One of my favorite movies growing up (and still today) is Willow. The opening scene is a quite heart wrenching, a new born baby’s life is in danger and to save the child it is sent down the river, like the baby Moses, in the hopes that someone would find that baby and love them like their own. As a mother the thought of putting a baby in a river alone, no matter the flotation device is absolutely terrifying. It makes my chest feel tight to even type it.
But then the baby is found and taken in… and someone very small and unimportant takes that baby and does the best they can to keep her safe. I was always touched by Willow’s love for a baby that was so different from him, and what great lengths he went to to save her.
Every time I watched that movie or read the story about Moses, I felt a strong desire to pick that baby up out of the river…
I guess it was similar to the feeling I had when I heard this summer about the death of my cousin Anita. She had struggled most of her adult life with Bi Polar disorder and according to her mother had been highly over medicated. She had attempted to leave this life at other times, and this time succeeded in passing from her pain. Though I had not seen her for many years I knew that she had a baby boy, not even a year old. In my mind he was floating in a little basket of reeds on a river to who knows where…. I wondered who will pick him up? Who will love Lucas?
In that moment it seemed like an impossibility to me to have another child to care for. At the time I was living with my husband and two girls in my parents home. We had come to “visit” them for the Holidays from Utah (a car ride that will live in infamy), and due to our financial situation and the graciousness of my parents we stayed. Chuck had just begun a job building trusses in a warehouse only five minutes from their house… just enough to help us get out of the financial debt we had found ourselves in. How could we care for another baby… and so my inquiries about Lucas seemed more like lip service. A desire to help.
At the time of Anita’s passing, Lucas was with her parents (my aunt and uncle)… or to him Grandpa Joe and Grandma Denise. They had applied for guardianship, and having already raised Anita’s oldest son went forward with a desire to raise Lucas too. I thought it was a done deal, and he would be safe and happy with his grandparents.
The whole situation really got me thinking about babies though… and like many other mothers can attest to, if you think too much about babies, you start to get “The Fever.” Yet somehow in my mind I consider it more like a potion that God sprinkles over you… akin to Love Potion Number 9, only it makes you forget how hard and difficult having children is, and just makes it seem like some sort of dreamy pony ride to the land of happiness. That is how he propagates the human race I suppose. (though i still believe that “Children are an Heritage of the Lord… and HAPPY is the man who has his quiver full” (psalms 127: 3-5). So just to sum that all up I was poor, living in my parents house, stressed out trying to keep up with my 1.5 and 3 year old girls and in la la land dreaming about bringing another human in to the mix.
I guess you can say that the “baby potion spell” was just preparation for what was about to happen next. It was a few weeks later that my Aunt and Uncle came to the conclusion that with their ages and health that it would be in Lucas’s best interest to consider having him adopted… but they wanted him to remain in the family and continue their relationship with him.
Due to my inquiries about him and desire to help attitude, my aunt and uncle asked Chuck and I to consider adopting Lucas. A few weeks prior there was a lot of fear and anxiety that arose at a thought like that… but now it seemed like a no brain-er, if you see a baby floating down the river, you pick him up.
There was prayer and a lot of talk that went on between Chuck and I about it. But overall it just felt like what we were supposed to do. In a way it felt like Anita and God were somewhere encouraging us to move forward. And since that time they have been helping us out in tremendous way.
We had a visit with Lucas in June, during which Chuck ended up in the hospital with Lymes Disease and was out of work for a month, yet even in our great financial need after his recovery we both felt like he should not go back to that job. Two weeks later he received a random e-mail offering him a job (with benefits!) in St. Paul. It now seemed that our money woes were solved. Yet we were still living with my parents and it was becoming apparent that having another child there would make for a pretty stressful household…. so we began searching for a place to live.
I reached out to a friend in the St. Paul area who just happened to know of someone renting their house, for $300.00 less than anything else on the market for that area. So we moved September 2nd and a few days latter. Lucas was here.
As some of you may have experienced showing love to a child is not always received. Each day is a small little battle for me to try and win the trust and affection of a little boy who not once, but now in his mind twice, lost everyone he held dear to him. It is surprising to me to watch him in his 17 month old way express his sadness and anger at the circumstances of his life and how he is so helpless to it all. As a parent with my first two children I have many times felt completely inadequate to my task… Lucas has brought out a whole new level of my weaknesses…. yet, I just try one hug at a time, a cheek snuggle here, a bottle, a belly full of food, and kiss on the forehead good night… I look forward to my Aunt and Uncle coming to visit him in October so he can have the assurance that people will not keep randomly vanishing from him.
Despite any challenges that arise, we’ll keep him. The girls are already so fond of talking about their brother and finding things in the house to make him happy when he cries. I want so desperately for him to be a happy thriving kid… and in a lot of ways he is. I have never seen anyone get so excited to see a puppy, or be so proud to shut a door. In only a few short weeks he has picked up three baby signs and started calling me “Ma Ma” though I don’t know if it has much emotional meaning to him as of yet… that is just my name round these parts and if you want something you yell “MA MA!”
If you are a praying person, I would ask you to pray for Lucas, that he can make this transition and embrace his new family as we so long to embrace him.