Four years ago, I was a newly divorced woman in her early 30s who was trying to find her path. God was calling me to be someone other than who I was at the time. As I looked in the mirror, I sobbed at the lady I saw. It was clear that I was not the woman my heart desired. To create a life that I could be proud of, I resolved to make positive changes in my life.
Over the next year, I changed jobs and acquired a ‘fixer upper’. In order to turn the house I bought into my dream home, it would require a great deal of work, most of which I would have to do myself. I told my friends at the time that the house was fit for ‘more,’ despite the fact that I had no idea what that meant.
My pastor sent me an email just a few weeks after I had moved into my new house, amidst half-torn out floors, ripped out cabinets, and never-ending paint projects. Normally, I only read them on occasion, but an instructional session regarding foster care piqued my interest this time.
Never before had I met anyone who had fostered children or grown up in a foster home. Although I had no prior knowledge of it, my heart compelled me to learn more. ‘Would you like to attend an instruction session on foster care with me?’’’ I asked my mother, who was assisting me with the renovations. I was shocked,’’’ she exclaimed.
She accompanied me to the meeting, despite warnings and discouragements that this new house and new job were too much for me to handle, and that fostering a child was the LAST thing I should be doing at the time. I was terrified by what I heard about foster care that evening, but it also tugged at my heart in a way I couldn’t forget.
As a single, full-time working woman, I continued to pray and consider adopting traumatized children. I completed my application on Mother’s Day in 2015 and took the next step toward becoming a foster mom and embarking on a new journey.
In a year, my fourth foster child, a 13-month-old newborn boy, filled my heart with joy and convinced me that I wanted a long-term placement. Up until that point, I had primarily focused on temporary placements, but I was cautiously open to fostering-to-adopt if the opportunity arose. I expressed my desire to be a child’s forever home (or at least a long-term placement for a year or more) at my next home visit with my caseworker.
During my [workday] a few weeks later, I received a message from my caseworker regarding a baby boy who had been abandoned at the hospital and was likely to be placed in a foster-to-adopt arrangement. In spite of exposure to drugs, he showed no signs of withdrawal and was expected to be discharged the next day. ‘I want him!’ I said as soon as I got off the phone with her. Don’t talk to anyone else for the next five minutes.
Fortunately, my mother was eager to help and I left the hospital with a beautiful and small baby only 24 hours after giving birth. The nickname ‘Baby Boy’ was given to him because his mother abandoned him shortly after his birth and had not given him a name.
I didn’t have much time to think about names, so I scanned the list of baby names I’d gathered over the years and chose Grayson, because by God’s grace, I now had a son (potentially forever).
For the following 11 months, we searched for his mother and father, but the information left at the hospital never led to anyone. Newspaper ads were not responded to or anyone returned to the hospital in search of the boy who had been abandoned that day.I was relieved that no one stepped forward, ensuring that he would always be mine without opposition. Although the thought of having to tell my son that no one showed up for his termination hearing made me sick to my stomach. Nobody came to investigate. Despite the fact that I had longed for and prayed for my little man since I was a child, I knew that conversation would be one I would dread for years.
“A child born to a different lady calls me mommy. “The tragedy and the honor are not lost on me.” – Landers, Jody.
Ultimately, on the day he became 11 months old, he was legally named Grayson, and I became a mother for the first time. My heart was broken that day by both excitement and anguish, but we had no idea that our journey together was 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 a year and a half before bringing in another long-term placement (which I hoped would be a girl).
I began receiving calls and emails regarding potential placements over the next few weeks, primarily for emergency short-term placements. Even requests for small girls were made, but my heart kept telling me we weren’t quite ready.
I received a call from my caseworker in the middle of the day less than two weeks after the adoption. Inquiring how we were doing post-adoption, she told me about an emergency placement they had for a four-day-old newborn girl with drug exposure.
Grayson was in the same hospital as her, and he had to be placed that afternoon. I felt terrified and goosebumps running down my spine. The idea shocked me. However, I stayed listening and contemplated this position because of the sensation. This was unusual.
