New York Today: New York Today: A Forever Mother

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“When you decide to do this, you have to do it with your whole heart,” Rebecca Baptiste said. Credit Byron Smith for The New York Times

Good morning on this calm and cloudy Friday.

Rebecca Baptiste has two biological children, two adopted children and three foster children.

Ahead of Mother’s Day on Sunday, we asked her how she had raised the family as one, with children who have come from different backgrounds and different mothers.

“A child is a child,” Ms. Baptiste said at her home in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. “That’s my thing.”

Ms. Baptiste, who grew up in Grenada and lived in Venezuela for more than a decade, moved to New York in 1986 with her children, Alberto, now 39, and Yazmin, now 35. After those two had grown and moved out, Ms. Baptiste learned that she had colon cancer.

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“I asked God to give me a second chance, and he gave it to me,” Ms. Baptiste said of her recovery, “so I thought I should give back to my community. My choice was to do this.”

“This” is being a foster parent, something she has been doing for 18 years.

She met Jamie and Cheyenne, siblings whom she would later adopt, through the Children’s Aid Society.

Jamie, who came from an abusive home, entered the foster system at age 2. His sister, Cheyenne, who was born into foster care, has Asperger’s syndrome.

“I could not have seen them go from home to home because no one wanted to adopt them,” said Ms. Baptiste, who took in the siblings 12 years ago.

Jamie, now 24, and Cheyenne, now 21, share their mother’s home with three foster children whose names are being omitted here for privacy reasons.

“I’ve been in five homes, and I think this is the best one because I can be who I want to be,” said the elder foster son, 18, who has been living there for two years. “I could be gay. I could be me. In my other homes, it was like I was trapped.”

He said he tried to visit his mother, who lives in a shelter in Midtown, once a month, and that she attended his high school graduation last spring.

Ms. Baptiste’s foster daughter, also 18, has been living with her for a year. Her mother died in April. And the younger foster son, 17, has moved from home to home since age 6, with his mother being in and out of jail.

Despite their different backgrounds, “they are like real siblings,” Ms. Baptiste said, adding, “I’m the mother forever.”

They share family dinners, attend church together and abide by the same rules. “No cursing, no drugs, no alcohol and no fighting at all,” the elder foster son said. “And make sure you clean.”

Ms. Baptiste will spend her Mother’s Day at church.

“All the kids are welcome to be there with me, but if they have to go to their biological parents, I let them go,” she said. “If they want to come back, I meet them. Whatever they want to do, I let them be themselves on Mother’s Day.”

Here’s what else is happening:


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Another day of sunshine here and there, gentle breezes and temperatures in the low 60s.

Can you feel it? It’s the calm before the storm.

A nor’easter is expected to hit on Saturday and possibly drench us with rain through Sunday.

Sorry moms, brunch may end up soggy.

In the News

Joseph Ponte is expected to resign as correction commissioner of the city’s jails. [New York Times]


Joseph Ponte, the correction chief, testified before City Council on Monday. Credit Dave Sanders for The New York Times

Most trains will run at Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan during upcoming work, Amtrak said. [New York Times]

False payroll information allowed three state senators to collect tens of thousands of dollars in recent years. [New York Times]

A man from Queens will go on trial for orchestrating a fatal shooting in broad daylight in Midtown, but who actually fired the weapon is unknown. [New York Times]


A security-camera image, moments before the fatal shooting of Brandon Woodard, right, in 2012. Credit NYPD, via Associated Press

Some 30,700 gallons of oil remain unaccounted for in the East River spill. [DNAinfo]

Men with chain saws cut down trees at the Trump-run golf course in the Bronx. [CBS]

Here’s a look at the new “I Voted” sticker. [WNYC]

A man hanged himself in Riverside Park. [DNAinfo]

“Mean Girls,” the musical, is coming to Broadway. [Gothamist]

Ross M. Cellino Jr. and Stephen E. Barnes, in one of the city’s most memorable parternships, appear to be splitting up. [New York Times]

In “About New York,” Jim Dwyer tells of a search for our vanished waterways. [New York Times]


A 19th-century topographical map of New York showing original watercourses. Credit NYPL, Digital Collections

In “Big City,” Ginia Bellafante writes about those who hide behind the outdated laws on child sexual abuse. [New York Times]

Today’s Metropolitan Diary: “An Inside Joke Between Two Impressionists

Scoreboard: Astros defy gravity against Yankees, 3-2.

For a global look at what’s happening, see Your Friday Briefing.

Coming Up Today

The annual Five Boro Craft Beer Fest brings brews to The Well in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 6:30 p.m. [$85, tickets here]

Hear folk music from the Netherlands, Sweden and Poland at Off the Beaten Track, at King Manor Museum in Jamaica, Queens. 6:30 p.m. [$15]

How to Break Up by Text,” a comedy show about exactly that, at the Peoples Improv Theater in Flatiron. 8 p.m. [$15]

Watch an outdoor screening of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” in Clove Lakes Park on Staten Island. 8 p.m. [Free]

Yankees host Astros, 7:05 p.m. (WPIX). Mets at Brewers, 8:10 p.m. (SNY).

Alternate-side parking remains in effect until May 25.

Weekend travel hassles: Check subway disruptions and a list of street closings.

The Weekend


A Mother’s Day Weekend Garden Party at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., through Sunday. [Prices vary]

Take an Alexander Hamilton-themed trolley tour through Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. 11 a.m. [$25]

See a one-woman show starring Lilia Skala, who became an actress after fleeing Nazi-occupied Austria and working in a New York zipper factory, at the Jefferson Market Library in Chelsea. 3 p.m. [Free]

“From My Mother’s Mother,” an opera about a Korean tradition passed down through generations, at Flushing Town Hall in Queens. 7:30 p.m. [$10, free entry for moms]

Yankees host Astros, 1:05 p.m. (YES). New York Liberty host San Antonio Stars, 3 p.m. Mets at Brewers, 7:10 p.m. (WPIX).


A Mother’s Day arts and crafts fair at the Alice Austen House Museum on Staten Island. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. [Free]

The Yiddishe Mamas walking tour explores Jewish women’s history on the Lower East Side, beginning at the Eldridge Street Synagogue. 11 a.m. [$30]

Dance to the music of Madonna at a family-friendly Mother’s Day concert at Brooklyn Bowl on Wythe Avenue. 12:30 p.m. [$10, free entry for moms]

Mother May I?, a comedy show by mothers for mothers about motherhood, at Q.E.D. in Astoria, Queens. 4:30 and 6 p.m. [$10]

Mets at Brewers, 2:10 p.m. (WPIX). New York Red Bulls host L.A. Galaxy, 6 p.m. (MLS LIVE). Yankees host Astros, 7:38 p.m. (ESPN). New York City F.C. at F.C. Dallas, 8 p.m. (MLS LIVE).

For more events, see The New York Times’s Arts & Entertainment guide.

And Finally…


Night at the museum. Credit Benjamin Norman for The New York Times

Teenagers are taking the Met by storm today.

Young adults ages 13 to 18 are invited to spend a free evening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for art-making, music, snacks, performances and more.

They can experience virtual reality with the New York Film Academy; see a performance of Shakespeare’s “Romeo & Juliet” reimagined for modern-day East Harlem; explore the Rei Kawakubo Costume Institute exhibition; and hang out in the newly opened roof garden.

(You can see the full list of activities here.)

Attendees can R.S.V.P. here, and they must have a valid middle school or high school ID.


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