Friday, February 27, 2009

ET: An Adoption Story

There are some stories that are just too beautiful to tell. The very words to express the joy, devastation, fear, and peace do not exist. I need you to know that. I need you to know this is an injustice. I need you to know that no matter what I write, she is a million times more special and precious than I can ever communicate.

I had just turned 22 years old and two months into my first teaching job. I loved every moment of it. The kids -- oh the kids. They were mine. I attended their football games, their ballet recitals, their softball tournaments, and their birthday parties. I worried about them, prayed for them, loved them. Some more than others -- but I loved them all.

Then there was Calvin. Calvin was almost 14. And in the sixth grade. Calvin was taller than me. And he was mad. Mad at me. Mad at the school. Mad at his parents. Mad at his circumstances. Mad at the world. Calvin was in his sixth foster home. Sixth. And he hated it. He was in fight after fight at school. And time and time again I pleaded to the principal NOT to suspend him. I would watch him 24/7. I took him home from football practice. I drove him to his away games. I brought him and his brother to church. Just don't make him spend another minute in that house. Cause I had a pretty good idea of what was occurring in his foster home -- and it wasn't good.

After a few more incidents and some phone calls to his foster dad -- I picked up the phone to call Calvin's social worker. She was there that afternoon to interview me. Six weeks later Calvin and his entire family moved in with my best friends from church. The rest of the story is too painful to tell in this post. But I failed Calvin. He is now in a detention center.

In the initial interview with Calvin's social worker I mentioned that Indiana Jones and I would be interested in pursuing foster placement for a pre-teen boy, and would love for her to send us the paper work to get started.

We had not thought about kids yet. I wanted them. We both did. But not yet.

Three hours later the phone rang, "This is Miriam, Calvin's social worker. We spoke earlier? I know you were looking for a preteen boy, but we have a one-year-old girl who needs immediate placement. would you be interested?"

"Let me talk to my husband. I will call you back tonight."

I remember walking into our bedroom to find IJ still in his military uniform. I sat down on the bed and began to tell him the story. I left it with, "Maybe we should meet her first to see."

He responded, "See what? If she's pretty? If she's good? If she fits a mold? No. Decide now. Either you will love this baby no matter what or you won't. We don't need to see her."

And with that I picked up the phone.

We went through the fast track of classes, home inspections, referrals, and putting those electrical plugs in the outlets. That is all I knew to do.

Then we met her. At the zoo. With her uncle. And. she. was. perfect. PERFECT.

Eldest Twerps was born to a teenage mom. A precious, beautiful, wonderful teenage mom. Who loved her. But just didn't know how to take care of babies yet.

So, ET had been raised by her grandmother until three months before when her grandma died of cancer. Since then she had a short stay in some shelters until her uncle came and got her. He was young. And not ready to handle a one-year-old girl. He knew she needed more.

Twelve days later, I met him in the parking lot on the Air Force Base and took her home.

IJ was in Japan...so my friend Feather stayed with me. I had no clue what I was doing.

When it was time for bed, I announced "BED TIME!" She grabbed her blanket and curled up on the couch. She had never had a bed of her own before. As I carried her to bed, I laid down beside her and began to sing.... "You are my sunshine...my only sunshine. You make me happy..."

She placed her tiny finger to my lips and said, "Hush Momma. Hush."

And with that I knew. It was the happiest moment I had ever experienced. And I knew. She was mine. And I was hers.

Our world revolved around ET. She was embraced in our family. The first grand baby. The first niece. The first love.

As the months went on, we worked on things -- her anger, fear, outbursts, temper -- but she was always loved.

We had MANY court dates and just wanted to finalize the process.

Then, the call came. The mother's rights were not terminated properly. She would have to be re-notified. And when she was, she decided she wanted ET back. It had been one year. There was nothing we could do.

The mother had to pass a few tests, and then ET would transition back to her biological mother. I was devastated. I wanted to dye her hair black and run to Mexico. I wanted to hide. I wanted to run. I wanted to cry.

Instead, we began the process and prayed. I met ET's mom for the first time at a restaurant. And I liked her. Actually, I loved her. She was me. But without the same chances is life. I was her, but with different choices. And above all else, we were the same because we loved ET. More than anything.

