In honor of November being National Adoption Awareness Month, Portrait of an Adoption is hosting the third annual acclaimed series, 30 Adoption Portraits in 30 Days. Designed to give a voice to the many different perspectives of adoption, this series will feature guest posts by people with widely varying experiences.
He Was A Broken Baby Who Got A Second Chance At Life
By Daphnee Germann
My background with the boy who is now my husband is important to our story.
I was a sophomore in high school, completely smitten by a junior who went to a rival school. He had red hair, and I always had butterflies when he came around. We dated for as long as time would allow, until he had to move two hours away during my junior year. I was a very inexperienced driver, so my parents did not allow me to travel to see him, plus I was unable to miss school, work, and practice for sports, so ultimately we broke up but remained close.
Now fast forward to the age of 25. I found out he got a girl pregnant and secretly my heart sank. I found myself being jealous, but how could I be? I had my own daughter at the ripe age of 18, and I was raising her as a single mom. So I sucked up my pride and congratulated my ex-boyfriend on his new baby boy over Facebook. Four months after the baby was born, the couple began having trouble, which many couples tend to do when they have a child before really getting to know one another. And guess who he called? That’s right . . . yours truly.
I was having a hard time myself, trying to get over the end of a year-and-a-half relationship with a man who ran me through the gutter and walked out of my life. So I told my ex-boyfriend that I was sorry, but this was not the right time, and I was in NO SHAPE to give any advice to anyone on a relationship. Two months went by, and I hadn’t heard so much as a peep from my red haired friend. Then all the sudden a message on Facebook popped up!
I found myself nervous and somewhat relieved that he finally contacted me again. I was scared to open it and see what he had to say but I did anyways…..Turns out I got the slick line “I got a new phone -- can I have your number?” I sent a simple reply with my phone number (mainly because I did not want to overkill the situation or show my true interest). Within hours, he was texting me and calling on a nightly basis. After two weeks, he asked for a second chance and offered to take me out to eat. He was willing to drive the two hours to see me, and reluctantly I agreed (I had zero trust in men after my last relationship and no interest in starting a new one). We went out, and I made him meet ALL of my friends, because they are like family, and if they do not like him, then I cannot date him. Tthey more than liked him, and I got my blessings from each one of them. It was the best date ever!
We decided to try our relationship again; after all these years, the feelings were still like those in high school. He wanted out of city life and wanted to get his new son away from a mother who was neglecting the baby and who was mentally unstable. So we took the leap and moved in together after all it seemed perfect, my daughter adored him and we both wanted the same things in life. This is where the real story begins…..
We had tried for several weeks to get his young son, and his mother changed her number, blocked us from Facebook, and denied us anytime with his son whatsoever. After about three months of trying and being unsuccessful at making contact, the phone rang…..IT WAS HER! She called to let us know that Children Protective Services had taken their son from her due to severe neglect, and Court was meeting the very next day. She said that if we wanted custody of the baby boy, we had to be present. My then-fiance went down immediately and explained to the judge our living situation, the jobs that we had, and that we were engaged to be married. Ultimately, the judge ruled in our favor and gave us emergency custody – the boy’s mother did not like the ruling and ran out of court before it was even finished. The judge then ordered a mental health assessment which was to be completed in one year’s time, and if the mother wanted visitations, they were to be supervised in our county.
When we got the little boy home and settled, we realized that this was not going to be easy. The baby had breathing problems; he was underfed; he was behind on ALL his shots (hadn’t been to the doctor since he was 3 months old); his head was cocked to the side from riding in a car all the time; he had SEVERE separation anxiety; he didn’t know how to play; and he had a somber look on his face at all times.
He was a broken baby and it broke my heart. For two months, our life was stressful and very off kilter -- maybe it was because I was long past parenting during the baby stages and didn’t have time to prepare for a baby again, or maybe it was the mere fact we had CPS in and out – taking notes, doing random visits, and looking at every inch of our small home to see if we were fit.
Six months later, we were granted full custody, but I have still not been able to adopt him. His bio mom calls when she feels momentary guilt, but the calls quickly turn to her blaming me for her problems and saying I took her son. He was given to me; I did not take him, and he was given to me because she did not protect him. The day that CPS took him, he was naked, filthy, and uncared-for. Before that, she had left him with her coworkers and disappeared for three weeks.
I have been there for every birthday, every bump/bruise, and milestone in his life so far, and I will continue to do so. He calls me mom, and although it is difficult at times, I do feel as though we are blessed and lucky he came into our lives when he did. His bio mother promises that when I finally meet her, I can adopt him. She wants to know me, the woman who is going to raise her son. I struggle with meeting her, because she neglected this poor child and took his innocence away early. His mother also has a six-year-old daughter that she lost custody of prior to having our son, and after him, she had a third child she birthed and gave up for adoption. I do everything a mother does, and he is in a stable home – we go to church on Sundays, he has his own room in our NEW home, and he is potty trained.
God has helped me make peace with the situation, and when the money is there, we will pursue adoption or find a lawyer that will actually return my phone call concerning this type of case. Our story is far from over and being a step parent is hard but being the only mom he knows is even harder. I love him, will always support him and love him, and when the time arises to explain what happened when he was younger, I will do the best I can to explain this was for the best and he is who is because we wanted to give him the life he deserved.
Daphnee Germann is a proud 28-year-old mom of two and a graduate with associates in business management.
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