... a baby boy was born. He weighed barely 5 lbs and had already had an uphill battle to life... with his prenatal months marked by his young mother's cocaine and alcohol binges. Life continued to be difficult and unpredictable after he was born, he wasn't fed regularly and what he was fed (milk mixed with strawberry Nestle's Quik) he wasn't able to digest. He was rarely bathed, and was cared for by whoever his mother had left him with at the time.
When he was 7 1/2 months old he was removed from his birthmother's care and came to us... We were foster parents, with three beautiful healthy daughters of our own and no desire to adopt, just to give back from our many blessings. At the time he came to us, the baby weighed only 11 lbs and was as floppy as a newborn. He was so dirty that despite a long warm bath and plenty of baby bath soap, he still had grime ground into his legs, arms, and even his tiny hands.
He cried a lot... for hours every night... and his poor little GI system struggled to digest anything... he vomited up every formula I tried until I finally found a pre-digested formula that he was able to keep down.
Assessments, therapies and interventions followed... occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy... and he grew and thrived.
(His 1st birthday)
His birthmom only saw him once after he was placed with us, then she left the state.... leaving all four of her small children (aged infant to 5 years) in various foster homes. She didn't relinquish her rights, instead she just left... knowing the kids would stay in foster care for the months to years it took for her parental rights to be involuntarily terminated so they could be adopted.
(Our young family back in 1992, from left K (5), E (12), B (8), and M (10 months)
The diagnoses followed the assessments, therapies and interventions... each diagnosis a blow in itself, but all the more so piled one on top of each other over the years that followed. Each one a blow to us because we had fallen in love with this sweet, challenging, happy (but needy) little person. He became part of our family, legally, through adoption, when he was not quite 3 years old.
That sweet, challenging, happy baby we first fell in love with back in 1992 has grown up. Our M is still sweet, challenging and happy (and needy!)... but he's no longer a baby... he's 21 years old today.
I am so blessed to be his mother, he has taught me so much... about love, perseverance, faith, and about holding onto a sunny attitude despite whatever challenges life brings... about the goodness of people, and the strength of the human spirit. What a journey it's been...
Happy Birthday M, we love you!