My oldest son grew in another woman’s womb for 26 weeks. He came into the world on a cold February afternoon, unbeknownst to me. He was ushered into the land of the living with needles, monitors, a feeding tube, and a ventilator.
A week after his birth I got a phone call from the social worker—would we want to foster this child? My heart said yes before my brain had a chance to catch up. A baby! In the NICU and clinging to life, yes, but a precious human soul just the same. I tried to rein in my excitement, keeping my voice calm and using all the self-discipline I could muster not to immediately order a ten-pack of preemie onesies. “Let me talk to my husband,” I told our social worker.
My husband and I had a small, blueberry-sized secret: we were pregnant. Two years of trying followed by two pink lines on a pregnancy test—a blessed surprise. I already found myself making choices with a single question as my guide: Is this what’s best for our baby? My husband and I prayed over the decision to care for this other little life, not knowing if it would be a short-term placement or if he would one day share our last name. Did we have the capacity to give this child the care he deserved? Would we end up having two infants at once and if so, could we handle it? Logic told us to say no to this foster care placement. It was too inconvenient, too messy. But love rose slowly, steadily, like a shiny helium balloon in our hearts. “Yes,” we told the social worker, “we will be his parents for as long as he needs us.”
Click here to read the rest of my essay, The Love We Choose, on Coffee + Crumbs.