I was a freshly divorced woman in her early [30s] who was fighting to find her path four years ago. I sensed that God was calling me to be someone other than who I was at the moment. One day, I recall looking in the mirror and sobbing at the lady I saw. I was well aware that I was not the lady my heart craved. I resolved to make a positive change in my life and create a life that I could be proud of.
I moved jobs and acquired a ‘fixer upper’ over the next year. To make the house I bought into my vision, it would need a lot of work, the most of which I would have to undertake myself in order to afford it. The house was a spacious [four] bedroom home…that I told my friends at the time was meant for ‘more,’ despite the fact that I had no idea what that meant.
I received an email from my pastor at church just a few weeks after moving into my new house, in the thick of half-torn out floors, ripped out cupboards, and never-ending paint projects. To be honest, I only read them on occasion, but an instructional session regarding foster care piqued my interest this time.
I had never met anyone who had fostered children or had grown up in a foster household. I had no prior knowledge of it, but my heart felt compelled to learn more. ‘Would you go with me to attend instructional session regarding foster care?’ I asked my mother, who was assisting me with the renovations. ‘WHAT?!’ she exclaimed.
She accompanied me to the session despite numerous warnings and discouragements that this new house and new work were too much for me to manage and that fostering a child was the LAST thing I needed to be doing at the time. What I heard about foster care that evening gave me the creeps and worried me, but it also tugged at my heart in a manner I couldn’t get out of my head.
As a single full-time working woman, I continued to pray and think about taking on traumatized children. On Mother’s Day of 2015, after much thought, I completed my application and took the next step toward becoming a foster mom and embarking on a new adventure.
Fast forward a year, when my fourth foster kid, a 13-month-old newborn boy, filled my heart with delight and convinced me that I wanted a longer-term placement, possibly one that would last forever. I had primarily focused on temporary placements up until that point, but I was cautiously open to fostering-to-adopt if the opportunity arose. At my next home visit with my caseworker, I expressed my wish to be a child’s forever home (or at a minimum a long-term placement for a year or more).
Just a few weeks later, in the midst of the [workday], I received a message from my caseworker about a baby boy who had been abandoned at the hospital and was likely to be placed in a foster-to-adopt arrangement. He had been exposed to drugs but showed no indications of withdrawal and was expected to be discharged the next day. ‘I want him!’ I said as soon as I got off the phone with her. Please don’t phone anyone else for the next five minutes.’
Thankfully, my mother was eager to assist, and I walked out of the hospital with a beautiful and small 4-day-old baby barely 24 hours later. He was given the nickname ‘Baby Boy’ because his mother had abandoned him just hours after his birth and had not given him a name.
I didn’t have much time to think about names, so I glanced through the list of baby names I’d accumulated over the years and decided to give him my top pick, ‘Grayson,’ because by God’s favor, I now had a son (potentially for forever).
We searched for his mother and father for the following  months, but the information left at the hospital never led to anyone. No one responded to the newspaper ads or returned to the hospital in search of the boy who had been abandoned that day.
Part of me was relieved that no one stepped forward, ensuring that he would always be mine without opposition. But the thought of having to inform my son that no one showed up for his termination hearing gave me the pits in my stomach. No one came to investigate. Despite the fact that I had longed for and prayed for my little man since I was a child, I knew that discussion would be one I would dread for years.
“A child born to a different lady refers to me as mommy. The enormity of that tragedy and the magnitude of that honor are not lost on me.” – Landers, Jody.
Finally, on the day he became 11 months old, he was legally named Grayson, and I became a mother for the first time. That day, both excitement and anguish broke my heart, but we had no idea that our journey together was just getting started.
Grayson has developmental and physical problems as a result of his drug exposure, so even though I knew our family wasn’t complete yet, I wanted to wait until he was at least a year and a half old before bringing in another longer-term placement (which I hoped would be a girl).
Since my home was now open again, other calls and emails regarding potential placements poured in over the next few weeks, primarily for emergency short-term arrangements. Even requests for small girls were made, but my heart kept telling me that we weren’t quite ready.
I received a call from my caseworker in the midst of the [workday] less than two weeks following the adoption. She began to tell me about an emergency placement they had for a four-day-old newborn girl with drug exposure after inquiring how we were doing post-adoption.
Grayson was in the same hospital as her, and she needed to be placed that afternoon. I could feel the terror and the goosebumps running through my body. I was taken aback by the concept. However, the sensation prompted me to stay listening and think about this position. There was something unusual about this one.
The statement ‘I know I’m insane, but God is asking me to say YES’ continued flowing out of my mouth during the following 10 minutes and subsequent phone calls I made that afternoon.
