“See ya mom, I am going to the mall.” Susan closed the door and headed to meet her friend Carol. They’d planned to spend their entire paychecks on a girl’s day out shopping trip.
“I don't know what I am going to buy, Carol,” Susan said, when the two met at the mall entrance. “There are so many good sales. Did you see what Julie was wearing last night? It looked great on her.” Susan hustled through the mall to their favorite store.
“Yes, I know! It made her look like she’d lost ten pounds. Hey, look at the sweaters over there.” Carol picked one and held it up for Susan to admire.
As Susan browsed through the stack of sweaters, Carol nudged her. “Look at that little girl.”
Susan glanced up to find the saddest expression she’d ever seen staring back at her. Yearning filled the child’s eyes.
“She keeps looking at us,” Carol whispered.
“Maybe she is lost.” Susan draped a sweater over her arm and turned to leave. “Oh, well. Let's go.” She wanted to get away from the girl’s tragic eyes and forget the whole thing.
“No, Susan. There is something about her. I can't keep my eyes off her. She needs us.”
“She is not our problem, Carol. Come on.”
“No, I have got to make sure she is alright.” Carol walked over and knelt in front of the little girl. “I noticed you are here by yourself. Where are your parents?”
The little girl’s eyes grew round and her lip quivered.
Carol prompted her. “My name is Carol. What’s yours?”
The child’s whisper was almost inaudible, “Cathy.”
“Hi, Cathy. Where are your parents? Maybe we can find them.”
“They are gone. They said they couldn't take care of me anymore. Rivulets coursed down the little girl’s cheeks. “They cried when they said goodbye. I have lost my mommy and daddy.” She sobbed uncontrollably.
Carol put her arms around her, then wiped her tears, “I will help you. Let's see if we can find someone to help us.”
Carol met up with Susan and explained the situation. “What should we do? She looks like she’s only about five years old. Should we go to the police?” Susan nodded and led the way to the mall security office.
Several months later, Carol still woke up at night, thinking of little Cathy. She couldn’t get the child out of her mind and often worried about her. She’d learned through the local child services agency that Cathy had been placed in a foster home, but she still couldn’t stop thinking of her. She knew she would never see the abandoned girl, again.
One day, while walking through the park, Carol saw Cathy. Without a moment’s hesitation, she ran up and hugged her. “ Hi, Cathy! How are things going?”
Cathy smiled. “The people I live with are nice to me, and I am going to school, now.” Then her face clouded, and she lowered her voice. “They are having money problems right now, and they said they might have to see if I can go to another foster home.”
Just then, Cathy’s foster parents walked up to them. “May we help you?” the woman said, protectively taking Cathy’s hand.
Carol introduced herself, and she talked for about an hour with Susan, while Carol played on the swings with her foster father.
“We love Cathy, but my husband has lost his job, and we cannot maintain a foster home anymore, even with the money they give us. We simply can’t support Cathy, plus our own three children. It breaks my heart. Do you know of anyone who would be able to take her in?”
Carol’s heart leapt.
“She is such a sweet child,” Susan continued. “She feels abandoned and scared. She has been seeing a therapist, and she’s progressing well. I am afraid what this change will do to her.” The woman dabbed at her eyes.
Carol cried along with her. She took the woman’s hand in her own. “Let me go home and sleep on the idea, and see what I can come up with. Cathy needs a stable and consistent home, right now.”
Eleven years later, Cathy took the podium during her high school graduation to give her valedictorian speech. “You never know where life will lead you,” she said. “I thank God every day for leading me to a woman who would forever change my life.”
Carol sat in the audience, a proud adoptive mother. She squeezed Susan’s hand. Susan had made a wonderfully supportive godmother to Carol, and she knew she’d never have made it as a single mother to Cathy, without the woman’s help.
To make a long story short- this was how I met Cathy. She is now my daughter and going to college. She is doing very well, and wants to help other children who are the same situation she was in. I learned that you just never know where life will lead you. Susan has become the God parent to Cathy and has been a great support for her. Susan has learned there is much more to life than malls and sales. We have both matured and have started going to a church with Cathy. We might never have wanted to follow Jesus if it hadn;t have been for Cathy.