Months went on, she completed all terms. She was clean. She was ready to have her daughter back. It had been a year and six months since ET had come to live with us. She was my child.

Then, the court hearing came. The day we would determine when ET would go back to her mom. I remember nothing. I don't remember sleeping, eating, driving, nothing. IJ was out of town so my friend, Rachel went with me.

We walked up to the bench. And the judge began to talk. He was vested in our case. He was visibly upset.

He looked at ET's mom and asked what she wanted to say. She came to stand beside me and said,

"I want to sign all my rights over to CG and her family. That is the best place for ET. I want no contact. All I ask for is a picture."

At that moment, I have never felt so much grace and mercy as I did from her. I have never seen such a selfless and giving act. I have never met a mother who loved her child more than to do what was right - but what was so hard. She was the epitome of a giver.

I broke down. She broke down. And we embraced. How do you thank someone for bringing forth such a precious life and then GIVING it away to you?

She signed the papers and handed me a letter she had written to ET. She asked me to give it to her when I felt she was ready. I still have it.

I went home that week and started looking for pictures to send. I found the perfect one. You know, the one you make copies of for everyone in the family? The one that captures the essence of her spirit? That was the one.

I looked at IJ and he said, "Send her that one!"

"I would, but it is my only one!"

And what he said next has impacted me forever, "She is giving you her only one."

I put the pic in the mail the next day. We signed the official paperwork three months later.

And from this, I have met two of the most loving, caring, selfless woman alive.

I aspire to be like ET and her mom. I am blessed.

42 comments:

Marchelle said...

Now THAT is God at work.

What a beautiful story, THANK YOU for sharing it with all of us!!

Laura said...

Wow. If I didn't love you before, I love you now. May God continue to bless you and your beautiful daughter.

Ashley said...

Okay. I don't comment often but I am in tears. If I didn't already have the three rugrats I would pursue adoption just because of the sheer need of some children and feeling like that was all I could do to save someone, anyone from any horrifying circumstances.

She is beautiful and so are you.

Ranch Diva Rachel said...

I typed a whole comment about why this post really plucked my heart strings. But I deleted it. Bottom line- Fabulous post and great encouragement to all of us that want to be mommies (or already are). God has a plan whether we birth 'em or not.

Thanks!

OK... now I have to go touch up my mascara.

Jackie said...

You've got me tearing up here. Thank you so much for sharing.

We're tossing around the idea of adopting but are scared to death of the exact situation that almost happened to you. Is that common?

You're all blessed to have each other. Including the teenage mom.
Jackie

Hair Bows & Guitar Picks said...

What a great story thank you so much for sharing it.

Now after I wipe the tears from my eyes I will read it again!

Beki said...

Tonight I will go home, I will kiss my boys and I will sing them to sleep. I will not the mind their noise or their mischief...in fact I will make some with them.

I want to a mother like you and like the woman who gave you the greatest gift ever.

joansy said...

It's wonderful that ET has such wonderful parents, all three of you. Are you still in contact with her biological mother?

joansy said...
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joansy said...
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Dana and Daisy said...

the faucet behind my eyeballs is running!

OMG! Okay, I had not heard all these parts of the story before.

Not to make a big deal out of IJ, but you have one amazing man there, too! So wise!

And you guys are the sweetest family ever! Love, Dana

Sarah (newer reader) said...

Thank you for writing this! Et is lucky to have found someone so wonderful! I am glad God gave you to eachother. This post make me want to give my love to a child more than ever. Thank you!

Jenn said...

CG - that was the best story ever. So touching. So emotional. Your giving ways go way back and I hope to be HALF the woman you are throughout my lifetime. I'm so glad you got to keep ET and even more glad that ET's mama clearly thought it through and made the right choice. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi. This is ryan. Im up here in stillwater with tiff and i was reading your blog and just wonderin how yall were doing. I miss yall

Dreams of a Country Girl said...

Ryan,

great to hear from you.

you are at OSU??? Tiff isn't makin you a cowboy is she???

Boomer? Come on Ryan. Stay TRUE!

