Foster Parenting: a true and ernest path for some…a Mission of Hope and Healing for those who are called. The road traveled, often paved with frustration, heartache and tears allows foster parents to play an integral part in the permanency for foster children. They choose the rocky road because, within themselves, they discover something stronger…
Compassion…determination…the ability to love the ones who feel unlovable. Those gifts are their wheelhouse. Their family is strong enough for more.
Amber was born, on the kitchen floor of her mother’s dirty trailer. Her mother, high for several days on crystal meth was searching the open refrigerator for something to numb the sudden belly ache she felt. She forgot that a tiny life growing within her would at some point needed to emerge. Even as the newborn came out of the darkness if her mother’s womb, she entered another cold darkness, devoid of warmth. Her biological mother passed out, unaware of the still infant beneath her. Had another slightly more lucid roomate not stumbled onto the scene and called 911, Amber would have perished.
As it happened, she almost did. When the hospital called DHR, they did so to report that Amber would not last the night. At that point, the medical team had assessed that this little girl, deprived of oxygen at birth would not survive nor would she leave the hospital.
While DHR investigated the circumstances of the neglect. Amber’s mother was arrested. No relatives were willing or able to step in, so the tiny girl, lying in NICU, became a foster child.
After two days in NICU, the nurse contacted the social worker to inform her that Baby Doe had started to perform some functions on her own, giving some hope that she would survive. However, the doctor cautioned that the child would be very low functioning, have disabilities and would need total care her entire life. He recommended long term nursing care.
The Social worker knew of a foster parent, former NICU nurse, who had taken in children previously with extreme disabilities and limited hope. Mrs. Clay had care for a baby with a damaged heart. Given just a few months to live, this baby grew to almost two years before her heart gave out and she passed away peacefully as Mrs. Clay rocked and sang to her. That had been only six months earlier.
The SW wondered if it were even fair to call on her again. Mrs. Clay had insisted that she wanted to give love and meaning to the lives of medically fragile children. So the SW called.
Mrs. Clay agreed to take Amber. And thus began the arduous journey for them both. Every day, Mrs. Clay visited the tiny infant in the hospital: talking, singing and holding the tiny little hand. Eventually Amber was medically able to leave the hospital with Mrs. Clay and weekly follow up care. The doctor told Mrs. Clay that Amber would most likely never be able to feed herself or take care of her basic living needs. Mrs. Clay didn’t bat an eye. She told the doctor she would care for Amber in anyway needed. The rest was in God’s hands.
Time marched on.
Amber was loved.
To summarize the long incredible journey spanning her younger years, Amber surpassed the assessment of the medical community. While her development was significantly slower than her chronological age, little by little, that little seed (dumped into the darkness of a dirty kitchen floor) blossomed into a happy, healthy child.
She not only learned to feed and take care of herself, but with the aid of hearing implants, special glasses and special education teachers slowly began to learn her colors, numbers and some letters.
At the adoption hearing, the judge proclaimed the little girl to be Amber Clay. Then the judge asked Mrs. Clay how it felt to be Amber’s mom. She replied…
“I’ve never been anything else”.