I know some of you figured I would never finish telling the story that started innocently with a post about birthdays. I realized after this post that some of you were intrigued, and I felt a little "on display." Anyone who knows me would be shocked that this might make me uncomfortable, as I revel in being the center of attention at any gathering. I found myself debating whether or not to make more posts like this. I guess I have lived with this "oddity" for so long, it has become commonplace. The only time I have to really face the bizarre circumstance surrounding my arrival on the planet is when someone else hears the story for the first time, and reacts with abject horror. If you have no clue what I'm talking about, follow the links, in order, and you'll get caught up.
I wish I could tell you that this photo is of me, but I'd like to think I was in this kind of mood on my first Christmas. The first baby photo in my parents' possession was taken when I was almost nine months old, so I don't know what I looked like before then. I DID know that in December, three months after I was born, one of my legs was broken. The ramifications of that didn't show up until my mother tried hemming my pants, and one leg would always end up a lot longer than the other. I was always called back for that "second screening" during the school scoliosis exams, but never diagnosed with the disease. It wasn't until I started running with my dog as an adult that I noticed terrible hip pain.
That was the main reason for obtaining my "non-identifying information" - not necessarily to find birth parents, but to determine the actual medical facts about this breakage. Naturally, the adoption agency was extremely reluctant to divulge anything. My mother had always said the break was "suspicious," in that our family doctor felt the healed bone might have been twisted. By now, you remember my first conversation with the social worker. Well, the same letter only gave these details regarding the break:
"As you were a healthy, normal baby, the hospital discharged you and you were placed in a foster home. The foster parents had three children of their own and provided foster care to infants. On December 3, 1968, your leg was broken. The injury was investigated, and it was determined that it was accidental and not child abuse. An X-ray revealed a transverse fracture of the proximal third of the right femur. You were placed in Bryant's traction (this is the photo you see to the left) until December 23, 1968; then you were placed in a spica cast until January 27, 1969."
It seems like a LONG time for a 3-month old baby to be immobilized, doesn't it? There were more photos of the spica cast at this site, and I was amazed at how many of the children seemed happy and were smiling broadly.
Since I've decided to revisit this topic, I encourage you NOT to feel all sorry for me. I was a baby. I can't remember a thing about it. Yes, I suppose it makes me more unique, but we are all unique in our own way. However, I have a special place in my heart for Christmas, and I wonder what that first one was like for me. Did someone visit me? Or was I all alone? I think of this very abstractly - as if it didn't really happen to me.
I am just extremely blessed that every Christmas since then has been filled with family, friends, joy, and the love of the season. It's the only gift I require.