(many have asked for 'his' story...here it is)
Do you believe in miracles? Almost 10 years ago a little boy was born without a brain. He was given an almost zero chance to live. Through the faith and LOVE of his family, little Ben surpassed all odds and lived. He lived for 8 years. He was our miracle child. Before Ben died I looked into foster parenting, specifically for 'medically fragile' children. Steve encouraged me to wait because Ben was needing frequent hospital stays and he required around the clock care. I put my search on hold. About 5 months after he died I felt this urgency to start looking into fostering again. Steve wasn't thrilled. He worried that I was trying to fill a void that I wouldn't be able to. I tried to explain to him that wasn't it. Besides...I loved taking care of Ben and did such a wonderful job that I wanted to provide that same level of care and love for another less fortunate child. I enrolled in the classes. It wasn't easy. They were on school nights, 30 minutes away for 3 hours at a time. Even though Steve wasn't happy about me doing this, he knew that there wasn't much he could do to stop me. I was on a mission. I plowed through the classes by the middle of December and had about 10 big things to complete on my checklist before becoming certified. I lost steam after Christmas and put it on the back burner. Every once in a while my case worker would call and ask how I was doing on my certification. The guilt would propel me to finish a few more items on the check list. And then I would put it aside again. Finally in June she called me asking if I would be interested in doing 'respite care' for a 6 year old boy with big medical issues. YES! The fire was lit once again. I only had about 3 more things to do and so I hurried to finish. But then I didn't hear anything more about this child that needed respite or any other child for that matter. I kept thinking it would never happen. Then I got the phone call that changed our lives. August 24th, I was out water skiing with a friend and my daughters when the call came. It was my case worker. She told me about a 'safe haven' baby that was born the day before at the local hospital. The baby didn't have any parents to claim him and he needed a home to be fostered in with the intent to adopt him. Then she asked me if we were interested. Before I even had the chance to talk to Steve I said YES! We ran to meet him that night and fell in love with him. He was ready to go home the next morning and so in a scramble we raced around the morning of and bought all the necessities needed for a newborn baby. It was CRAZY! There is a reason why you have 9 months to prepare. It was becoming clear to me that the foster care intention was just an avenue to enable this baby to come to our home. He felt like he was ours the minute we met him. I continue to stand in awe of this whole process and the love that Heavenly Father has for each one of his children. Most of you know that I tried desperately to have more children. My pregnancies were so complicated and sometime dangerous. I spent most of the time either in bed vomiting or in the hospital vomiting. It was not easy getting the four children that I have here to this earth. Then in 2008 and 2009 I lost two pregnancies at 20 weeks and then 16 weeks. After the second loss I had to have an emergency surgery that rendered me unable to have anymore children. They were all really hard losses. I accepted the facts and moved on, focusing on Ben's declining health and my other 3 healthy children. The dream of a large family was put aside. Then came Brady. (that's what we are officially naming him) I consider him a miracle. He was the first 'safe haven' baby in 20 years. What are the chances? He's completely healthy and thriving. He's the baby I didn't think I would ever have. But he's here...he's our miracle baby. Everywhere we go people adore him and tell us how much he looks like our family, even people that don't know his story. And what a story it is. I'm truly grateful for this gift and I know that my Heavenly Father's hands were in this...and like I've said before, I can't help but think that Ben's hands were too.