Four years ago, I was a newly divorced early-30s woman seeking direction. God was calling me to be someone else. I sobbed at the lady in the mirror. My heart knew I was not the woman it desired. I vowed to make positive changes in my life to establish a proud life.
I moved employment and bought a ‘fixer upper’ within a year. To make the house I bought into-my dream home, I would have to perform a lot of work. I informed my pals that the house could accommodate ‘more,’ even though I had no notion what that meant.
My pastor sent me an email a few weeks after I moved into my new house, which was littered with half-torn flooring, pulled out cupboards, and never-ending paint projects. Normally, I only read them on rare occasions, but this time, an educational session on foster care aroused my curiosity. I’d never met somebody who had fostered children or had grown up in a foster family before. My heart urged me to learn more, despite the fact that I had no prior understanding of it. ‘Would you like to join-me for a foster care training session?’ “My mother, who was supporting me with the renovations, inquired. ‘I was stunned,’ says the speaker “exclaimed she. Despite cautions and discouragements that this new house and new work were too much for me to handle, and that fostering a child was the LAST thing I should be doing at the time, she accompanied me to the meeting. What I learned about foster care that evening horrified me, but it also tugged at my heart in a way I’ll never forget. I continued to pray and contemplate adopting traumatized children as a single, full-time working woman. In 2015, I finished my application on Mother’s Day. I took the next step toward becoming a foster parent and starting a new adventure. My fourth-foster kid, a 13-month-old newborn boy, filled my-heart with love and persuaded me that I wanted a long-term placement after only a year. I had mostly focused on temporary arrangements up until that moment. Nonetheless, if the opportunity presented, I was cautiously open to fostering adoption. I stated my wish to be a child’s forever home during my next house visit with my caseworker (or at least a long-term placement for a year or more). A few weeks later, I received a communication from my-caseworker about a baby-boy who had been abandoned at-the hospital and was likely to be placed in a foster-to-adopt arrangement during my [workday]. Despite his drug exposure, he showed no signs of withdrawal and was set to be released the next day. ‘I’m after him!’ As soon as I got-off the phone with her, I said. For the next five minutes, don’t speak to anyone else. My mother, fortunately, was willing to assist. Only 24 hours after giving birth, I left the hospital with a beautiful tiny baby. Because his mother abandoned him shortly after birth and had not given him a name, he was given the moniker ‘Baby Boy.’ I didn’t have much-time to think about names, so I reviewed my long list of baby names and chose Grayson since, by God’s grace, I suddenly had a son (possibly forever).
We spent 11 months looking for his parents. Still, the hospital’s information never led anywhere. No one responded to newspaper ads, and no one returned to the hospital looking for the boy. I was relieved no one stepped forward, securing his uncontested ownership. Having to tell my-son that no one showed-up for his termination hearing made me sick. Nobody came to look. Despite my longing and prayers for my little man, I knew the conversation would be one I would dread for years.
“It’s not lost on me that a child born to a different woman calls me mommy. “The sadness and the honor are not lost on me.” – Jody Landers.
In his 11th month, he was officially called Grayson, and I became a mother for the first time. But we had no idea that our journey-together would only begin that day. Grayson has developmental and physical issues due to his drug exposure, so I wanted to wait a year-and-a-half before bringing in another long-term placement (which I hoped would be a girl). Soon after, I began receiving calls and emails about potential placements, mostly for short-term emergency assignments. Little girls were requested, but my heart told me we weren’t ready. Less than two-weeks after the adoption, my caseworker called in the middle of the day. She told me about an emergency placement for a four-day-old newborn girl with drug exposure. That afternoon she had to place Grayson in the same hospital. I was afraid, with goosebumps down my spine. It shook me. But I listened and pondered this perspective due to the sensation. This was odd. Over the next 10 minutes and phone conversations that afternoon, I repeated, ‘I know I’m mad, but God is telling me-to-say YES’. The rest is hazy, but a baby girl came four hours later. The caseworkers inspected our home and told me what they knew about her. “You can do it. You’ve done it before,” I told myself, recalling Grayson’s drug exposure and physical condition. After they left, we fixed dinner and settled in. A young woman who lived with me helped me handle two babies, set up food trains, and gather donations for baby girl clothes. I noted the baby girl’s mother’s first name matched Grayson’s. So intriguing that their mothers share a name, said, my roommate. I kept looking through her mother’s hospital discharge paperwork, and I had to double-check her birth date. It was familiar. In the meantime, my roommate watched the kids. ‘Grayson’s mother is only one day older.’ My roommate & I exchanged glances, unsure if we agreed. How about their mothers? Grayson is half-African-American, with dark-curly-hair and a beautiful darker complexion. Baby Girl has fair skin and straight red-blonde hair. The kids didn’t look alike at first. Grayson was only a year old. Can it be done?’ the narrator asks. I’d never heard of Irish twins until that evening when it became a possibility. I told Grayson’s caseworker that she would be the baby’s ongoing caseworker when I started my new job. I assumed the two were from the same mother. ‘She’s mad!’ she thought. The next day, I asked the intake worker about the infant girl. The original mother longed for visits and custody of her daughter. We knew her, but she had several other children who had recently been adopted. My baby ‘might’ have been born between the mother’s last two known children. Again, she felt I was insane. So I waited for that Friday when I would take the Baby Girl to meet her mother. Was I about to meet my adoptive son’s mother, whom I had imagined had vanished forever? I trembled and surveyed the room for probable mothers. I knew I was looking at my son’s birth mother when we met. At the same time, I had to keep a cool head and not freak out! ‘Do you have kids?’ I asked her as we talked. And she said exactly what I wanted! The county was unaware of one. ‘How many guys?’ I asked. ‘How many girls?’ Her remark verified my suspicions: the missing child was a boy. I wanted to tell her everything right then and there, including this huge secret: I mistook her for my son’s mother. But I didn’t. First meeting was brief, but she was kind and upfront with me. She’d brought me candy and a gift for Baby Girl. She gave me insights into her life that broke my heart. Her attractiveness matched my son’s. I was curious about this remarkable miracle and its riddles. I needed assurance. The following-week, our caseworker would meet the biological mother. “This can’t be,” she thought cautiously. ‘Katie, I guess you’re right!’ she stated after the meeting. I can’t believe what I’m-hearing, but I’m 90% sure you’re right, and this is a miracle.’ “Katie, I’m 100% sure now,” she said after 45 minutes. ‘We found Baby Girl’s last name relative who gave birth to Grayson. I hung up the phone & sobbed in the jobsite office. What if I said no? Had I taken one of the other offers I’d received just days before? What if Baby Girl was adopted? No one could have found her or Grayson’s mother without her. The link would not have been found without this link! What just happened astounded me. God had a plan all along, but I had no idea what it was. I had a weird feeling when I said ‘Yes’ to taking Baby Girl. I have never before received an unequivocal summons from God (or whichever higher power you believe in). My brain urged me to say ‘no,’ because it made no sense and wasn’t in my plans, but something inside me kept saying ‘yes.’ To have my children find each other is a beautiful miracle… It’s great. Hannah joined our-family on December 28, 2018, and now Grayson has a new companion in crime who will always be by his-side. A newborn boy was born 13 months after Hannah, and we are presently fostering him with hopes of adopting him in 2019!