The rest is basically a blur, but a newborn girl arrived at my house [four] hours later. The caseworkers who brought her to our house inspected it and informed me of what they knew about her. Because her drug exposure and physical condition were so similar to Grayson’s, I told myself, “You can do this, you’ve done it before.” We proceeded to make dinner and settle in shortly after they left. I had a young woman living with me who was assisting me in figuring out how to manage two babies, organizing food trains, and collecting donations for baby girl clothes so we could get through the following three days.
As I examined the baby girl’s bracelets, I noticed that her mother’s first name matched Grayson’s mother’s name supplied to the hospital. ‘How interesting that their mothers share the same name.’ My roommate was informed. I kept going over the hospital discharge paperwork, and when I came to her mother’s date of birth, I had to take another look. It appeared to be familiar.
I asked my roommate to watch the kids while I went to look for Grayson’s paperwork. ‘Hmmm, Grayson’s mother’s date of birth is only one day different from Grayson’s.’ My roommate and I exchanged glances, unsure if we were thinking the same thing. ‘Could their mothers be the same?’
To put things in perspective, Grayson is half-African-American, with dark curly hair and lovely darker complexion. Baby Girl has light white skin and red-blonde hair that is straight. The children did not appear to be alike at first glance. Grayson wasn’t even a year old at the time. ‘Is it even physically possible?!’ says the narrator. I had never heard of Irish twins before that evening, when I learned that it was a distinct possibility.
I immediately texted Grayson’s caseworker, informing her that I had started a new job and that she needed to be appointed as the baby’s ongoing caseworker. I confessed that I suspected the two babies were from the same mother. And, of course, she thought to herself, ‘She’s insane!’
The next day, I pressed the intake worker for any information she was permitted to share on the baby girl. The original mother was eager for visits and to reclaim custody of her daughter. We also knew her, but she was the mother of several other children, some of whom had lately been adopted in another county.
I was able to ascertain that my kid ‘might’ have been conceived and delivered sometime between the mother’s last two known children. But, once again, this lady thought I was completely insane.
So I waited with bated breath for that Friday, when I would take the Baby Girl to her first visit with her mother and see her. I was terrified; was I about to meet the mother of my adoptive son, whom I had assumed had gone missing for good?
As I rode the elevator to the second floor, I was trembling and instantly surveyed the room for possible mothers. When we were eventually introduced, I realized I was staring at my own son’s birth mother. At the same time, I had to maintain a fully normal demeanor and refrain from freaking out!
‘How many children do you have?’ I questioned her as we continued our small talk. And she replied exactly like I had wanted! There was one more than the county knew about. ‘How many guys do you have?’ I inquired. ‘How many girls are there?’
Her response confirmed what I had suspected: the missing child in the county’s records was a male. Part of me wanted to tell her everything right then and there, to divulge this tremendous secret: I thought she was my son’s mother. But, happily, I did not.
We just talked for about [five] minutes the first time we met, but she was incredibly lovely and open with me. She’d brought me candies as well as a present for Baby Girl. She shared brief glimpses into her life with me that hurt my heart.
She was just like my son in terms of beauty.
I wanted to know everything I could about this strange miracle and the mysteries around it. I needed to be certain.
Our caseworker was finally going to meet the biological mother the following week. She was cautious, thinking to herself, “This can’t be.” But, immediately after the meeting, she called me and said, ‘Katie, I think you’re right!’ Her narrative crushes my heart, and I can’t believe what I’m hearing, but I’m 90% confident you’re correct, and this is a miracle.’
‘Katie, now I am 100 [percent] sure,’ she remarked after around 45 minutes on the phone. We just located a relative of Baby Girl with the last name she gave with Grayson’s birth.’ As I hung up the phone, I sobbed in the middle of the job-site office.
What if I had declined? What if I’d said yes to one of the other placements I’d been offered only days before? What if Baby Girl had been adopted by a different family? We would have never found her or Grayson’s mother if it hadn’t been for her.
The link would never have been discovered! The miracle that had just occurred astounded me. God’s plan had been in the works all along, but I had no idea what it was.
I had the oddest feeling the day I said ‘Yes’ to taking the Baby Girl. I don’t believe I had ever genuinely sensed [an] irrefutable call from God until that moment (or whatever higher spirit you personally might believe in). My intellect was telling me to say ‘no,’ because it didn’t make sense and wasn’t in my plans, but something inside me kept compelling me to say ‘yes.’
It’s a true miracle, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity… Whatever you want to call it, the fact that my children discovered each other is incredible. Hannah joined our family on December 28, 2018, and Grayson’s tale has been permanently changed now that he has another partner in crime who will always be a part of his life.
And our experience continues since, 13 months after Hannah’s birth, their birth mother gave birth to another baby boy, whom we are currently fostering in the hopes of adopting in 2019!