‘This is DFS calling. His name is Baby Boy (he hasn’t been given a name). His mother abandoned him at the hospital. He is currently in the NICU ready to be released.’

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“After my third child, I was told I shouldn’t have anymore children. BUT, when she was 18 months I didn’t have that ‘feeling’ people say you get when you know you’re done having children. So in my quiet alone time I began researching different adoption agencies. I was so nervous to tell my husband since we were ‘done,’ right? My husband is so incredibly Christlike and loves children, but I knew adoption is a long, hard road. We also had our three ‘perfect’ children…. would he be ok with adding a little more crazy to our life? I prayed a lot and researched a lot. Finally, I got the nerve to ask him and at first I asked him with a little giggle in my voice, just to lighten the subject. He joked back and then I responded, ‘No for reals?’ He was a little struck back but believed if it was something I really wanted and felt was right for our family he too, would get on board.

Maybe foster care? Mind you, I had only known one family who had fostered children, so I had NO idea what that even would entail. Now, I was REALLY nervous to ask my husband about foster care. Again, I did my research, called the Department of Family Services and asked A LOT of questions. It was now time I needed to talk to my husband, again. He repeated those same words, but with a little more hesitation. ‘If you really want to and feel it is right for our family.’  I responded that we should at least begin the process and then we could both decide. He had never known anyone who had fostered. His only hesitation of fostering was that every child leaves your home after you have fallen hard for them.

December 28th was a very exhilarating, nerve wracking day. The phone rang and the voice on the other end said, ‘This is [so and so] from DFS calling to let you know that you have been approved and should now be expecting phone calls for baby boys – 12 months old and younger.’

January 12th was my youngest’s, third birthday. I was so sad my little baby was going to be three; she was my baby, or so I thought. I was frantically getting ready to celebrate her birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. I was running up the stairs when my phone rang. The voice on the other end said, ‘Hello this is DFS calling in regards to a 9 day old baby boy.’  I said, ‘yes, can you tell me more about him?’ She replied, ‘His name is Baby Boy (meaning he hasn’t been given a name) his mother has abandoned him at the hospital and he is currently in the NICU and ready to be released.’  Now with prior phone calls I would ask the social worker if I could call them back as I would need to speak with my husband. This phone call was different. I felt so much peace and confidence. I replied, ‘I will be at the hospital right after my daughter’s party, so around 1:00. Does that work?’

My whole body shook with every emotion as I drove to the hospital. THE MOST surreal experience I have ever had. Yes, I have delivered three babies, but this was totally different. With those three I had been pregnant for nine months and was SO ready to have that baby out. But just that morning I was sad that I wouldn’t have a ‘baby’ anymore because mine was turning 3; and now I was picking up a baby. As I walked up to his bed in the NICU I saw his priceless little face and fell in love.

Newborn asleep in NICU who was abandoned by mother
Courtesy Shea Villamor

The new baby smell, his warmth, his precious face all made for the most spiritual, peaceful feeling; just as birthing a child. There was no difference of a feeling from delivering a baby or adopting/fostering a newborn. It is Heavenly Father’s way of opening our hearts completely. It is how He wants it and how it should be.

Woman holds newborn who was abandoned by mother close to her chest with husband behind her
Courtesy Shea Villamor

I never could have imagined that I would feel the exact same way with a child I birthed verse a child I had not. I believe this baby was always supposed to come to my family and just needed to come a different way. It was love at first sight for all of us in the family. Heath was the center of all of our lives. The girls would fight over whose turn it was to hold him or feed him. Things were looking good…and then all hell broke loose.

Three young girls sit on couch holding and looking at newborn who was abandoned by mother in hospital
Courtesy Shea Villamor

When you are a foster parent you are looked at as a ‘glorified babysitter.’ Even the smallest of things you feel as though the state is going to have you indicted. And within three weeks we had a huge scare where our little baby boy almost lost his life. Through faith, prayer, and medical miracles he was saved. BUT this did not come without serious drama.

The foster care program has reunification with family as goal #1.The foster parents are somewhat seen as a last option for long term adoption. We were told they look at about 7 degrees of separation. From parents to grandparents to aunts and uncles, to cousins before they will terminate parental rights and allow a foster parent to be eligible to be an adoptive resource.

Our second biggest fear of falling hard for our little boy and then not being able to adopt almost came to fruition.

Before picking him up we had been told he was abandoned, with no family in the picture. Wow; had all of that been wrong. We had people coming out of the woodwork to take my little boy from us.

I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed uncontrollably. I couldn’t believe this was not going to be my baby when all along I had the strongest feeling he was always meant to be with us. (Even foster parents die when they think they are going to lose their child; we are not superheroes).

During this time in my life I learned more than I had ever learned the previous 30 years. I truly had to lean on my Father in Heaven. I begged, pleaded, screamed, and sobbed to him. We gained such a stronger relationship. He showed our family so many incredible miracles that I would never give back these days for anything. Charity is the pure love of Christ, the highest level of love. I am not a Master at this by any means but I have definitely learned that Jesus Christ’s atonement was the most charitable act of all time. I believe Heath had to go through this not just for his sake but for mine. I have not only learned the power of prayer but how to honestly speak with my Father in Heaven. I have never begged, pleaded, screamed, and cried to my Heavenly Father until now. And because of this I have learned Faith over fear and gained a stronger relationship with Him. He is the Master Healer.

I have learned what true LOVE and empathy are. I wanted to think that this poor boy’s birthmother was a monster. But after meeting with her I have learned true empathy. We cried together and held each other. She is unbelievably selfless and is just a woman who has made some bad decisions or hasn’t been able to stay on a path in life that can truly help her. I was heartbroken for her. We are just two mothers who loved this baby boy. My family and I have learned what it is to sacrifice. We have given up 24 hours of our days to suffer with and care for this sweet boy. He has been my saving Grace. He is molding me into the Woman my Heavenly Father wants me to be. I will forever be indebted to him and his birthmother for the blessing he has been in my life and the lessons he has taught me.

My husband and I realized that we didn’t have any say whatsoever as to how the long-term plans for Heath were determined. We understood that family should have priority over a foster parent when determining the permanent home for a child, but in our case… we didn’t want to see it that way. I mean, my feelings have to be the most important, right? Seriously though, I really didn’t want my son to be raised with another family and in another state where I wouldn’t be able to see him.

Court day came and the judge immediately responded with, ‘We are NO longer waiting for an answer on behalf of any family members and we will reconvene with a termination of parental rights hearing.’

We all had tears of joy. We were astonished this was a judge who we thought wouldn’t be quick with a decision to termination of parental rights. It was truly an answer to prayers.

Mother and father standing with their four birth children and adopted baby boy in adoption court
Courtesy Shea Villamor

What a celebration! From this point on I was no longer nervous. I had always had the ‘feeling’ he was mine from the beginning, but this just confirmed it.

February 25th was a wonderful day for our family. All of our stresses and concerns could now go by the wayside. All of our problems seemed to be so far away. We were now a legal family!

Until the next call came…”

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Shea Villamor of MillionWaystoMother.com. You can follow her on Facebook here Instagram here.

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