Parenting: Ready or not

I was 22, going to college, working, getting my deen straight, etc, when I had an 11 month old kid. Did you double read? I know.

My kid had been in foster care since she was 2 weeks old. The state of Arkansas had removed her from her parents custody. Her dad (my bro) called one night, drunk, begging our parents to “get his baby.”

First thought? “Oh hell naw! A baby? We don’t have the time or capacity for that! My parents are too old for this!”

I listened to my brother beg and beg our parents. It was pathetic. I don’t mean pathetic as in “ugh, pathetic,” but “*sigh* pathetic.” Ya know? Our parents agreed, and my younger brother and I both knew what that meant. We were going to be responsible for a very young child. I told my mom “If we get her, they better not ask for her back.” Attachment issues.

After almost a year of battling the state of Arkansas, Aaliyah arrived.

She was really chunky, didn’t have much hair for an 11 month old, was afraid of water, and couldn’t sit up very well. It was obvious that she was suffering some developmental delays. She had huge dark marks all over her; bruises we assumed. Nursing school later learned me that they were Mongolian spots. Aaliyah didn’t say much, didn’t crawl or pull up like a regular 11 month old. This, I thought, was gonna be rough.

Since I love bebes, and bebes (babies) love meh (me), I was constantly in her face. She wasn’t very interactive, and would only look at me like “what are you doing?” Her foster mom had a dog, so she would pant like a dog. The only other sound she’d make was crying.

Aaliyah was a really sad person. She would just eat and sleep. She never smiled, didn’t respond to playing, and wouldn’t babble. I remained constantly by her and I have no idea why. I just needed her to understand social interaction. I knew that she would come around, and I needed to be there in her face every second.

On the fourth day, I left her in her room so I could go in mine to get dressed. She cried and screamed like it was nobodies business. My mom and brother got her, but it didn’t work. I took her, and she was fine.

The mode was set. I was about to embark on a crazy 5 year journey.