The day I met Natasha was a very stressful and embarrassing day! Let me remind you that she is the half sister of Justin and Kyle, and so her mother was the developmentally delayed mom that I spoke of in the last chapter.
First thing on the Monday morning after Palm Sunday, the baby worker called. The babe had been born and the plan of action was to apprehend her on Wednesday. They required an apprehension because the mother wasn't willingly going to place her into care. It would be all very cloak and daggerish, the police would be there, I was instructed to wait out in the stairwell of the ward, at the hospital and the two workers would bring her to me.
I arrived at the hospital and was able to get a parking spot right beside the exit door from the floor that she was on. Bonus, I thought ....this should make things easier !
As per planned, they brought the baby out and we took her to the van. This was before air bags so the seat was placed in the front passenger seat and buckled in.....I then tossed my keys onto the drivers seat and locked and closed the passenger door....the only problem was......I HADN'T UNLOCKED THE DRIVERS DOOR BEFORE I DID THIS!!!!!!
As soon as I closed the passenger door , I realized what I had done......fortunately the baby was sleeping and the only witnesses to my terror and shear panic were the two workers.....one, who was the primary worker, I had never met before! Great, just great I thought...they're going to think that I'm an idiot that can't take care of this child! ........the only other person with a key was my husband who worked about forty minutes away!!! Since this was also before cell phones, ( I know , can you believe it.....no cell phones!) I had to race back into the hospital to use a pay phone to call him....frantically telling him what happened and conveying that I needed him there as quickly as possible....like now! All the while, the two workers stood by the van, looking disapprovingly ..
I ran back and was relieved to see that the baby was still sleeping...I paced and prayed, praying that she'd stay asleep because I had no idea what I'd do or how I'd handle it if she woke and started crying...I watched and watched the road leading up to the parking garage and THIRTY minutes later, my husbands little car came racing up....he had made a forty minute trip in thirty...my hero! 😊
After he unlocked the door, looked at the baby and grinned ( he loves the babies) gave me a quick hug ( which I desperately needed at this point) , he was off, back to work. I assured the workers that after such a rocky start that I would take good care of the baby, and we all left the parking garage and the intense drama behind!
When we arrived home, the other kids were excited to see her.....since Leslie was older , about 17 years old, she became quite attached to Maya....many people even thought that Leslie was the mother and I was the grandmother....no, I didn't look that old, but Leslie was always carrying her and looking out for her. The other kids were also quite taken with their little sister ...I believe Lauren and her shared a bedroom.....somebody was always sharing in our little house!
It was almost immediately, that we started having feeding difficulties with Natasha...who we started to just call Tasha....the first six weeks were a nightmare....very little sleep...the baby worker kept suggesting different formulas....none of them seemed to work.....it seemed like five minutes into the feed , she'd stop drinking and started screaming, in pain. One morning, very early, just after six, I met our doctor at the emergency of our local hospital....after examining her, he decided that she needed a soy formula,....just liked Lauren needed.....we put her on that and she thrived.....the only other problem that we had, in regards to feeding , were after visits with the birth mother.....she insisted on nursing the baby, when the babe would come back , she had difficulties with her feeds and would become very agitated.....once again, a trip to the doctor...he concluded that she was suffering from something called nipple confusion and sent a letter to the agency to insist that the nursing be stopped! The mom was very angry but they made sure that she complied.
Tasha exhibited a lot of unusual behaviour in her first year. She startled very easily and at the oddest times..her body was quite often very rigid, when you tried to sit her up to burp her, she'd end up standing!.....she would go from a laughing, happy baby to an angry, screaming baby with a snap of the fingers. From the time of being just a few days old she could lift her head and upper chest off the mattress....she was amazingly strong! I had never had a baby like this before and started to do some investigating. When I questioned the baby worker she gave me the name of another foster parent that had a babe with similar tendencies......unfortunately, this foster mom had specialty care...she looked after 'crack' babies.
After lengthy conversations with her and my doctor, it was concluded that Tasha had been exposed to cocaine while in utero, and probably alcohol. There wasn't very much known about Fetal Alcohol syndrome at this point.....nobody really knew it existed or the detrimental affects of pregnant women drinking alcohol during her pregnancy.....oh, if we only knew,,,,,, For the first year, Tasha showed signs of 'flash backs'. It was a difficult year but she was a beautiful little girl and we all fell in love with her. When she got the normal ear infections that a lot of kids get when teething, we found out that not only was she allergic to penicillin, but also sulpha drugs. When she became a teen ager and had a wisdom tooth removed , we found out she was allergic to another antibiotic! Fortunately, physically she's remained fairly healthy and hasn't required many antibiotics!
During the first year she also developed eczema, which would come out after visits with the birth mom. The doctors determined that it was stress related.
When Tasha was a year old, I took her for her usual visit with the birth mom and , when the visit was done, the mom said that there wouldn't be any more visits...I was confused...I said, oh, there was one set for two days from now...she said no, that was it. Then she gave me a small lap afghan, about 24" square and said to give it to her when she was older....'something to remember her by' she said.
I was in shock as I drove away, but very happy....Don and I had already decided that we wanted to try and adopt Tasha, if she became available,......we had been her mommy and daddy since she was three days old and we couldn't imagine her going to another family.
This is where Corey being 'non Caucasian ' comes into the story.....because of that we were already tagged a multi racial family and because we had Tasha's older brother living with us, probably long term, at this point.....we did receive permission to adopt her.....we all, as a family were excited....although Justin was somewhat upset because he too expressed the desire to be adopted. There wasn't anything we could do at this point about his request.....he was the birth mom's first born and she did have an attachment to him and refused to give him up. It would be many years before that changed.....and even then she didn't do it willingly.
We did adopt Tasha and legally changed her name to Maya Nicole Tasha. I chose Maya because I was a great admirer of an author named Maya Angelo....a strong, but gentle black woman. I wanted this association for Maya and I thought the name was perfect for her!
Since Maya was now legally our child, that meant there was 'room' for another foster child! That was a good thing because another child needed to come and live with us!
Kyle had regularly been coming for visits every month.....the agency had some concerns about his birth fathers' parenting capabilities. Kyle wasn't growing very well and showed signs of being developmentally delayed.
Kyle was thirteen months older than Maya but acted the same as her, it was like having twins!
The March that Kyle turned three, he came for a few days during March break....and he stayed...and stayed....and stayed.....in the August the agency did an official apprehension and he came into care.......although he'd been living with us since March!
Kyle is the next chapter.....he was the cutest little guy.....we also started something else we'll talk about.....homeschooling!