February 9th, 2021
The furnace is running. Lately, it seems to always be running. It is currently a solid zero degrees Fahrenheit outside. The forecast is for the weather to remain frigid for at least another week. We cranked up the heat inside the house to make Asher more comfortable. We can afford to pay a bit more for gas to keep our two-month-old baby warm.
I got up an hour ago to feed Asher and change his diaper. I let the dogs out (they did not stay outside long). Now Asher is in his bouncy chair sleeping fitfully.
Asher always sleeps fitfully. The visiting nurse came to our house yesterday to check on Asher. We mentioned to her that Asher is a remarkably noisy sleeper. He grunts and groans, mutters and snuffles, and makes the sound of a bleating goat while he dreams his baby dreams. The nurse shrugged and said that these nocturnal noises are normal for a premature birth. The nervous system is the last thing to be completed in a human, and it’s not quite done in Asher. She went on to say that 90% of the premature babies get over this phase. Eventually, we will be shocked and surprised by how quiet he is. This happens already on occasion: Asher suddenly gets quite in bed, and then Karin and I immediately panic. We are okay once we know that he is breathing.
Despite COVID, Karin and I are meeting many new people. Asher’s mom is in jail right now. Asher’s father is MIA. We brought in Child Protective Services (CPS) to help with the situation. That was a life-changing decision. Getting the government involved was like getting on a rollercoaster. We are in for a ride.
Everyone we have met from CPS during the last week (yes, it’s only been a week since this all started) has been friendly and helpful. The case workers, nurses, and lawyers have all seemed to be remarkably grateful to us. They keep thanking Karin and myself for stepping up to care for Asher while his biological parents are unavailable. Apparently, this sort of situation is not typical. My understanding is that often nobody is willing to care for the child. I find this to be both disturbing and depressing.
(There has been a brief pause while I fed Asher another bottle of formula. The lad has all the patience of a boiling tea kettle.)
Everybody we have met has a laser-like focus on the wellbeing of little Asher. That comforts me. They really do care. This is a good fit since it coincides with the our interests. We all want Asher to be happy and healthy.
Thus far, Asher is very healthy, and often happy. He has been thriving in our home. He was doing well when his mother was living with us, and he is doing well now. Asher weighed 3 lbs. and 13 oz. when he was born on December 2nd of last year. Now he tips the scales at 10 lbs. and 1 oz. That’s not bad. He is filling out nicely.
What happens next?
The father is absent. He has been peripheral to Asher’s life, and I expect that he will remain so. The beauty of having CPS involved is that, if the dad decides to enter Asher’s life, he has to deal with the State of Wisconsin, not with us. If he has complaints or gripes, he can go directly to CPS. I don’t think they will be particularly sympathetic.
The mother’s future is uncertain. She might go back to prison, but I think that is unlikely. Everyone, including her parole officer, is trying to get her into treatment. The universal goal is to get this young woman healthy and reunited to her baby. That makes me hopeful.
Karin and I don’t mind caring for Asher. He is truly a blessing from God. We are not alone when we love him. Many people have offered to help us with Asher. In fact, my sister-in-law, Shawn, flew up from Texas to be with that little boy. Asher is makes us feel like we’re really living. And honestly, Asher is probably the only reason that his mother is still alive. He is alright being with us.
However, it would be better if he was safe and serene in his mother’s arms.