Mikey came into our lives in the conventional way – via a blue Hyundai. Typical story, right?
When DYFS called us to see if we could take Mikey and his sister, I said “no”. I told them we weren’t ready. I told them that we already had 1 child with significant medical needs and Mikey’s seemed extensive. I told them it just wasn’t a good time. I told them I’d check with my husband.
Dennis told me that we should take them in immediately and who better could deal with Mikey’s issues than me. He said it would be fine. Oh. Okay.
I called back and said yes.
Mikey came to our house in a wet diaper, a football jersey 4 sizes too big and a pair of Nike Air Jordan’s. Half of his hair was a poofy, little afro and the other half was stringy, little braids. He was so enthralled with the prospect of the bathtub that he tried to get in with his tiny shoes on. He came complete with a garbage bag full of 14 medications and a firm ‘good luck’ from the caseworker. Mikey was 16 months old and could walk stairs, foot over foot, and catch a tiny bouncy ball repeatedly thrown against the wall. He ate twice his body weight in food, especially fruit and slept through the night. I’ll admit – some of the early years were a blur. It was joyful and precarious. The balance often tipped to the ‘overwhelmed’ side.
It was not a straight line from our first meeting to his adoption nearly 3 years later. Sometimes things got scary and difficult. Once and a while a relative would show up who felt they were capable of caring for Mikey. The thought of someone taking him from us was terrifying. We were told that he was ‘failure to thrive’. I hated those words. Mikey was small – so small. I wanted the doctors to acknowledge he was thriving though – eating, learning, and coming off medications one by one until there were NONE left. Failure to thrive – ha!
Foster care is such a bad situation. It is hard on everyone. It is not a ‘natural’ circumstance to be in. But on June 7, 2007, Mikey name officially changed to Michael Dennis Kenneth Costello. I actually did not revel too much in his adoption day. I woke up and thought, ‘let’s get this mess behind us so we can continue to just be a family.’ I wanted it to be OVER and to BEGIN all at the same time.
Mikey has always been physically gifted – swimming like a fish at 2 and 3, riding a two-wheeled bike at nearly 4, running faster, jumping higher and skating faster than everyone else 🙂 Everyone is Mikey’s friend and he sees a friend in everyone, he is generous and would give you his last piece of Halloween candy if you asked. When I see my 4 boys together, nothing makes more sense to me. Mikey is simple in a very good way – he sees things just as they are in the moment that he is in. There is nothing else for him. I know I can learn from that – and I am glad that he is right here, in my house, in my life, and in my heart.