Friday, November 5, 2010
The Journey Begins
“She’s not a pretty baby”, the social worker told me for the third time. “Her left eye is at least twice the size of her right. Are you sure you want to meet her?” I hid my impatience with a calm smile and nodded yes. I was ready to go and meet this baby that was available for adoption.
We drove just a short distance from the social services office, and the social worker slowed in front of a row of townhouses. They were all the same except for their different colored shutters, making them look like crayons in a Crayola box. The social worker parked her car, got out and headed towards the Raw Sienna townhouse. She knocked on the front door, and it was immediately answered by a rather large, disheveled woman. This woman, introduced to me as Linda, the foster mother, headed up a flight of stairs and we followed behind.
The room in which we stopped, a living room I assumed, was small, very cluttered with furniture, and dark because all the drapes were drawn closed. I almost tripped over a porta-crib set up in the corner of the room. We all sat down in the small, crowded room and Linda stepped to the porta-crib and lifted a baby out. Although this baby was 18 months old, she seemed more the size of a 8-9 month old baby. She was incredibly beautiful!
An unspoken rule about who was permitted to hold the baby was transmitted though the room with eye contact between the social worker and the foster mother, and the baby went to the waiting arms of the social worker. I was told this was Ashley, and that Ashley, according to the foster mother, ‘had many needs’ and would have these needs for the rest of her life. She talked further about the difficulties of caring for Ashley and how many doctor appointments she had every week. She told me Ashley wouldn’t eat and didn’t sleep well. She told me that Ashley was fussy and hadn’t met any of the developmental milestones a child her age should have already mastered. She seemed to be trying to scare me or talk me out of wanting Ashley. It didn’t work. I loved her from the moment I laid eyes on her…
At that point I knew - the reward I imagined as I sat through my difficult adoption classes had arrived, and my journey was just beginning...