I haven't mentioned this here before, for various reasons. But way back in May, when we first started visiting with Olivia's birthmother, face-to-face, we also met her sister, who was pregnant and thinking about the possibility of placing the baby for adoption. It was a huge long shot, given her state of mind, but we made ourselves available just in case.
Well, that baby was born this week, on Monday, and his mother is keeping him. We think. Given her life circumstances, it's entirely possible that he will end up in foster care and be lost to her and to us. (I'm not judging, I'm just stating the odds. Her track record with babies and legal troubles and foster care is not good. This is not her first baby.) But she is determined to get her life together and to raise this baby. And it's her decision to make. I just pray she can get it together and be the Mommy that her son needs.
We've been communicating our support to her through her sister for months, and last week Samantha called us to invite us to come to the hospital on Monday to visit with her sister and meet the baby. Samantha explained that her sister asked us to visit...not because she wanted to place the baby for adoption, but just because she wanted us to meet him and she wanted to see Olivia.
At first, I didn't know what to think about this. In some weird way, we are a part of this family and they a part of ours, but it still didn't seem to make sense. And then I realized...our little family of three is quite likely the closest thing to a stable family that this new mother has ever experienced. Her own growing-up years were tainted with the kind of examples that inclined her to make the kind of choices she has made as an adult. She has screwed up, repeatedly. And now, as she starts over with a new baby, maybe she just wanted a glimpse of something different and stable as a model for her new life.
And she wanted to see Olivia, her flesh-and-blood niece. Because who wouldn't? She's a fabulous kid!
So, we visited, we held the baby, we encouraged the mother and visited with Samantha. It was strange, knowing that this baby wouldn't be ours but feeling a connection and concern for him nonetheless. He is our daughter's flesh-and-blood relative, and we will be praying for him and his mother and the many challenges they will need to overcome in the days ahead.