Dreams! It was my 3 or 4th baby dream… in this one I was solo parenting. I walked into my bedroom and was surprised to find a baby. If you know me at all, you will understand that without hesitation, I picked up this unknown child and attended to its needs. The real twist came when I left my room. There was another hungry baby at the bottom of the stairs. In fact, I found myself running room to room feeding babies. So many babies!
So what does ‘feeding the baby’ in these dreams represent? In real life I’ve raised my share of children and meeting needs comes naturally to me. My kids are now grown. I’ve moved from raising children to writing stories. I call these stories ‘my babies.’ So when I awoke this morning after caring for another hungry child in my nocturnal slumber, I knew I was being prompted to feed the baby. Today’s ‘baby’ is this blog.
Normally, I’d save this post until Mother’s Day as it’s about moms, but this is on my heart and it’s pressing.
I am unconventional. I first noticed this as a single mom. As a lover of children, I discovered a way to satisfy my desire to nurture more children through the foster care program. You see, I’ve led a blessed life. I was raised by two parents that loved me. Both of my grandparents raised a gaggle of kids. (That means there were a lot of kids in the families!) I admired my grandmothers and aspired to raise my own gang. So it’s not surprising that I not only had a couple of kids, but I also babysat for the neighborhood. I provided before school care and watched a few more young ones during the day. That’s when I realized just how deep my love for kids went. These children were beautiful, unique, and also very entertaining. I’d laugh at their silliness as easily as I was awed by how quickly they learned. Somewhere along the journey I decided that if I loved my neighbor’s kids this much, I might be able to make a difference by loving kids who really needed it. I became a foster mom.
These littles came to me one or two at a time. My first two lived with me for fifteen months before returning to natural mom. It was heart wrenching to see them go. I had to evaluate whether I was strong enough to continue. When I decided to go forward, I begged God, “Please, only bring me kids that I can keep.” Without promises or guarantees I stepped out in faith trusting that God knew my path and theirs.
From a variety of backgrounds and life circumstances, they arrived. A mere phone call could change not only my day, but the course of several lives. Within hours my doorbell would ring and I met the child I had heard described. Some came injured, some were only days old, and not one arrived with extra clothing. The common thread was a need for a safe place to live and to be loved. That was easy. Taking them in and loving babies… easy!
I don’t want to romanticize things, these were children with needs, challenges, and tempers. Real life 101. I had two kids already when I started so I had a clue of what to expect. It took a lot of energy and prayer. And in exchange I received years of hugs, kisses, whispered secrets, and for some reason noodle necklaces. If you mix those with trips to urgent care, late night illnesses, too many messy diapers to count, and house visits by caseworkers it’ll give you a snapshot of what those years were like.
As time passed these littles officially became my littles. God honored my heart’s desire and brought me children I could keep. Three different adoption days. Five beautiful children were added to my family.
Now to the mommas behind the scenes, the mothers of my children. I hold you in the highest regard. Their little lives began in you. You had the intimacy of hearing their heartbeat and feeling them move inside of you. Your expanding waistline evidence of your hidden treasure. It was your body that nourished theirs nestled beneath the safety of your ribcage. They were lulled to sleep by your heartbeat. Nine long, expectant, hormonal months you waited to meet them. Hearing their first cry. Holding their soft form to yourself. Counting their fingers and toes. It was your voice they recognized at birth. These were your moments. Moments, that as a mother, I treasure.
I cannot fathom what internal fortitude it takes to surrender a child. I can only imagine the emotional struggle you endured. I pray that meeting your now adult child and the relationship you have with them will bring you much happiness.
You, dear woman, you are precious to me. You grew a child that I love with all my heart. Your sacrificial act has forever changed my world. I am grateful. Your child changed my life and brought me joy. Oh, so much joy. The Bible says that children are a gift from God. I thank you so very much for sharing your gift with me.
Forever in your debt, ~Debbie
PS- Dear Reader, if this will bless someone you know. I’d ask you to share it with them. Thank you.
The sky is gray and heavy. As the storm presses in I set my distractions aside, and find a good window to watch the incoming deluge. I absorb the smells from an open window. The sound of the leaves sighing in refreshment stirs my memories.
My mind wanders back to my childhood when this exact scenario played out. At that time, I was frustrated, angry that my plans to build a fort, or climb some imaginary mountain; soaring high with my conjured-up wings to a place of untold adventure had been foiled by this dreadful set-back.
Today, I may be discouraged that my plans for the sunny day I had envisioned will not transpire as I had hoped, but I take heart as I have learned much from my childhood rainy days. This day, I push aside the week of concerns that had gathered. I allow myself the freedom just to be. To sit and ponder the birds, the squirrels, the beauty in the storm. And after some time, I find myself refreshed, better able to conquer those challenges, and face those imaginary giants of my week past. The funny thing is that they don’t seem so large and looming now. The rain has refreshed my spirit and I feel stronger.
Perhaps the hidden purpose of a storm is that it provides a place of respite from our troubles. It may sound counter intuitive but resting as the battle rages around us affords us time to stop worrying. We can just slow down and enjoy the beauty surrounding us.
That’s my encouragement today, my friend. I have a pretty picture that reminds us that all storms do indeed end, and there is sunshine ahead.
Sending you a blessing in the midst of your storm. Debbie