Friday, August 16, 2013
Her name was Victoria......such a big name for such a wee babe.....we took to calling her anything but Victoria.....didn't seem to quite suit her....oh, I'm not saying we changed the name....( well, not at the beginning anyways) ....I had read a lot of books and one author i enjoyed was Torey Hayden.....so, sometimes I'd call her that but most often I just called her Lovey....because thats what she was...a little lovey....Unfortunately, it didn't take us long to figure out that our new little baby had some problems.
Feeding was the biggest....she couldn't seem to latch on to a bottle nipple very well,...it just kind of lolly gagged around in her mouth......I brought home every different nipple I could find....I remember thinking that if any baby needed breastfeeding that she was the one! I talked it over with the baby worker...showed her how she did well with her Nuk soother but other bottle nipples were not working....Barb said that she had just heard that they came out with Nuk bottle nipples....so, I immediately searched them out and brought them home! They worked....although she was......very......slow.....taking at least an hour and a half to drink 1-2 ounces. I made the nipple holes bigger and that worked a bit better. She really didn't have the muscle strength to suck very well. She also couldn't tolerate the formula the hospital put her on, and had to be switched to a soy formula.
When she was six weeks old, poor little lovey had a very traumatic experience. The birth mother wanted a visit. There needs to be a little background about the birth mom here.....the birth mom had some psychological issues and when she was pregnant with the babe, abused the babe in the uterus. Whenever the babe kicked or pushed as they are want to do, the mother would hit and punch her belly and scream at the unborn child. She was convinced that the babe was annoying and hurting her on purpose....little did anyone know what an effect this would have on the baby.
I arrived at the agency and sat in the waiting area with the babe in her car seat. I observed a petite woman with chestnut brown hair a little past her shoulders, come up to to receptionist desk.....I overheard her say her name and immediately realized that this was the birth mom. Fortunately, she was taken to another room and she didn't see me, sitting with the babe. At the same time that this visit was to take place, I was to attend a support group meeting for foster parents. So, I handed the babe over to the worker and I went to my meeting.....I wasn't in my meeting for very long before I was called out. The worker said...' The baby is extremely upset and we can't calm her, please come'. As we walked to the visitation room I asked what had happened.....the worker explained that the mom was already in the room when they took the baby in....the mother spoke,....from the other side of the room.....as soon as the baby heard her voice, her tiny body went rigid and she started to scream hysterically. As we got to the office , where they had taken the baby to, I could still hear her...it was a terrible scream....I took the baby and went back to my meeting.....she was still sobbing at this point...I sat in the meeting, holding her as close to my body as possible, rocking her, holding the soother in her mouth and singing Jesus Loves Me...over and over and over.....she calmed down and went to sleep........
Over the years we noticed that this fear the baby showed back at six weeks would resurface....when she was about three years old, she had the most beautiful long hair, silky and gentle curls.....she was standing in front of me as I brushed it and as I worked through some tangles she cried out and wrapped her little arms around my legs....not in pain but questioning me if I still loved her, asking me 'mommy , do you still love me?' I reassured her that I did, that I just had to get the tangles out.....I was saddened that the damage was so deep that something as simple as hair brushing would bring it out.
When Lauren ( we ended up changing her name, more on that later) was three months old, she became very ill, she couldn't keep her bottles down, we would just get partly through the bottle feed and she would vomit everything....I took her to the doctor but they couldn't find anything wrong. This went on for a couple of weeks! Finally, on Christmas Day, Don and I took her into emergency where, after an exray, they found out that she had pneumonia ! There were many weeks of recovery....I remember having to put her on a slant, head down, on her tummy and tap her little back to loosen the phlegm.....one evening, Don and I were watching tv, Lauren was sleeping, on her tummy ( once again there wasn't any rules against that back then) ...she had her face turned away from us, and we heard this funny( weird ) noise coming from her....I quickly got up to check and her face was blue! I put my finger in her mouth and pulled out a 'gob' of phlegm that was in her throat and cutting off her airway....she quickly pinked up and we breathed a sigh of relief. The next night, we were to go and visit friends and we had a babysitter come in but you can bet that Lauren went with us...I wasn't going to take another chance!
As time passed, we became attached to Lauren and her to us.....we were the only family that she knew. She did have follow up visits with the birth mom....they went okay but we're sporadic. I remember that she had about six visits.....one at the YWCA, where the mom was staying. The mother insisted that she wanted the baby back and went to court. When the judge asked her how she was going to provide for her, what her plan was, I'm afraid the mothers answer wasn't very good. It really didn't make sense....she said something about making sure she went to Brownies and waiting til she was ten before she let her wear lipstick. Needless to say, with that kind of 'plan' the judge didn't grant custody!
By the time Lauren was about fourteen months old, we were convinced that she belonged to us, that she was part of our family...her older brother and sister doted on her and she had Don wrapped around her little finger. Even Corey didn't mind playing with her! We wanted to adopt her and approached the agency about it. Around that time, the birth mother finally mentioned the name of the birth father to a worker. The agency was under legal authority to search for him before she could be cleared for adoption. They sent notifications in newspapers across Canada. It was seen, way out in British Columbia by a friend of the birth father.
He contacted the agency and found out that he had another daughter, apparently the mother had left this abusive man without telling him that she was pregnant. She also left Lauren's older sister in the care of this man. Another tragedy but that is another story.
The agency contacted the CAS in B.C. And asked a worker to go and interview and check out the accommodations of the birth father. Don and I were beyond stressed. To lose our little girl after all of this was heartbreaking. The interview went well. The father and his live in partner answered all the questions appropriately. The report came back to our agency, and even though the father only worked seasonally, lived with someone else and her child, and had a substance abuse and alcohol problem.....our agency said they would bring her out...we actually heard that a worker was quite excited over flying out to British Columbia!
Don and I were desperate....we didn't know what to do....I spoke to the baby worker...she suggested speaking to the agency lawyer.
So we did.