Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Parent Trap

Adopting our first two daughters took a little over two years. They had been in the system their entire lives so getting them out took some doing. While we were going through the process, the state of California required us to become foster parents. It was explained that even though we would not be required to take in any other children, we would need to do this for legal reasons until our adoptions finalized. Of course, we fell for it, hook, line and sinker.

Going through the process of becoming foster parents was not difficult at all. We took classes, filled out paperwork, had a home study and received our official titles of Mom and Dad Foster Parent in just a few months. Once that was done, we figured we would go on with life as normal while we waited for the girl’s adoptions to finalize. Looking back, I now realize Child Protective Services probably saw us coming a mile away and set the trap catching themselves two wide eyed and bushy tailed parents. Seriously, after going through all the training, how could we not use it to benefit some little kid? How much trouble could one little temporary kid be, right?

Our first few foster children were very young, under two and with us for short terms: the first for two weeks and the second for a few months. It was so wonderful to be able to love these little ones during such a difficult time in their lives. Being able to comfort a small, scared child and see them eventually smile and laugh was worth the pain of any goodbyes we would say later. Then came Lizzie.

I received a call from a social worker one morning asking if we would take a thirteen month old baby girl. She didn’t eat, only drank bottles of formula, wasn’t walking or talking and had just begun crawling. I was told she did not smile, play with toys or show much emotion. She lacked socialization and would need special services to learn how to interact with others. The placement had the possibility of lasting as long as a year. The social worker knew we did not want to take any long term commitments, so he promised if we would keep her for just a few weeks, he would be able to find a long term foster home by then. I called Bob to get the ok and called CPS back agreeing to the placement.

As I loaded our five children into the van, each one was buzzing with excitement over the new baby we were on our way to pick up. I explained that it was only for a few weeks and there were some things they needed to know. I went through the checklist of known issues with my kids just as the social worker had done with me. Of course, there were lots of questions, most of them I had no answers to. We all agreed we would just do our best to be kind and loving to the new baby, trusting that God had a plan for her life just like He had for each of ours.

Once we got to the office, we were taken to the holding area where we would wait for our caseworker, David, to return with the baby. Before leaving the room, he explained her name was Liz and that it was important we remain fairly quiet when he returned with her. He was concerned she could be overwhelmed by six of us attacking her with kisses like we were known to do. We all promised to wait quietly and follow his lead.

When the door opened and I saw David standing there, holding the most beautiful baby I had ever seen, I was not shocked by my kid’s oohs and ahhs. Liz was commercial baby perfect in appearance. David stood calmly, holding this little piece of life that stared straight at me, giving no reaction to anything around her. As he entered the room and sat down, placing her on his knee, Liz squirmed to get down. Once settled on the floor, never once taking her eyes off me, she crawled as fast as any baby I had ever seen straight into my arms. Picking her up, I couldn’t help but cover her with kisses unleashing the other kids from their confinement. Within seconds, our new little short term placement was covered with kisses, head and belly rubs. Though she never smiled or cried, she accepted it all in stride. We left before David could wipe the look of shock from his face.

Within two weeks of bringing Lizzie home, she was eating regular table food, laughing, walking and beginning to talk. This kid never needed special services. She just needed a plain, old family to love her to life. Two years after bringing our “short term placement” foster baby named Liz home, we made it her permanent forever home.

Lizzie Ann Hansen is turning twenty years old in five days. I still remember the first time I held her in my arms, like it was yesterday. It scared me, because I knew from that moment, she was in my heart to stay.


Lizzie Ann Hansen ~ 2008

Three boys. Three girls. We were so done. Our quiver was more than full, it was overflowing. Until.....

37 comments:

Ms. Anthropy said...

At least you got to keep her! We invested our hearts in a beautiful little girl, for six months and they let someone adopt her right out from under us. It hurt so much when she left, we never did it again.

Brian Miller said...

oh, what an ominous until there at the end. smiles. wonderful tale. i ork with a lot of foster kids...

Parsley said...

Thank you for sharing your story. She's a lovely girl.

justsomethoughts... said...

beautiful story
lucky girl

Two Shades of Pink said...

Hmmm...this is starting to sound familiar. So captivating.

Respectfully Yours said...

What a great story. She is so lovely. Love is always the answer.

SquirrelQueen said...

What a wonderful story. She is a very beautiful young lady.

Blasé said...

Suspense is the key...

TechnoBabe said...

What a beautiful young woman Lizzie is. This is an amazing story. I stopped by from The Fifty Factor. I so like your post. Happy Birthday to Lizzie and a big hello to you the one with the big heart and this means to much to me.

Enchanted Oak said...

I was worried about what was going to happen to Liz until the last moment! Hooray! Happy birthday to her.
I'm looking forward to more.

Mama Zen said...

This is beautiful. She is beautiful. You are beautiful.

Shelle said...

what a magnificent story....i knew as soon as you mentioned her temperament she just needed to be held and loved. what a blessing she is!

gayle said...

