A woman arrives at her 8-year-old daughter’s school to pick her up but does not find her there. She is worried and looks everywhere for her until she gets home at night and finds her daughter with a baby in the entryway.
Barbara and Edward Hunt’s daughter Madison was 6 when they first moved to Sausalito, California. For the first two years, Barbara accompanied Madison to and from school, but when Madison turned eight, Edward recommended Barbara let Madison go to school on her own because it was just close to their house.
Barbara was a stay-at-home mom who didn’t mind driving Madison to school every day. Besides, she was concerned that Madison was still too young to be left alone. But when Edward insisted, she relented. She gave Madison a mobile phone and put a tiny journal in her backpack with their home address and vital contacts so Madison could contact them if necessary. And that actually helped.
If Madison ever went to a friend’s house after school or was late because she went to the park near her school, she’d always call Barbara and let her know. That gave Barbara an assurance that her daughter was safe.
Barbara and Edward relocated to Sausalito when Madison was 6. | Source: Pexels
One day, Barbara was bored at home and decided to surprise Madison by picking her up from school. She had also planned to take her to her favorite ice cream parlor nearby after.
Barbara got to Madison’s school just in time, and as the dismissal bell rang, a stream of students spilled out the front gate. Barbara spotted Madison’s friends, Alice and Katherine, but Madison was nowhere to be seen. She thought Madison probably got held up with something and chose to wait.
However, when Madison didn’t come out after a few minutes, Barbara decided to look for her inside. She went to her classroom to see if she was there. She noticed the classroom was empty, except for Madison’s teacher, Mrs. Blake, who was sitting at her desk, looking over some papers.
“Mrs. Blake?” Barbara approached her, worried. “Did you see Madison? I was waiting for her at the gate, but she never came out.”
“Oh, Mrs. Hunt! I’m sorry! It entirely slipped my mind to call you! Madison hasn’t been to school in over a week. I was concerned that she was ill! She didn’t show up today, and do you see these papers I’m carrying? We had a test, and she missed it!”
Barbara didn’t see Madison among the children exiting the school. | Source: Pexels
“What?” A shock ran through Barbara upon hearing her 8-year-old daughter hadn’t been attending classes. “What do you mean? She leaves for school every morning!”
“That’s strange, considering she hasn’t been attending her classes, Mrs. Hunt. Is everything okay at home?”
Barbara was at a loss for words. She dashed out of school and dialed Madison’s number, but the girl didn’t answer. She called her multiple times with no success, and Madison’s phone was turned off at one point.
Barbara was sinking on the inside, wondering where her daughter was. She looked for Madison wherever she could, in parks and restaurants near the school, and contacted every friend she knew, but no one knew anything.
Barbara was crying by this time and she finally called Edward and told him everything. He asked Barbara to wait near the school and was there in a few minutes. They searched all of the places between their house and the school, including parks, cafes, restaurants, and their neighbors’ houses, but Madison was nowhere to be found.
Barbara learned from Mrs. Blake that Madison was skipping classes. | Source: Pexels
By the time Edward and Barbara were on their way home, it was already 8 p.m. They didn’t notice when the day turned to night as they searched for Madison. Barbara was crying on the way back from school, and they had resolved to contact the cops as soon as they arrived home. But they were still two houses away when Barbara saw Madison from afar waving bye to a boy on the street.
“Edward!” she cried. “Maddy is there! She’s right there, outside our house!”
“What?” Edward narrowed his eyes and realized Barbara was right. “Jesus! Thank God!”
As soon as they parked the car and got down, they ran to her. Suddenly, they glanced at each other, perplexed, when they discovered Madison wasn’t alone but was holding a baby wrapped in a white towel.
“Who’s that baby, Madison? And who was the small boy who just left?” Barbara inquired, perplexed.
Barbara was confused when she saw Madison holding a baby in her arms. | Source: Unsplash
“Sorry, mommy,” Madison lowered her head. “Can we please go inside and talk?”
“No, Madison!” Barbara said sternly. “You need to answer me first! Do you know how worried daddy and I were? We were going to call the police!”
Madison shook her head. “No, Mommy! Please! They’re going to take Layla away! Please do not call the cops! I must keep Layla safe!”
“Darling,” Edward told Barbara. “Let me handle this, okay? So Madison is the baby’s name, Layla?” he asked. “Where did you find her, honey?”
“Layla is my friend Terrence’s sister, daddy. His granny is sick and cannot care for Layla, and she refuses to go to the hospital because she says the cops will take Layla away. Layla’s parents went to the angel two months ago.”
Edward and Barbara exchanged a worried look, and they realized Terrence’s grandma was worried that social services would take Layla away since she couldn’t care for her.
“And why didn’t you go to class, honey? Mommy called you today, but your phone was turned off.”
Madison revealed the baby was her friend’s sister. | Source: Pexels
“I’m sorry. I go to Terrence’s house every day to look after Layla, so I don’t have time to go to classes… I return home when he gets home from school. We were playing with Layla today, and I didn’t check my phone.
“When I finally decided to call mommy, the phone was dead. Terrence’s granny was very sick today, so Terrence and I spent the entire day caring for her. That’s why I was late. I’m sorry. I didn’t tell you anything because I was scared I wouldn’t be able to play with Layla again.”
Barbara and Edward understood that it wasn’t really Madison’s fault. She was just trying to help a friend, so they didn’t scold her but explained that it was wrong to skip classes.
“Can we keep Layla with us? Terrence cannot take care of her alone, and his granny is sick.”
“Well, honey,” Barbara said. “We can’t keep someone else’s baby like that with us, but daddy and I will figure out a way to help her. Let’s go inside now. It’s getting cold.”
The following day, Baraba and Edward went to Terrence’s house and told his grandma, Mrs. Peterson, everything. They also offered to assist her in raising Layla so she would not have to turn to the authorities and risk losing custody of Layla. The older woman was in tears and couldn’t stop thanking Edward and Barbara.
Barbara fell in love with Layla. | Source: Unsplash
As time went on, Barbara started spending more time at Terrence’s house and looking after Layla and Mrs. Peterson. She fell in love with Layla, and one day, she asked Edward if they could adopt her and Terrence.
Edward was more than happy to have Layla and Terrence as his children, but he suggested Barbara ask Mrs. Peterson first.
After much hesitation, Barbara proposed the idea to Mrs. Peterson, and she was surprised when Mrs. Peterson agreed.
“You see, honey,” she said. “I am an old bird, and I am always worried about what will happen to my grandchildren after I die. I’ll be relieved and glad to know they’re in good hands if you take them in.”
“Oh, Mrs. Peterson, thank you so much!” Barbara said. “We were also wondering if you wanted to move in with us… The kids, you see, would love to have their grandmother by their side. What do you think?”
“Angel,” she said. “You are a true angel, sweetheart. I am sure that God sent you and your husband to help us. Oh my goodness, thank you so much! Thank you very much!”
From that day on, Mrs. Peterson, Terrence, and Layla moved in with the Hunts. Edward and Barbara started the adoption process soon, and two months later, Terence and Layla were legally theirs.
What can we learn from this story?
Trust your children. Barbara was furious at Madison when she saw the baby in her arms. But then she realized Madison was just helping her friend.
Love is what makes a family. Barbara and Edward adopted Layla and Terrence to raise them with love.
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