Heart-mothers around the world wonder what our children’s very first hours, days or years were like before we found each other. Three of my babies were removed from their belly-mothers at birth, each spent time in the NICU, then formally entered foster care after a few weeks of shelter care. While that seems like a pretty tight timeline, there are a million gaps in their stories. I have so many questions.
Who crocheted the blankie that went with him to the women’s shelter that first night?
Who held her shuddering body as she came down off the cocaine?
Who hummed softly, patiently, while his neurons struggled to understand this bright new overstimulating world?
Whoever held my babies, did you wonder how he would grow up, or who his parents would be? Did you assume she would be another statistic, or did you have a feeling she would beat the odds? Did you pray for my babies in those quiet moments of uncertainty?
This week I had the great honor of receiving an email from one of our volunteers. She had found herself holding an 8 day old baby for a few hours at the child welfare office, feeling all the feels that come with that experience – joy, fullness, sadness, helplessness, wonderment and despair – all very much at once. So she did what came naturally to her: she prayed for him. And then she asked all of her friends to pray for him too.
This little boy didn’t get a newborn photo shoot, a baby shower or a Congratulations balloon, but he got something pretty amazing instead. He received a blessing spoken over his life by an entire community of strangers.
I like to think that my babies received that too. I like to think that whoever passed him off to the shelter supervisor kissed his forehead first; and whoever swaddled her flailing arms noticed how strong she was; and whoever held him against their heart prayed feverishly for him.
When I heard this volunteer’s story, I couldn’t help but reach out to thank her personally – on behalf of his belly-momma and perhaps his future heart-momma – for giving him the gift of her heart and soul that day. And to the selfless people who gave their heart and souls to my babies in those crucial newborn hours, I say thank you.
I wish you could see them now!