Wednesday, November 18, 2009

He is there

I read Danielle's blog post at 6 Year Med today, and I cried. I cried and I cried ... because that little girl, well ... she was my Oli. My dear, precious, sweet little Oliver.

The little bits that I know about Oliver's life before "coming into care" (as we say in the fostering world) come from a stack of medical files that I never should have been given. A social worker plopped them in my lap at a case meeting, and I realized right away what a gold mine I'd been given. Pages and pages and pages of completely irrelevant, minuscule details about Oli's physical state from birth to 7 months of age. I probably should have handed them right back. But I didn't. I held onto them. And in a quiet moment alone, I pored over them with a fine tooth comb, holding my heart in my throat as I stared into the dark little places where I had not been able to kiss boo-boos or soothe tears.

Oliver's birthparents, like the mother in Danielle's blog post, had a habit of literally dropping him in the ER. When his life was still numbered in weeks, he was deposited, like so much spare change, in the repository of institutional care that the hospital offered. The careful, professional notes made by countless nurses/angels who watched over him pierce my soul anew every time I ponder them:

"Mother contacted by phone and advised of patient's status. Mother asked that she not be called again until her son was ready to be discharged."

"Father visited baby for forty minutes, and spent the entire time playing with his cell phone. Was not interested in interacting with baby."

"Mother said patient had been vomiting for three hours. Left immediately after child admitted."

I read these things, and they make me mad. I'd like to think it's a righteous anger. I picture Oli, skin and bones, swimming in a cage-like hospital bed, hooked to tubes and monitors. I imagine sweet, soft-faced nurses leaning over him and whispering, "It's o.k., baby. You're all right." I pray that he heard these gentle words, and that they took root in his tiny soul.

I hope beyond hope that someone, anyone, took the time to hold him. In the rush of the night, in the chaos of the job ... I pray that a few moments were stolen where Oli's head rested on a loving shoulder, and that he felt hands that brought soothing comfort in the midst of it all. I pray that someone took the prompting to be God's hands, even as He was pouring out His heart for that hurt, sick little boy.

Some day, I hope to meet the angels God placed in Oli's path as he journeyed to us. I'd love to wrap my arms around the men and women who took note, the ones who saw wrong and wanted to make it right. I want to thank them for standing up and being counted. I want to thank them for my son's life.

Maybe I'll meet them here, in this life. Maybe I will meet them in heaven.

God places people in our path every day who make a difference. Maybe it's the person who does the obvious: the doctor who admits the broken baby to the hospital, calls Child Protective Services, and files a report. Sometimes it's the people we don't even notice, though. The person who bags the bread on top, so it doesn't get crushed. The elderly lady at the library who smiles and pats our back, telling us how it blesses her to see such a beautiful family.

God's hand is in all of it. HE IS PRESENT. Don't doubt it for a minute.

Our God is in the business of healing, rescuing, and restoring. He is a just and mighty god. And yet ... He cares even for the tiniest among us. The forgotten. The babies whose parents can't even be bothered to set foot in their child's hospital room.

He is there. Let us not forget.

Jeremiah 31

"At that time," declares the LORD, "I will be the God of all the clans of Israel, and they will be my people."

This is what the LORD says:
"The people who survive the sword
will find favor in the desert;
I will come to give rest to Israel."

The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying:
"I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with loving-kindness.

I will build you up again
and you will be rebuilt, O Virgin Israel.
Again you will take up your tambourines
and go out to dance with the joyful.

Again you will plant vineyards
on the hills of Samaria;
the farmers will plant them
and enjoy their fruit.

There will be a day when watchmen cry out
on the hills of Ephraim,
'Come, let us go up to Zion,
to the LORD our God.' "

This is what the LORD says:
"Sing with joy for Jacob;
shout for the foremost of the nations.
Make your praises heard, and say,
'O LORD, save your people,
the remnant of Israel.'

See, I will bring them from the land of the north
and gather them from the ends of the earth.
Among them will be the blind and the lame,
expectant mothers and women in labor;
a great throng will return.

They will come with weeping;
they will pray as I bring them back.
I will lead them beside streams of water
on a level path where they will not stumble,
because I am Israel's father,
and Ephraim is my firstborn son.

"Hear the word of the LORD, O nations;
proclaim it in distant coastlands:
'He who scattered Israel will gather them
and will watch over his flock like a shepherd.'

For the LORD will ransom Jacob
and redeem them from the hand of those stronger than they.

They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion;
they will rejoice in the bounty of the LORD—
the grain, the new wine and the oil,
the young of the flocks and herds.
They will be like a well-watered garden,
and they will sorrow no more.

Then maidens will dance and be glad,
young men and old as well.
I will turn their mourning into gladness;
I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.

I will satisfy the priests with abundance,
and my people will be filled with my bounty,"
declares the LORD.

This is what the LORD says:
"A voice is heard in Ramah,
mourning and great weeping,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because her children are no more."

This is what the LORD says:
"Restrain your voice from weeping
and your eyes from tears,
for your work will be rewarded,"
declares the LORD.
"They will return from the land of the enemy.

So there is hope for your future,"
declares the LORD.


April said...


Camille said...

Such an amazing journey you are on...may God give you the grace and courage to take each day from His loving Hands! What a blessing you are to those little ones!

ThyHandHathProvided said...

Her post is heart-breaking. I will pray for that little girl and all the other children who are like her. I ache.

TexasHeather said...

It is an amazing job of discernment that nurses and doctors must have to be able to tell the difference between a parent who spends 40 mins at his child's bedside by choice vs the one who can only spend 40 mins at his bedside by force of circumstance.

I am glad for you & Oli that the nurses in his case recognized neglect, and glad for me & mine that our nurses recognized a mom & dad giving absolutely all the time they could, even though 40 minutes is still just 40 minutes in both cases.

Sprittibee said...

wow. I'm moved to tears and chills. You are a beautiful mama. He was a blessed baby and is in a wonderful place now. :)

Benny said...

So very beautiful.

So very good to be reminded of.


Julie said...

I remember the day of full disclosure for my kids, right before adoption. I was handed these files of all the paperwork accumulated on their cases.
I had NO IDEA! To look through not only my kids lives but the stories of their bio parents was heart breaking. It made me appreciate even more God's hand in our whole adoption process.
When I saw the one newborn picture of my oldest son only 13m before he came to live with me. I cried. I cried for the coming year of his life that would be so full of hurt and loss before he found his forever home.
Thanks for sharing so honestly your feelings here.

MoziEsmé said...

I can't comprehend the actions some people take. I'm so glad God is greater than all this...

Stephanie said...

A friend referred me to this post. Thanks for sharing your heart and the words that I needed to hear.