This time I received the call while I was preparing dinner. Could we take a 4 month old baby, just for a few days. While we were going through the certification process my husband and I discussed what ages we would be willing to take into our home, a 4 month old was definitely within our range so I said yes. Important question, I asked an approximate diaper size so I could call my husband and have him pick up diapers on the way home from work.
A short time later Larissa was brought to our home. I took her out of her car seat and was surprised that she didn't have neck control. As with all our former foster kids we were quickly trying to determine what needs the child will have. She would definitely need an evaluation for early interventions. Later we realized that she did not want held, she would arch her back and look away from you when you gave her a bottle. This raised big flags for attachment issues, so lots of holding was required. We had a baby to cuddle and love for a little while.
A few weeks later we were asked if we could take her 2 1/2 year old brother. Apparently he was quite a challenge. We really like to keep siblings together so we said yes. He arrived the next day. More observations and we quickly determined that he needed early interventions and a big concern was his lack of speech. Neglect can harm kids in many ways. Lack of stimulation early in life can cause big issues that continue later in life. Actually, at the time it was mistakenly thought that he had severe intellectual deficits.
Our lives got quite interesting and busy real quick. Doctor, speech, visitations, and OT appointments. It is amazing how quickly a toddler can find that magic marker that a teenager left lying around. Every time we welcomed a small child into our home we had to retrain all the older kids. And the equipment..... all that baby stuff that you can't live without. We had to totally restock our house with baby stuff when we decided to foster young children. Car seats in different stages, crib, playpen, swing, highchair and anything else that takes up lots of space for a small child.
We were told that they would not be in our home long, definitely less then a year. But, you just never know how things will turn out. We enjoyed the children while we had them and worked very hard to help them to catch up in their development and to learn how to love and be loved.
Having a baby fall asleep on your shoulder is precious.
We had the opportunity to give with love. They learned the joy of receiving.
We saw the first attempts of many things, to include music.
The first discovery of the television...
The first beach trip where Anthony was terrified of the water....
and Larissa loved the sand.
All this time we assumed that they were going home. We tried to work with the mom and help her to get her kids back. However, in the end it is up to the biological parents to do what they must to get their children back home. After almost 3 years in our home the courts terminated the parental rights (TPR) and the children were then adoptable. Naturally after so long they had become members of our family. On May of 2009 they officially became ours.
Then, we got to watch Anthony actually stand in the beach waters with joy....
Larissa continued to enjoy the beach her way.
We have been blessed again. We still have challenges but they are not insurmountable.
We have been blessed.
(Note: this post took me two hours. Larissa saw the pictures and I had to show her every picture on my computer!)