Our Family was Complete…
Jaycob Israel Mays.
Our boy has a personality so large – he warrants his own paragraph.
We never expected a baby. In fact, our plans were that we were going to adopt a little boy close in age to our only boy at the time, Michael. He was 8. Beginning with the day we told our agency that we were willing to accept emergency placements, I received a call just about every day about a child needing to be placed. That’s how it works. Early in the morning a call would come in with whatever information was available, usually just the gender and the age, and I was asked if we were willing to accept the placement. For three weeks I received a call in the morning and then nothing all day. Which meant another family had received the placement. It was nerve wracking. Every morning we’d get our hopes up and our minds would start swirling, what did we need? who was going to call off work the next day? and then – nothing.
Then on a Thursday, like the previous Thursdays, we received the call in the morning. There was a three-week old baby boy. A baby! Not in our plans – or even on our radar. But we decided our calling was to simply say “yes” and what would be – would be. Like every other day – we waited all day. The baby must have been placed already. Then at 4:45 in the afternoon, the phone rang, “Is this Wendy Mays, I called you this morning, did you still want the baby?” Excited and nervous and really without any hesitation, I looked at my husband and shouted, “YES!” And from there the rest was a whirlwind. We were given an address and my daughter and I got into the car and met the case manager at an apartment in central Phoenix. I knew the area, several of my criminal cases had occurred near there, a homicide – drug deal gone bad, right around the corner. When we arrived the case manager was sitting inside of a car with the baby. She got out and she handed us the baby and a plastic grocery bag with his things, a onesie that was two sizes too big, a bib, shoes that did not fit him and his paperwork. As we were exchanging the baby, a woman walked out with a man and several children. I stood there with the baby in my arms as they stopped and looked at us – but said nothing. It was a very intense moment. As it turns out she was a friend of the biological mother and had been deemed not an appropriate placement and that is why the baby was being removed from her home. We just wanted to get the baby and get out of there. We finished the exchange and left as quickly as possible.
We were not at all prepared for a baby. We stopped at Walmart on the way home and bought baby clothes, blankets, a travel crib, diapers, formula, bottles and several other items until we could fully process the fact that WE JUST GOT A BABY!!!!!
Oh, my Jake.
It really was love at first sight. Curt’s mom, Debbie lived with us at the time (it ended up being her final year and a half on earth) and as soon as we brought him home, she “claimed” him. She declared it from the Lord, he was ours. She turned out to be right. There were some hiccups along the way and a few times we were not so certain that he would be. But we chose to meet that fear and stand firm in it. Whatever the outcome, we were going to love our baby. He was going to have SO much love, whether it was weeks or forever – he was going to get ALL of us.
Jake has always been full of energy. And noise. And movement. He does not know how to be still. Incapable of it, really. Equally so, he is full of humor and so bright. Don’t say anything around him if you don’t want it repeated. He remembers EVERY.THING. As he has grown older challenges have begun to develop. He has no in betweens. He is either fully on or fully off. Some of his behaviors are off the charts and we struggle to teach him how to regulate himself. Some days are better than others. We do not know what the cause is yet – we may not ever, if it was his biological moms drug use, heredity or anything at all, there are likely multiple assessments and evaluations in our future. But when I look at my boy, sometimes when I just have no energy left in me, in that stillness I am filled with a grateful heart. Thank the Lord he is ours. WE are so blessed he is ours. WE are the lucky ones. We are learning so much, daily, about ourselves and what we are capable of. How to be better parents, not just to Jake, but to all of our children. In the stillness, I pray and I promise that we will do our best to be the parents he NEEDS.
We were now Five. Thirteen months after we brought Jake home, October 31st, 2014 – he officially became Jaycob Israel Mays. Halloween has always been one of our favorite holidays – now its extra-super special forever.
Our family was complete. We began planning for the next phase of our lives. I was admitted to ASU’s W.P. Carey Executive MBA program, I was going to transition out of law into corporate America, my daughter was almost done with high school and we began laying the groundwork for my husband to pursue coaching opportunities in San Diego. A move back to San Diego was something we had been discussing for quite some time and it now seemed to be the time to do it.
It was almost exactly a year after Jake’s adoption, the week before Halloween, Curtis came home early and was napping on the sofa, I was working in my office when the phone rang. If we thought Jake rocked our world, we really had NO idea.