A short story by Cece Poister
As a doctors wife, back in the 60’s, it was deemed inappropriate to have a paying job, which left me bored and restless for something to do. I had one child at the time and that was not enough to keep my busy. So, after some discussion with my husband and the Children and Youth Department, we decided to become foster parents to delinquent girls. The girls stayed with us, one at a time, usually to transition from a delinquency center back to their home.
Mary came to us from her home. Her parents had pulled her from school because she was pregnant and they were embarrassed for her to be seen. She had been locked her in her bedroom and forbidden to be out. The school noticed her absence, intervened and she was placed with us.
Mary was about three months pregnant and rather quiet. It was September and we got her into school. Because my younger sisters were her age she had immediate friends, which helped. As time moved on, she became more outgoing and cheerful. She had doctors appointments along with the homework. One of the things we decided to do was help her get her drivers license. With her growing belly it was proving to be a bit difficult and funny.
As time for the birth started to draw near, I asked her what she had planned for her and the baby. She told me she was not going to keep the baby and wanted to put it up for adoption. What she didn’t like was the process of the baby going to foster care until that happened.
I lived in the small town of Beaver so almost everyone knew what was going on. One of my friends, who had three children, expressed an interest in adopting. So, she and I began the paper process in case Mary opted for direct adoption.
Finally the day in spring arrived and Mary had her baby boy. It was Easter week. I asked her if she wanted to see the baby and she said no. I then told her I had a family that would like to adopt and would take her son directly instead of the slower foster care process. She told me she needed time to think about all of it. I left her the paperwork and went home.
It was Good Friday as I waited for her decision. About three o’clock she called and told me she had signed the paperwork for the direct adoption. I called the adopting family to tell them to go and get their new son.
About ten minutes later I got a call from the hospital telling me that the family could not legally take the child and since Mary had signed the paperwork she could not leave with the child.
Now what? After a call to Children and Youth Services, it was determined that a neutral third party had to be the one to get the baby and I qualified. So, with the case worker driving, we went to get the baby for delivery to his another adoptive family. I called the family to tell them we would be there in about half an hour.
As we drove to Beaver from Rochester hospital, I sat in the front seat holding the baby (back then there were no laws about child seats). As we turned onto the block where the family lived, I was amazed. The block was lined with neighbors holding balloons and flowers welcoming the new child. The adopting family was on the porch waiting with their three anxious children in tow.
I handed him over and we left them to their celebration. My heart was with Mary.
The adopting mother had asked me to write a letter to their new son explaining why he was adopted and some things about his mother. I delivered that the next day.
Mary went directly home to her parents. School was coming to an end and so was our time with Mary.
We stayed in touch somewhat. I know she is married now with children of her own. I also know that she made the toughest decision of her life and I admire her for that.
There is not a Good Friday that passes without me thinking about Mary and the bold decision she made.