At the close of an appointment Rose and her mother and I were in the lobby talking with each other. A little girl who had been playing in the designated children’s play area of the office was drawn to Rose who was happily babbling away in her car seat. This little girl quietly approached me with a toy in her hand, and after giving the baby a shy smile and then looking up towards me she asked “Is this your baby?”.
Let me preface what happened next by just saying that lately my emotions regarding Rose’s future departure have been extremely tender and close to the surface. As soon as I think about how much time we have left with her my eyes start welling up with tears or I feel a lump starting to form in my throat so I busy myself with something else to try to put it out of my mind. Not only have I been struggling with those feelings all too familiar with foster parents at reunification time, but they have been compounded by all sorts of additional fun emotions and issues surrounding infertility which seem to be creeping up on me lately and rearing their ugly head, too. UGGGH! So when this little girl asked me a simple question “Is this your baby?” it really stirred up some feelings of grief and loss within me.
“No.” I calmly and kindly explained to the little girl. “She’s her baby.” I said as I pointed to Rose’s mother. Despite my inner sorrow, I tried to keep my composure and not visibly show all the complex feelings stirring up inside of me (at least I didn’t think I did). Then, without a moment’s hesitation, as soon as Rose’s mother heard my reply she piped up and confidently said, “She’s both our baby.”
I was so deeply touched by those four profound words that came out of Rose’s mother’s mouth that I turned to her and said, “That’s sweet of you.” And although I am normally not a touchy/feely person with other adults I found myself squeezing her petite frame to my side in a somewhat awkward but very sincere side hug.
The little girl excitedly announced, “This is for her!” and gently placed a toy just in front of Rose’s reach. We both thanked her and a look of pride in her ability to share crossed the little girl’s face. I might also add that this appointment was not in the DCFS Office, otherwise the phrase “She’s both our baby“ would have been easily understood by anyone in the room who happened to overhear it, so when Rose’s mother made the proud announcement of “She’s both our baby” a middle-aged man seated nearby did a 180 degree turn in his seat and turned around to look up at us with the most blatantly confused look on his face. Maybe he thought we were in some sort of a Jerry Springer situation or he couldn't help but make some assumptions- Who knows. His reaction was so amusing to me and it definitely added some much needed comic relief to the experience as I let the tears flow freely on my ride home.