On Monday at noon I received a call from my DFS caseworker. She told me they had a newborn girl just come into care and did I want her? Could I meet her at the hospital in an hour to pick her up. YES! I quickly grabbed my things, got Oli set up with John and left for the hospital. Can I tell you how surreal it is to walk into a hospital *unpregnant* and know you will be leaving with a baby? I dashed up to the 9th floor nursery where the nurses greeted me and lead me back to the row of bassinets. I quickly scanned all the babies, wondering which one would be coming home with me. In the last bassinet in the row was a little girl with a head full of curly hair — the prettiest baby in the whole nursery and she was MINE. I picked her up and rocked her while the nurse gave me her info and care instructions awaiting my caseworker. My tiny baby. The caseworker arrived and baby was officially released to me. We went home.
She came with a name but we’re calling her Clio. Her birth mother has proven repeatedly that she is unfit to parent. Clio is not the first of her children to be born drug positive in the last year — she also has an 11 month old sister who was taken by the state. And a 2 year old sibling as well who is in foster care. Neither of her bio parents showed up for the 24 hour court hearing after the state took custody. Tomorrow is another court date. If not one shows, the judge will likely move toward terminating parental rights (TPR). I do not yet know how long that process takes. Maybe months…..maybe longer? She will be with us until TPR is complete then she can move to an adoptive home. I asked if it would be hard to find an adoptive family for her. The caseworker told me that because she’s a black baby and born drug positive, there isn’t often a family willing to adopt. If she was white (and still drug positive) she’d be snapped up. Even bi-racial children get adopted quicker than black children.
I look into Clio’s little black face and wonder why? Why? She’s a perfectly delicious baby — she’s healthy and bright eyed. Aside from a rough first night of crying & fussing, she shows no sign of damage from her drug exposure. This little baby who smiles in her sleep and has merry eyes deserves a permanent loving home. It’s a shame that the amount of pigment in her skin will determine where that home is. Until her forever family appears, we’ll revel in her beauty and I’ll rub my cheek against her soft black curls, sniffing in that heady newborn baby scent. I’ll marvel over tiny fingers & toes and get lost in her unflinching newborn gaze. My hope for baby Clio is that wherever she goes, she will be treasured as much as she is here in our home.