When Molly Schultz’s family fell apart she knew she would be the one to have to put it back together.
Molly’s father was given 4 months to live after being diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer at age 50.
A day after that she received some horrible news, but it wasn’t about her father. Her father’s wife had died of an overdose. The entire family was shocked.
Molly quickly went into problem-solving mode.
She needed to console her father and help figure out who would care for his 2-year-old son, Easton.
So, she jumped on a plane alone with her 7-month-old twins and flew from Washington to Michigan.
“Easton’s future needed to be figured out and it needed to be done quickly. We considered different options, talked about the pros and cons of different scenarios, but collectively as a family decided that I would raise him. My husband and I had four very young daughters and we always wanted a son. It was sort of like the perfect missing puzzle piece,” Molly wrote in a piece for Love What Matters.
Her father quickly signed custody of Easton over to his daughter.
She was heartbroken over how hard that moment must have been for her father.
To have to sign over his son knowing he wouldn’t live much longer. His eyes had begun to yellow, a sign of liver failure.
“The heartbreak, yet fulfillment of that moment had my heart in a thousand pieces on the floor. I also thought about my daughters and how he was only able to be their grandpa for a few years. It all seemed so impossible and unfair that people I love so much, would never know each other,” she said.
The family was able to get a judge to sign papers that gave Molly full guardianship of her brother Easton.
“I told my dad the great news and he said to me, ‘Oh Molly, that makes me so happy. I love you so much.’ They would be his last words as he passed away the very next day,” Molly said.
She knew her dad been holding on until he knew Easton would be taken care of.
“I had heard stories of people hanging on to say goodbye to family members or hanging on to watch their grandkids graduate. But this was the very first time I actually believed in it, knowing my father waited for Easton to be legally safe before letting go himself,” she recalls.
In just 12 days, Easton had become an orphan. He would also have to attend the most personal funeral in his life before he could even speak.
A few days later, Easton came home to Washington with Molly and her family.
Easton’s life was about to drastically change again. He now lived in a world with structure, four sisters, and meals at the table.
“My youngest are twins. We struggled, hard, for months to find some common ground. Once we finally did, it was like he had always been there. How did we ever live without him?” Molly wondered. “Soon after, we started a legal custody battle. Easton and I flew back to Michigan a few times for court dates that inevitably never carried out. The entire process took about a year, but eventually the judge in Michigan released him as a warden of the state and transferred the case over to Washington.”
Easton had become officially adopted at the age of 3 after his sister had fought for him for 458 days.
“He’s now a brother to four sisters whom he is biologically the uncle of! If we want to get really technical, he’s also the brother-in-law of my husband, his now dad! I can only imagine the tricks they will play on other’s one day with that information,” she said.
Now that Molly thinks back on it, it seemed that Easton was always been destined to be her son. That’s something the boy seemed to know from the start.
Parenting Isn't Easy
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“On the day he was born, my father and his wife called me to ask which name I preferred out of 3 or 4 they liked. I chose Easton and they agreed that name fit best. Easton also never called me Molly, he always called me Mama. At the time I thought it was because my kids called me Mama, so he just assumed that was my name. It’s almost as if he knew what would happen before any of us did,”
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