I've held lots of babies in my life. My sister when I was very young. Nieces and nephews. Siblings-in-law. Friends' babies. Babies I've only just met.
But always it was just holding them. For a moment. Here and there. The baby was always someone else's baby. They were mine only in Love and far-off relationship.
And I've given lots of baby gifts over the years. Hats, blankets, carriers, pictures, booties, mittens, clothes, nursing covers, shoes. I've wrapped them and transported them and handed them over, watching as the mother and father undid the wrapping and ooh-ed and ahh-ed.
I did all that today again, just like always. But it was wildly different this time. I sat down on the couch, with That Sweet Baby Girl in my arms and asked Taylor to grab the little gift bag I had brought. I had thought that the foster mother would open it and ooh and ahh.
"Why don't you go open it? Over there with Baby?" she said.
I wasn't ready for that. I'd never opened a gift unless mother's hands were full (of baby). And certainly never while holding a baby that might be mine. Taylor brought the bag over, sat down next to me on the couch, and put his arm around my waist.
I pulled out the tissue paper and immediately hot tears streamed down my face. Here I was, opening my first, very own baby gift. I had made it, true, but it was a gift to me, and Taylor, and Baby. The three of us already a family in some strange un-looked-for way. I took the little purple hat I had knit, each stitch full of prayers and Love for this Little Girl, and I tucked it around her tiny dark-haired head. She looks good in purple.
And she looked up at us, eyes wide open. My heart asked her: "Do you know who we are? We loved you before we knew of you. And we loved you more when we found out your mommy wanted us to be your parents. And we love you more now that we've seen you and kissed you and held you in our arms."
I think she knows. I think she knows how much we love her, and how much we want her to be happy. I could have spent the whole morning we had with her just looking at her, my heart sighing a lullaby to her soul "Can I be your Mommy? Can I hold you like this forever? I will wait for you as long as I need to, if God wants us to be together."
But alas, time is fleeting. And it was time to go all too soon, though the foster family was incredibly generous with their time and welcomed us so warmly. Taylor laid her down in her bassinet and we kissed her, and blessed her, and said our farewells to the family.
I have no idea how this situation will play out. But our prayers are for her happiness and growth. If that is with her birth mother, then we are happy to have been a part of her life, even for a short while. If she is meant to come home to us, then we pray for a speedy resolution to have her quickly in our arms.
As you wish, Lord. Thy will be done..