I believe that every person that comes into your life comes for a specific reason. Sometimes we don’t know until years later why we had certain associations that lasted only a few months or just a year or two. All who have touched my life – for good or bad – have helped to make me who I am.
Marcus came to our family as a foster baby when we lived in Miami. He was born premature and fit into the palm of the doctor’s hand. Marcus also had necrotizing enterocolitis or NEC which is common for premature babies. Part of the treatment, while waiting for his body to heal, included a bag attached to his stomach to catch his stools. (I remember it was stinky!)
Because he was premature, Marcus was put in the NICU for several months. His Haitian mother would come to visit him, but because of the language barrier and other factors she really didn’t understand what his prognosis was. She thought that he was dead. She eventually stopped coming to see Marcus. She just disappeared.
Through a series of events my parents brought him home – several months after my brother Jon was born. Marcus and Jon were only a couple months apart so it was like having twins! We loved seeing the differences – and similarities between those two. Their skin color (obviously) was like night and day. They both had curly hair. And their giggles were contagious.
We had Marcus for two years. After the first year his colostomy was closed as his intestines were healed. Then when my mother was pregnant with my youngest sister, Rebecca, she experienced a great deal of physical difficulty. Marcus was placed in another foster home. About a week or so after that he was scalded by bath water that was too hot. He ended up in the burn unit.
I don’t quite remember the time line of what happened when. But I do know my parents tried to adopt Marcus. The day of the proceedings the court room door opened and there stood a black Haitian woman, Marcus’ mother! They looked so much alike there was no mistaking who she was. The social worker who had been assigned to her case after having Marcus had not been doing a proper job. A new worker had been assigned and there she was. My parents felt they had no right to take away her baby, one she thought had died. Marcus went home with his mother, but because so much time had passed she was never able to connect with him. Can you imagine what it would be like to be told after two years that the baby you thought had died was actually alive? And she was so poor. She just wasn’t able to take care of Marcus. He was eventually adopted by a nurse who fell in love with him while caring for him in the burn unit at the hospital.
I still think of Marcus often. I wonder how he is doing, where he is at. He was too little to remember us. But I hope that somehow he knows that for the first two years of his life he was loved.
“Sometimes people who come into your life, make changes in you. Because you always take a little part of them with you into the future. We are all made up of bits and pieces of those whose lives touch ours. ” ~ Rodger Austin ~