Monday, November 16, 2009

Why I Stayed

Although this month marks 5 years since the following story happened, I remember it like yesterday.

She is 6 months old and in the hospital.

She is not my child, but she is my Child Advocates child.

A child I am the court appointed special advocate for, a volunteer position, but one that intertwines her life, the lives of her 3 siblings, parents, foster parents, lawyers, a judge and many others with mine for over a year.

She was removed from her parents' care only a couple days after her birth along with her 2 older brothers and 1 older sister. By the time I met her she was 4 months old and was in her 2nd foster home, placed with her older sister but separated from her 2 brothers.

She is tiny, much tinier that a 6 month old should be, and she is losing weight instead of gaining. Her foster mother and I together checked her into the hospital on the pediatrician's orders.

It takes us about 5 hours to get her admitted to the hospital. I am there to make sure the doctors understand the family history of this little girl, things the foster mom does not entirely have access to, but I, as a legal party to the court case, have read. You see, this baby girl had an older sibling die a few years earlier in infancy from similar symptoms. I am scared for this baby. The doctors must figure out what is wrong, they must save her from the same fate.

When she gets moved out of admitting to her hospital room, it is very late, the foster mother must go home so the baby's 3 year old sister can go to sleep. The foster mother is a single woman. There is no one else to stay with the baby in the hospital. The CPS caseworker is overworked (on more than 30 cases) and takes 3 days to return calls, the parents cannot see the baby except during their supervised visits for 1 hour every other week. The nurses at the hospital promise to look in on the baby often but have other patients to tend to as well.

And so I stay.

For 3 nights I stay, sleeping at her bedside, leaving in the morning when other help arrives so I can go home and take care of my 21 month old son while my husband is at work.

Doctors and nurses that come in and out often mistake me for the baby's mother, and when I explain the situation they are surprised that I stay.

I stay because I do not want her to wake up and be alone in the hospital.

Because she spits up a lot and I don't want her to be in soiled sheets and pajamas for very long before someone notices and changes her.

Because if she were my child and I could not be with her, I would want someone to care enough to stay with her.

Because when I was diagnosed with lymphoma only 2 months prior, God assured me that no matter what happened to me He would take care of my son and husband, and I realize the irony that now I am His provision of care for someone else's child.

Because He has promised to never leave me or forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:6).

The baby girl did survive, she will likely always be small, but otherwise should be basically healthy. She and her siblings were returned to their parents a few months later and I visited every week, often making surprise visits to check that everything was okay, that the parents were doing what they were supposed to do to care for their children. I got to be there when she celebrated her 1st birthday. She had beautiful, sticking up blond hair. She was just beginning to crawl and wearing 3-6 month old clothes at 12 months. Then the case closed and I said "goodbye" and prayed that it really was a happy ending for those four precious children.

This post is part of the Moms' 30-Minute Blog Challenge.

Check out Gratituesday and Tuesdays Unwrapped.


  1. What an inspirational post!!! Thanks for sharing your heart!

  2. A perfect example of "doing it unto the least of these." Beautiful story. May You be richly blessed this week.

  3. Such an incredible story, such a gift that will stay with you forever. Wow.

  4. i'm in tears. thank you for the inspiration!

  5. Oh, how moving. Just yesterday I heard a story about child neglect on the radio. I was trying to drive while I was crying, hoping for a happy ending. There wasn't one.
    But here, there is at least the hope that those children are okay. Thank You for sharing.

  6. What a blessing you are for this child! You truly are making a difference for her and showing others how to show love. :D Thank you for sharing!

  7. This was such a moving story, and written with someone who is truly a caring no agenda beautiful person.
    Thank you for the inspirational gift.

  8. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story. Perhaps it's when that little girl is older and she learns about the woman who, because God loved so did the woman, stayed when no one else could or would, she will realize that she has a loving Father. Or perhaps, one of those doctors or nurses saw you going above and beyond what any normal CASA might do, and recognized God's truth, or at least had a seed planted. You were (and are) the face and hands of Christ, and that is beautiful and inspirational.

  9. Growing up, we were a foster family who saw many children come and go. This is very close to my heart. I pray that all the children that are returned to their families do well and grow to know Christ and his love.

  10. Wow. It's so easy, sitting here in my nice kitchen, to set aside the fact that there are children suffering--right here in my hometown. Thank you for the reminder to care and to give. Beautiful story.

  11. Stay is such a powerful word here. That God always stays, even when we leave; we're never alone. I believe that God does his work through angels here on earth. Incredibly touching story!

  12. Thank you so much for sharing - I would imagine this story will stick with you, and that's probably a blessing.

  13. Thanks for standing in the gap for that little girl. It does make a difference that she was not alone and I am sure it made a difference in your life too!

  14. That's a beautiful post... and through all that struggle you both came through, lovely!!! It is wonderful that you could make such a difference and that they are all together now... We don't often get to hear about the happy endings.

  15. The section about your lymphoma, and praying for someone to care for your family if you ever can't, made me get all teared up. What a wonderful blessing you were to that child, even if she never remembers.


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