It was Easter Sunday 2018.
The kids were with their dad and my brother had slept over at my house to watch General Conference with me that morning.
I was recovering from a stomach bug from the day before and my neck and upper back were painfully sore.
Hayley kept texting me throughout the day because she wanted to pull a prank on her dad---it was April 1st and she was sad not to be with me because "Mom pulls the best pranks". #winning
I practically ruined the deviled eggs I made for Sunday dinner but my mom helped me salvage them when we got to her house.
Dinner was delicious and I was looking forward to the Easter desserts.
And then, after dinner, my phone rang. "No Caller ID". And I have learned in the past year to ALWAYS answer those calls because 99% of the time, they are coming from DCS. I didn't think much of it because for the weeks leading up to that day, I had been called a few times on weekends, asking if I could take in sibling sets.
And I know I take on a lot of things that seem like too much for how busy we are but I also know my limits---and each time they called about a sibling set of 2-3 kids, my heart ached as I said I couldn't do it.
I figured this would be no different.
So I answered the phone. "Hello, this is the DCS placement center. I have it listed that you would prefer a foster child under 12 months. I have a 2-day-old baby needing placement."
I wanted to scream YES at her but I knew I needed to make sure I had everything set up so I asked if I could call her right back. "Sure. Just make sure it's in the next 10 minutes or I need to find another placement."
So I called my people. I set up childcare. I prayed and felt so much peace. I knew he was supposed to come to our home.
I called DCS back and asked her when they needed to drop him off. She advised I get home soon because she knew they were coming from the hospital but she didn't know how long it would take.
Twenty minutes later, I was staring at a precious newborn that I had only just met---and yet, I felt like I already knew him.
It's been 4 weeks since that day and Leo [the name we gave him] is the perfect baby. In fact, my friend who babysits him makes fun of me because of the amount of times a day I call him perfect.
Leo came to our home at a time when my anxiety was still high. In fact, when I made the decision to put myself back on the 'open bed' list, I was torn because I wanted to be 1,000% ready but I also kept getting a prompting that it was time.
It was time.
Leo is 4 weeks old now. I really don't know how it's already been weeks. At the same time, being his momma has felt so natural and easy.
The kids are obsessed with him. In fact, when I set up babysitters for Leo while I teach dance on Saturday mornings, Andersen was SO offended that I would not just let HIM take care of the newborn baby.
Hayley wasn't too keen on the idea of another boy in the house but as soon as she saw Leo, she was head over heels as well.
And me? I'm in love all over again. I. Am. Attached. And I know that will make it hard when we say goodbye but it is worth it. Leo deserves to have unconditional love. He deserves to have a bonded relationship with our family. He deserves to spend his first months of life in a safe environment where he can learn and grow with a family of support.
And we are that family.
We will give Leo everything he needs and we will love him for however long we can.
Foster care really is such an oddly beautiful thing. My eyes have been opened to how much brokenness exists in our world---but they've also seen the beautiful masterpiece that is capable of being created with those broken pieces.
Going back to the anxiety I had been experiencing since our court trial in January, the night Leo was brought to my home was the first of many anxiety-free days. I can't quite explain how having him makes me feel but it just feels right.
I went the first 3 weeks without experiencing ANY anxiety. This 4th week hasn't been as carefree but it has nothing to do with him. And in comparison to how I used to feel, this change has been miraculous.
I am more exhausted than I think I've ever been in my whole life. Waking up with a newborn all night and then working two jobs and doing online school during the day is completely psychotic. But I am happier than I've been in a long time.
Leo needed our safe home but we needed his beautiful soul.
And that makes the future heartache all worth it.