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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day...Happy Birthday Dakota!!

St. Patrick's Day has a whole different meaning in my life than it does for everyone else in the world. St. Patrick's Day marks the Birthday of our foster daughter Dakota...she is 8 years old!!



Dakota came into our lives 8 years ago today (March 19th, 2002) is when we first met her. We got a phone call from our social worker saying a baby girl had just been born on St. Patrick's Day 2 days earlier. She was addicted to cocaine since her Mom had done drugs while pregnant. Originally we had told our foster agency that we didn't want any babies only kids 3 years old up to the age of 8. Tyson at the time was only 18 months old and Cole was 4 years old so we didn't want anything younger as it would stress me out too much.


Weeeell....when Kent and I were first trying to decide whether or not to foster we were both praying about it to see if it was the right thing for us. One night I had a dream that we got a call from our social worker saying they had a baby girl that had TONS of hair needing to come to our home. I remember waking up smiling and telling Kent about this dream. He said, "well, that won't happen since we aren't taking babies." I agreed and never thought of it again....


That is until about 5 months later when we got a phone call about a baby girl that had just been born addicted to cocaine. Our social worker told me she knew we didn't want babies but couldn't get us out of her mind and had to call and ask us first. I told her I needed to call Kent and talk to him first and that I would call her right back.


I hung up the phone and my heart was racing and I felt almost like I needed to hurry and call Kent, I was almost panicked. I thought that was strange and didn't understand why I was feeling this way. I called Kent and told him about the baby girl and he was quiet. I told him how I was feeling, but I also told him that I didn't know if we really could handle this baby since she was born a cocaine baby. They have serious health issues (sometimes) and go through HORRIBLE with drawl just like the addicts would and it is very painful for them. Kent told me it was up to me as he just didn't know.

I hung up with Kent and went and prayed about it as it was such a huge decision to make. Before I even knelt down to pray I felt this overwhelming tingling all over and to be honest I knew then, but I still felt a prayer was needed. I knew without a shadow of doubt she was to come to our home. I jumped up off my knees called Kent with SO much excitement and told him I really believed we were to be there for this baby and we could do it! He agreed and I called the social worker back and she said we could come and meet the baby. I was SO excited!!!



Dakota

(this is the name her birth parents gave her)

Born March 17, 2002

7 1/2 pounds 1/2 oz.

3:02 p.m.

Baby Dakota- 2 days old (March 19th, 2002)


I will never forget when I walked into her hospital room (they had her in her own room for protection from her parents finding her) and saw her for the first time. I couldn't believe it...there was the baby girl that I dreamt about so many months ago. She was beautiful and had TONS of crazy hair! The very tips of her hair on the top of her head were blonde and it looked like she had them highlighted....so cute! She was real, a little angel laying before me waiting for us. My heart was racing and I started to cry as I could feel that we were meant to have her in our lives and that she needed us...the spirit was so strong and present. She was only 2 days old! I had bought her a cute colorful teddy bear and brought it with me.

The nurses were wonderful and said, "go ahead, you can hold your baby girl." It was shocking to hear them call her "my baby girl" but I have to admit I LOVED the sound of it =) It was such a surreal feeling as I knew I hadn't given birth to her, but I really felt such a connection to her, like I had been waiting for her and she was FINALLY here!


So far Dakota hadn't shown any signs of with drawl from the cocaine...but that didn't mean she wouldn't anytime now.



Taking Dakota home- 3 days old

I had quickly gathered clothing up for her from friends and family and everything I needed before we were to bring her home (I had 1 day to get it all together). My cousin Natalie was wonderful as she let me borrow most things I needed from her. We were able to bring Dakota home July 20th 2002 when she was 3 days old. The boys melted when they saw her. They each took turns holding and kissing her.

That first evening as Kent and I sat in our living room holding her and watching her with only a dimmed light on (the boys were sleeping) I asked Kent to give her a blessing so we would be able to take care of her the way Heavenly Father needed us to. I was terrified of this baby as we just didn't know health wise what to expect. I felt incredible peace as he gave this precious baby a blessing...I knew all would be well and that we weren't alone in taking care of her...Heavenly Father was very aware!




Dakota had SO much hair and it was often wet from Tyson kissing her ha ha! He was so little (18 months old) but he just couldn't stop loving her. We really had to watch her when he was around. Cole too just couldn't get enough of her and was so helpful.



Tyson couldn't say Dakota so I asked the boys what we should call her.


Cole said, "we should call her Star cause she is our shining Star!"


I loved it and I looked at Tyson and said, "Ty say Star"...and he yelled Staaaww!!
It was the cutest thing I had ever heard.



Dakota's Song...

This song was introduced to me shortly after Dakota came into our lives and we had nicknamed her "Star"...it was perfect!


