Last July I became a foster mama to a baby girl. She was three weeks old at the time, and having been born prematurely to human sense, weighed less than a 5 lb. sack of sugar – and she was just as sweet! It was my joy to care for her for four months while we all waited for her grandmother to be given temporary custody, and I was sad for many reasons when it became apparent it might not happen the way we’d all envisioned. I cried on the day I brought her to another foster mama who might adopt her. I cried for the entire following week as well. Cried and prayed.
I became certified as a foster parent almost 5 years ago, but was unable to welcome a child into my home until last year. I had been attending foster classes and interacting with many social workers and others in the foster system throughout that time – and had also been praying to know the truth about every child in ‘the system.’
All of Father-Mother God’s ideas, each and every one of us, are whole, not broken. We are all able, not disabled. We can only carry forward the good, sweet, innocent nature with which we have been created, not any legacy of mortal heredity or poor action. And every child in the foster system is like every one of us. Every child being touched in any way by this human justice system has been, first and foremost, touched by spiritual thought, immortal Truth and lasting, overwhelming Love.
I was obligated to take the baby to a plethora of doctor’s appointments where her development was tested both physically and mentally and people kept asking how early she had been. I said I didn’t know. I asked why it mattered to them and was told the development of premature babies is measured from their due dates not their birth dates. I guess it’s like a handicap in golf; they wanted to know how early she was so they could allow for her to be that far behind in their measurements and tests. The thing is, she was always found to be developing right on schedule according to her birth date. The doctors were surprised by this fact but I wasn’t. Of course she’s developing on time – because in addition to guiding our development God governs time. I told everyone that since I didn’t know she was supposed to be behind developmentally I didn’t tell her, and since she didn’t know she just progressed according to plan. God’s plan. While we were in the car driving back and forth to all these appointments I told her that she was not at the mercy of human or medical theory, that she was the spiritually perfect idea of God and I gave her permission to ignore what the doctors said and just do what she was called to do spiritually. For a baby she was a really good listener!
I developed strong, positive relationships with so many members of her care team, and was constantly reminded that what blesses one blesses all. The social workers told me they liked my perspective, they were comfortable in my home and believed the baby was doing as well as she was because of the sense of peacefulness and calm she experienced there. And Love. Always Love.
I’d never had a newborn baby in my life; certainly never cared for one with the depth and consistency I did then. There are a few reasons I know for sure I was able to care for this baby with grace and the confidence to make right decisions. The first is that I took a class here at Broadview last spring that taught, from a spiritual perspective, practical aspects of caring for newborns. It was invaluable to me, and I wish every potential parent in the world, Christian Scientist or not, could take it. The second is, when I told my social worker that I’d never had a newborn before she said, “Every child should be raised as if it’s your third!” Haha! THAT helped me relax humanly. The third reason is grounded in all I’ve learned as a student of Christian Science throughout my life – I held to the knowledge that every person in that child’s sphere (whether a relative, a social worker, a doctor, a lawyer, a babysitter, another foster parent, everyone) was loving and supportive, well-trained and dedicated to her welfare and could cause her no harm; that ‘human hatred cannot reach her.’ And the last, but certainly not least reason, came to me as an angel message the first night I met her.
To explain, I’d like to share a portion of the diary entry I wrote from the night she was brought to me:
At 10 o’clock on Friday night the county social worker brought me a 4 pound, 10 ounce baby girl. Four years and two weeks of waiting had culminated in this little bundle fast asleep in a car seat that was way too big for her. They’d rolled up towels and encircled her with them to keep her from sliding out. She was wearing a newborn-size, white dotted yellow onesie that was also way too big for her. After the social worker left I had a moment – I was terrified. But then l picked her up and cradled her in my arms. I looked down at her and realized that she hadn’t flinched. She hadn’t cried. She wasn’t scared – she was just being her best baby self, and she trusted me. I sat holding her while I gave her a bottle – she latched onto it and sucked it down. “She knows what she’s doing. She knows how to be a baby. She’s been doing it for three weeks already. It’s me who’s brand new at this mama stuff.” So I did what I always do – I prayed. I asked God to tell me what I needed to know and the answer came immediately. “You are both my beloved children.” I was a child too! She and I were both God’s children and I trusted God to mother us both. It took the pressure off my head and my heart. I didn’t have to know ahead of time exactly everything I would ever need to know; I only had to listen for direction in each present moment.
I bore no personal responsibility as a mortal grownup here. All of us – no matter what role we assume in families are, ourselves, children. We all have the same Parent, our universal Father-Mother God. This understanding allowed me to elevate my perception of the situation above the human to a more divine level that included knowing that God maintains, sustains and cherishes all of Her ideas. The baby and I were both God’s children, we were equally being guarded and guided and I need only listen for that loving voice and follow where it led.
I know for sure that my spiritually elevated sense of parenthood enlightened this experience for everyone involved. I believe that having as many people as possible bring their own spiritual sense of parenting and family into the foster system would help these children, and all the adults who serve them, immeasurably. I hope that any of you who are in a position to do so will please consider becoming a foster parent. If I can be of service to you by answering your questions, responding to your concerns, or offering guidance, please do contact me through Broadview. You can also reach me through my website, https://lenaehrenberg.com