“Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 Conner came home to us.”
That is the note I have in my phone to remind me of the day my youngest son came to be with us. Con has been with us for a little over a year now and in typical fashion, I’ve told no one anything. Today, as I sit here watching him play I decided to tell his story.
First off, I am a very private person. Many times it causes me problems in the long run because people tend to talk and make up stories if you don’t tell them life events when they happen. I have always looked at it as “my business is my business” and not anything that concerns anyone else. Therefore usually, even after major life events, it is months or years before anyone becomes aware of it. Divorce, health issues, job changes, new relationships… my own affairs I tend to just keep quiet. Just because today I’m in the mood to share doesn’t mean that will change either. But on this Mother’s Day I will share the story of “the throw-away boy”.
It was on a Tuesday evening when my wife Em called me at work. I was taking a break from tree work, catching my breath and getting a drink when she called. She said “I need to talk to you, it’s important”. She then told me a young girl we knew slightly had dropped off a baby at the pet store my wife owns. A baby? A baby what I asked?
I about choked on my drink. I thought I heard her wrong, so I made her repeat it. A young lady walked into our pet shop, asked Em to watch the baby, left and was not coming back.
I told her to call the baby’s mother to come and get him. She said she already had called her and that the girl said she was giving the baby to us. That she didn’t want him, that he made her skin crawl. Em said she found a note in the car seat saying the girl was giving us the baby and that he would be better off with us.
I told her to call the cops. I told her they would think she kidnapped him or something. I was freaking out! So she called the police. They sent an officer out, he looked at the baby, said it didn’t look hurt, that leaving your child with someone wasn’t a crime and it was a civil matter. He just took a report and said it wasn’t their problem, to maybe call family services.
You have got to be kidding me!
Em called me and told me what happened. So I told her to call family services, the child welfare folks, whatever she could think of. This was getting ridiculous. They told her to go on and take him home since it was past time for the store to close and they would be out later that night to take care of the situation. So I head home and shortly after that Em shows up at the house with a seven month old baby boy in a car seat.
Now I had no idea where they would take this child when they came out, but he looked hungry. And he was dirty. So I told Em I would be right back and I drove to Walmart and bought diapers, wipes, bottles, formula, a pacifier, baby shampoo, baby nail clippers, a few outfits, just anything I thought he might need for a few days. I spent $150 that first night. All he had when he came to us was the clothes he was wearing and the car seat he was strapped in. That’s it. I figured whoever they placed him with would at least have enough to get through a few days.
Then came an even bigger shock.
The caseworker showed up about 11:00 pm that night. We were standing in the kitchen and Em was holding him and giving him a bottle when the man arrived. He introduced himself then said “I’ll need to take some pictures of him”. I’m thinking great. Good idea. Then no one can say we hurt him or anything before they got there. We will have pictures to prove he’s ok.
Then he said he needed to look at the house. Look at the house? Why the hell does this dude need to look at our house? But ok. If that floats your boat and will help get this child taken care of, then go for it bud. He walks through every room, looks around, got our names and all our info, asked a million questions and has us both tell him again how we got the baby that day… Then says “good luck” and starts out the door.
Hey! Wait a damn minute here! Where are you going? You forgot the baby!
He looked crestfallen and said “you don’t want him”? We both said sure, we would love to have him, but it’s not our kid. We can’t just take a kid like that, it’s just not done like that is it? He said since the mother gave us the child directly, with good intentions on both sides it was ok. He said if he took the baby they would have to find a foster home and that not only was that hard to do, but that it wouldn’t be good for the baby. He explained that many times children were just shuffled from one home to another and that not all foster situations were healthy for a child. He said as long as we wanted the child and the mother was willing to give him to us that we could even adopt him if we wanted.
He left. Connor stayed.
Now a bit of back-story. Emily really wanted another child. A boy. She had a daughter but because she had so many problems with her first pregnancy, the doctors said another child just wasn’t likely nor would it be safe for Emily. Her reproductive parts were a mess. She didn’t even have her monthly visit from Mother Nature anymore. I was 48 years old. Not going to be fathering any kids at my age anyway. So Emily prayed. Often. And I tried to console her. But we both knew it was never going to happen. Then we have a baby just fall into our laps out of the blue.
