- Family and Parenting
Meant to be Ours
I was 22 when I got pregnant with my first child. My husband and I were so excited. Everything was going so well with my pregnancy. I would read “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” and compare my unborn child’s progress to those in the photos, and my pregnancy symptoms with what was written. And then the worst thing happened. I miscarried. In the December holiday craziness, it was a dark cloud as we came home from the hospital that evening. No baby, erratic hormones (pregnant one day, not the next). I spent the next several weeks sad and depressed.
One afternoon, my mother called me from the office. She was working for the church diocese and had heard about a man whose wife had just died leaving him – an older father – with a 9-month-old baby. The father was very “old world” and was left at a loss as to how to care for his infant son. He lived with his wife’s parents however, and the child was cared for. He was looking for a couple to adopt his child so his baby would grow up in a loving Christian home. My mother’s question to me: “Would you like to adopt a baby?”
If I knew then what I know now, I would have jumped at the chance. But I had just lost my baby and the grief was still part of my day to day. So I said no. I couldn’t. Not yet. I wanted to have my own baby. Door closed.
Getting pregnant again didn’t come easy. Years went by. Six to be exact. We went to fertility specialists, and did all the tricks to conceive. And we finally did. We had a beautiful little girl, the light of our lives. Everything was perfect and we were very happy. And then we started thinking about having another child. A baby brother or sister for our daughter. And again, we tried, and waited. Except this time we were open to the idea of adoption. My husband and I looked into it, somewhat lost as to which way to go, when our prayers were answered.
At a summer camp committee meeting, we were discussing the post-session wrap up. I heard about a little boy who stepped off the bus after spending a week at camp. There was no parent there to greet him upon his return. This little boy’s father had health issues, and he had been bounced around from home to home within the parish family. My heart broke. After the meeting I went up to the director and asked about the little boy. No child deserved to be bounced around. My thinking was that if this child needed a place to stay while his father couldn’t care for him, we could be that one stable family for him. Door opened.
What I learned after speaking to the director was that this little boy’s care was being overseen by one of the deacons of our church. And by sheer chance, he happened to be a very close friend of my brother. Excited, I went home and talked to my husband about it. Maybe we could be a foster family for this little boy? He agreed. I called our friend Hratch and asked about the little boy. I shared with him during our conversation that we had a 3-year-old daughter now and were looking into adopting a child, but would love to be a foster family for this little boy. His response floored me. The child’s father had taken a turn for the worse. He was not well and had looked into finding a permanent home for his son, BUT he wanted to be a part of his life and most adoptive parents didn’t want that. One couple was very interested, but they lived in New York. The child’s father wouldn’t be able to see him if he consented to the adoption. So nothing became of it. When I told Hratch that we’d be interested, he thought it would be a good fit! He would call the father and ask if we could come meet the little boy and take him to our home for the weekend. It was June and the California summer had great possibilities of all kinds of fun activities we could do together. So we set up a meeting time. We would pick him up right after church on Sunday. They belonged to another parish, within our diocese, so we made plans to attend services at that parish and meet with Hratch who would introduce us to the child and his father.
Entering the small Sunday School room that afternoon, this sweet little nine-year-old was seated with his father, suitcase packed. We met his father, an older, shy man. We introduced ourselves and asked permission to take his son for the weekend. Relieved, the father told us that he had packed enough clothing for him to stay with us for a few weeks. Surprised, we exchanged information, phone numbers, etc. and off we went.
Up until that point, we were parents to a very girly, very family oriented little girl. Enter one very independent, gangly little boy into the mix. My husband and I had visions of the four of us bonding immediately and everything going seamlessly. I remember our first outing to a children’s museum that Sunday afternoon. No sooner did we get there and he was gone! Used to fending for himself, he was off running around, climbing the equipment, talking to other parents. A great kid, but no idea of how to be part of a family. But he was sweet, and would try very hard to make “interesting” conversation with my husband and I. He knew all sorts of trivia and stats. The first few days he spent with us were a major adjustment for all of us. He wasn’t used to a set bedtime. He was used to falling asleep to the TV. We had a lot of kids in the neighborhood, and he loved to spend his time playing with them, and with our daughter when we would call him in.
My parents were very open to the idea that we were considering adoption. They had seen what we had been through trying to conceive on our own and were happy with our decision. The following Sunday was Father’s Day. We decided to invite my parents on a picnic with the kids and go kite flying at the beach. Both kids in the car, we drove to my parents’ home to pick them up. We took the kids in with us to wish dad a Happy Father’s Day. When we introduced our new family member to my parents, my mom was speechless, and then suddenly in tears. I asked what happened confused by her reaction.
As the kids went off with my dad and husband, my mom told me the reason behind her emotions. “Remember years ago when I asked you if you’d like to adopt a 9 month old baby? You had just miscarried and you weren’t ready at that time.” I nodded. Yes, I remembered. She continued, “This is the same little boy. You weren’t ready then…you’re ready now. God has given him to you again. He is meant to be yours.” Suddenly, we were both in tears and hugging.
We never looked back after that. We became foster parents, and then, adoptive parents. That was over twenty years ago. When I think about this story, I am still in awe of how God brought us all together. I think that God is always there for us, guiding us. But it’s up to us to listen and to say yes.
Photo provided by Chris Roll: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2140