Samuel Jerome and Richnightder

Samuel Jerome and Richnightder
Our boys in Haiti

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Everyone has a story

It's true.  Everyone does have a story.  All stories have a beginning, a middle and a conclusion.  Sometimes I feel like I have so many stories in my life to share, that I don't even know where to start.  Most of us know our stories.  You know where your story begins, and you are in the midst of living the middle portion of your story.

Two of my four kids have stories with a beginning.  Two of my kids do not.  For one of my kids, that means not knowing about the stresses and abuses he was exposed to in utero and ad-libbing the first 2 weeks of life.  For one of my other sons, we know nothing about his first 3 years of life other than he was abandoned at an abusive, neglectful orphanage.  For him, his story begins at the age of 3.

Of course in reality, both their stories begin before their first breath.  This is where it gets sticky for me.  I know one of my boys had a rough start from the moment of conception.  His little developing body was exposed to substances that will forever affect the way he interacts and interprets the world around him.  For my other little guy, his body was exposed to a disease in utero that had the potential to cause devastating effects upon not just his musculoskeletal system, but also his brain, heart and other vital organs.  Chances are his birthmom didn't even have a clue she carried this disease.  Their stories have very difficult beginnings to share with them.  What's even harder is that while Thomas knew his birthmom's name and had a picture of her, her death meant he would never hear the story of his beginning from the one and only person who could tell it.  For Jerome, we cannot offer ANY information to him about his birthmom or dad.

His story is unknown.  I can't imagine how that would feel; to not know the story of your birth.  To not know how he came to be left at an orphanage in a very dangerous part of Port-au-Prince.  He wonders what her name is.  He asks what she looks like and how old she is.  For all those profoundly important questions, we tell him we honestly don't know the answer, but strive to give him information that makes him feel good about himself.

Today, he asked me again what his birthmom looked like.  I told him I don't know, but that I am sure she had his happy eyes and brilliant smile.  Other questions are harder to answer.  He wants to know how old she is and where she lives now.  He also wants to plan a trip to visit her in Haiti.  At his age, he isn't connecting the dots that it will be impossible to locate a woman who is nameless, who left nothing behind, but an infant boy.  He still enjoys making believe about seeing her someday.  That's cool with us, but hurts us to know that eventually, he'll realize it's futile.

Everyone has a story.  Sadly, not everyone can tell their story.  Huge, critical pieces are missing.  Do those missing pieces leave permanent holes in their hearts?  I know for me, it would. For my boys, I'm not so sure.  I know that no matter how much I love them, a piece of themselves....their beginning .... is missing forever.  There are no do-overs, no second chances.  You get what you get.  My hope is that the rest of their lives are SO amazing, the beginning is not as important.  I can never give them that part of 'their story' but hope to high heaven that the rest of their story can begin here, at home, in my heart forever.

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