*“Please take her. I’m afraid I’ll hurt her. She cries all the time.”
*
I will never forget the desperate tone in her voice, as the young mother begged me to take her baby, "Emmy".  It was late on a Thursday evening and I was just wrapping things up at the Clinic.  Evie, our receptionist had called me out to talk to the mother.  Evie was rightfully concerned with the way Lydia put the car seat with the baby in a corner of the room and sat herself in the diagonal corner. I told her she had come to the right place, that Family Health Care would help, and invited her to tell me her story.           
*
The mother took a deep breath and began slowly.  Lydia, eyes distant, spoke quietly.  She had married young, a man of her race, but he had hit her and she left him. She took a partner of another race and became pregnant. Later, she and her husband reconciled, but when the baby was born, Emmy, was clearly bi-racial. This was a problem.                                                                                          
*
Lydia's husband often hit the 3 month old infant “to stop her crying”.  Lydia did not want to deal with the problems Emmy represented, had asked around and been told by friends to take the baby to Family Health Care. That night she signed a hand-written note giving guardianship to me and agreed to come back the next day to complete legal paperwork relieving her of responsibility for the baby.Emmy did not cry during her stay with me. Initially, she would not look into our eyes, required two baths to remove the grime and ate her formula greedily in silence. Young babies are very resilient and respond quickly to care.
*
By morning Emmy began to look in our eyes and to smile and coo. By Friday afternoon she was in her new adoptive home (a volunteer attorney worked on the emergency adoption) with two bi-racial big brothers.  Although Emmy lost an eye (from an earlier head slap), she survived and is thriving in a loving home.         
*
Lydia continued to come to the clinic and was referred time after time to a women’s shelter. After more than two years, she finally accepted the support that was offered. She went to the shelter, left her husband and moved to safety away from Kansas City.
*
There are more than twelve thousand stories in the clinic's history, this is one of them. Family Health Care was here for Emmy because you and others make generous donations to ensure the clinic is here when we are needed.  Emmy and her mother found solace and help at Family Health Care.  Along with health services, Family Health Care also provides significant social services and we are here to provide prompt, professional assistance for everyone who comes for help.  Especially babies like Emmy and women like Lydia.

 

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Artist Gary Rodolitz