to him are right there watching? Do you pick him up with obvious delight, do you croon to him and tell him how happy you are he will be joining your family soon? Do you hold him close to your heart and feel emotion and connection with this tiny person?
No. I couldn’t. Not with them there.
So I asked my husband to pick him up first.
The parents sat down with us, and I didn’t feel right to ask them to give us privacy. It didn’t feel kind. After a few minutes, my husband passed the baby to me.
I felt like an interloper stealing someone’s child. What do you say? I told her he’s beautiful. He really is. What else could I say? “Are you sure you don’t want to keep him?? Are you going to change your mind and take him back later on?”
After a bit longer they excused themselves and said they’d give us some privacy. I really appreciated their sensitivity. It can’t have been easy for them to see us with the baby. And I was so happy to have the chance to let go of the emotional barrier I put in place and instead feel connected to him as his soon-to-be mother.
The staff members going by all seemed to have some sense of who we were since they gave us very warm smiles. A bat sherut (someone doing her national service at the hospital) who passed by smiled at us widely, then the second or third time she passed by (we were sitting with him for about an hour next to a corridor) told me she bought the outfit he was wearing. She then burst out, “Oh, I feel so calm now that I see you with him! I’ve been so worried what kind of family will take him. Is there any chance that you’ll take him?”
When I told him we were definitely taking him and the transfer was scheduled for three days later, she was so so excited. She showed me all the pictures she’s taken of him since he was born and asked I wanted them – I definitely did! I was so happy to see how loved he was.
I also met a woman who has been been coming twice a week for the last two months, three hours each day. She’s part of a volunteer organization that holds babies in hospitals who don’t have someone to hold them. (Other volunteers have come on the remaining days.) She told me she takes him outside if the weather permits and also puts him skin to skin since that’s so important for babies. Such a warm, caring woman.
In addition, a family member of the birth parents who lives in the area visited daily until this past week, and his parents came weekly despite the distance.
We met with the doctor, who told us Baby R is something of a celebrity at the hospital and the staff is crazy over him. I really saw that. So dramatically different than the situation with Baby M who was left in a mother baby convalescent rest home and was in such an emotionally sterile environment. It was really nice to see how Israeli hospitals – specifically this hospital, Laniado Hospital in Netanya – is focused on taking care of the child’s needs in non-ideal situations.
After getting home, I called the social worker and left a message letting her know how it went. She returned my call, and exclaimed, “You did it!! You really did it!!” She told me the hospital visit is a very hard one even with a social worker there to manage it, and she’s sure that we handled it well.
We sent the pictures to the kids while we were still at the hospital, knowing they wouldn’t want to wait until we got home. They are so, so excited! He is adorable and we can’t wait to welcome him home.
So after all the ups and downs, it looks like Baby R is really going to join the Werner family! The authorization that was holding everything up suddenly was processed a week ahead of the scheduled hearing date, there’s a date for the placement, and the doctors have scheduled his release so he’ll be ready for the meeting with the social workers.
But there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to push ‘publish’ on this post, because of that tiny voice whispering, “What if they change their mind? What if something else unexpected happens?” I’ve had that feeling at other points when sharing this experience here, and as I decided then, will continue to share the journey whatever it brings.
I hope my next post will be about his homecoming!