Baby Fever

Baby fever is real. I know, because I was burning up with it. I spent a year giving myself shots in my backside and putting lozenges under my tongue and graphing my morning temperature and demanding sex because my chart said to. And then, I gave up.

No baby.

But there was this achey, constant wanting. What to do with it? Why couldn’t I be content with three healthy children? Why wouldn’t I accept God’s plan for us? I tried ignoring it, praying over it, talking about it, stuffing it. But the fever got hotter, and I couldn’t stop it.

One day, after 4-year-old Sadie and I prayed for a baby per usual, I imagined a living baby store, like Toys R Us, but with real babies lining the shelves in cardboard boxes. I strolled down the aisle and selected the one I wanted, put it in my cart and walked to the front. “God, all babies are yours,” I said, snapping out of it. “You’re the one with the baby store. SHARE!”

The scene changed, and I saw my baby picking up a plastic pay phone and calling from Broad Street and Main, “Mama, come get me!” she begged, “I’m waiting!” So I prayed again, “God, I’ll take any baby you send, but she’s gonna have to call me. I can’t go to China chasing a maybe-baby. I don’t have the time or the money.”

The next year, Hubby won a weekend trip to see “The Phantom” in Toronto, so we farmed out the kids and took off. Sadie picked a family who’d been our neighbors across the street ’til they moved away. Their daughter, Joni, felt like a big sister.

Unknown to us, they had Kim and her toddler, Kierra, living with them and were helping her interview prospective couples to adopt her unborn baby that weekend. Kim liked the mother of one family and the father of another, but neither couple were quite right together. Sadie and Joni played with Kierra constantly, and Kim was smitten by Sadie and wondered what the rest of us were like.

So when we picked up Sadie on Sunday, Kim was eyeing us as prospects, and we had no idea who she was or that she was pregnant. She noted our enthusiasm in reuniting, but it was the way my husband scooped up Kierra and tossed her in the air that got her attention. Later, Kim told me she knew she could give her baby a mother but she couldn’t give her a father. And having two parents was what she most wanted for her daughter.

The morning after, Jan called and asked me to sit down. She had some news, and she thought I might lose it. My stomach hit the floor: Was it news about Sadie? “Oh, no,” she said as she recounted Kim’s search for a family. “Are you ready for this?” she concluded. “She hopes you’ll adopt her baby!”

I’d heard of floors rising and rooms spinning when shocking news came, but now I was experiencing it as my floor rolled and my walls blurred. Was I hearing her rightly? “Is she offering us one-year-old Kierra?” I asked, feeling nauseous and falling into the sofa. “No! Kim’s pregnant! She’s been shopping for a family for the new baby all weekend, not for Kierra. It’ll be born August 16 by c-section at Hamilton Medical. Are you interested?”

My mind was struggling to catch up with her words. I reviewed the data. “Any baby,” I’d prayed. “Just have her call me, and I’ll go get her.” And Jan had called, and she’d told me where and when I could find this baby who needed a family. It could hardly be clearer.

But dang. I hadn’t mentioned anything to my husband. “God, this feels so big. If you want us to adopt, will you convince him?” That night, he said to give him three weeks to think about it, which was more than reasonable, considering. Was God already working?

We told our parents and a few friends and then took our sons camping to pass it by them. Mama said there were families of Black Christians who might want her. Had I thought about how she might feel growing up and not matching our skin? Daddy was delighted, and Grandpa and Grandma were accepting, too. But Mama’s comment got me thinking—were we the best family for her? Wouldn’t I try to find one she’d feel comfortable in if I really loved her?

Tim and Corey Fordice had adopted three babies and all of them from different races: White, Black, and Hispanic. When I saw Tim at church, I asked what he thought. “Don’t you think the God of the Universe knows where the Black families are? This baby is knocking on your door. If you want her, open it until you find one you can’t open.”

Josie Love Roebuck was born August 16, 1995 at 7:50 am. Hub had said he wanted her before the second week was over. She was hollering in the warming tray when we got there. I’d sprinted inside and left the kids trailing behind.

God gets Moses’ attention with a burning bush and changes the history of an entire nation. God gets my attention with a burning passion for a baby and changes the history of our family. Moses is reluctant and has objections; I had my own questions. But when it gets down to it, Moses says yes to God because God says, “I’ll be with you,” Ex 3:12.

Turns out, that’s enough for anybody to trust him.

Sadie and I at Josie Love’s graduation
from UGA in 2019

(Josie Love is now an artist and art professor at NKU and UC. You can see her artwork on Instagram at #josieloveroebuckstudio.)

2 thoughts on “Baby Fever”

  1. Whoa! THAT was/is personal! And now we are over 27 years later . . . and almost four years after college graduation. . . . So where is Josie Love today? . . . Or is that the next episode?

    Liked by 1 person

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