The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Baby, Part II

Wednesday morning and still no baby. OHEL called and asked how she was doing. When we told them that she had not been delivered the previous evening they were surprised but called the state agency and found her. (Five months later it's still sketchy what actually happened that night.)

The new arrival time was now Wednesday afternoon. By the time I got home from work, she had already arrived, been bathed and eaten at least once. It's amazing how one little creature can completely turn a house upside down. Our daughters were completely flipped out over her and, I must admit, so were MHW and I. As much as you try to convince yourself that its just another fostering gig, there is something very different about a baby.

(I know that previous sentence sounds harsh. But it's true. The only way to protect yourself emotionally when fostering is to view it as a job. Your job is to care for a child in need for as long as you are asked to. It doesn't mean you don't love the kids. It means you approach the fostering as a responsibility that you've undertaken. I know this is hard to understand but ask anyone who's done it. My point is, with the baby, it was totally different. It was impossible to remain detached).

The baby was very cute. As hard as it is to imagine in a ten week old, she seemed to be in shock. She hardly reacted to anything, including all the fawning over her that our daughters were doing. She had this almost scary blank look as if she felt nothing. It was sad. Thankfully, this blank look started to disappear the very next day.

Virtually the only thing we knew about the baby was where she came from and that she drank four ounces of formula every three hours. So, MHW and I took turns through the night. Feeding her became an extremely bonding event for me. As strange as this sounds, I don't think I ever bottle-fed any of our other children. MHW was very big on nursing and nursed each of the kids for a long time. Three of our kids went straight from the breast to the cup and the fourth may have had a bottle for a short time (but not when she was an infant). Despite having to wake up in the middle of the night I found myself loving the act of feeding the baby (it helps that I have the ability to immediately fall back asleep).

In the days and weeks that followed we started to learn a little bit more about the baby and her circumstances. One thing that became very clear was that this was not going to be a short term gig. Five months later it is clear that it still isn't going to be a short term gig. This makes things very, very complicated.



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