I had just finished cleaning up dinner. Keith was at his cross country practice, and the kids had asked to watch a movie before bed. I settled in to watch it with them when the phone rang. A number from Pomona that I didn’t recognize. “Is this Michelle?” The woman asked, when I answered yes, she followed with, ” Linda gave me your number. Will you be home in about an hour? I have a two day old to drop off”. One or two more follow up questions, and the race began. I swept the house trying to pull out/find itty bitty newborn things. The last baby we had was a 2 month old little boy, so a 2 day old premature girl was a different ball game. I sent Keith a quick text ” newborn girl on her way” , to which he responded, ” k”. Shortly after my husband arrived home, a car pulled up. The kids had already been waiting on the porch with anticipation. They knew the drill, mommy and daddy watch foster babies and we love them and take care of them until a new home can be found for them. Every baby is like Christmas morning to them. They run around, pulling out stuffed animals for the baby, calling dibs on being the first to hold them. The social worker placed the car seat holding the tiniest baby on our dining room table. After I signed some papers, the social worker gave me the 2 crumpled up diapers she had in her purse. “Here”, ” this is all that she came with. Oh, and this bottle. She’s probably starving since she hasn’t eaten for about four hours. She’s been sitting in my office all day.” I lift the little peanut out of the carseat only to notice that she is covered in feces. I wonder how long it had been since she was changed since it was clear she hadn’t been fed in awhile. The social worker quickly left promising that someone would call to schedule a home visit in the next couple of weeks. We spent the next two weeks loving and cherishing the sweet baby. We prayed over her, spoiled her and constantly gushed over her sweet little features. We knew she wouldn’t be staying forever, but we treated her as if she were. We couldn’t have loved her more if I had birthed her myself. Exactly 2 weeks after she arrived, my phone rang again. ” the baby is being released to her dad, the social worker will be there to pick her up in a half an hour.” Although I knew the day would come, I still began to cry. I cried over the sadness of never seeing her again, I cried with worry for her safety, and I cried over fear for her future. I know that as an emergency shelter house, we are merely a temporary safe house for the babies until a more permanent foster home is found for them. It had just never hit me until that moment, that some of these babies might leave our house to return to the hands that had hurt them in the first place. Some of these babies will have happy endings, their bio parents will recover and heal and they will be able to raise their children in a safe and loving environment, some babies will end up being adopted after reunification efforts have failed. Other babies will not have a happy ending. They might fall prey to the broken system and get caught in the horrible life of abuse and addiction. No matter the outcome, we will continue to offer shelter. We will love and attach to each and every baby. We will celebrate them and delight in them. We refuse to merely babysit. We will welcome them as our own and continue to pray for them even after they leave. The tears we shed when they leave are a good thing. It means that they were loved completely and deeply. They will forever be in our hearts and in the hearts of our children. A living breathing example for our children of showing love to others without expecting anything in return.