Child of Heaven


(this song is playing on my blog page right now)

vocal by Terra Jayne Aneca


You may not set the world on fire,

or win every heart


You may not see your every desired fulfilled,

right from the start



You may not find a world of acceptance

But neither will I


You are more than you ever imagined

A STAR in the sky


But if all my words are in vain,

You must know one thing...


(CHORUS)

You are a Child of Heaven, nothing less

There is so much you've been given

and your are blessed

A distant STAR

that shines the whole night through

That is what I see in you


This old world has a lot of confusion

and it's so unkind


So we give up, what's the use trying

Time after time?


We did not come here to lose

Reach for the power inside of you

(REPEAT CHORUS)


A distant STAR

that shines the whole night through

That's what I see in you

by Wayne Burton



I played that song for Dakota a lot in our home or when I was driving. It really touched me and how I felt towards Dakota! She truly was our "shining star."



All 4 of us loving our Dakota (Star)!


Man, look at how young and skinny Kent is in that picture ha ha...and look at me, WOW have we changed. The boys are so little and man have they grown...it makes me wish I could see our Dakota and see how much she too has changed and grown...I can only imagine =)

Dakota was such a good baby and so content! She definitely liked to be held and wanted lot's of attention...which we were all too happy to give her =)

I had met with Dakota's birth parents a couple of different times. Legally they were aloud to see her as long as I was there and the social worker. This couple had other kids from other relationships and those kids were also taken away from them. This couple were both in there 40's so it wasn't like they were young and stupid...they just kept making really bad choices. They really liked me and they knew they weren't going to get Dakota back as they weren't willing to make the changes necessary to do so. So they asked me if I was going to try to adopt her and I told them we would really like to have her as we do love her like our own...they were happy about that.

Once we knew noone was coming forward family wise to take Dakota (since her parents weren't able to have her) we got the ok from the social worker to put in our paper work to legally adopt her. We were THRILLED that is was all a go...





The call...

I got a shocking call Tuesday July 23/02 from our social worker that Dakota was going to be leaving us. The Social worker was in tears and so upset on the phone...I think she was just as shocked. She knew how hard this was going to be for us...and she knew how much we loved Dakota and how we had hoped to adopt her.

I was numb and in shock that she was going to be leaving in 3 short days. I felt like I was losing my own child...I didn't know how I was going to be able to let her go...how do you let a child go that you feel is truly your own and is supposed to be with you?! I didn't have a choice. As the people who have loved Dakota and the only family Dakota knew we had NO CHOICE in her well being anymore. It was heart breaking! I found myself holding her crying. She was looking at me with those big blue eyes and smiling. As I looked into her eyes I knew that she knew how much we loved her...it just hurt to know that she would never know us or remember us.

The Aunt and Uncle that were taking her wanted NO contact. That was devastating for me as I just wanted to hear how she was doing every now and again...to know how she was doing. I tried to be understanding of them and there situation...they looked at us as the enemy. So I wrote them a letter explaining everything we knew about Dakota to help them out. I tucked in in her diaper bag with all of the belongings that were going with her. I also told them that we aren't the enemy that we loved her deeply. We have never heard from them...not surprising I guess.




Dakota left our home Friday July 26, 2002

Cole and Dakota saying Bye

Cole held Dakota and I told him it was time to say goodbye to her.

(we had explained it all to Cole previously so he wouldn't be confused).


He held her and hugged and kissed her and said, "bye Star, remember, I love you to Forever!"


The Social Worker and I had tears streaming as we watched him say bye and heard him say that to her. We as a family always played the "I Love You game." You say I love you to the moon and they will say I love you to the stars etc.. So it was touching to hear him say that to her. I wanted so badly to grab her and run and not let them take her from us...it was killing me to watch Cole say goodbye and feel what I was feeling.


Me holding Dakota for the last time and saying my goodbyes to her...I was numb!


Dakota all ready to go!



I miss my girl...my "Star!" I think of her often and wonder what she looks like, is she happy, is healthy and getting the love she needs and deserves? I have to have Faith that she is happy and healthy and that all is well with her as it is out of our hands.




Remembering...When she was with us for only a few days she had stopped breathing (she was breathing too shallow). When I looked at her she was blue and I grabbed her out of her bouncy chair and started doing CPR on her and calling 911 at the same time. She was like a little rag doll. The Fire Dept came quickly.

In the mean time Kent was supposed to be out of town working. He had been delayed and was driving in our area of the city when he got this overwhelming feeling to hurry home. So he did and as he drove up much to his horror he saw fire trucks and an ambulance in front of our home and the front door wide open. He had barely parked his vehicle when he had jumped out of his truck and came running into the house (when had just lost our home to a fire 8 months earlier). I was shocked to see him standing there as we (the firemen and I) were kneeling on the ground finally getting Dakota to breath. In the end she was fine, just needed to take deeper breaths. This was a "typical" thing for cocaine babies to do the Dr said. We were terrified of her doing it again, but thankfully she never did.



Newborn Dakota back in the hospital after she had stopped breathing.


