"Sweet Charity"
 
It was a cold evening in January when
the phone rang.  I was the director for the local
Crises Pregnancy Center and I was "on call".
Little did I know the impact this call would have on my life.

The voice that I heard was almost hysterical.
"I can't do this…you have to come get the baby!",
she exclaimed. "Please come and get her or
I don't know what I will do," she sobbed into the phone.
I talked to her softly, trying to calm her as I asked questions.
Her name was "Annie"*.  As we talked I realized that
this was a very troubled young woman.  I knew there
were problems here that would take more than
just someone to talk to for a while.  I asked if she
had family to help her.  She said that she had no one
to help and kept insisting that I come and get the baby
because she wanted to release her for adoption.
When she became more and more agitated, saying
once again that she didn't know what she might "do" if I
didn't come and get her baby, I began to fear for
her or the baby.  I immediately said, "Annie,"
"I'm coming."  "Stay where you are and wait for me,
I'll be there as quickly as I can."

As I hung up the phone, I thought to myself,
"What have I done now!" My daughter, who also volunteered
at the center, had heard part of the conversation and
said, "Come on, Mom," "Let's go get that baby!"
I made a quick call to our lawyer, a wonderful man,
who also volunteered his time to the CPC and
was used to my late night calls about clients
and legalities in unusual situations.

I hadn't even thought about the fact that we had
a blizzard going on outside.  It had let up but
there was a foot of snow with a couple of inches
of ice under it.  I grabbed my coat, purse, and snow boots,
as I hobbled into my husband's little cubbyhole office
pulling on the boots.  I said, "Honey,"
"Would you mind driving us to town to pick up a baby?"
He gave me that, "You gotta be crazy, woman," look
but he put aside the work he was doing and
being the man of challenge that he is, rose to
the occasion and we all headed down a steep ice
and snow covered hill toward town.  The normal
20 minute trip took us nearly an hour.

When we got there, I could hear a baby crying.
There in a little crib was an eight week old
baby girl, named Charity*.  When I picked
her up she found her little fist and cuddled
up against me.  It was love at first sight.

I knew that Annie needed help.  I offered to
take her to the mental health clinic where
she had been treated before but she refused.
I was concerned about her welfare and offered her
many options but she again refused.
She seemed content to know that
someone was going to take care of the baby.

The weeks that followed were filled with joy as
we cared for our "Sweet Charity", as I nicknamed her.
Meanwhile, Annie had decided she wanted to release
the baby for adoption to a family that she had
been in contact with before.  This took a lot of time,
red tape, and papers to be signed.  To make things
more difficult, we had to deal with Annie's
mental health problems.  Although she would seek help,
she had trouble staying with any kind of medication
or assistance program.  She would sometimes
call us 10-15 times a day, fluctuating between
happiness, depression, and hysteria.  When she
requested, I would take the baby to see her
but after only about 15 minutes, she was ready
for us to take the baby and leave.  It was a very
sad situation.  I became very attached and protective
of our little Charity and frightened for her because
sometimes Annie would get in one of her dark moods
and talk about changing her mind and keeping the baby.
I knew that when Annie was thinking clearly,
her heart's desire was for her baby to be placed for
adoption, a difficult decision, but Annie knew her
own health plus many other factors, prevented
her from being able to parent a child.

One night I got a phone call from Annie.  She was
incoherent  and making all kinds of threats.
When I got off the phone, I picked up "Sweet Charity"
and I rocked her in the rocking chair.  She gazed
at me as if she could read my very soul.  The bonding
between us was phenomenal.  I opened my Bible
and began praying.  I was asking God why all this red tape,
and why did it seem prayers were unanswered.
I was led to read Daniel 10: 12-13.  I got
goose bumps as I read where Daniel's prayers were
answered at the beginning but were delayed by
the enemy.  Michael, the archangel was called upon
to overcome the enemy.  I began to pray and asked the Lord
if it wasn't too bold of me, and if Michael wasn't too busy,
would He send Michael to help "Sweet Charity".
That very same night, God gave me a song
and I wrote it down and sang it over and over to Charity.
The words come from Isaiah 26:3 and
I called it "Perfect Peace".

The very next day I got a call from our lawyer
saying he had the strangest news for me.
He said he didn't understand how it all happened so quickly
but he had the "okay" for me to fly little Charity to
her adoptive parents.  I began to laugh and I believe
I remember saying something to him about reading
Daniel chapter 10 as I breathed a prayer of gratitude.
At the same time, I began to feel the ache
of the imminent separation from my "Sweet Charity".

The time came all too soon.  It happened that
the day was Good Friday.  I dressed Charity
in her prettiest little dress and we all went to the airport.
We  took turns holding her close and kissing her.  She had
been a part of our family for three months now
and none of us could speak as the tears fell.

When I arrived at my destination with little Charity,
the family was anxiously waiting to see their little girl for
the first time.  They were so excited and glad to see her.
 It was wonderful to see how much they loved her already.
Like an overprotective mother, I kept giving them all
kinds of instructions.  I told them, "She only likes these
kind of bottles" and "This is her favorite pacifier," ...and
on and on I went.  I saw them off at their gate
and then I went in the bathroom and cried.
I ached all over just to see her, touch her, and hold her
one more time.  I never felt such emptiness
as I felt that day.  I worried about little Charity and
if in her little baby mind, did she feel that I
had abandoned her?  Since she was a little baby,
I knew that I would not even have the pleasure
of knowing that she would remember me.
I prayed that somehow part of me would stay
with her and she would remember that I loved her.

I boarded the plane for the trip back home.  I had actually
hoped that I would get to sit alone but the Lord
had other plans for me.  I am convinced that the
man who sat beside me on the plane trip home,
was not there by accident.  He sensed my pain
and asked questions.  He spoke to my heart
and told me what a difficult, yet wonderful thing that
I had done.  I'll never forget one thing he said to me
before we parted.  He said, "Always remember, Pam,
God gave up a child on Good Friday too.”

The next days and weeks were very difficult for me.
I had kept the little sleeper that she had worn before
I dressed her in her pretty dress.  I would hold it against
my face and cry because the scent of her
was still there.  Finally, one day I was able to
put the little sleeper away in the cedar chest
with the special things I have kept that belonged
to my other children when they were babies.  I have
four children but Charity was my fifth child
that left home too soon.

By  Pamela R. Blaine
Copyright September 4, 2000

*Names have been changed.