Mike&Sarah

Tag Archive: loss

Good Bye Baby Boy

Our foster son left us yesterday [on June 12, 2013].

It was a whirlwind from the anticipated moment we received the email and confirmation phone call from our agency that it was time to head to the Bronx medical office for his final physical to the emotionally-charged moment we handed him over to his new guardians in an overcrowded conference room at our agency. I was teary through those final, rushed, chaotic moments and now the apartment feels so much quieter, so still, without him here. PIE misses her companion and playmate, and both Mike and I woke this morning at 5am to find the crib at the foot of our bed empty.

Empty is a good way to describe how I feel.

Fostering has required everything.  Everything. We’ve poured our hearts and energy into caring for this little boy, and for our first foster daughter, too. We’ve said “no,” to opportunities and to going out because either it’s been too difficult to get a background approved sitter, or we were too tired to get out the door.  We’ve lived in chaos and built our family rhythm and weekly schedule around the foster kids’ visitation appointments. And while we hope that God may build our family through fostering, we’re also well aware of the privileged role we play in these children’s lives as stewards and care-takers, providing a safe, loving home for as long as they need the respite from whatever brokenness and chaos surrounds their family of origin.

It’s not easy. But it was the right thing for us to do at just the right time.  And as this year has reaffirmed to me, sometimes walking by faith means following God down unexpected pathways.  In January, that unexpected pathway included parenting three children under 10 months old.

Today I walked into my bedroom and it occurred to me that I had just done something I hadn’t been able to do for 6 months. Yes, I simply walked into my room whenever I wanted to. A baby has been napping and sleeping in there since January so even little daily routines like showering in my bathroom, drying my hair, getting dressed in my room, putting laundry away, making my bed, all of those “normal” tasks only had small windows of opportunity for completion before the room needed to be a silent haven for a little one.

We’re now just a family of 3, of 4 if you include our pug Frannie. It’s been six months since it’s been just us, and boy-oh-boy have I learned a ton about love, service, sacrifice, putting others’ needs ahead of my own, joy, delight and watching someone grow healthy and strong as a direct result of our love and care.  Such demanding needs and such rewarding love.

I’m in a flurry of cleaning and sorting laundry and switching our wardrobes from winter wear to summer clothes.  I have time for that now.  My thoughts keep drifting to our foster son, hoping he’s laughing and adjusting well to his new home.

One of my daily prayers for PIE is that she’d grow up healthy, happy and hopeful.  As I pray over her, I pray the same prayers for our foster son and foster daughter, those two precious children who now live in very different circumstances.  May God’s kindness protect them, keeping them safe from harm and allowing their sweet personalities to flourish and find a home in Him.  Though they won’t remember us, we won’t be same because of them.

Originally written on June 13, 2013, but not posted until August 8, 2013.

Good Bye Baby Girl

I knew it would be hard.  That’s one of the reasons I never dreamed being a foster parent.  But as I live the wonderfully unexpected life I never could’ve imagined on my own, I’ve also opened myself up to the joys and pains I never anticipated.  Mike once told me that my joys can only go as high as my lows go low.  Highs and lows.  I’ve hit both ends of the spectrum several times this year.

Foster Baby #1 (“Baby Girl B”)  joined our family on January 5, 2013.  She brought joy, laughter, smiles and giggles.  Her cheerful disposition and tender heart made it easy for her to make a home in our hearts.  In the heart of everyone who met her, actually.  Even the ladies who work the nursery at church fell blissfully under the charismatic charms of Baby Girl B.

She left our arms an hour ago and is on her way right now to live with her extended family.  I’m hopefully that they will love her and nurture her sweet spirit to maturity while cultivating her delightful sense of humor and tenderness towards others.  She’s 9months old today.

But right now my heart is broken with her absence.  I knew it would be hard to care for someone else’s child while they get healthy, but we felt called to take such a bold step.  I just didn’t expect to fall so deeply in love, nor did I expect it to hurt this much to say good bye to Baby Girl B.

Oh Lord protect her.  Keep her safe in the years to come.  May her sweet smile remain innocent and joyful.  Protect her from evil and harm, and may her resilience and buoyant attitude keep her above the dangers of this city. As she grows, may her light shine brighter, reflecting Your love.  Thank You for the privilege of loving her and caring for her.  I know that You understand the pain of loving a child and giving them up.  Please speak peace to my heart, and guard sweet Baby Girl B.