Looking back I know that when Kent gave her that blessing the first evening she was with us, it was all part of the plan for this precious baby girl. It helped us be in tune with the spirit (like Kent getting the feeling to hurry home when Dakota had stopped breathing.) Dakota never did go through ANY type of withdrawls from the cocaine. And she had been checked out by the Health nurses a few times in her 4 months she was with us and she was on target with all she was supposed to be doing at every stage she was at so far. I am SO incrediably thankful for the power of the Priesthood!

Heavenly Father knew what was to come and through him we are able to carry on...able to let her go! I don't know who needed who more...her needing us or us needing her in our lives. I have learned A LOT when she came into our lives and I don't regret it at all. There is alot of hurt and sadness at times, but I would rather have that, then not to have had her in our lives at all. I am amazed and so thankful Heavenly Father led her to us for that brief time and trusted us with this precious little angel! She was such a blessing and a joy to have in our lives and in our home.

I can't believe she is 8 years old now. Ohhhhh how I wish to just see her...so, I then go to my thoughts and my prayers. I don't know if ever our paths will cross again...I hope they do, as I want her to know how loved she was by us. I kept her hospital bracelet, her little hair bow I had in her hair the day she came home and a teddy bear...plus all these pictures of her first 4 months of life.





HAPPY 8th BIRTHDAY SWEET GIRL!!!

XOXO We miss you and love you So much XOXO

9 comments:

Kent and Barb said...

Whoops I accidentally posted this a day earlier than I wanted to LOL. I clicked the wrong button and it posted it instead of saving it...oh well!

Kent and Barb said...

Barb,
I think you are the sweetest mom in the world. You really were Dakota's first mom. I remember how all of that occurred so long ago. My prayers go out with yours . . . I hope she is well and happy.

Love,
Em

Kent and Barb said...

Hi,
Well I'm sitting here crying. I've never heard about Barbara's experience with her little foster girl Dakota. You've given me a reason to appreciate St. Patrick's day...I've never understand nor especially appreciated March 17th like the Irish would like me to. (although I have been grateful for Relief Society being organized on March 17th and the impact of it in my life)...Barbara's story is a true example of our RS song....as "Women in Zion" words came to my mind as I read how quickly your heart opened, as did Kent's and the boys' as you touched with love those vital days in the early life of little Dakota. How many tears you must have shed to lose her so quickly. Eight years old today. A happy birthday to that sweet girl. And I will think of her, and most especially of you for being so quick to love, and so charitable in giving her up with love. from when March 17th days come and go. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story.

Love to you all.
Sharon

Kent and Barb said...

LOVED the write up and pictures. Such a tender and lovely story. You were her Mama when she was so sick in the hospital too. I remember the nurses saying they were amazed at how often you were there even as a foster mother. They were in awe of you. So many moms don't stay and it is hard on the babies and the nurses to cope.Glad you wrote it up because it has been in your heart for eight years and now it is written down. Good for you!!

HugsMom

The Caballero's said...

Oh my goodness Barb, I have never heard this story. I can barely see the computer screen through the tears. You are such a strong woman. Readng the story, I imagined having to give up my own baby girl and I could imagine what you were feeling. Like your heart was being ripped from your body. I cant imagine surviving something like that.

I really do hope you get to see her again at some point in your life. What a joyous reunion that would be!

Erica said...

Oh Barb-I just can't imagine. My heart is breaking and tears are running down my face at the thought of you having to give her up. You're so strong and strong in the gospel and I'm sure she has done so much better in her life with the amazing 4 months she was able to have with your family. This touched me deeply. Hugs from here. Gotta go find a Kleenex...

Kent and Barb said...

Hi Barb,

I just read your email (forwarded to my mom by your mom), and I'm sitting here in far-away Fort Worth, Texas, with tears streaming down my cheeks. What an amazing experience you had, with the premonition vision, the confirmation, and all the love she added to your home during her few months with you. How I wish she could've stayed with you, or at least maintained contact. She was definitely destined to being her earth life with you and your family. I hope that she is able to reconnect with you in time. Thank you for sharing the pictures and the heart-felt story.

Love your cousin,
Lisa

Lynn said...

Oh Barb! Like everyone else I am having a hard time typing this through the tears. You NEVER cease to amaze me! I love getting to know you.....but you know something....for the little time we've known each other, I am NOT surprised at all that you opened your heart and your home so completely like this. You truly were meant to be her first "mother". Truly! I am SO sad that she had to go. I can't even imagine how hard that must be.

This also brought back some raw feelings for me. I too have a similar story. Not sure if you read this post before of mine, but here it is again if you want.

http://lynncrapo.blogspot.com/2008/07/happy-31st-birthday-to-another-baby.html

Gayla said...

Forgot to say how also special it was to see your boys with Dakota. Sweet memorable pictures of everyone. Someday, someday just maybe your path with Dakota might cross again.
Hugs
Mom