I raised my neighbor’s baby

A letter writer cared for her neighbor’s baby for almost a year—but now she’s no longer needed and she misses her desperately.

You’ve done something amazing, says our elder; remember it and move on.

Dear EWC

So I raised another person’s baby from when she was two months old until she was a year old, so for pretty much almost a year I have been a part of this little baby girl’s life. I was 20 years old and just finally getting my life in order: I got my first apartment, I had a job, and then my neighbor from across the street knocked on my door and handed me her sick baby and asked if I could watch her for a while. It was my day off so I agreed to.

Well, then it turned out a while was a whole month! But in a weird way, I was fine with this. After some time the mother had me raising this little baby by myself. I bought the food, formula, diapers, clothes, and toys all with my own money and she never wanted to see her. The only thing the mother did was bring her to the doctor but I had to always come to tell the doctor what was going on.

Well after of course she was walking, talking, done teething, sleeping at night all night long and no longer drinking formula, she took her back. I never had enough money to get a lawyer when I was first raising this baby. I saw her first time crawling, standing, walking, teething, and everything. Now she is taken from me forever and the worst part is the mother doesn’t want me in the child’s life at all now. Saying she doesn’t need help anymore so I’m not needed. I feel so lost now without her, and now I just want a baby of my own but I am 22 years old, not in a relationship and never being able to keep a steady relationship, and I lost my job. I know it’s not right, but I just don’t know how to get over this. Do you have any tips or advice I could try or should be doing to help get over her? It’s been eight months now since I no longer have her in my life.

Granny-Nora replies

You have earned your crown in heaven. You have done something for this child that her mother could not do. You will be blessed, but more importantly, this child has been blessed to have you in her life for a short time. The first year of life is very important, and you have given this sweet little one a loving home. That is something that you need to remember.

A little over a year ago, there was a young woman who had a baby and was not married. Her family did not know she was pregnant until the baby was born. She called her sister and wanted her sister to adopt the baby. Unfortunately, the sister lived 2,000 miles away, and because she didn’t know about the pregnancy, had not planned financially for the trip to come get the baby, nor for all the things babies need. To make matters worse, her military husband was deployed overseas. They agreed to adopt the baby, but it would be three months before they could come. Somehow, I ended up being daycare for this child, and my friend had the baby weeknights. Weekends, the baby was passed back and forth between members of our church. I had this baby, though, most of the time. He was dropped off at my home at 6.30am, and was with me until at least 4pm every night.

After three months, I was very attached to this little guy. It was a very hard thing to turn him over to his adoptive parents. I was told I could Facetime with him, but I found it easier to make a clean break. As hard as it was to have him leave, I now look back and think about the good foundation he was given. Those of us who cared for him loved him and nurtured him in a way that his birth mother was not able to do. She could have taken care of him for that three months, but didn’t want anything to do with him. She couldn’t do it for some reason I don’t understand.

I don’t know why this mother knocked on your door and surrendered her baby to you for a year. Maybe she had post-partum depression? Maybe she had an addiction and needed to get clean? Maybe the stress of caring for an infant was so overwhelming that she was afraid of abusing a baby? Maybe financially she couldn’t handle it, but did not want to surrender the child for adoption? I don’t know. Whatever the reason, she couldn’t provide what this little girl needed that first year, and she trusted that you could do a better job than she could do.
While it certainly wasn’t fair to you that she did this, you can take comfort in the fact that you stepped up to the plate for one of God’s little children. He won’t forget what you did, and you will receive your reward in heaven.

Don’t be in a hurry to have a baby because of this. You have plenty of time. Put yourself in situations to meet good men, and eventually, you will find the love of your life. Children have a divine right to be born to two parents who love each other and love them. If you live a good life, put yourself into situations to meet good and responsible men, and patiently wait, you will find someone who will make a good husband and father.

I’ve learned that the best places to find good men are not bars and clubs, but church groups, volunteer organizations, and community service opportunities. You will find the right man when you least expect it. Be patient. Your time is coming. In the meantime, take comfort in knowing you have given a child a great foundation for a good life. Also, take comfort in knowing that when you have your own child, you will be experienced and confident. Most first-time mothers are scared and feel inadequate. You will be an expert from day one because of this experience. That will make you a better mother. Consider this your “trial run.”

I hope at some point this woman will let you visit and spend some time with her child, but if not, take comfort in the fact you have done a good thing.
I’ve never met you, but I’m so proud of you for doing this. You have a heart of gold.

If you have questions or problems in the future, please write to Elder Wisdom Circle. If you feel so inclined, please tell others about us.

Reference 420165
Category: children

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