Four years ago, I was a freshly divorced woman in her 30s struggling to find her path. God was calling me to be someone different than I was at the moment. One day, I remember looking in the mirror and crying when I saw a lady. I knew I was not the lady I desired. My resolution was to make positive changes in my life and live a life I could be proud of.
I changed jobs and bought a ‘fixer upper’ over the next year. In order to make the house I bought into my vision, it would require a lot of work, most of which I would have to do myself. I told my friends at the time that the house was meant for “more” despite not knowing what that meant at the time.
The email came just a few weeks after I moved into my new house, in the midst of half-torn out floors, ripped out cupboards, and never-ending paint projects. I read them only occasionally, but an instructional session on foster care sparked my interest this time.
Until recently, I had never met anyone who had fostered children or grown up in a foster home. My heart felt compelled to learn more about it, even though I had no prior knowledge of it. Could you accompany me to the foster care training session?’’’ I asked my mother, who was assisting me with the renovations. ‘WHAT?!’ she said.
She came with me to the session despite numerous warnings and discouragements that this new house and work were too much for me to handle and that fostering a child was the LAST thing I should be doing at the time. It gave me the creeps and worried me, but it also tugged at my heart in a way I couldn’t forget.
I continued to pray and think about taking on traumatized children as a single full-time working woman. On Mother’s Day of 2015, I submitted my application and took the next step toward becoming a foster mom and embarking on a new adventure.
Having my fourth foster child, a 13-month-old newborn boy, filled my heart with joy and convinced me that I wanted a longer-term placement, possibly forever. I had mostly specialized in temporary placements up to that point, but I was cautiously open to foster-to-adopt if the opportunity arose. During my next home visit with my caseworker, I expressed my desire to be a child’s forever home (or at least a long-term placement for at least a year).
After a few weeks, I received a message from my caseworker about a baby boy who had been abandoned at the hospital and would likely be placed in a foster-to-adopt arrangement. The patient had been exposed to drugs, but showed no signs of withdrawal and was expected to be discharged the next day. ‘I want him!’ I exclaimed as soon as I got off the phone with her. Please don’t call anyone else for the next five minutes.
Thankfully, my mother was willing to help, and I walked out of the hospital with a beautiful and small baby just 24 hours after giving birth. As a result of his mother abandoning him just hours after birth without giving him a name, he was nicknamed ‘Baby Boy’.
Because I didn’t have much time to think about names, I glanced through the list of baby names I’d accumulated over the years and chose Grayson, since I now had a son (potentially for life).
Throughout the next 11 months, we searched for his mother and father, but the information left at the hospital never led anywhere. It appears that no one responded to the newspaper ads or returned to the hospital in search of the boy who had been abandoned.
In some ways, I was relieved that no one stepped forward, ensuring that he would always be mine. The thought of having to tell my son that no one showed up to his termination hearing made me sick to my stomach. No one showed up to investigate. Even though I had longed for my little man and prayed for him since I was a child, I knew that discussion would be one I would dread for years to come.
The day before he turned 11 months old, he was legally named Grayson, and I became a mother for the first time. Both excitement and anguish broke my heart that day, but we had no idea that our journey together would be just beginning.
As a result of Grayson’s drug exposure, he has developmental and physical problems, so even though I knew our family wasn’t complete yet, I wanted to wait until he was at least one and a half before bringing in another longer-term placement (which I hoped would be a girl).
Over the next few weeks, as my home was now open again, other calls and emails regarding potential placements poured in, primarily regarding emergency short-term arrangements. There were even requests for small girls, but my heart kept telling me we weren’t quite ready.The day before he turned 11 months old, he was legally named Grayson, and I became a mother for the first time. Both excitement and anguish broke my heart that day, but we had no idea that our journey together would be just beginning.
Grayson was in the same hospital as her, and she had to be placed that afternoon. My body was filled with goosebumps and terror. The idea shocked me. But I stayed listening and thought about this position because of the sensation. It was unusual.
