The Story of David
by Michele Christopher
Several years ago, in the courthouse I work in (I was not working there yet at the time), an employee found the lifeless body of a newborn infant in a bathroom stall. One of the emergency workers who responded to the scene, Tim Jaccard, was so moved by the scene that he was motivated to start the AMT Children of Hope Foundation , an organization that provides dignified burials for infants who are left for dead in dumpsters, train stations, bathrooms, etc. You would be surprised and saddened to know how often this happens. Children of Hope also helps to organize Safe Havens. They are hospitals, private homes, firehouses and houses of worship throughout Long Island that have drop-off points for women who have given birth, but for various reasons do not want to keep their baby. These are infants that may otherwise have been abandoned and left for dead. Tim comes into this story again later.
My sister and her husband tried for many years to have a baby. When it became apparent that they were having a problem conceiving, they sought medical help. They went through many tries at in-vitro fertilization, which is a physically and emotionally straining process. It never worked for them. They went through years of testing, experiments and invasive physical procedures. They got to a point where they realized that it was just not going to happen for them. This is when they decided to try and adopt.
They first went to Catholic Charities, because my cousin adopted three children through them. They were turned down because my brother-in-law is Jewish. Nevermind that they are financially stable, own their own home, can provide a stable, loving environment for a child, and promised to raise the child Catholic. It wasn't good enough for them. Catholic Charities was a dead end.
They tried posting their number in colleges and on internet message boards made specifically for this purpose. Lots of phone calls, more dead ends.
One day my sister was talking to her friend Mary about her and her husband's frustration. Turns out Mary is Tim Jaccard's secretary. Mary put my sister in touch with Tim and the wheels began turning.
There were more dead ends at first. A young girl who decided to give her baby to someone else. A woman who, at the last minute, decided to keep her baby. That one was at Christmas time, and my sister had announced to us on Christmas Eve that they would be getting a baby. Two days later, the woman said no. And how can you be mad at that, really? She wanted to keep and raise her baby and that's a good thing, despite the pain it brought to my family. Still, we were all a bit let down.
My sister and her husband decided that they would not tell anyone the next time there was hope for a baby. They would wait until the baby was born, the papers were signed and then and only then would they spread the news. The constant ups and downs, the telling people hopeful news only to have to take it back later was frustrating them. And us.
Cut to December, 2000. I was sitting at my desk at work, when my sister (who works with me) came into my office looking pale. She was shaking.
"What is the matter with you? Are you sick? Did something happen?"
"Tim called. I'm going to get a baby in two days. I have to go meet the mother now."
She was a bit dazed, to say the least.
There was a baby boy, born on November 20th and the mother, an illegal immigrant who had just come here from Burma, could not keep the baby. She was ready and willing to sign papers giving him up. My sister and her husband had known about this woman since the boy was born, but said nothing to any family member, remembering what happened the previous times.
But now she had to tell me because Tim told her to be ready to be a mother in two days. Two days. After years of waiting and hoping and being disappointed, she had two days to get ready for a baby. She was to leave work immediately and head to to the woman's apartment in Queens, where Tim was waiting for my sister and brother in law. The mother wanted to see them first, to know who she was giving her baby to. I walked my shaky sister out to her car and wished her luck. She made me promise not to tell a soul. I told her to trust me.
As soon as she was gone, I called my mother. Don't ever trust me with a secret like that. She should have known.
Two hours later, my mother and I were on a mission. We hit Target, spending a small fortune on baby supplies. Clothes, diapers, bottles and every accessory both useful and extravagant, were piled into our cart. By the time we got home, my father had spread the news to every relative within shouting distance. Basically meaning everyone in town. Friends and family kept pulling up to the house, dropping off supplies. A bassinet. Enough diapers to last a month. More clothes, baby blankets, crib sheets. There were moments where we felt like we were jinxing the whole thing, pushing our luck, but we decided to test fate and stock up anyhow.
Any woman who has ever had a child will tell you that nine months is barely enough time to get everything ready. Imagine only having two days to prepare. We figured it was better to have this stuff ready for her than to have nothing ready at all, and have to run out that day to buy all the things they would need.
Some time that night my sister called and said it was definite. The baby was theirs. He would be delivered to their home, by Tim, the next night. She still wouldn't believe it, wouldn't talk in definite tones until the baby was in her arms. Can you blame her?
The next day was a frenzy. There were still so many things to get, so many people to call. My sister was frantic, her husband was neurotic. By 9pm, there were 20 people, friends and family, sitting in their living room waiting for David. We had champagne ready. We waited. We got in each other's way with the pacing. Waited.
Finally, Tim pulled up at around 10pm. My sister freaked out and wouldn't go to the door. She was afraid Tim would be standing there empty handed, come to bring the bad news that the woman had changed her mind. I looked out the window and saw Tim lifting a little baby out of a car seat. My heart skipped a beat. A baby.
I shoved my sister toward the front door and told her to chill out. She opened the door.
Tim walked in, held out David, and put him in my sister's waiting arms.
It was as if we had all been holding our breath until then and we all exhaled at once. And then the crying started. My father was crying, the neighbors were crying, we were all teary eyed and relieved. David was here. David was ours.
I thought my sister and brother in law were both going to pass out. They held David and stared at him for the longest time and nobody moved, nobody talked. Finally, someone popped the cork on a champagne bottle and we all cheered. For the next hour, David was passed from person to person and we all stared in wonder at the baby we had waited so long for.
David is a six years old now. Not a day goes by that I don't think about the birth mother he has out there somewhere, and I wonder if she knows what she gave up. I look at his engaging smile and listen to his loud laugh and kiss his fuzzy little head and I wonder.
I see my sister and her husband with their child and I am so happy for them, and so thankful that Tim and his organization afforded them this opportunity, that this adorable child was not abandoned in a dumpster in the dark of night because the mother had no one to turn to.
December 13th is what my sister calls Gotcha Day. They celebrate not only David's birthday, but the day he came into their lives. He is a lucky boy. He had a selfless, caring birth mother who made a choice that was hard for her and right for him. And he ended up in the arms and hearts of two people who will give you a lifetime of love.
I first wrote this in 2001, on David's birthday. He's six now, a rambuctious, way too smart for his own good kid with a mohawk and an obsession with swords, American Chopper and Van Halen.
more david pics here
Michele claims no responsibility for David's Van Halen obsession