Did we want him? God, what a dumb question.
We went upstairs to our bedroom and we just looked at each other for a long while. Then I said ok, hand the little feller here, let me see him. I held him, counted toes and fingers, looked for any reason someone would just throw a baby away. I was holding him and said you don’t look like a throw-away boy. He just laid there looking at me and sorta smiled when I said that. Such a sweet beautiful baby boy. So innocent. So perfect. So… lost.
I was hooked. It took no time at all for him to get totally under my skin. A throw-away boy? I think not!
He was quiet. He never cried. He didn’t know how to play. He cringed every time you so much as looked at him. The only time he made a noise was when Em tried to give him a bath and then he would scream and fight like a wildcat as soon as he laid eyes on the bathtub. He was terrified of a bathtub. He would barely try to eat, but once you could get him to take a bite he would eat like he was starving. He would eat anything. No being a picky eater like most kids. Some stuff you could tell he didn’t like but he would open that little mouth like a baby bird for more anyway. He was deathly quiet, didn’t play, and all he would move at first was his eyes. His eyes saw everything though. He watched us like a little hawk.
Now there was of course lots more went on those first few months. Visits from the caseworkers, retaining a lawyer, getting shot records and a birth certificate from the mother, getting him used to us, teaching him to play and so much more. We took him to the doctor for a full checkup and had to go buy all the stuff a baby needs. We had a few friends that knew what was going on bring us stuff for him and Em’s family helped what they could but otherwise Em and I have done it all alone. We are still working on getting the rest of the money for the adoption and I don’t guess we will ever really have everything paid for, but we take it day by day. God is good. We will get through whatever comes our way.
Connor’s birth mother used to come in the store and just sit his car seat down while she shopped. She called Connor “it” or “that”. We had never heard her call him by name or even say “him”. It was sorta creepy. She had told Em that she hated him, wished he would die, that he made her skin crawl to even look at him. To be honest we thought she just had a very bad sense of humor. We never took her serious. Once, when she said something like that in front of other customers, Em pulled her aside and told her she knew she was just kidding but if she was ever to where she was going to hurt him to bring him to us and we would take him. Well, we know now she wasn’t joking. She was otherwise just a normal girl. She didn’t look or act crazy and other than the things she said about the baby no one would have ever given her a second look. I still can’t get my head wrapped around it although we’ve had Connor over a year now.
Maybe God has a plan. Maybe it’s my chance to make up for some of the mistakes I made with my other children. Maybe it’s just God answering Emily’s prayers. I don’t know. At this point I don’t even think of it. Connor is my son. Maybe not by genetic donation, but by love and by choice.
Today is Mother’s Day. I watched Em with the kids today, saw the love she has for them, the love in their eyes for her. It’s a bond so special and so pure. I’m so happy that today, my little Connorbear can have a Mom to fall asleep with. A home he can wake up to. A future.
Today he is a different kid than the one she brought home a year ago. He is a bit slow, he still can’t talk except for a few words, but he is so very much a boy! He’s loud, he is smart, he is in to everything. He plays, he runs, he pesters his sisters, he helps daddy in the garden and he picks up his toys. He hates to be covered up when he sleeps and he wants to try and dress himself and feed himself. He gets more and more independent by the day. His big Lego blocks are his favorite toys and fig newtons are his snack of choice. Watermelon is his favorite food in the world. He copies his daddy and Pa, loves to play with his Granny and uncle Boo, and his sisters are his heroes and can do no wrong. But his mommy? She’s his world.
I did have a very serious talk with Em a few days after she brought Con home though. In the years I’ve been with her she is always bringing home strays. Dogs, cats, horses, birds and reptiles of all kinds, exotic animals….
I told her I loved her. Very much. But no more strays. She finally hit my limit.
The funny part of this Mother’s Day?
Em is pregnant lol.
God is good.
This is Connor The night he came home to us;
His first birthday;
Mother’s day 2014. We had had him I think four days;