Not too long ago, a wise friend of mine commented to me that God is writing a story on my heart, and that I needed to pen it. So I’m going to try and do just that. This is only part of the story being written on my heart–but it’s a big part. It’s also the one that I really want to share.
April 11, 2001
Her birth announcement could have been something like this:
“A daughter, Mary, to [names to be kept private]. Dirty blond hair, big blue eyes. Her weight and length don’t matter because she is healthy and full term. Her doting parents are busting with pride!”
We saw her on the day of her Christening, where my husband was named Godfather in typical Roman Catholic tradition. She was baptised in his arms. She never made a sound. Although he felt a little out of his comfort zone holding a baby, he stepped up and did what was asked of him. He held her ever so gingerly as the priest blessed and baptised her, while her parents stood a few feet away and watched together.
This image seems so prophetic looking back on it. Here we are now, with Mary, as her parents stand off and watch, together. Thinking about that, I can see how God ordered all of this from the beginning. Oh sure, there are other signs. Like the time Mary’s birth mother, just after giving birth, commented on how wonderful it was to be a mother and she prayed that my husband and I would one day experience that joy. She even went so far as to offer herself as a surrogate…how ironic that 6 1/2 years later we find that she was just that for us.
We have known Mary’s birth parents for years. Dispite their sometimes odd behavior, they both seemed to genuinely love each other and the Lord. They were, at the time I met them, devout Catholics, attending weekly Mass, and even desiring to become Lay Eucharist Ministers. I admired their passion for each other and their faith. Not being Roman Catholic myself put me at somewhat of a disadvantage, in that I did not understand their connection to all things Rome.
After Mary was born, some of their seemingly odd behavior began to worry me with regard to her. The house was dirtier than I would keep, and they had odd ways of doing things such as putting the baby to bed immediately after eating her last meal with no thought to cleaning her, changing her, or dressing her in suitable night time clothing. As Mary got a little older, there were other things we heard that concerned us but we were hard pressed to know just what to do about it. After all, she was thriving, growing as a normal baby/toddler should. She saw a pediatrician regularly and if the doctor wasn’t concerned, what right did I have to be?
Shortly before her 5th birthday, things started to really go down hill for that little family of 3. They sold their house for reasons only they can understand, and moved into a more expensive, much smaller apartment. Then, seemingly to us out of the blue, we learned that Mary’s mother had taken her to another state away from the father. While away, things worsened for Mary so much so that she was taken from her mother and placed in state foster care. We were mortified. A child we knew was in the black hole of foster care!