Promises

14 Apr

The first two years after my mother’s death I lived with a foster family. They were members of my grandfather’s church and had agreed to take me in. The family was made up of a mom, dad and three sons.

I don’t have memories of those years but I have physical reminders. I know I was happy. I know that they loved me and cared about me. When I was 10, the mother sent me a photo album filled with pictures, each one with a caption so I knew who everyone was. One of my favorite pictures was from my second birthday party. I wore a little dress and had pigtails that were one giant curl each. I blew out the candles on my choo choo train birthday cake. Yes, there were multiple train cars made of cake with butter cookies for wheels!!

Another favorite picture was of me with someone’s over-sized button up shirt and boots on over my undershirt and diaper trying to walk around the house. A classic picture that is taken of many a child. I am so glad to have that. I also have a needlepoint picture the mother made me that hung in my bedroom through my teen years.

My aunt made a promise to my mother when she was visiting her after I was first born. She agreed that if anything ever happened to my mom, she would take care of me. After my mother’s death my aunt went to her parents, my guardians, and said she wanted to take me. My grandmother agreed but my grandfather did not. He wanted me to stay with the foster family. He felt they were a “real” family while my aunt would be a single mom. It was an added benefit that they lived close by to him whereas she lived several states away.

It wasn’t long before both sides found themselves in court. My aunt filed for custody and my foster family filed for adoption. My fate rested on the shoulders of a judge who decided to place me with my aunt. In what seems a twist of fate, he signed the order on my birth mother’s birthday. As if acknowledging her last wish.

Being young I don’t remember a thing, but from what I hear, it was a pretty traumatic day, the day I came to live with my aunt. She showed up at my foster family’s door to take me away, her best friend sitting in the car as the getaway driver. I was brought to the door where my foster mother held me close. She was crying and didn’t let go. My aunt finally pulled me from her arms, put me in the car and her friend drove away. I was crying. My aunt was crying. My foster mother was crying.  A few minutes later I calmed down and that was that.

That was the beginning of our adventure. My aunt and I. Two gals against the world. She never hesitated to tell me about my past. I grew up knowing of my birth mother and how much she loved me. She told me all about my foster family and how special I was to them. That they loved me enough to want me to be a part of their family forever. She also told me how much she loved me and that my mom recognized the bond she and I shared the very first time my aunt held me and that was why she wanted her to take care of me. She knew the two of us would have something special together.

 

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