I was in college when my parents got the call. There was a special needs child who needed a home. To say “special needs” is such an understatement in her case.
C was nine years old. She had cerebral palsy and was fed through a g-tube. Her parents didn’t have electricity and so they would sometimes run an electrical extension cord from the neighbors to her medical equipment. Sometimes.
She barely weighed thirty pounds. She was forced to live in a closet. Unmentionable things were done to her by family members.
She was deprived of so much of basic necessity that it was speculated that she could have been a little more normal had anyone shown her love.
She screamed in terror if anyone in our family touched her. She had no reason to trust anyone.
I would see her on the weekends and could identify her transformations. Her weight gain was the most obvious improvement, but the one that stands out the most to me was this: I had to help my mum rock her. C craved to be constantly cradled in our arms like a newborn and would cry if she was left alone. What a one-eighty.
She had such a pleasant personality that she eventually shared with us all. She was such a delight and taught me a valuable life lesson. We’ll always treasure the six years we had with her.
Due to the nature of her abuse, her parents’ rights were terminated. In fact, they lost custody of all of their children. The agency wanted C to have a permanent home, and she was advertised to prospective adoptive parents across the state. Finally a couple came forward and all the pieces were coming together for her to be adopted.
My mum emailed me an update of her status on November 9th, 2008. Here is an excerpt: “There is a possibility that [C] will be with us through the holiday season. This I will learn tomorrow. She goes to that family for six months as a foster child for them to decide if they truly want her, are able to care for her. There must be something very special about them to be so caring. They came across her photo on an adoption website. I am most happy for [C] and this new chapter in her life. Also know that my arms will miss holding her close.”
That very night, she passed away in her sleep.
People want to know how I seem to always have a smile on my face. I tell them it was because of C. If she could endure everything that happened to her, and if she could still find a way to smile, then I had no excuse not to.
This is the second of a three-part series where I remember my foster siblings. To read about A, my first foster sister, please click here.