I continued to utter ‘I know I’m insane, but God is asking me to say YES’ during the following 10 minutes and subsequent phone calls that afternoon.
The rest is a blur, but four hours later, a newborn girl arrived at my house. When she was brought to our house, the caseworkers inspected it and told me what they knew about her. Since her drug exposure and physical condition were so similar to Grayson’s, I told myself, “You can do it, you’ve done it before.” We then made dinner and settled in shortly after they had left. A young woman living with me helped me figure out how to manage two babies, set up food trains, and collect donations for baby girl clothes so we could survive the following three days.
I noticed that the baby girl’s mother’s first name matched Grayson’s mother’s name on the hospital’s records. My roommate told me, ‘How interesting that their mothers have the same name.’ I kept going over her mother’s hospital discharge paperwork, and when I came to her mother’s birth date, I had to take a second look. It looked familiar.
While I searched for Grayson’s paperwork, my roommate watched the kids. ‘Hmmm, Grayson’s mother is only one day older than Grayson.’ My roommate and I exchanged glances, unsure if we were thinking the same thing. ‘Could their mothers be the same?’
To put things in perspective, Grayson is half-African-American, with dark curly hair and lovely darker complexion. Baby Girl has light white skin and red-blonde hair that is straight. The children did not appear to be alike at first glance. Grayson wasn’t even a year old at the time. ‘Is it even physically possible?!’ says the narrator. I had never heard of Irish twins before that evening, when I learned that it was a distinct possibility.
As soon as I started a new job, I notified Grayson’s caseworker that she would be appointed as the baby’s ongoing caseworker. My suspicion was that the two babies were from the same mother. She thought, ‘She’s insane!’’’’’
I asked the intake worker for any information she could share about the baby girl the next day. Original mother eagerly awaited visits and to reclaim custody of her daughter. We knew her as well, but she was the mother of several other children, some of whom had just been adopted in another county.
According to my research, my kid ‘might’ have been born sometime between the mother’s last two known children. Once again, this lady thought I was nuts.
Hence, I awaited that Friday when I would take the Baby Girl to see her mother for the first time. I was terrified; was I about to meet the mother of my adopted son, whom I had assumed had gone missing for good?
On my way to the second floor, I trembled and scanned the room for possible mothers. After we were introduced, I realized I was looking at my own son’s birth mother. At the same time, I had to maintain a perfectly 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 know everything I could about this strange miracle and the mysteries around it. I needed to be certain.
Our caseworker was finally going to meet the biological mother the following week. 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 crushes my heart, and I can’t believe what I’m hearing, but I’m 90% confident you’re correct, and this is a miracle.’”Katie, I’m 100 percent sure now,” she said after talking for about 45 minutes. ‘We have located a relative of Baby Girl with the last name she gave with Grayson’s birth. As I hung up the phone, I sobbed in the middle of the job-site office.What if I had declined? Had I accepted one of the other placements I’d been offered just days before? What if Baby Girl had been adopted by another family? It wouldn’t have been possible to find her or Grayson’s mother without her.
Without this link, the link would never have been discovered! I was astonished at what just happened. All along, God’s plan had been in the works, but I had no idea what it was.When I said ‘Yes’ to taking the Baby Girl, I had the oddest feeling. Until that point (or whatever higher spirit you personally believe in), I had never experienced an irrefutable call from God. Although my intellect told me to say ‘no,’ since it made no sense and wasn’t part of my plans, something inside of me kept compelling me to say ‘yes.’
The fact that my children found each other is an incredible miracle, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity… Whatever you call it, it’s amazing. Our family welcomed Hannah on December 28, 2018, and Grayson’s life has been forever changed now that he has another partner in crime who will always be by his side.
13 months after Hannah’s birth, their birth mother gave birth to another baby boy, whom we are currently fostering with the hopes of adopting him in 2019!