One of the most painful and profound moments of my life happened two years ago. I found out suddenly that my younger sister had a baby none of us knew about. As if this wasn’t painful enough, I was also informed that our neighbor and trusted family friend of more than 10 years had arranged and profited from the adoption of my niece. I immediately drove to my parent’s house three hours away. I looked out of the window the whole way, sick, and silently having severe anxiety.
A few minutes after we arrived, my mother, sister and I went into the guests’ bedroom and sat on the day bed. Before we could even speak, six arms went in all directions as we didn’t have time to think. We all began crying, but in a way that is almost indescribable. As my sister hugged my mother’s front, I collapsed onto her back, my body feeling drained and weak.
I closed my eyes and rocked back and forth with the two of them, not knowing if it was my own hurt or feeling theirs that was making it hard for me to breathe. For the first time in my life, I cried from the depths of my soul. I never physically hurt so badly. I had only seen my mom cry a few restrained tears in my whole life, and feeling her shaking, and hearing the hurt and desperation in her voice as she wept and pleaded with God, and asked him why and how, broke my heart.
I felt the room spinning as a million thoughts ran through my mind. It was like my life was flashing before my eyes, my past, and my future that was now tragically altered. I cried harder and harder as I thought of all the things that were taken from me. I would never be called auntie, never be able to paint her toes, watch her sleep, snuggle her face, or hold her close in my arms. I thought of never being able to take her to the zoo, the library, the park. It was like I saw her instantly growing up in my mind, and the more I realized all that I would miss, the more it hurt.
The mood was surreal. I felt my heart pounding, my muscles tightening. It was two days before Thanksgiving, just a day before our family was planning dinner and now extreme circumstances were put upon us. I heard my sister crying out she didn’t know how to tell us she was having a baby, she was so scared, she just kept repeating those few statements over and over.
I was so overcome from emotions, my body felt like it was burning. All I could think was that it was a nightmare, no way could this be happening. I had never even heard of a story anything like this, and here it was, adoption and it’s destruction right before our very eyes. I couldn’t help but pray that God would take me away at that moment because the thought of the future and all that was to come was just too much.
For a brief moment I opened my eyes and saw my father. He could hardly see us through the doorway, a look on his face I had never seen before. I saw a fire rising up inside of him. I saw that he was barely able to stand. He turned around and a moment later I heard the front door open and close softly. I heard his truck and him driving away. I knew in my heart why he left. The sight of the three women in his life clinging to each other with everything they had was more than he could handle.
With one look I felt his pain, as he was a father, husband, and head of the family and there was nothing he could do. He couldn’t understand it, deal with it, or take it away. I have never seen the same look on his face before or since.
Until that day in that back bedroom with my mom and sister, I hadn’t ever contemplated a situation as painful as this. Our world had changed in an instant. My vision was different after I cleaned my face and wiped the still flowing tears from my puffy eyes.
I walked out of that room, wiser. Wiser of the world, it’s ways, and the people in it. We were all betrayed by someone we all trusted. I babysat this woman’s kids, and she gave away one of ours. The more we found out, the more we realized that this was set up not by my sister, but by our neighbor, her lawyer friend, and a very deceptive social worker. We knew to prepare for a long, painful, and exhausting battle.
I walked outside and hugged my kids. I held onto them so tight, so bitter and angry that a woman with an agenda robbed my sister of the fruit of her womb and the God-given right to her child. I never realized or completely understood what family meant until that day. How important it is to love each other everyday as if it were our last, and stick together for day-to-day life. I thought of how we’d ever be able to make it without our baby, a part of us being raised by strangers. Would she want to know us, could we get her back? Why did all this happen? Was there something I could have done? I felt my body again begin to shake.
That day my life forever changed. That day I began to slow down. I prayed a little longer, wished a little harder, and decided to become the person I always wanted to be. It hurts me to think of all the pain and heartache my sister felt and will always feel. The baby sister I tried to protect, not knowing that all these years we were looking at the enemy every time we opened the front door.
The baby sister that was terrified to tell us of her pregnancy, that was basically thrown out by our neighbor after her baby was gone, and had to live in her car for a week, not knowing where to turn. Alone, afraid, cold, having just given birth, no counseling whatsoever.
All of this having taken place in 28 days as she had hidden and denied her pregnancy until her eighth month. She was under extreme duress, barely eighteen years old, having just been taken advantage of by a bunch of vultures after her baby.
My sister had always looked up to me, she watched everything I did. I never would’ve thought she would be the one to have shown me everything I ever needed to know about life. The one that would be the one to open my eyes. She has been my inspiration, my baby sister with her loving, trusting, naïve heart. Her innocence stolen.
I want everyone to know how our hearts broke that day. How much pain we felt, and how much pain we’re still in, being in the midst of the ongoing custody battle. How alone we feel, and how each day is a struggle. I find myself constantly lost in thought, wondering about my niece. Picturing her in my mind, wondering what she’s doing, how big she’s gotten, what she looks like, what it’s like to have and hold her. I meet her in my dreams where I am free to love her and have her, to shower her with all the love that I dreamed of giving her my whole life.
I’ll never give up on demanding an investigation because I know all roads lead to Lupita. Had it not been for her and her ‘ help ‘ , we would have been able to continue on the path of happiness and righteousness.
One day, she will be held accountable and I anxiously await that beautiful day.