Articles, activities for boomers & seniors
A week later Tracy drove to the hospital to pick up Caleb, her new 15-day old son, who had “multiple congenital anomalies.”
Caleb was born a cleft lip and without eyes. He had a feeding tube. Tracy stood by his bassinette while the neonatal intensive care unit physician and staff showed her how to take care of him.
At one point the doctor informed the social worker that he didn’t believe the lady in the wheelchair with the trach could care for the baby. “Little did they know I had a feeding tube, too, but mine went directly into my stomach and was concealed under my clothes,” Tracy mused.
The social worker encouraged her to continue her training and “Just go show them you can change the feeding tube.” Tracy went back to Caleb’s crib side and changed the tube without any instruction!
“Caleb” was not the child’s birth name. Tracy had been told his biological parents had not named him, as they intended to give him up for adoption from the beginning, so she was amazed to see a name plate on the bassinette.
It read, “John Michael,” her late father’s and friend’s names combined. To her, the name was another sign that she was meant to take Caleb home.
The third sign came through a label on baby clothes that she had bought in preparation for her first child. “Whenever I was out and saw baby clothes on sale, I would buy them. I had bought several items that were handmade and had a tag with a picture of a yellow Labrador which closely resembled my service dog. All the outfits were designed by a man who was blind. I said, ‘Ok, God, I got that one loud and clear.’”
Tracy decided to change her new son’s name to Caleb John in memory of her father. To Caleb and each of the seven children who followed, she gave a biblical name and the name of a relative or close friend as the middle name. “And for every child there was a sign from God,” she said.
Tracy became known for taking children that nobody else wanted, and adoption agencies from Massachusetts to Mississippi soon began to seek her out.
The second child Tracy adopted was Hannah Elizabeth, who had multiple issues stemming from a rare chromosomal disorder. Tracy drove her van to Texas to get her, accompanied by another mom with special needs kids, traveling with Caleb and her friend’s three children.
Tracy’s inspiring story will continue in next month’s (August 2016) issue.