I heard the doorbell. I walked slowly because I’m so nervous of who is on the other side. I open the door slowly and there they are, two angels hiding behind the social workers legs. I see a baby boy who is a year and a half old and his little sister that is only a year older than him looking at me with those frightened eyes. I welcome them into my house and they are hesitant in coming in. I’m just a stranger to them. They were just taken away from their biological parents due to general neglect.
We have to do some paperwork since this will be their temporary home until their biological parents get the help they need. We put on the television so they can watch it. The little girl sits down and starts watching it but her little brother goes to the corner and just stays away from everyone. He is just watching us. He has his back to the corner of the walls.
I need to do important paperwork so I can’t go and comfort him, but I feel sad seeing him scared. I bet he is confused as to why he is here. We finally finish the paperwork and I try to go talk to him and he is pushing himself more into the corner. I noticed that he doesn’t want me close to him. I asked if they were thirsty and his sister jumps and says “yes” and comes and gets her drink. I try to hand him his juice box but he just gives me a deep blank stare.
I sat on the floor with the juice box about 5 feet away from him and asked him again. He doesn’t respond. I told him that he can come and get from me if he changes his mind. He is finally brave enough to walk to me slowly. I gave him the juice box to drink. He finished it very quickly. He was extremely thirsty. I opened another one and by this time, he was sitting on my lap while drinking it. I was still sitting down on the floor.
The next day we met the grandparents during a visit. The grandma explained to me that their little girl is very smart and independent but that I needed to be careful with the little boy. She told me to not get too close to him because he will punch and bite. She stated that he didn’t know how to talk and the only word he knew was, “Yeah”. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, she was scared of her grandson. The grandparents also told me that he would be left in a door swing for hours and he had tried so many times to climb out of it that he acquired muscles in his upper body.
I thanked her for giving me that information. I put myself in his shoes and I felt so much sadness for him.
I promised myself that I would help him learn how to speak and communicate with me and show him love. I gave him nothing but love. He had been severely neglected by his biological parents. That’s why he was very behind on his development for his age. Due to his aggressive behavior, they tested him to see if he had any type of developmental disabilities. After all the test where completed, they determined that he was perfectly fine, he just needed to learn how to speak.
He was enrolled into a sign language school where they would teach him how to communicate with others. I would take him there almost every day for 2-3 hours and stay him the whole time. I gave him so much attention, that within two months he was talking. He didn’t need to use sign language anymore. He still had his aggressive behavior when he would get mad but he was now telling me why he was upset. He was my baby. All he needed was love and attention to develop correctly.
I remember one time him sitting by the stairs and I asked him if he wanted a “horse-e ride”. He gave me that blank stare. He had no idea what a “horse-e ride” was. I asked my husband to help me out and put him on my back and he began the ride my back while I crawled the living room floor. He was laughing so hard because I kept making sounds, like if I was a horse. Hearing him laugh made me the happiest person that day.
One of the social workers came to do their weekly visit and we were distracted doing paperwork. We walked to the living room where I had a pool table and he is on top of it. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I asked how did he climb it and he just smiled. I put him down and then asked him to show me how he climbed it. He grabbed one corner and pulls his body up just with his arms. Once his legs where close to edge, he managed to climb over. We were shocked. We nicknamed him, “Baby Hulk” that day.
He was a climber. He would climb out of his crib with no problems, just using his arms to pull himself down. I was so scared that he would get hurt one day. He would grab the door handles with both hands and do pull-ups any chance he had. He was definitely not an ordinary baby. When he was mad he would throw things at you and scream you.
He was two years old already and he had to transition himself into a toddler bed. He needed to sleep in his own room now. He refused to listen and would cry and cry that he wanted to sleep in our room still. For the last six months, he had been sleeping in our room and suddenly now because he is two he needs to sleep alone in a room due to foster regulations.
Whenever he heard, “night-night” something would trigger inside me. He would scream at me back, saying “No night-night”! We would laugh hearing him say those words because he had came along way from not speaking. This was a battle every night. I finally had enough of it so I told my husband to just bring his toddler bed to our room. He won the battle, we were tired of fighting it.
He wanted his bed right next to ours. I remember one time that I was laying in bed and he climbed into mine. My husband was in the restroom and I told him that he needed to go to his bed or else his dad would make him go to his room. He pretended to not hear me and pretended to be asleep next to me. The moment he heard the restroom door open, he just rolled over to fall into his bed. I couldn’t believe he had done that. I started laughing and then my husband walks to check- up on him and he was asleep. He was such a faker but he knew that he needed to pretend or else he would get kicked out of the room.
He called me “mom”. I had earned this name with him. It was beautiful to hear that he would call me “mom”. He was the baby in the house so I would pamper him. When he wanted something and my husband wouldn’t give it to him, he would cry for my attention. I would come rushing and he would say, “Dad being mean”. I would ask him if his dad needed a time-out and he would reply “Yes” with a giggle. I just wanted him to feel that he had a say in this house. His dad would role play with me that he was going to time-out and I would take over.
Almost every night my husband and I would watch a movie in our room. Once all my other kids were asleep, we would get our snacks out from hiding and put on a movie. Baby Hulk knew the drill, even he would get his blanket and sit in between us in my bed for our little secret movie night. One time we got caught. My son knocked and opened the door. He caught us red handed eating and watching a movie. My son became jealous that the baby wasn’t going to sleep like everyone else. I explained that he would fall asleep in the first fifteen minutes of the movie because the movies were not to his liking.
Baby Hulk was one a kind. He finally got adopted by his grandparents. He was with us for over a year. I will always remember him because deep down he was my baby. The grandparents gave us thanks for transforming him to such a lovely caring boy. They felt it was best that we don’t keep in touch because he had a very strong bond with us and he needed to attach to them now. That was one of the hardest things I had to do, is letting him go. I’m sure he remembers us in his dreams but can’t figure out who we are anymore. He will definitely always have a special place in our heart.