We are well, coming to OK in April. maybe I can hook up with you and tiff...

maybe you can get an eskimo joe meal out of me?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing a wonderful story
love
gramps

Nicole Mc said...

No words...

None at all.

Thank you!

Treasia said...

That is one of the most beautiful stories and truths I have read. What a giver you are as well as the birth mother. Truly a selfless act.

mimi said...

I read your blog often, it always makes me laugh. This time, though, I could barely read the words through the tears streaming down my face.

We adopted our twin boys....I wrote about our adoption journey, but you are so right---there are no words to truly express how amazing it is...how amazing they are!

Thank you for sharing!!

Jaime Mac said...

Thanks for sharing the story, CG! It is a beautiful story & love & faith! God bless you & ALL the twerps!

Tracie said...

What an absolute powerful story!! My heart is swelling, my eyes are tearring. Beautiful. Amazing what God can do when we give it up to him. ET is one very blessed little girl. I hope she only knows peace!

feather k said...

I am so blessed to have been around while you experienced this...love you all!

Lo said...

girl i'm in tears and smiling at the same time. this truly made my entire year. you are so selfless and giving. and i have so much respect for IJ after reading what he said. amazing family.

you two are my heros.

mbo said...

you have me blubbering away at my desk at work....what a beautiful story.

Christy said...

Wow. What a story. What a blessing. I just don't know what else to say.......

I'm Just Being Me... said...

Thank you so much for sharing that with us all!

Donna said...

What a beautiful story thanks for sharing it brought tears to my eyes to know you have such a wonderful baby girl and she is lucky to have you. Thanks again by the way love your blog CG.

k8mc said...

What a wonderful story, CG. You are truly a selfless woman, and you have such great kids! Thanks for inspiring us all.

row. said...

I am sitting here crying my eyes out, you are so blessed and so is E.T.

Cathy said...

Ya got me cryin' Wonderful story

Chris said...

Beautifully said.
You didn't elaborate about Calvin but what you did say leads me to feel like you didn't fail him but more that he was your path to ET, which was God's plan.

Dreams of a Country Girl said...

jackie -- i do NOT think this is "normal"

go with your heart. your baby is out there somewhere.....she is waiting on you.

Adrenalynn said...

Oh, wow. I'm sitting here crying and wishing my kids would wake up from their nap so I can hug them! This story was so wonderful and touching. I really thank God that I found your blog; you have truly changed my life in many ways, but especially in the way I relate to and love others. Thank you so much for sharing this with us!!

jensamom said...

What a beautiful story. I can't even find the words to convey how powerful it is. Thank you!

Jessica said...

I would have never imagined you had gone through that. In my mind (for the short time I've been reading your blog)...I imagined it had gone much smoother. From one adoptive mother to another I know how you feel about ET's birth mom. God had a plan and it was carried out, in His way and in His time. Adoptions are true miracles! I'm so glad your story had a happy ending. Feel free to click on the sidebar on my blog to read Sophia's adoption story. :) Thanks for sharing...you brought tears to my eyes. That birth mom is one amazing woman, I wish I was half that selfless!!

cynthia said...

i'm so glad you shared this beautiful story! God had his hand in this from the start...trusting God and his timing is everything, even though at times it is very difficult for us to do. what a blessing for you, ET and the rest of your family and what a wonderful selfless act for that girl to do...

tissue, please.

Creative Mish said...

What a special story! God obviously sent ET to you!

Anonymous said...

what a beautiful story and thanks for sharing that with us! You had me all teared up!

Uncle Trixie

edie said...

We have been adopted into God's family----as joint heirs with Christ. We serve a God who has made an extra special plan for those 'adopted'. I am amazed at the love He has given you two for each other. I love you all!

The Kelso-Winter Family said...

beautiful and a beautiful testament to you, ET's birth mom, and ET herself, and also to IJ who pops out with succinct gems. bless you all

Amber said...

Your story is so beautiful..it made me cry and I'm at work. What a wonderful gesture of love.

Anonymous said...

CG Let me just say WOW what an awesome story. Glad I stopped by to check out your blog. Great to see you This weekend ! Katrina