It happens all the time. A random number comes through on my phone from the area. I answer it. Most of the time it’s the Placement department of foster care calling. They ask if we have any available beds to take a placement. I explain that the only open bed is a crib in our bedroom and the child would have to be under a year and we have a large family. Most of the time they say, “Oh ok, thank you for taking our call…we will keep looking.”
Not. This. Time.
Friday night was just like any normal night. I went grocery shopping. My nephew and I were planning to bake Christmas Cookies all weekend and were going to start first thing Saturday morning. The kids were all sprawled out in the house. J & J were sleeping, some of the younger Wilke kids were sleeping, Dan was in the living room watching The Mandalorian with some of the older kids and I was catching up on my guilty pleasure of Grey’s Anatomy in our bedroom and getting settled in for the night. My phone rang. I answered.
“Hi, this is placement calling, do you have any available beds?” Insert panic moment. Christmas is coming up. I am on Christmas break from work. Dan is off of work until after New Year’s. I have long list of Hallmark movies to watch. I have cookies to bake. Shopping to do. Sleeping in…and on and on. Do we have an available bed? Who? Us?
Before I could think, I said “yes”
I said the same things I always say. They always tell me they’ll keep looking. This time, the placement worker said, “Ok, Great!” Great? What do you mean, great? I explained the sleeping situation room by room as she asked and then she asked if we have a crib ready and set up. Next thing I knew she was calling to get it approved. I was pretty positive she was going to call back and say that they found another family because that has happened to us more than once. She hung up and I made my way in to where Dan was. I explained what was going on and before I knew it, she called back.
“Okay, I got you approved! The baby will be there within the hour.”
It was 10:00 at night. By 11:00 we had the sweetest baby at our house. I don’t want to scare anyone away from doing foster care, but this is the way it goes. You get very little to no information about the child. We will call this baby, Baby Joy. Obviously, I can’t share any information on the baby or her story, but even if I could, there isn’t much to share!
Thinking back about the past couple of days, I still am in a bit of shock. One night you are snuggling in to bed and the next thing you know, you have a baby in your care. To be honest, I have gone back and forth in my mind wondering why I would have even said we had room in the first place. Everyone knows we have a large family and I’m pretty sure 99% of you all think we are nuts. I have blogged about foster care before, and I just can’t shut my heart off for these kids. Sweet “Baby Joy” had no place to go. She was in the care of the Private Investigator until placement could find her a home. We have a home. We have an available crib. Most importantly, we have room in our hearts.
I know this is going to sound super cliché, but it reminds me of the Christmas Story. Mary and Joseph had no where to go. There were no rooms available. Could people have made them room? I am sure they could have. I didn’t want to be the Inn Keeper saying we didn’t have room.
What I did know was that in that moment we had a place for Baby Joy to call home for as long as she needs a home.
I didn’t think about the sleepless nights we were in for. I didn’t think about the fact that we have a small black bucket of baby toys and that’s the extent of our baby items. I didn’t think about the staycation we are taking at the end of the year as a family. I didn’t think about much of anything.
I have no idea what we are in for. Baby “Joy” is constantly on the move and has a smile that will light up the room. We are all smitten with her and she has forever changed our hearts.
Thankfully, I was able to reach out to the Pearl Project, an amazing non profit in town that offers support to foster families. Saturday morning I left the Foster Closet that the Pearl Project runs with diapers, wipes, and some clothes to get us started.
Baby “Joy” is sound asleep in her crib in our room. We shall see how long she sleeps for…I’m praying for a better night than last night!
After running to Target 3 times so far since taking her in, I decided to create a baby registry for anyone who might be able/willing to donate anything to “Joy.” Like I did with J & J (or other two girls in our care), I will send anything anyone buys for “Joy” home with her, whenever that might be. If she stays with us and grows out of anything donated to her, I will donate it to there Pearl Project so another foster family will be blessed just as we have been. When you take in a foster child into your home, you get a one time reimbursement of $100 to buy any supplies you might need. I am so thankful for that gift of the $100 reimbursement, but as you know, that doesn’t go very far! I know it’s Christmas and everyone is maxed out and I get it, but please please keep us in your prayers.
Merry Christmas from our family to yours! Our van is officially maxed out at 12 now so this will be my last post about adding additions to our family….or we could always take two cars 😉
Here is the link to our baby registry in case you might want to help sweet Baby Joy as we welcome her into our home. http://tgt.gifts/wilkefamilyfostergirls