My baby boy, Jerome turned 7 yesterday. I am admittedly a lot sad by this. Although he's 7, it's only his second birthday. One of the gazillion bad things about having been an orphan is that your real birthdate is unknown and the biggest, suckiest thing is that living in a creche, no one takes the time to celebrate your birthday.
When Gina found Jerome, dying of disease and severely malnourished in that horrible orphanage in Port-au-Prince, she saved his life that day, by taking him to her creche, the one we were working with. He was placed on antibiotics for 30 days, fed 3 LARGE meals a day, loved, bathed, educated and had consistency in his daily life for the first time in his short life. Gina randomly made up a birthdate and chose February 13th which is the day before her own birthday and her son's birthday.
What's coincidental about that is that Marc's birthday is Valentine's Day and now our youngest son, Jerome is the day before Marc's. Somethings are just meant to be.
Marc is celebrating his birthday by going to work like every other day. Which secrets be told, he loves. Tonight we'll have a pork roast if it defrosts in enough time. Lack of planning on my part for that little boo-boo. And since it's Valentine's day, he might just get lucky!
Back to my little Jerome. Yesterday at church everyone at the 8:30 service sang happy birthday to him and he was tickled. We also brought 100 homemade cupcakes to share with all the Sunday School classes as of course, he has friends in all of them. He'll have a kid party as soon as the weather warms up because he wants a swimming party at the water park which is a smidgen impractical when the weather is snowy.
Jerome is amazing for many reasons, but the most impressive is that this kid should be riddled with massive issues regarding attachment, anger, loss, PTSD, you name it, he should be burdened with it. Before he came home, we prepared thoroughly for all the issues he might have dumped on us. What we found was a kid who was just so damn happy to have a family of his own he jumped at the chance and relishes everything a family is. He is firmly attached, understands that a mom and a dad love differently than an aunt/uncle/friend, etc. and knows that family is forever. He beams everytime I tell him I love him and randomly hugs me and says he loves me and loves his family. I feel pretty confident that as it approaches the 2 year mark of his homecoming, Jerome has miraculously avoided the myriad of problems that he by all rights, should have had.
I believe his happy, generous soul is a gift from God. I believe he had angels watching over him and that his life has a fundamental purpose here on this planet. If anything, he has served a purpose by filling this family with a sense of joy and the ability to laugh at nonsense. While God gets the biggest atta-boy for Jerome's good nature, the creche of the Infant Jesus also gets a huge credit.
The kids there were taken care of, fed, bathed (twice a day), had clean clothes, clean beds, an immaculate large facility, playground, a fantastic teacher, healthcare, to include Jerome's opthamologist and eyeglasses, and nannies that cuddled and kissed boo-boos. Granted some of the discipline was done in Haitian style, but somehow, out of the 70+ kids that came home from our creche, I know of only 1 that has RADish issues. One nanny was Atilla the Hun by my standards and my boys dislike her with a passion, but even with Elta's pa bon behavior, the kids flourished inside a cement walled oasis of calm predictability. Outside, daily life in Haiti stumbled on, but our kids were somehow insulated enough to allow them a semblence of normalcy.
No orpahange is a good substitute for a forever family, but for my youngest son, who never even knew what a family was until 22 months ago, he was given a second chance at life and a family when Gina saved him and brought him out of misery and certain death to her creche. What inconsequential occurrences led to Jerome's path connecting with ours? How could I have been so lucky to have crossed paths with this little soul so full of trust and hope? I don't begin to understand the master plan of my life, but I do know that all 4 of my kids were gifts from God and were destined to be my kids even before I was a twinkle in my mom's eye.
I often wonder about Jerome's birthmom. I will never, ever know who she is, how old she was, or if she is still alive. I look at my little boy and see a happy, smiling face and wonder if that came from his first mama? Was she a contented soul like he is? If she is still alive, I hope she feels in her heart and gut, that her sweet baby boy is a true treasure to a family far, far away.
My baby was 7 yesterday, and yet it's only the second birthday of his life. I've missed so much and yet look forward to his future anxiously. I wonder what great and joyous things lie ahead for him?