If you carry around an adorable baby on a college campus, you will soon be surrounded by young women oohing and ahhing over him. I say this from personal experience. And it is a cross-cultural reality. I remember when Judah was a baby and I took him to the Dominican Republic—his presence allowed me to have many conversations with young Dominican women who wanted to hold him. Déjà vu—here I am again, only this time it is students right here at UC Davis and my beautiful foster son.
We have had our little foster son in our home for over 2 months now, since he was 2 days old. He is precious, beautiful and sweet, even if he has prevented me from getting a good night of sleep since he arrived. It has been an adventure stepping back in to life with a newborn. I love the feel of the little head nestled under my chin. Looking at the peaceful little face when he is sleeping, and marveling at his tiny little fingers and toes, is still amazing to me.
I don’t go on campus a lot these days, since my discipleship girls come to me and staff team and leadership meetings are often off campus. But I do still enjoy the feeling of being on the campus, seeing the mass of students emerge from the buildings and bike in mass to their next classes. I take the kids to campus for weekly meetings on Thursday nights every few weeks though, and they enjoy climbing up and down stairs and looking around at the big buildings. They also like hanging out with the Cru students before the meeting starts (although Isaiah can often be found sitting in one of the classroom seats just reading).
Two weeks ago, when I walked into the weekly meeting, I was holding baby outside of the sling, meaning he was in full view. I immediately noticed a group of girls looking my way and making little squeeling/murmuring noises. I decided to indulge them and walk up. Then they all wanted to hold him and touch his toes and feel his soft hair and skin and generally comment on how adorable he is—which is true. Then the group just kept getting bigger until the meeting started.
Then this past week, we were at our Davis Cru Spring Retreat. We had over 70 students there, which was a ton of fun. The baby had no lack of hands willing to hold him. Any time I had responsibilities or was helping out to clean up, I just had to ask the closest girl if she wanted to hold him. It is fun how well loved all of our children are by the college students we work with—we are blessed for our kids to grow up with lots of positive influences. But there is something about a newborn that makes the college girls squeal and sigh.
The magic of babies goes beyond college girls, however. It is so fun how babies break down barriers across the board. You know that invisible barrier that says don’t address perfect strangers in a store when you randomly walk by them? Not true when you are holding a baby. And then there is the invisible barrier that I didn’t even really notice before. That invisible (usually not even recognized, and probably subconscious) barrier between strangers of different races that often means they don’t naturally seek to make eye contact or get into a conversation when walking by? It is no longer there when I have a baby of color with me, and I love engaging with more people because of it. Now that I know it was there, I am also trying to intentionally see and smile at more people I pass by, even when I am by myself.
So here I am, trying to notice things and breathe in the moments of life that I get to experience. Even if Foster care is very temporary and unpredictable, I will take in all that I can. God has blessed me with these moments and these connections.