I remember the day like it was just last week. It was a Tuesday evening, around 6:30pm. Matt was in class and I had just gotten home from a quick after work Wal*mart trip. The phone was ringing and I was tripping over bags trying to get to it. The caller identified herself as the after hours social worker for our county and asked if we were willing to consider an emergency placement. She said they had just taken custody of a 4 week old little boy who had been abandoned in a motel room. I couldn’t get the word YES out fast enough! We had only had our license for a little under 2 weeks and we had been told to be prepared to wait for up to a year for the placement of an infant. She told me that the on-call worker would bring the baby to us within a few hours and that he basically had nothing with him. No clothes, no diapers, no formula, nothing. I had no way to get in touch with Matt but I knew he would not object to the placement, after all this was the whole reason we became foster parents in the first place.
After I hung up the phone, I did a happy dance around my living room. By 9pm I was so anxious that I couldn’t sit still and I almost jumped out of my skin when the doorbell rang. I opened it to find a very tired looking social worker holding the most beautiful little redheaded baby boy. He was strapped in a carseat and wrapped in a towel and a fleece blanket. He had one little diaper bag with him that was pretty much empty with the exception of a bottle with mold growing in the bottom of it, a few crumpled up diapers, a couple of outfits that reeked of cigarette smoke, and a half empty can of powdered formula. I got the bare basic facts from the social worker: baby’s name was Ty, he was exactly 4 weeks old, he had a junky cough, he had been found in a motel room alone. We signed the necessary paperwork and she was on her way in less than 10 minutes.
I had just settled down to feed him a bottle of formula when Matt arrived home. I wish I had been able to capture the look on his face when he walked in and saw a baby. Surprise, it’s a boy! Ha!
|The night Ty came to us|
Ty’s case dragged on at the speed of molasses, throwing curve balls at every turn. Ty’s biological mom was sincere in her attempts to get her life in order but she had so much working against her that it was an almost impossible task. We got a call the week after his first birthday that his mother had made the unselfish and heartbreaking decision to relinquish her parental rights to Ty so we could adopt him. Ty’s biological father met with me a few weeks later at the agency and soon after he also made the decision to relinquish his parental rights. He was a really nice guy, just unable to care for a child. I made both parents a memory book filled with pictures and notes about Ty at different stages of his first year and made a memory box for Ty full of the letters and pictures that his biological family wanted him to have when he got older.
Less than four months later, on September 25th 2001, we celebrated the adoption of Ty. He was 22 months old and had been in the custody of the state for 21 months.