Addison Bowman, 11, marveled at the tiny new life in her arms, holding him gently as she rocked him to sleep.
The next day, her heart filled with so much hope for his future that a poem flowed quickly onto a page.
The poem, “Last Night I Rocked a Little One,” expresses Addison’s hopes for “Scooter,” the foster child under her family’s care. It won Best in Show, Junior Division, in the Anderson County 4-H (Head, Heart, Hands, and Health) Club’s Creative Arts and Crafts show in October. Roughly 60 students, ages 8-13, submitted a variety of entries in the Junior Category.
Addison, a sixth-grader at the University Academy and a member of the Old Cayuga 4-H, likes to write songs and poems. “When I have an idea, I stop and write it down,” she said.
This was one of those times.
In “Last Night,” Addison explores Scooter’s hopes, dreams, and troubles.
“This little one will soar, and reach his dreams too. He might fall, but he will make it through,” she wrote.
Candy Bowman was busy doing laundry, but froze when Addison rushed in and began reading the poem.
“I was blown away by the compassion she showed,” Bowman said.
A mom of two girls, 11 and 15, Candy Bowman has recognized other important moments.
Like when she received the midnight call from Child Protective Services that asked if she could take “Scooter” into the family's home.
Bowman, who had cared for older foster children, instantly felt connected to the baby, without knowing his name, circumstances, or parents. He arrived just two hours later.
It was the family’s first time to care for a baby; the Bowmans had no supplies, That's common for foster parents, who must often make split-second decisions.
Emily Heglund, director of CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates for Children) of Trinity Valley, said CPS sometimes removes children from a home of origin if they are in immediate danger due to domestic violence or drug abuse. CPS workers look to place the infant or child in the home of a licensed foster family.
When she received the midnight call, Candy Bowman said her parenting instincts kicked in.
“You feel that connection and that mothering bond,” she said, recalling that the family made a midnight trip to Walmart to buy formula, diapers, and a few clothing items.
Addison and her sister also provide care and socialization for the foster children.
Rocking Scooter to sleep or holding him as she sat watching television were two ways Addison provided pleasant experiences, which neuroscience considers essential to an infant’s growth and development.
“The older children help so much,” said Candy Bowman, Addison’s mom. “They’ve grown up over the past year in ways I never expected.”
In just three short months, Scooter left the Bowmans’ lives just as quickly as he entered. He was placed in another home just two weeks ago.
Maybe Scooter was returned to his parents, or maybe he was adopted. To protect him, the why’s and how’s of his life remain confidential.
Some families might not be able to bear the pain of seeing an infant move on to another home, but the Bowmans’ hearts are still open to receiving more foster children.
“Each time a child leaves, we have a family meeting about whether we want to take in another foster child, but we always say ‘yes,’” Candy said.
The brief, shining moment that inspired Addison to pore her thoughts onto paper has ended, but she said she feels good about helping someone “who really needed it.”
The Bowmans made sure the framed poem accompanied Scooter to his next home.
“I feel like he might look back at the poem and realize he has someone who really loves him,” Addison said.