When Abby Geotz contacted me a few weeks ago to nominate her mom for an Everyday People feature, I had no idea how big of a story I was getting. **
Like, we're talking history channel biography mini-series type story.
Abby's email said:
"I would like to nominate someone for your Everyday People series. Peggy Lorenson is a Crosby resident, has been a foster parent for approximately 35 years and has cared for 500+ children in that time.... Peggy is my mother. She received me as a foster child in Washington State when I was 4 months old and adopted me a little over a year later. Out of the 500+ children that have been through her home, I am the only one she adopted..."
I was interested in the story and contacted Abby to see if both she and her mom would sit down with me to do an interview.
You know, kind of like an Everyday People double feature.
Abby and Peggy agreed and we met at Peggy's home in Crosby last week . For about an hour I listened as their story unfolded into something much deeper than I anticipated.
When I got back to the office I talked to my editor and said, "I think this might be a little bigger than an Everyday People feature." After I relayed the conversation I had had with Peggy and Abby, he agreed.
Growing up as the only adopted child in a family that had more than 500 foster children, Abby is, statistically speaking, pretty extraordinary.
She is not a statistic. Never has been.
As a young adult, Abby began the search for her biological family. After more than a decade or phone calls and online message boards and emails and dead ends and red tape, Abby found them. She found them. First he biological dad's family in 2009. Her birth-dad passed away in 2002, but she has connected and built lasting relationships with his kids.
Then, last fall she found her birth-mom and her youngest sibling, Cody, who is just 4-years-old.
Through a series of events that followed soon after Abby and her birth-mom reconnected, Cody was placed in foster care.
Right now, Abby and her husband Mike are in the process of becoming licensed foster parents so they can one day adopt Cody. By the time the story runs, things could potentially be official.
When Abby emailed me she gushed about how great her mom is. And she is — Peggy is a fantastic woman and obviously a great mom. She raised a great kid. Abby did, however, leave out the part about her and her husband being in the middle of the process to adopt Cody, her little brother. I didn't learn about that until I met Peggy and Abby last week.
I met Cody too. He's missing his top teeth, he has curly hair and big blue eyes and no poker face. If Cody's excited he has no hope of hiding it. Cody lives with his Grandma Peggy right now until all the paper work is finalized for Abby and Mike to be his foster parents.
What impressed me most about my time with Peggy and Abby was the sense of family they have. It's very unconditional. Very selfless. And inspiring.
One thing Peggy said about Cody's adoption really stuck with me. She said that if Mike and Abby had been unable to take Cody then she would have. She said, "He's family because she's family."
Abby and Mike have three kids of their own and while they couldn't be more excited to have Cody joining their family soon, I know it's a sacrifice— one they wouldn't have thought twice about making. I think for them it was just how they live life— by giving away of themselves. To me it was a testament of the resilient love of a parent. I'm pretty sure they learned that from Peggy.
You can read the unabridged (and commentary-less) version of Peggy and Abby's story in Sunday's paper. Well, at least part of the story. I have a feeling this is only the beginning.
** Just in case you're not an avid follower of all things Sarah Nelson, Everyday People is a weekly human interest feature run every Monday in the Dispatch. I happen to write it.