Hunny Bunny

I don't have any baby pictures of my youngest son, Jumby. When we adopted him, he was five and we were promised an album filled with pictures of his past.

We got a piece of cardboard with five photocopies of pictures taped to it. Not quite the album we were hoping for.

Five years plus five sets of parents equaled five photos.

Most days I never dwell on the fact I missed those years, all of those days, those moments with my son. Most of the time I never worry about the memories lost to us, to Jumby. Instead of focusing on what was lost I choose to create new snapshots of memories, preserved both in pictures and with the intangible threads of our love for him.

I may have been his fifth mother, but luckily for me, I get to be his final mom.

Jumby is MY son. There is no photographic evidence to argue differently.

But sometimes, in those small moments, usually in the silence of the night, or the quiet moments when the rain pit pats against our roof, I look at him and I wonder.

Where is your past?

What did you look like when you were born at 24 weeks, weighing one pound, four ounces? A micro preemie, addicted to crack.

Did anyone capture your first smile?

Does any of this exist? Or was all evidence of your life erased in an effort to wipe clean any traces of guilt or regret?

I worry about my older children's futures, hoping they will be bright and shiny and filled with amazing greatness. But with Jumby, I worry about his next breath. His next ounce. The next virus. I worry about his life. Because everything else is a luxury Jumby is rarely afforded.

It's all pared down to survival with Jumby.

That was the gift his original family gave him when they robbed him of his future.

But last night while my son's wheezing rasps filled the quiet spaces in my night, curiosity took over. I was feeling particularly charitable, grateful for every diaper I get to change of his, every doctor appointment I am required to make for him, every snuggle the boy has gifted me with.

So I looked.

I looked at her profile, right there where it's been waiting for me to look, for all of these years. Inviting me, mocking me, goading me. Last night I couldn't ignore her any longer.

And there she was. With a new life. With her new son. Her healthy son. I saw her smiles and his, her pride in his growth. His life documented on a web site, open to any prying eye that cared to look.

With every photo she posted of her new child, I wonder, does it help erase the memory of her lost son?

I've struggled for years, since Jumby arrived in our lives, with my feelings towards her. She was young and so so stupid. But she wasn't evil. For all her faults I am thankful to her for the life she created, for the boy I call mine.

Without her, there would be no him.

I wonder if there would even be a me.

I remained straddled on my fence, vacillating between forgiveness and pity when I saw it.

Five pictures of my son. On her mother's page.

She called him her grandson. Her Hunny Bunny.

And there it was.



A lump of anger so bitter and vile it refused to be swallowed.

Where were you for your Hunny Bunny when he needed you? Did you look the other way? Did you make excuses for their behaviour? How do you look at your grown daughter with her new son and forget the tubes and scars and broken body of her old one? The one she never protected?

Fury swallowed me, filling me with its poison. I was suffocating under the weight of hate. So I closed my computer and wandered to where the sounds of a broken boy wheezing his way through the night filled the air. I put my hand on his chest and felt it vibrate; I checked his diaper.

I saw the shadows of his abusers in the soft curves of my son's face. He has their colouring. There is no trace of me on my boy's face. For one single second I questioned my claim as his mother.

And then he twitched and felt my hand on his back. He smiled that smile he saves only for me as he changed positions and then fell back asleep, his rasp filling the air once more.

He doesn't belong to them. No matter what his face may look like. Their Hunny Bunny no longer exists. Hunny Bunny is merely five photos on a Facebook page.

Jumby exists where Hunny Bunny ended. I will never stop grieving for what Hunny Bunny lost, the price my Jumby had to pay for someone else's choices. I can't imagine a day when it never shreds my heart to know what he endured at the hands of another.

But I'll never stop being grateful to her, to them, for my son, just as I'll never stop pitying them for not knowing the depth of their loss.

I'm missing my son's past, forced to scrape together bits of it confined in boxes of court transcripts and medical records, piecing together the jigsaw puzzle of his past while gazing at five precious pictures. I've his entire life to decipher my son and create new memories. I've got so much more than five photos.

But their Hunny Bunny? He's forever lost to them. He's simply five photos on a Facebook page and the unspoken secret of a broken and lost boy.

He's their past. He's my future.

Five years, five photos, five parents.

It all ends with us.

The Story of Us.