Mark Osgood, like the rest of his patchwork family, welcomed Maleah into his home. Maybe this one, he thought, will be quiet like me.
Lisa Ayotte-Osgood, his wife, was loud and extroverted, and so were her two children, Jason and Carly Ayotte. When they had one together, Audrey Osgood, she seemed to inherit a lot more of the loud genes than the quiet ones. He couldn’t win.
But then Lisa talked about this little one at Highland Elementary in Pierce, where she worked as the office assistant. Lisa was the first face Maleah saw every day, and for some reason, she imprinted on Lisa the same way a baby bird loves its mother after hatching.
Maleah had been through a lot for a 7-year-old. Too much. She was taken from parents after many offenses — drugs, Lisa believes — and when she was 4, she had a heart transplant. Maleah was supposed …