Wasn't My Problem

Copyright 2005
by Lin Stone


We had a chance to adopt Michael but somehow I didn t think we could afford it. There were dozens of excuses. We had no money. We had no room. I can t remember the other excuses we offered. Excuses seem to dissolve with the years melting away. All I remember now is that I made the decision that we could not adopt Michael.

I loved Michael. When he first came to us he was a bundle of boyish energy, too large for his age and too bright for his years. It was said that he ran his poor grandmother to death after his mother died, and having seen them together I believed it. It s strange. All of us believed it, but none of us helped her out, not like we should have. Oh, we hoped his grandmother could hold out, and some of us probably even prayed God would give her more strength. But somehow we all felt Michael was HER problem, and not ours.

Then his grandmother died too and Michael came to live with us until something could be done permanently for him. That first night was Christmas and his mother's spirit came to make sure he was okay. Just as clear as anything I ve ever seen I saw her when she came. The ceiling rolled back and she peered down, watching him at play in our crowded living room, crowded because we had six children of our own. She saw me staring at her and drew back for a moment, then she realized it didn't matter and pressed forward to gaze down longingly upon Michael again. There was so much love shining in her eyes that I dropped my gaze to Michael s face and when I glanced up again she was gone. The ceiling had rolled back into place and my home was all of one piece again.

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There is a certain prestige that goes with being the one to take in an orphan everyone loves. Michael stayed with us for almost two months and everyone oohed and ahhed that we had taken him in. But there was so much we couldn t give him and we had said from the very beginning that we could not keep him.  We gave Michael up so someone with more wealth could take him in.

There is a certain prestige that goes with being the one to take in an orphan everyone loves and another family volunteered to take Michael in. We were so glad. The father was a contractor and they had a big three story home with acres of yard to run around in, chickens, goats and even a horse for the larger kids to ride.

For a time the new mother glowed under the prestige of being the one that had volunteered to raise Michael permanently. Then public attention drifted away to some other subject and the new mother realized just how big a bundle of energy Michael was, and disenchantment moved in.

She began complaining. At first it was only about little things like changing his diapers, and he was almost five. Then it became more obvious that she was turning sour, and finally the very things she told on herself told us that now she hated Michael. The gate broke and he fell down the flight of stairs into the basement. He was crying in the dark down there but I knew he was okay. I yelled at him to come back up but he just bawled all the louder. So I left him down there until he quit crying and came out by himself.

Just until she could get a grip on herself when Michael was being mean the new mother would ask us to take him off her hands for a week or two at a time. Oh how we loved Michael in those days of stolen joy. Just knowing he wasn t ours to keep made his short stays all the more precious.

Then came the three months Michael was ours because she went in for psychiatric help. Just when our hopes were highest that she never came back, she did, and hauled Michael away from us. Their whole family moved off to parts unknown and we never heard from or about Michael ever again.

As the years have rolled by I often wake up in the solemn hours of the night and think of Michael at the bottom of those dark stairs, and pray that now he is all right. Then I blow my nose on the tissue I keep by my bedside and remember that all this happened because I decided that Michael wasn t my problem.

the end.

About the author:  Lin Stone maintains a National Directory of the best insurance companies on the web and a National Directory of the best car insurance companies on the web. Hundreds of his other articles are available for free reading on the Internet. Just Click HERE to see an almost complete index to his works.

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