What a beautiful story!!

Andrea said...

So much I did not know about you and your family Marla...just beautiful...looking forward to the next segment!

Janean said...

marla, i was so scared you'd say you had to give her up after two years...you made me cry on Valentines Day, but sweet tears to see a lovely young lady!

Nancy C said...

There are no accidents in life, and it is so cool to see how God brought your family together. Lovely stories, Marla. Thank you.

Sarah said...

beautiful story, and beautiful girl. thank god she found you!

Oklahoma Granny said...

This was an extremely happy post for me to read. It really touched my heart. Lizzie is a beautiful young woman. God truly led her to your family.

Happy Birthday a few days early to your lovely daughter.

The Duck Herder said...

Marla this is a beautiful post! Happy Birthday Lizzie

Nicole said...

Beautiful story...and it looks like I'm finally going to get to meet one of your daughters...I'm seeing Kelly this weekend!

Auntie Cake said...

So sweet, and you are right, kids just need a regular old family to love on them. All kids deserve that... Love your stories, I spent the weekend with my kids so I am trying to play catch-up now. Gotta go read the last one!
KAte

Joanna Jenkins said...

What a joyous story and what a gorgeous young woman Lizzie has become.

This was a very inspiring post. Thank you.

jj

Unknown Mami said...

I have a huge grin plastered across my face.

Okie Book Woman said...

She's beautiful! And what a beautiful story.

Just Playin' said...

Who is the most fortunate? You? Or Lizzie? What a wonderful outworking for you both!

Gucci Mama said...

This is my first visit to your blog - I'm hooked! What a lovely, lovely story!

LizOnnia said...

Thanks for finding me Mom! =)

Lorenza said...

Wow Marla, every time I read about your love for your kids, for your family and life I find new strenght and meaning in what I am doing. Thanks for sharing your amazing experience of unconditional love.

LOL

King J's Queen said...

Beautiful story. So glad there are folks out there willing to provide forever homes.

VKT said...

What a sweet story! Thanks so much for sharing.

kbxmas said...

Beautiful story! I swear people like you and your husband are the true saints in this world.

Auntie Cake said...

Hi Marla,
Thanks for stopping by. I am afraid I haven't been blogging lately, or visiting blogs lately as I am glued to my tv cheering on USA in the Olympics. I can hardly stand it when I have to leave primetime coverage. I so love the Olympics!

And I totally want to know why you are banned from glitter! Sounds hilarious! My hubby would ban me from glitter if he thought I would listen. If you knew how many times he has showed up at work with glitter all over his face. He once told me, "Do you know how hard it is to get people to take me seriously as I am trying to give CPR, or cut them out of a car all covered in glitter?" I just told him, you are their knight in shining glitter. He wasn't amused. Have a great weekend, I know I will, the Olympics are on!!!
KAte

thelumberjackswife said...

Wonderful story! She is beautiful.

Mommy Lisa said...

Oh how BEAUTIFUL she is...and you are too. I love this and cannot wait to hear more. :)

Glad you got your brows waxed!

I did too yesterday.

Six Feet Under Blog said...

Wow. So neat for you!

Marla said...

Ms Anthropy ~ Just think of the wonderful investment you were able to make in that little girls life. That is a gift!! I understand the letting go is hard. Really hard. Been there, done that. But no regrets.

Brian ~ Really?? What do you do?

Parsley ~ Thank you!

justsomethoughts ~ Yes, I am

Two Shades ~ One of these days we need to talk. Maybe over coffee.

Respectfully ~ It truly is

Judy ~ Thank you!

Blasé ~ You know me so well

Techno ~ Thank you so much!

Chris ~ There is more on the way

Mama Zen ~ You always make me smile

Shelle ~ Isn't that what we all need?

gayle ~ Thank you!

Andrea ~ Isn't that a shame, really? I am going to do everything I can to correct that.

Janean ~ We eventually have to let go and it's never easy. Even if they are twenty. :-)

Nancy ~ I so agree. No accidents

Sarah ~ Thank God

Ok Granny & Duck Herder ~ Thank you both!

Nicole ~ Wonderful!! I am so happy you are going.

Kate ~ You are so right and thank you!

JJ ~ Thank you!

Mami ~ I am so glad you liked it.

Marla said...

Okie Book Woman ~ Thank you!

Just Playin ~ You SO get it!!

Gucci ~ Welcome and thank you for coming by!!!

Lizzie ~ Thank you for being found

Lorenza ~ You are too kind, my friend

King J's ~ We are the thankful ones

VKT ~ Thank you for reading!

kbxmas ~ Saints with horns!!

Kate ~ You are cracking me up!!! Let's just say, the one and only time my business partner trusted me with glitter on a project, I would have come in last place in an art competition......for preschoolers.....with learning disabilities. I'm just saying!

LumberJack Wife ~ Thank you!!

Mommy Lisa ~ I swear, I looked like an ape beforehand.

Six feet ~ So neat!