The village raised a girl.
In 2006, I met a messy hair kid with crop bangs and silver teeth. She jumped on an imaginary trampoline as she talked to me about books. She twirled her hair and swayed back and forth with her eyes cutting all around the room. Within nine months, I became her mom and Charlie her dad. She was a wild child: A foster kid, born into cocaine addiction, abuse, and a house that could no longer keep her. Yet, in the midst of the world being against her she was seen and heard.
A foster family the Deytons (Cheryl Deyton) kept her for a year longer than they should have because they wanted the best for her (according to the law she was to move) . A counselor, Debi Mills White, took her deep into the pain of neglect and abuse and showed her how to heal. The Besosas (Kathy Besosa & Brent Robert Besosa), a local respite family, would keep her on the weekends and somehow they knew we would be the perfect parents. Her case manager, Heather Reardon, with Buncombe County D.S.S. held out for a family that would be forever and searched and searched. Her teachers at Ira B. Jones Elementary made sure she behaved and helped to get her a one-on-one for school. Her guardian ad litem watched out for her best interest. A local judge heard all of her cases and even threw her a celebration on her adoption day (right in the courtroom). Mr. Steve, her case worker taught her how to greet people, following directions, and accept consequences.
And then she met us. We came with a list of supporters: The Pinkertons (Lori Lento Pinkerton & Daren Pinkerton), who became her godparents and treated her like she was their own. The Sperrys (Amy D Sperry & Dave Sperry), that invited us to playdates and birthday parties. The neighbors the Massey’s (Debbie Wilson Massey) and Megan Keiser who always let her play in their yards and pointed her back home when she made a mistake. Christopher and Deborah who kept her busy the day when she chose to try to catch a horse down at Brown’s farm and run away. The Browns and the Collins (Pam Kelly Collins) who let us play on their farms, rides their horses, or just park our car and watch the moon in their fields. The Tracys who invited us in for tea and deep talks about books, spirituality, and parenthood. Brad Daniel, who was always there to entertain her on the days she would get kicked out of school and have to stay in my office while I taught. Maggie W. Ray who thought she was a riot and would talk to her for hours. Nancy Fortson who would make me a cup of coffee and let me debrief my months of motherhood. The Yeatmans (Arla Humes Yeatman, Buzz Yeatman, and Joshua Yeatman) who would step in when she got sick at camp or needed to be picked up. Brittany Hicks, Christina Redman, and Helen Harrison who became our first babysitters and got special training on working with abused kids. The friends Dynamite Roasting Company (Andy Gibbon, Josh Gibbs, Margaret McInerney Gibbs) that would make her special vanilla milks. The Black Mountain Librarians that helped her check out every book about Egypt. Then there was a long list of church friends, especially the dear saints at Black Mt. Pres (Mary Katherine Robinson), who made her feel whole again. Berry would raise his hands and say, “Sar-ah” with a fist bump and Ginny Soll would hug her and stroke her hair. My fabulous three: Mary Carroll Alexander Dodd, Virginie Cloutier Pomeroy, and Martia Bennett Rachman would give me advice, listen to the depths of my heart, and trust Sarah to babysit. Stephen Long that give her first job at Hopey Co. and taught her how to work. My dad, mom, and Charlie’s parents that took her for spring breaks and vacation trips all to say you belong to our family. And Pamela Zwink Holliday and Bob Johns who made her feel like a sea princess and the only girl in the room. Eva Rathbone who treats her like a sister she never had.
She turned 18 the other day. Two weeks into her adulthood, I am still a little shell shocked. She did it. We did it. You did it. The village raised a girl. She is a woman now. And absolutely utterly beautiful. Her soul is deep and her laugh is loud. She loves everyone: Every being and every land. She is a researcher and a thinker. A reader, writer and an artist. She is a reflection of us— a village that cared for the orphan, and changed her little world. #orphans #fosterkids #adoption #caravan #ittakesavillage