“Hey, there kids! Havin’ a picnic breakfast out here this mornin’?” Passing the open dry cereal box back and forth, the two grungy, little girls nodded, cheeks bulging like chipmunks. I stepped around them and pushed the Post Office door open but wondered where the baby was, not to mention the children’s mother since she wasn’t anywhere in sight. These little, neglected rag-a-muffins broke my heart every time I saw them. Both turned to smile up at me as I exited the building.
“My baby sister’s in the car,” the oldest girl announced, pointing to the vehicle parked at the curb 20 yards away. “Her was sleeping so Mama left her there and told us to wait outside.” The bright red hair of this darling freckle-faced four-year-old was sticky with remnants of another mealtime, some of which dotted her simple cotton shift.
Walking over to the vehicle, I found the infant filthy, asleep on the backseat of the car. A lump swelled in my throat, my gaze resting on the baby, grimy, light brunette hair splayed across the side of her tiny face, her only attire a soggy diaper squished against the seatback. “Oh, Jesus, can’t you help these kids?”
“This here’s Jamie and I’m Deni. Her don’t talk so I talk for her.” Jamie was the cutest little African-American two-year-old, tightly kinked jet-black curls capping her precious little head. Like Deni, Jamie needed a bath and, to my shame, I was relieved that they had not reached up to shake my hand as kids here so often did. I was on my way to work, running late.
I glanced in the rearview mirror when I reached my corner turn; the little girls were still waving good-bye. Painfully burning eyes let go a deluge of tears as I pleaded with God. “Someone has got to do something, Lord! Won’t You, please, help these kids?” His answer changed my life.
Two days later, as requested, I turned into the motel’s designated parking slot; the cries of children poured out of the open door. A quick glance around the small room revealed the silent six-month-old Susie dangling in the doorway swing between the sink and the beds, bottle full of sour, curdled milk on the floor. A sobbing Deni sat on the edge of one bed, pulling on the sheriff’s arm and pleading for him to let go of Jamie. Jamie screamed at full volume but still managed to keep the lower half of her tiny body under the bed.
“Please, Sheriff, let go of her.” He was scaring me, too. “Let me speak with her, please.”
“Her’s just scared.” I wrapped my arm around the little shoulders and grabbed for a tissue to wipe Deni’s tear-streaked cheeks.
“It’s okay, Deni. The Sheriff isn’t used to little girls; he doesn’t want to hurt Jamie.”
“Why’s he pullin’ on ‘er like that then?” I reached out with my free arm and touched the officer, my pleading eyes boring into his. He released Jamie and stepped back, making room for me on the floor.
“Hi, Jamie. You girls are going to come stay at my house today. Did your mother tell you?” Both little heads nodded. “Did she leave with the deputy?” Again, the nods, silent tears falling down all three faces now. “I’m gonna take Susie out of the swing but I’ll need you and Deni to help me find your things. Can you come out and help us, Jamie?” The lovely, sorrow-filled, ebony face whipped over to check with Deni, who smiled her approval.
Just one evening confirmed what I had been told: Deni was in charge, Jamie thrived on being able to help with the baby, and they both lived for the giggles and laughter of little Susie. In short, they needed to stay together.
“I can easily find a place for Susie but I am still trying to find homes for the older two.” The Social Worker was kind but not hopeful.
“These little kids know hunger, filth, fear, abuse, and abandonment as part of their daily lives. The only joy they share is being together, their only certainty their bond of love. What will happen to them if you send them to three different homes?” I pleaded.
“I know; I’m sorry. Any ideas?”
And, that’s exactly how a single, 27-year-old Hospital Administrator suddenly became
the mother of three incredibly wonderful children, the eldest of whom quickly learned the correct use of the third person, feminine possessive pronoun, her.
Author’s Note: This is my true story, though I have changed the names of those incredibly wonderful children, who loved a book entitled, Daddy, Mommy, and Baby Make Three.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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