Saturday, April 22, 2006

Carl's Mom

Pajama Mama got her birth certificate for DramaChild (see blogroll for link). Very cool.

She also expresses the mixed feelings that many of us who raise children birthed by someone else. We are so grateful that we have these kids in our lives, and feel sad that our childrens’ birth parents did not get the privilege of them.

I have had different feelings about the parents of my children. Today I thought I would talk about Carl’s.

Carl’s parents met after most of his mother’s children were grown, or nearly so. She worked in a hotel and he played in the steel drum band. They knew each other for a couple of years, were close, had a baby, and never felt the need to get married. Carl says his mother spoke of him with affection. Eventually the steel drum band went back to Belize and Carl’s mother moved across the country. They wrote letters for a while.

Carl’s mom developed emphysema. He spent more and more time out of school taking care of her. Eventually social services got involved and his mother agreed to put him in a foster home for school weeks and he came to see her only on weekends. When I met him he was in his second foster home and his mother had only a few more months to live. I went to church one day to hear, “Did you hear that B & J’s foster son’s mother died?” “Oh. No. How sad.”

Carl was in my Sunday School class the next year. He was a great kid. He was one of the youth who would volunteer to work in the nursery when there was a potluck or something at the church. Andrew and Brian really liked him so I started asking him to do short babysitting jobs for us. Carl was just 14 then.

When his foster parents broke up, we took him. That story I have already written.

They tried to find his father. Carl has a name on a birth certificate, a couple of photographs, and one letter from when he was nine. All the evidence indicates that this man would have wanted to know that his son was orphaned. Maybe Carl would not have moved to Belize, but I know he would have wanted to at least visit. He knows that he has half siblings in Belize. He has one photo of his father with his sister at her wedding.

I was lucky to start out with Carl. He definitely has issues. His mother started getting sick when he was quite young. He lost too much of his childhood taking care of her. He was allowed to be an irresponsible child while being forced to be a responsible adult. At the same time though he was a loved and cherished child. By the time he came to me, he had had a chance to mourn and was ready to love a second mommy. He was happy to let Hubby be his dad.

Every summer, in July, I remember this is the month that Carl’s mother died. I no longer remember the date, but I remember the month and I think about her. I would like to send her a letter,

Dear Carl’s Mom,
Look how well our boy is turning out! He is growing into a strong young man. Thank you for sharing him with me. It is a privilege to be able to be the second mother to your son.

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