Dear Veronica Badamo,

In the fall of 1998 I lost you. Since I was your foster mom, I never had much legal right to you anyway.

What happened to your real mama. What happened to your whole family was awful. Criminal awful.

I was just a broken bystander.

You were, for one precious year, my baby. And when they took you away I was broken.

Barely survive broken.

Whole world changed broken.

I was pretty sure the people who took you would erase me, but I could not let you go without a benediction.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published it. I knew that they would change your name so I called you Little One.

And for year I have been calling and calling, Little One.

I missed you. I missed the years, days, hours with you.

You were my lost treasure.

One good thing happened; losing you gave me a plumb line for love.

Anyone’s child could be you. Suddenly the world was full of Veronicas.

It was a painful gift. I would have rather had you, real you.

But I was the ghost. And I can give you these two promises–

I loved the world better because of you.

And I love you. Always, always, little one.

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