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Surprise

Surprise!

‘Step right up!’ my teacher said. I half shook my head no, turning pink. I slowly rose, my legs glued together. The floodgates opened. I was 5 feet from the board when someone shouted, ‘OH MY GOD!’

“Queue the tears. Oh, those embarrassing tears. I was mortified. I’d never been given the period talk. My parents were too uncomfortable to explain. And to make matters worse… you guessed it. I was wearing white jeans. WHITE. I never expected what would happen next. Not in a million years.”

‘In 2 weeks, you will meet the love of your life. And when you do, you will know it.’ But then came a warning. ‘You must do the right thing, or you will be cursed.’ He winked, and walked away.’

“That’s when our eyes met. It was like time stopped. It was like the music on the dance floor silenced, and all I could hear was my own heartbeat. I still remember what the room smelled like. I couldn’t look away. I was frozen. This was him. I knew it, and felt it, from my head to my feet.”

‘I choked out, ‘So, their dad and I are no longer living together.’ 8 months into fostering two of the girls, and 2 months after saying ‘yes!’ to adopting, my children’s father and I separated.’

“We had 5 kids and had just celebrated 6 years of marriage. Our entire life crashed, the walls built with facades and fantasies. I was secretly dying inside. It was silent, painful. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be taking family photos without a husband, my children’s father.”

‘My daughter morphed overnight. My happy girl became dead-eyed, hateful. Her pupils were dilated and dark. I felt like I lost my daughter. We couldn’t figure out how to make it stop.’

“New issues kept popping up. Screeching, laughing for no reason, wetting the bed. She couldn’t finish her sentences. She’d think all types of disturbing thoughts about hurting her little sister. I had to explain to my 5-year-old why she didn’t want to play with her anymore. I felt like a failure of a mom. I knew I had to find answers.”

‘An overwhelming feeling came over me. I put my car in park and ran upstairs. After 20 seconds, a faint line appeared. Suddenly, I am bawling. I told myself to calm down.’

“The timer went off. I patted my belly. ‘You did it! Well done!’ It was time to take the first step in doing what I’d been thinking about for quite some time. When the nurse walked in with those papers, I went straight to the bathroom and sobbed. I walked toward the dreaded exit. I had to say goodbye.”

‘They looked us in the eyes. ‘We will never let this baby go if he’s blood. But if he isn’t, you can have him.’ Tears fell down my face. ‘We don’t care whose ‘blood’ he is. We’re ready to love him.’

“As we entered her room, I could feel something was off. There was a knock at the door. In walked the father. I could sense fear. It was clear he had some kind of hold on her. The dad said he wanted to make sure the baby wasn’t his, before he let her ‘sign him away.’ My world was crashing down again.”

‘I borrowed my friend’s car. When I opened the glove box to get some change, a book fell onto the floor. It read, ‘This one goes out to the one I love!’ I was dumbfounded.’

“Honestly, I was shocked. She had shown no interest in anyone since her youngest child was killed. I skimmed over it, just looking for names. I found one. This guy had the same name as my husband! Heart pounding, I backed up a few pages. The entire thing was a journal. I could feel my stomach in my feet.”

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