During the next 10 minutes and subsequent phone calls I made that afternoon, I continued saying ‘I know I’m insane, but I want to say YES to God’.
A newborn girl arrived at my house [four] hours later. The caseworkers who brought her to our house inspected it and told me what they knew about her. Her drug exposure and physical condition were so similar to Grayson’s that I told myself, “You can do this, you’ve done it before.” We promptly made dinner and settled in shortly after they left. There was a young woman living with me who helped me figure out how to manage two babies, organize food trains, and collect donations for baby girl clothes so that we could get through the next three days.
My first observation upon examining the baby girl’s bracelets was that her mother’s first name matched Grayson’s mother’s name provided to the hospital. I told my roommate, ‘How interesting that their mothers have the same name.’ When I reached her mother’s birth date on the hospital discharge paperwork, I had to take another look. It looked familiar.
My roommate watched the kids while I looked for Grayson’s paperwork. Grayson’s mother’s date of birth is just one day different from Grayson’s. My roommate and I exchanged glances, not sure if we were thinking the same thing. ‘Could their mothers be the same?
Grayson’s caseworker was informed that I had started a new job and that she was to be appointed as the baby’s ongoing caseworker. I confessed to suspecting the two babies were from the same mother. She thought to herself, ‘She is insane!’’’’
The next day, I pressed the intake worker for any information she was permitted to share on the baby girl. The original mother was eager for visits and to reclaim custody of her daughter. We also knew her, but she was the mother of several other children, some of whom had lately been adopted in another county.
I was able to ascertain that my kid ‘might’ have been conceived and delivered sometime between the mother’s last two known children. But, once again, this lady thought I was completely insane.
So I waited with bated breath for that Friday, when I would take the Baby Girl to her first visit with her mother and see her. I was terrified; was I about to meet the mother of my adoptive son, whom I had assumed had gone missing for good?
As I rode the elevator to the second floor, I was trembling and instantly surveyed the room for possible mothers. When we were eventually introduced, I realized I was staring at my own son’s birth mother. At the same time, I had to maintain a fully normal demeanor and refrain from freaking out!
‘How many children do you have?’ I questioned her as we continued our small talk. And she replied exactly like I had wanted! There was one more than the county knew about. ‘How many guys do you have?’ I inquired. ‘How many girls are there?’
Her response confirmed what I had suspected: the missing child in the county’s records was a male. Part of me wanted to tell her everything right then and there, to divulge this tremendous secret: I thought she was my son’s mother. But, happily, I did not.
We just talked for about [five] minutes the first time we met, but she was incredibly lovely and open with me. She’d brought me candies as well as a present for Baby Girl. She shared brief glimpses into her life with me that hurt my heart.
She was just like my son in terms of beauty.
I wanted to learn everything I could about this strange miracle and the mysteries surrounding it. I needed to be sure.
The following week, our caseworker would meet the biological mother. She was cautious, thinking to herself, “This can’t be.” But, immediately after the meeting, she called me and said, ‘Katie, I think you’re right!‘ Her narrative breaks my heart, and I can’t believe what I’m hearing, but I’m 90% confident you’re right, and this is a miracle.
What if I had declined? What if I’d said yes to one of the other placements I’d been offered only days before? What if Baby Girl had been adopted by a different family? We would have never found her or Grayson’s mother if it hadn’t been for her.
The link would never have been discovered! The miracle that had just occurred astounded me. God’s plan had been in the works all along, but I had no idea what it was.
I had the strangest feeling the day I said ‘yes’ to taking the Baby Girl. To my knowledge, I had never felt an irrefutable call from God (or whatever higher spirit you personally believe in) before that time. I was inclined to say “no” because it didn’t make sense and wasn’t in my plans, but something inside kept compelling me to say “yes.”
My children’s discovery of each other is an incredible miracle, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We welcomed Hannah into our family on December 28, 2018, and Grayson’s story has been forever altered with a new partner in crime who will always be a part of it.
Additionally, 13 months after Hannah was born, their birth mother gave birth to another baby boy, who we are currently fostering with the hope of adopting him in 2019.