This is CeCe (also known as "Squirt").
Before I had my own kids, I taught special needs preschoolers and CeCe was one of my students. After several reports to and meetings with Social Services, CeCe was removed from her home and placed in foster care. However, finding a placement for her was difficult because of her health concerns. Eventually, when her third placement in two months was falling apart, the case worker called me in desperation. On impulse, I said "Can't you just give her to me?" A week later, after some legal stuff was taken care of, CeCe came home with me on the last day of school and lived with us for the next nine months. After that nine months, we had found out I was pregnant and Social Services had found a permanent family for CeCe. The day she left was terribly bittersweet - one of the few times I have seen DW cry.
Yesterday, December 31, 2011, was her 16th birthday. It is truly amazing how quickly time flies. We haven't seen CeCe in ten years, but my heart still hurts for her like it was yesterday. We don't know where she is, whether she is still healthy, or even if she is still alive because of the health issues she had. We wonder about it often, though. In honor of her Sweet Sixteenth birthday, I wrote her a letter. She will probably never see it, but here goes anyway. . . . .
I hope you are well and happy. I want you to know that we think about you often and keep a picture of you prominently displayed in our home. We now have three daughters and they all know about you.
When you were with us, we were all learning as we went along. I know we made some mistakes. I hope you can forgive us for those mistakes and know that, above all else, we loved you. We still do. One of the mistakes we made: we thought it would be better for you to have a permanent home with an African American family where you could "fit in" more seamlessly. We realize now, that didn't matter. We had hoped to stay in touch and be kind of like your godparents, but your new family didn't want that. They quickly stopped connecting with us. I hope they followed through and adopted you like they had promised. I hope that, during the past ten years, you have had security, stability, and love.
I would love to find you someday, embrace you, and see the young lady you have become. I know that is unlikely, but I still hope. If that did happen, I hope you would return the embrace and remember us fondly. I would love for my daughters to meet you, too.
You will never know how you touched our lives and the lives of others around us. We learned so much from you about strength, about reality, and about love. We will be forever grateful for the things you taught us. Wherever you are, please know that you are loved and prayed for often. There will always be a place for you in our home and in our hearts.
With sincerest love,