Fainting & Foster Placements
Full disclosure: This post starts off light and gets very heavy. It’s a “you’ll laugh, you’ll cry” sort of deal. Consider yourself warned.
I have a tendency to faint. If you do, too, then you know just how terrible and out-of-control the feeling is. My perfect fainting formula is this: blood/injury/medical incident + worry/fear = guaranteed faint. I inherited this tendency from my mom who is particularly weak. My favorite stories include her fainting during a Jerry Bridges sermon at church (I found her laying on the floor of the bathroom), fainting after the deli worker serving her accidentally sliced his finger (She came to just long enough enlist someone in rescuing my three year old brother who had run out of the deli and into the street.), and fainting on two different occasions while watching (...wait for it…) “Twilight.”
My own “worst fainting story” is just as shame/laugh worthy. (So you can laugh along with me, let me start off by saying “no little girls were harmed in the writing of this post.” The girl in the story just had a high fever and ended up being completely fine.)
My husband and I were having a reading/coffee date at Barnes & Noble (the greatest way in all the world to spend $5 and three hours) when we ran into a friend from church. While we light-heartedly greeted him, he looked at us in terror and then down at his daughter lying in his arms and blurted out: “She’s having a seizure!” She was. She was lying in his arms, having a seizure. It was heart-breaking and terrifying, so I did what any strong, capable mother would do. I fainted. Movie-style. Onto the ground. In the middle of Barnes & Noble.
When I came to, I heard my husband’s compassionate voice through clenched teeth: “Jamie, get up. Get up right now. This is not about you. Stand up.” My husband helped me up, propped me up against the nearest bookshelf, and went back to helping our friend. In a great act of willpower and selflessness, I stayed upright for a strong 20 seconds, and then fell to the ground again. At this point, people who had been helping the little girl who was having a seizure started coming over to help me instead. This is an all-time low in my fainting career.
I’m sorry to bait and switch on you here, but be prepared, I’m about to do just that. This post is not a light-hearted story about my penchant for fainting. This post is about a call I just received from the state. A six month old boy is being released from the hospital tomorrow, bruises on both sides of his face and a cast on his leg from an “old fracture.” A six month old. A six month old.
I hang up the phone and start thinking about this little boy. My best friend has a six month old boy. He is all I can picture. Six month old boys aren’t provoking. They don’t destroy or hit or talk back or steal. Six month old boys sit and smile and fall asleep on your shoulder and pat their little hands on your face. How could this happen? How could someone hurt a six month old?
The reality of the “old fracture” sets in. These bruises aren’t a one time thing. This boy has been hurt before. He’s lived in the physical pain of an untreated, unhealed broken leg. He’s lived in the emotional pain of his father being the person who did it to him, of continuing to live with this man.
The combination of all this is just too much for me. My hands start shaking, my throat starts to close, and my vision goes black. The information is so disgusting that my heart, my body rejects it. There’s no place for my mind to put something like this, so my body simply refuses to accept it. Tears fill my eyes, and I lay on the couch waiting for yet another fainting spell to pass.
But then it’s time to get up, because now this hurting little boy needs a mom. I’ve never cared for a child with a broken bone, never seen a child with abuse-induced bruises, never met this little boy. But tomorrow I will become his mom. Maybe for a few days, maybe a few weeks, maybe a few months. Maybe just enough time for his little face, his little leg, and his little heart to heal.