The baby goes to foster care
The little complicated baby I wrote about in December has gone to foster care. How short and sweet that sentence looks on the page.
For the last week I have been awake in the still hours of early morning, long before my alarm. In the dark, in the solitude of my quiet house, surrounded by my sleeping family, I think about the baby. Is she frightened in her new place, with its new smells and noises and big new crib? Has she gotten used to her foster mom's voice and arms and can she find comfort when she is restless and little and missing the familiar sound of home?
The baby was removed because of concerns about parental ability to assure adequate medical care: missed appointments, poor decision making, refusing to answer the door when home health knocked. She was not removed because no one loved her. People surely loved her. In the midst of the chaos that defined her home, people held her and rocked her and kissed her little feet and hands.
That's not enough. Love is not enough.
It is very easy and entirely correct to enact laws making reporting suspected abuse and neglect mandatory for health-care providers. That I had a hand in the eventual removal of a loved baby from an incompetent parent is entirely within the realm of possibility for all such reporting. It goes with the territory. I don't make the decision to remove: that is the judge's responsibility. But I accept that my initial call set the decision in motion, that I have responsibility and believe me, it is weighing deeply on my soul. I understand that I did the right thing. I know I made the ethical decision, and acted in good faith and I have discussed this all with my coworkers and with the social workers.
The baby is safe and in a very good foster home. The foster mom will make all her appointments and keep a close eye on her weight and allow the home health team in to see her. She'll get her PT and her feeding therapies, and get to the cardiologist, and get enrolled in special ed preschool. And all those things on my checklist that need to get done, will get done.
And mom will attend her required parenting classes, and get court-ordered therapy, and get a job. And find a place to live. And clean up her act in general. Or that is my hope, anyway.
But out there right now, probably awake in her own bed in the still hours of early morning, a mom is not holding her baby. A baby she loved but could not care for-but nevertheless a baby who misses mom's arms as much as mom's arms miss that baby.
I ask God to let me start to feel what my head tells me: it was the right thing to do.