Restoration

It seems like God called us to live our life out loud, encouraging others from the circumstances and events that challenge us to love and trust Him more deeply.

Sarah shared our experience of God’s overwhelming grace through infertility, our miscarriage and adopting Phoebe at a Cru Campus Christmas conference in Baltimore before New Years Eve, and we were surprised by how our message of restoration resonated with the 1000 students and staff in the room.  Sarah talked about brokenness, living in “the now and the not yet,” and looking to Jesus as our ultimate healer.

RADIATE 2012 – Sarah Evers from Mid-Atlantic Cru on Vimeo.

Your prayers and giving enable us to tell people in New York City and around the world how Jesus restores and transforms lives. Thank you for your partnership.

Update from Sad News

I’m so thankful for dear family and friends who drew near to us during the first horrible days of our miscarriage and these four weeks since then.  We are the recipients of so many kind words and thoughtful gestures that my words of thanks seem inadequate, but my gratitude for people’s kindness, gentleness and compassion goes even deeper now.

One friend sent the book I’ll Hold You In Heaven which is written to parents of children who have been aborted, miscarried, stillborn, or died in early infancy.  This book was a quick and reassuring read exploring through scripture the idea of the unborn having souls from conception.  It helped me realize that I have a child waiting in Heaven.  What a humbling thought.

Other friends sent prayers which made me cry as I read them.  I’m overwhelmed at how many people have suffered the loss of an unborn or stillborn child.  I never knew the depths of grief so many friends have struggled with, but as a friend who struggles with infertility recently shared with me, “loss is loss.”  You don’t have to have experienced the heartbreak of a miscarriage to understand the heart ache of unfulfilled dreams and longings.

Several people told stories of friends who held memorial services for their lost little ones.  I thought I was “beyond” that, for I’d already poured out my heart in an authentic, vulnerable, soul-bearing way just days after I lost my heartbeat-less baby.  In other words, I’d checked “grieving” off of my list and I wanted to move on without experiencing any more grief.

Mike, though, thought it was a good idea, and I wanted to be supportive (but not too emotive), so I begrudgingly agreed.  I didn’t want to open that wound again for it felt like the healing had started — was well in motion — and I wanted to simply move forward into the future with vague reflections on that sad time in our lives.

Two weeks after our loss Mike and I took the Hampton Jitney (bus) out to Montauk, NY, where my family has been going for over 50 years.  My Gramps and my Dad are both buried in that small, unassuming, unpretentious beach town, so Mike thought it would be an important place for us to memorialize our long-prayed for baby.

The weather was perfect: a sunny October day with clear skies.  There was even a festival in the middle of town.  Mike looked for a baby blanket or some kind of object we could use to represent our little one, but none of the boutiques he walked into carried the kind of items he wanted.  I didn’t think I could handle shopping for baby items without crying so I sat on a park bench near the town square and watched happy families buy large jars of pickles.

As a last resort we stopped into White’s Drug Store deciding on baby socks. Because the florist shops were closed, Mike gathered wild flowers from along the winding road as we walked up to Fort Hill Cemetery.

Fort Hill is one of the most beautiful places I’ve visited.  From that quiet, grassy place you can see Montauk Pond, the Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean.  There’s a meandering trail with scenic vistas and teak benches which are perfect for long, thoughtful rests as the sun sets.  There’s usually a soft sea breeze blowing across the top of the hill, too, taking the edge off the heat and humidity on hot summer days.

Sitting beside my Dad’s grave, Mike and I spent an hour praying to God and talking to each other about the baby we never held.  It was a surprisingly, unexpectedly healing time for us. I didn’t know what to say at first but sometimes silence suffices.

Here we are one month later.  Physically I’m healed.  Emotionally, I’m tender.  Spiritually, I have questions.  See, I had hoped that after my previous foray into writing about our miscarriage I’d be able to dam up my emotions and move forward with veiled references to loss and heartache.  But I’m learning that God has more for us than that: He is calling us to live authentically with loss.  We will have many opportunities in the years to come to celebrate with others while taking our broken hearts to Jesus.  We will live with the reality of lost dreams in a way I never imagined, marking milestones by someone else’s precious baby.