Later, Adele was hard on herself and her actions surrounding the events after the boys were born. She had taken care of the girl as best she could with the limited supplies she found in the car and in her own gardening apron. She remembered walking with the amazingly quiet boys, wrapped in a couple of towels from the trunk. She smiled down at them and thought of the story they would have to tell someday. Looking back, she played several alternative options in her head. She should have driven the red car to the house. She could have looked for the boy who had run off. She would have asked the girl if she had anyone Adele could call to come get her. Anything. Anything but leave the resting girl in the blood soaked car.
Adele was gently cleaning the boys in the kitchen sink when she heard the squeals of the tires. The car was leaving. The boy must have been nearby, afraid and waiting for Adele to leave. As the car sped off, Adele tried to imagine what words they spoke to each other as they decided to abandon these little boys. She felt helpless, angry and confused. Her quick phone call to 911 brought ambulances, police and curious neighbors. As the paramedics applied medical care to the now sleeping babies, Adele informed them about the red car and the girl who had given birth to these precious boys just minutes before. They would look into it, they said. There were many questions to be answered, but in the end, the officers informed her that in these kinds of cases, the mother doesn’t always want to be found.
The days and the weeks that followed were a blur of meetings with social workers, police officers and concerned phone calls. Adele knew that these boys had been born on her street for a reason. She was meant to be there. The girl had asked her to help. And now she knew what it was that she needed to do to help. She needed to give these dear boys a family.
The walk back from the mailbox was filled with the boys’ bubbling sounds. Reaching hands stretched up to the sky as they weaved their way back up the drive. The sound of car tires crunching on the gravel at the end of the drive made Adele quickly turn her head into the sun. It wasn’t until recently that the sounds of car approaching didn’t send her heart and thoughts to the return of the boys’ mother. The search by social workers and the police led nowhere and soon Adele was able to file official adoption papers based on abandonment. She felt that they would now be with her forever. But her dreams betrayed her and often she woke, not from the boys’ noises in the night, but of an obscure vision of one or both of the twins being taken from her.
The glare of the warm sun kept Adele from recognizing the car right away. The four-door sedan with Illinois plates pulled up next to the house just as Adele came around her flowerbeds.
It was John and his wife. Adele felt odd emotions. Confusion. Excitement. Protectiveness. John’s tall frame was draped in city clothes that looked a bit out of place against the backdrop of the dingy old trailer next to the garage. His sheepish smile brought her back to the days when he used to walk the yard exploring for his version of treasure. She could tell he was sorry he hadn’t called by the tilt of his head and the shrug of his shoulders. Adele’s heart opened and she knew it was good he was here.
Inside, Gracie heated a pot of coffee for them and the guarded small talk quickly changed from the weather, the farm, John’s job, and Gracie’s family, to the boys. Adele shared stories of the boys’ first weeks at the farmhouse. She and Gracie laughed like those sharing a private joke, as they told stories of their first baths, buying diapers again, and discovering all the new accessories for babies these days.
The one question Adele had for John was soon answered by the way John’s wife easily fell into a game of peek-a-boo with the boys. They had come for a family.