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January 10, 1990
Pat pushed the baby’s stroller out of the Office of Child Protection Services walked to the bus stop on the corner and sat down on the bench. So much had changed in her life over the last year. She had opened her home to an alcoholic woman and her grandchild. She was thrilled when that woman had started dating a taxi driver. She had grown closer to those three people than she expected to and was proud of the small dysfunctional family they had formed. Then her world had crashed around her when the taxi driver was murdered and the woman was so heartbroken she had left town without a word to anyone.
Pat exhaled loudly then wiped at her forehead with one hand and rocked the stroller with the other. At least Clara had left the baby behind. “Don’t you worry, Harmony. I’m never going to leave you.” Pat continued to rock the stroller and the baby made sounds of approval. “I don’t know why God wanted your momma or your grandma to leave you behind and that doesn’t matter now because you’re mine.
Pat reached into the stroller, picked up some folded papers she had placed there earlier and held them up for the baby to see. “These papers are official. They just gave me temporary custody of you. Once they see how well you and me get along, they’ll make it permanent. I know they will. Then you and I will be family for ever and ever. You don’t ever have to worry about being left behind again.”
Pat tucked the papers back into the stroller and stood to head home humming a lullaby for the baby as she walked.