The Blanket.

The following post comes to us from our friend Jill who served on our Board of Directors for several years. I know you will enjoy this beautifully touching story as much as we did. You can learn more about her family’s adventure in foster care and adoption here: 

My seven-year-old daughter just came down to give me a blanket. She wanted me to wrap it. My heart broke in the best way.

Last winter, a 6-month-old girl was placed with some of our friends from church. It was super exciting because these friends were anxiously awaiting a call – a call for the right little one who they could love for a while or forever if that little one couldn’t return home. My friend and I had been meeting, talking, texting, praying that God would bring their family just the right child. Well, He certainly did.

The little girl they were called about was the same little girl I was called about last year. Setting the stage – our 8-year-old was recently released from a behavioral health hospital, my three 4-year-olds were transitioning into full day K4 and my other daughter was 6. Ben and I were very aware that our hands were full – we had reached capacity. But, I questioned everything when I got this call.

I was actually in the car driving to the park with the 5 kids (they had off of school that day) when the caseworker called me. The induction was scheduled – my daughter’s sister would be born in a couple days. They wanted us – the people with VERY FULL HANDS to consider taking her. The girls are blood the caseworker reminded me. Foster parents of her other little sister already said no to placement. “Can you take her?”

I had known my daughter’s biological mom was pregnant for some time, so the call didn’t exactly shock me. But, I was taken aback at how hard it was for me to say no. There was something amazing and magical to pick up our son at the hospital I remembered. The only child of our 5 we met at 3 days old.

I daydreamed for a moment about how the baby would stop my oldest son from raging. She may help my 4-year-olds be quiet for more than 30 seconds at a time. My kids would never fight because they would all want to be kind and loving for the baby. The kids would be helpful. My husband would want me to consider!

Then: REALITY CHECK. “Of course you said no, right?!” my husband said – so nonchalant. There was no reason for him to think I was actually considering this.

My brain started flooding with heavy doses of reality. Where would she sleep? We’d have to re-buy all that baby stuff. Bottles. Night feedings. We already don’t get enough sleep. What if the kids hurt the baby? This is not a good idea. Not exactly peace, but I knew – I had to stick with the no. There was no reason to call the caseworker back. We needed them to find another home – hopefully, one we will get to keep in touch with.

Months passed and we heard nothing. We eventually learned that she was placed with a family in Waukesha (not too far) and knew that they had our contact info if they wanted to reach out for sibling visits. We knew she was safe but didn’t have any contact with her.

Fast forward a handful of months and I get a text from my friend with the most wonderful news. She was getting placement of this same baby girl the following week. She needed a new foster home. I knew her name. I knew her birth date. It was the angel we knew we couldn’t love. The girl we knew wasn’t ours. She got away from us, but now we get to know and love – at least for this season.

This morning, this precious friend who is raising my daughter’s sister – gave us an invite to this precious little girls upcoming 1st birthday party. I was so excited and honored to be invited. I got excited about all the adorable toddler clothes, books and hair bows I could get her, but her big sister, my daughter, had another idea.

Right at bedtime, she came bounding down the stairs (as she often does) and had her old baby blanket in her arms. This blanket I knew well. One of the two blankets her mom sent with her the day she came to live with us. One blanket was homemade by someone who loved her & I have tucked away in the basement for safe keeping, but the other has been on my daughter’s bed these past 6 1/2 years.

She brought the blanket down for a very specific reason. “I want you to wrap this, mommy.” She was very sure about this. I was confused and unsure, but she clarified. “I want my sister to have it. I have two from our tummy mommy, but I want my baby sister to have one of them.” Holding back tears, I reminded her that if we gave it to her sister, she would want to keep it forever. She was sure. “I’m too big for it now and she will love having something so special.”

“Yes. Absolutely. If you want to give it to her, we can take it to her birthday party in a couple weeks!” Her smile said it all. She hugged me, she thanked me and asked me if I could come sing to her. We cleaned up her room, she told me all about her day and I got to sing to her. We had a sweet time after her siblings were asleep. I got to remind her of how beautiful I think her gift is.

Amazed, I sit here grateful. I am such a proud mom tonight. So glad she gets to love her sister – knowing that sharing the same tummy mommy is important. We didn’t take her in because it wasn’t right for us, but God had other plans. He also gave her such a generous, thoughtful heart for this baby she’s only met a handful of times. She knew the perfect gift. Something so beautiful I never would’ve thought of: the blanket. The. Perfect. Gift.

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