I am haunted by a child.
He was mine and now he is not.
I need to find him.
And here is the story . . .
Back in 2002, my husband and I had two precious children, ages 6 and 8. We felt very stable in our lives and ready to explore adding to our family.
I found out that a place called Falcon Children's Home had a "visiting resource" program and I called them to investigate. As a visiting resource, my husband and I submitted to background checks, filled out an application and then were given the privilege of meeting the children at Falcon to decide who we would like to host for weekends and holidays.
We went to the home on a warm summer day in 2002. I asked the house mother which children were still in need of a visiting resource.
The girls were all claimed.
The white kids were mostly claimed.
The boys were chosen last.
The African American boys were chosen absolutely, positively last.
And then I saw Jaquan. He was a tiny, thin boy with a beautiful smile and in desperate need of some lotion. I asked if he had a resource family, already knowing the answer.
He sat next to us on a wooden bench and shyly answered our questions. I asked if he would like to visit our house sometime and play with our children. He nodded almost imperceptibly.
But that's all it took. . .
The following weekend we picked him up and within moments of arriving home, he was on the trampoline with my two children wrestling and yelling.
He was obedient and precious and charming.
By the second weekend, I was clipping his toenails and learning how to do something with his hair and kissing him as much as he would let me.
And then it happened. When we took him back to Falcon after his second visit, he called us on the phone within an hour. He was crying . . .
"I want to stay with y'all"
My heart physically hurt. Because I wanted that, too. So much.
We brought him to our home for every holiday and weekend we could for the next seven months. We took him on a trip to Virginia Beach with us. We took him camping and let him chop things up with a hatchet.
And then his social worker called. The state was willing to split this child up from his twelve-year-old brother if we wanted to adopt him. His brother had been in trouble. I saw no problem with splitting up these final two siblings who were part of an even larger group of siblings.
But my husband did. So we had to say "no".
Within two weeks, the social worker called to let us know a family in Charlotte NC was interested in both boys. They were an African-American family. They had older children. They were better for these brothers. The boys could stay together. What right did this white lady have to split up siblings and take a child from his "culture"?
So I called Falcon to bring Jaquan to us one more time.
I asked him if he knew about anything exciting that was going to happen to him and he replied,
"I have to get adopted" with a sad face.
I made him a life book of all the fun things we had done together as a family. I wrote "I love you" on every page. I put our phone number and address inside just in case . . .
And now, he is 18 years old. I have waited all these years to reach out to somebody else's son.
Because he changed our lives.
I have found his birthmother's obituary online.
Mugshots of two of his siblings.
But no obituary and no mug shots for this precious boy.
I just want him to know that he taught me that being a mother has nothing much to do with bloodlines or race or geographic location.
I'd like to tell him that he showed me that foster care was not the place for us. We are not good
I hope he knows he has been prayed for regularly for ten years and that I have wondered a million times if we should have kept him and let big brother (one of the mug shots) go.
Finally, I pray he was not hurt in any way by the short-term, non-permanent, time in our home. It must have been confusing for such a young boy.
He was a brother, a son, a beloved treasure . . . for not nearly long enough.
I pray this blog post finds it's way to someone who knows someone who knows someone . . .
who will tell him.