Until the Jan. 6 episode of This Is Us, Deja's past has largely been a mystery to viewers — but that all changed this week. Spoilers ahead for the Jan. 6 episode. More of her journey to the Pearsons was revealed, including her heartbreaking zigzag between foster homes and her mother's always tumultuous apartment. It was apparent the entire episode the love that Deja and her mother, Shauna, have between them, but it also was clear that between unhealthy relationships and accumulating bills, her mom wasn't able to give her a secure and stable home. In the end, they were all back at Beth and Randall's house, safe and sound, so why did Deja's mom leave her on This Is Us?
It seems like Shauna finally came to an unimaginable realization this episode — that her child may be happier in a different situation. She apparently had let go of the anger she once felt toward the Pearsons, and upon spending more time with them and talking with Beth, realized that their home was one in which Deja could finally act like a kid. "I failed Deja. I failed her and I can't keep failing her," Shauna told Beth. "You know what I always say to her? I say, 'What would I do without you?' I've been saying that to her since she was five. Who puts that on a kid? Who does that?"
It appeared like the plan was originally for Shauna and Deja to stay with Randall and Beth for a while as they figured out what their next move would be. The problem, though, seemed to be that Shauna worried their dysfunctional cycle would just continue. She loves seeing Deja at ease with Randall and Beth — Deja wanted to sleep in her old room (where Randall kept her plants alive, because of course he did) and she was able to relax and let her guard down in a way that wasn't possible anywhere else.
That was distinctly not the case back at the apartment where Deja and Shauna had been evicted. Deja was always helping with bills, trying to manage her own mother's whereabouts, and deal with friends and boyfriends who weren't good for them. Earlier this season, she came to Randall and Beth asking for money to turn the home's heat back on, but Shauna ultimately used that cash to go toward her boyfriend's bail. None of that situation showed many signs of improvement, and maybe everyone involved has come to terms with that. Shauna definitely hasn't voluntarily given Deja up before, so this could be seen as her truly turning over a new leaf in the best interest of her child.
It's also possible that Deja would have made this decision herself very soon, especially after they were evicted, and this is Shauna's way of giving Deja her blessing. If Shauna is the one to ask the Pearsons to take Deja, it'd assure Deja that she shouldn't feel guilty, or like she's grappling with choosing the Pearsons over her own mom. "The next time you find a bed that feels even a little safe, dont blow it," Deja's foster sibling told her in a flashback as they laid in a group home, awaiting the next foreign bed that they'd inevitably land in, and that stuck with her. Deja mentioned something similar to Randall when he came to check on her as she prepared for bed. "I'm thinking about how many beds I've slept in already in my life," she said. "It's a scary thing to think about because the numbers already pretty high."
So what's next? Will Randall and Beth end up adopting Deja for good now that her mom has loosened the reigns a bit? I doubt Randall will have any sort of peace until there's a hard and fast decision put in place that prevents Shauna from changing her mind and yanking Deja away once again, but he and Beth have also learned to be very respectful of Shauna's place as Deja's mother, especially because Randall was deprived his birth father for so much of his life. There's plenty more to figure out in this complex situation, but for now it seems like Deja has found her safe haven once and for all.