On August 11, 1998, Luna awoke in the morning and went in search of the latest Patty. In the 10 weeks that she had lived there, Luna had lost most of her newly acquired language skills, but she had managed to retain the ones she needed the most. She looked at Patty and said “Go see Cam ‘day”. Patty stared at her. Luna repeated herself “Go see Cam ‘day”. Patty didn’t understand what Luna was talking about and dismissed her as a wishful thinking toddler who missed her brother. There were a lot of stringy children to care for, so Patty set about the morning routine of changing diapers and distributing flat cereal and thinned milk. Luna stalked her – all the while repeating her confident words “Go see Cam ‘day. Go see Cam ‘day”. Patty didn’t know what to think of her.
An hour or so later, the phone rang. Patty spoke briefly with the caseworker and then hung up and stared at Luna. She said nothing, but took her into the other room and changed her clothes. She put Luna into a dress, and stuffed her pudgy little feet into outgrown shoes. She then packed up a selection of items – a few stained, putrid, outgrown clothing items and some equally foul broken toys – and placed them in a large black garbage bag. Luna did not need to be told what was happening. She told Patty one more time “Go see Cam ‘day” and took up vigil on the slimy living room couch. And there she sat for the next few hours.
At 10:30am, Cam and I were outside playing cars with the neighbors. The phone rang and I was told that the State had officially determined that Luna was no longer being considered for reunification with her biological parents, and that she was available for adoption. Cam and I hopped in the car and, 90 minutes later, we knocked on Luna’s door.
At our knock, Patty shuffled to the door and opened it. Behind her came a flying toddler and a high pitched scream of “MOMMEEEEEE!”. Patty stood aside and I didn’t even get a clear glimpse of Luna before she leapt into my arms. She buried her face in my neck and squeezed until I could barely breathe. I loosened her grip a bit, and tried to get her to say goodbye to Patty. Luna would have none of it. Patty handed me that black garbage bag and that was it. We arrived, collected Luna and her stuff, and were back on the highway inside of 5 minutes.
Once situated in their car seats and the car on the road, both Luna and Cam started screaming. I had spent the previous 90 minutes of driving explaining to Cam that we were going to pick up Luna and that they were now going to be together forever and ever. From his car seat, Cam started yelling “Ever and Ever and Ever and Ever!!!”” and Luna responded with wordless howls “AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!” – pausing only for the intake of new breaths. I eventually rolled down the windows, letting the freeway wind match their energy and diffuse the sound. The 2 children hollered and bellowed all the way home.