“I’m sorry,” I said, “we’re just bragging on our puny kids.”
“Oh,” she said. “I have a crack baby.”
You could have heard the crickets chirping.
Chirp, chirp, chirp.
I think I may have said something really profound, like, “Ooooh…. Huh. Wow.”
I thought, wow, she looks fantastic for a crackhead! And I hadn’t even noticed she’d been pregnant. She must not have put on weight, you know, from all that crack. I can’t believe she’s so open about it.
And then I think, wait, maybe she’s just got a kid with issues and the doctors can’t figure out what’s wrong with it, and this is her attempt at humor?
I was wrong on all counts.
So, I’d like to introduce you to my new friends, Team Baby.
Team Baby consists of Mom, Dad, Big Brother, and Sweet Baby. Mom and Dad experienced a lot of complications with their pregnancy with Big Brother, and have been serving as foster parents ever since.
A few months ago they get a call from their foster agency saying they’d be arriving at Team Baby’s house in two hours with an itty bitty, perfect, healthy baby boy… And all of a sudden, Sweet Baby became part of their family.
Except, Sweet Baby wasn’t actually all that healthy.
Team Baby was soon in Vanderbilt begging for answers to why the precious little baby was wheezing and refluxing and screaming and miserable, and they found out the ugly truth about Sweet Baby…
Sweet Baby didn’t get such a great start. Sweet Baby had a terrible introduction to life, actually.
It all began when his mother, strung out on crack, gave birth to him. At home. In the toilet. Where she LEFT HIM.
Thankfully his father, also strung out on crack, had enough sense to fish him out when he realized there was a child in the toilet. (Someone give him a Father of the Year award.)
Miracle of miracles, an ambulance ends up being called, and the child is taken to the hospital. The parents are subsequently brought up on charges of child abuse, and are later kicked out of the hospital while they were visiting due to stealing syringes.
After seven weeks in the hospital Sweet Baby was finally weaned off the opiates, benzodiazepines, cocaine, and marijuana he was born on and then dropped off on the door step of Team Baby.
Lucky for him. And lucky for them.
So, fast forward to today… Sweet Baby is now nine months old and is doing great! He is in therapy four days a week and routinely sees a number of specialists to help sort out all his medical issues. He has right side hemiparesis, severe reflux, and modified eating protocols. He has sensory issues and failure to thrive.
And according to Team Baby, he’s absolutely perfect.
But here’s the thing…
Team Baby is a foster family. They knew when they accepted Sweet Baby into their home that one day he may go back to his biological family. There are goals in Sweet Baby's permanency plan for Team Baby to adopt him if his biological family uses up all their chances...
You know, his biological family… The same family that almost never, ever shows up for their supervised visits with Sweet Baby. They’ve been scheduled for one two-hour visit each week for the past seven months (which would be approximately 60 hrs, give or take a few.) They (and by “they,” I mean “the father”) have been there for a meager 12 of those hours. When they do bother to come they show up late and leave early.
His biological family... The same family that recieved NO prenatal care for their child.
His biological family... The same family that attempted to steal syringes for drugs from the hospital while their son lie there struggling to live.
His biological family… The same family that, when told about all of Sweet Baby’s doctors and therapies, said “We don’t have time to take him to all those appointments.”
His biological family... The same family that, when the mother was told her son may never be able to use his right side said, "I need pictures of him, I have to get his baby book finished before he is a year old."
His biological family… The same family that will not provide Sweet Baby with the environment he will need to thrive and do all the amazing things he is destined to do…
His biological family… The same family who already had three other children in foster care when Sweet Baby was born. IN A TOILET. WHERE SHE LEFT HIM.
His biological family… The same family that will be in court today, fighting child abuse charges and hoping to get their children, including Sweet Baby, back.
I’m asking you all to please say prayers for Sweet Baby and his foster family over the next few days and weeks. His future is in God’s and the courts’ hands, and it’s impossible to predict how a case like this will play out. Sweet Baby deserves to be in a home where he will be loved and taken care of, and his foster parents have proven they can, and will, do everything in their power to do just that. They want nothing more than to adopt Sweet Baby into their family and give him the brightest future a child could ask for.
So please, please, please PRAY!
I wanted to post a picture, but DHS laws protect the identity of children in foster care… So here’s a picture of the back of his sweet little baby head (on a CLEAN floor in a child-proofed home), so you can get even the slightest idea of the cute little man you’re praying for!
Team baby has passed along the following information regarding the hearing today and what it means... And what it means is continued prayers over the next few weeks and months that all goes as it should, and Sweet Baby stays put! (And notice that he'll be going to Disney World in a couple of weeks. That just makes me happy ;)
From Team Baby:
So, the update on court today is that there was an agreement made. The reason that DCS made an agreement is because they could not get expert testimony to state that his "issues" are the result of drug exposure and could be the result of meconium aspiration. So, they settled for dependent neglect. What does this mean for SWEET BABY??? Here is the answer. SINCE THEY [the biological parents] DIDN'T SHOW UP TODAY, DESPITE THE FACT THAT THEY WERE INFORMED THAT THEY HAD TO, the attorneys asked for a continuance on the disposition. THAT WAS DENIED!!!! They judge ruled that Sweet Baby's case, which had been looked at separately than his 3 sisters would be INCLUDED in the termination of parental rights petition that will be filed on September 16th (yes, while we are in Disney Word) In Tennessee, it is state law that if a child's parents have not made sufficient progress toward their perm plan in 15 months the packet to terminate rights will be started and filed. Don't get your hopes up just yet, these people still have LOTS of chances, and it can take up to 6 months to get a court date.
With the pending involuntary parental rights looming, we have a few choices:1. We can wait the 6 months to a year and fight this out till the bitter end.2. We can attempt to offer an open adoption agreement with the biological parents under our terms if the will surrender rights and we can move forward.
NOW, if they have rights taken from them, WE never have to deal with them again, but it can be many, many more months of pure hell! So, Dad and I have decided that we will offer the open adoption agreement. My brothers are an open adoption from a similar circumstance, so I do know what we are getting into and exactly what terms that we want. We have already sent the terms to Sweet Baby's attorney. She will be discussing them with his biological parent's attorneys prior to the meeting where they will be discussing the future of the sisters. The sisters are all in family placements, so the parents will never lose contact with them if they surrender. Sweet Baby is honestly the only one that they have to lose. With this agreement he will not disappear from their life, but the contact will be appropriate and again, under our terms. The bio parent's attorneys, at this point, will be urging their clients to terminate rights. SO, I have no idea what is going to happen in the coming months. This is going to be wild ride. Hopefully, in the end, we will have a baby boy that we can call ours forever! Keep praying!!
PS. Bio Mom had a miscarriage 2 weeks ago and they both failed the last drug test. LOVELY!