Introducing our Third Son………. Joseph Donald Moses

And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river’s side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it.  And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept.  And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews’ children. Then said his sister to Pharaoh’s daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee?  And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child’s mother.  And Pharaoh’s daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the woman took the child, and nursed it.  And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water.

And he became my son…….

His social worker, LaCora, whom was also Aiden’s worker (and who has become a sister to me), pulled in front of our house.  I hesitated at the window as I saw her car.  Aiden’s half-brother.  We knew Aiden’s mother was pregnant, and we knew that we had said ‘no’ to the agency several times about taking the baby…….the birth father was a hostile guy and we were afraid.  Not for our lives, but that it would somehow rock the boat on Aiden being adopted.  We said ‘no’…….until the day Joseph was born.  Now, he was here……flesh and blood…….and they came calling.  “We like to keep siblings together”.

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I didn’t miss a beat…….’yes’.  Wait, where did that answer come from?  Dave and I had talked about this for 9 months!  I hadn’t talked to Dave about this!  What?

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“Take him”.  Small, still voice.  That is how God usually speaks to me……in a small and still voice.  Sometimes, I wonder did I say it or did He, when He talks to me so quietly.  They immediately were on their way from the hospital the moment I breathed the response.  The phone call to Dave was surreal…….”Honey, I said yes……just sort of blurted it really”.  Dave said, “Of course we should take him”.  Just like that, God spoke to us and we obeyed.

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LaCora turned the carseat around, and two hearts melted into one.  Joseph was mine.  There is no way to explain the instantaneous bond that formed between this child and me.  It is like there are not enough words to describe it.  Joseph was meant to be my son, and I was meant to be his Mama.  Looking back, it seems that God formed that bond because he knew what was coming for JoJo and that I would die trying to help him.

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He was riddled with the tremors and shakes that comes from drug withdrawl…….and I was scared to death.  My good friend Jessica and her family came over that night, and it was unsettling to see what he had to endure.  I thank God that Jess was there to ease my nerves, and I was introduced to my wonderful friend Jenn that night as well.  She became his pediatric nurse practitioner right then and there, as she talked to me for over 30 minutes, calming me through the phone like a long lost friend…….God truly gives us the best people to walk our journeys with.

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From that night on, JoJo has never been very far from me.  Just as I did with his brother Aiden, JoJo was carried for the first year.  This time I used a Moby Wrap, and he was strapped to my chest almost 24-7.  After all that I had read about attachement disorders in foster childred and adopted children, I was determined that he would not be lost to that.  It worked, and although he is a little darker than me…….*ahem* (palest woman on the planet over here!)…..no one would ever know that he is not my biological child.

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For a while, I was praying and pulling that his father would be able to be a part of his life.  He seemed to be turning things around and was interested in his son.  Although it would have killed me, there is no way I could keep a child from a loving father.  Yet, after 8 months, the father drifted away, never to be heard from again.  The mother only saw JoJo a handful of times and was always jovial when asking how Aiden was doing.  There was something missing there, but I will forever be grateful to that woman for sacrificing her time with both of the boys pregnancies, and for the blessings of her giving them life.

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Dave was not a baby person.  Period.  He loved them, but they scared the crap out of him.  He was never sure what to do with them, and as soon as they started howling, he rushed to give them back to their mother.  However, he took that attachment disorder prospect to heart, and after about a month, he started to get past the uneasiness of infants.  So did my son DJ.  Casey was just as bowled over by JoJo as she was by Aiden.  Pretty soon, we were all fighting over who would get to hold him 🙂  He just became a part of our family, as natural as if he shared our blood.

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Around JoJo’s first birthday, the panic started to set in as his case dragged on.  Even though there were no birth parents in sight and they had not reached out to communicate with the agency in months, the foster care system and its steps are brutal.   A long lost relative could appear out of nowhere, rescinding any claim we had on him as mere foster parents.  It seems as if we have been holding our breath for 2 years, praying and hoping and waiting for the adoption to be finalized.  And yesterday, it was.

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Just like that.  He’s ours.  No more worry, no more fear that I would have him taken forcibly from my arms (because I was fairly certain that I would not have been able to let him go by my own free will)……..he is ours and we are his.  He is our Moses…….pulled from a basket (ok, carseat, but that word doesn’t flow from the tongue as nicely)…….and into a mother’s arms.

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When his personality started to emerge, I was constantly reminded of a dear childhood friend of mine, named Donnie.  He was a gentle giant who was my constant companion growing up.  Oh the trouble we would get into!  He followed me into whatever hair-brain scheme I could think up, and was always willing to be my wing-man, no matter the consequences.  Tragically, he was taken from us way too early, and I feel his loss almost daily.  Now, even more so, as I have a child who could have been his.

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I see Donnie’s sweet face shining through JoJo and its like I have a piece of Donnie with me all the time.  Just like Donnie, JoJo hardly feels any pain, he loves to eat, is such a brute of a child, and he follows me everywhere.  So, stepping out of the norm, we gave JoJo a third name, Donald.

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So, after 874 days in foster care, Jospeh Donald Moses is legally ours……and really, that is pretty quick in the foster care world.  Our adoption worker Meredith is such a powerhouse of adoption knowledge and expertise, that she had his adoption finalized in no time after parental rights were terminated……….it is such a blessing to actually love the people you work with.  We have a long road ahead of us, as he was just formally diagnosed with Autism……but it is a road we were born to go down.  Praise God for allowing us to be his parents.

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