(This is another guest post from Lamar, who was our daughter Lindsey’s caseworker. Previously, Lamar shared an old family story of adoption, but this is his own story of adopting a sibling group of three little girls from foster care.)
Something Just Wad’n Right…
“I knowed something wad’n right.” That is what the truck driver told the state trooper who initially responded to the trucker’s call over his CB radio and the county DFCS worker who was dispatched to the scene, explaining his decision to stop and become involved when others continued on their way that cold February morning in 1978.
Truckers get paid by the mile. The more miles they can cover in a day, the more money they make. Time was money for this man and his load, so taking the time to get involved was money out of his pocket, not to mention the diesel fuel he burned as his truck sat idling on the side of the road. None of that mattered because the trucker had seen something that would cause any reasonable person to draw the same conclusion that he did, that “something just wad’n right” about a little girl who looked to be about four years old, not dressed warmly enough for the cold, walking alone on the shoulder of a busy highway. The scariest part was that the little girl trudged along rather confidently, apparently feeling no sense of danger, as though she were accustomed to doing this, as though she did it every day.
We remember sensory impressions — sounds, smells, visual images, and tactile sensations — longer and better than we remember names, dates, and facts. The little girl walking alongside the road is now a grown woman with children of her own. The sensory impressions are what she remembers about that morning. What frightened her was not the real danger she was in, but all of the sudden and unexpected sounds and smells. The little girl/woman remembers the growling protest of a powerful diesel engine as the trucker shoved his rig into a lower gear at highway speed to help bring it to a stop, the blasting sound of the air brakes, the violent shuddering dance of a trailer with its brakes locked up and wheels sliding on the pavement, the smell of burning rubber and diesel exhaust. She remembers other sensations that followed those: the sight of the man running toward her, the smell, warmth, and weight of the trucker’s jacket that just about swallowed her whole, being scooped up and lifted high up into the cab of his truck, the warm air from the truck’s heater blowing on her, the voice of the truck driver and the crackling, staticky sound of other voices in conversation with him on the CB, the state trooper at the truck driver’s window, the agitated and upset truck driver telling the trooper that he stopped because he “knowed something wad’n right.”
At least the DFCS lady looked familiar to the little girl. The little girl had seen her somewhere before. The DFCS lady didn’t have to ask the little girl what her name was. There was no mistaking the dark, almost black straight hair, the dark brown eyes, and the olive complexion of this half-Cherokee child. She called the little girl by her name, Linda. The DFCS lady had removed this child once before back when she was working in another county about three years earlier. The little girl had gone back home after about a year in care. The DFCS lady had often wondered what happened to that little girl, and now here she was talking to her again. The little girl showed the DFCS lady which house she lived in, where the DFCS lady found two year old Melissa and eleven month old Tammy, both born since the previous time that Linda was in care.
On July 14, 1980, that little girl walking alongside US 44 and her younger sisters became our daughters through adoption. Stories can help you understand a lot of things, such as why the six year old girl you adopted liked to wear that grungy old sweat-stained Cat Diesel Power cap that was way too big for her.
Do you have a positive adoption story of your own to share? If so, contact me!