My husband and I have three adopted children. Three boys. They are ‘all boy’, as the saying goes. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. They call each other brothers of another mother. They’re cool with that and so am I.
As a young married woman 19 years ago, adoption was the furthest thing from my mind. Both my husband and I were in school full time, working like Hebrew slaves on advanced engineering degrees. Between the two of us we made $18,000 a year in stipends. Can you say ‘poor house’? I thank God for those years (and for that small vegetable patch). Those lean times taught me how to wait on God.
Growing up in the swamplands of North Carolina, I played with trucks and climbed trees. Doll babies and tea sets were never on my gift wish list. After a few years of marriage that changed. It happened one sunny afternoon while I babysat for a college friend. That precious little toddler stole my heart with her sparkling brown eyes and chubby hands. When her mother picked her up two hours later, our one-bedroom apartment never felt so empty.
Knowing how much money my husband and I had (or rather, didn’t have) between us, I knew that having a child while we were both in school was not wise. So we maintained our ‘family plan’ (kids after college) and I clipped baby pictures from magazines.
I soon graduated and tried to replace the longing with a full-time job, community volunteering, church involvement, and writing. But the longing persisted. My husband was still in grad school but he agreed that it was time to start a family. That was 1995; I was 29. One and a half years later and no baby, I hit a wall. I started each day in tears, crying in the darkness of my walk-in closet before work. The crying lasted for most of 1997. On the outside I was doing good things in my church and community. I was a faithful wife. I was a productive engineer, managing a 2 million dollar grant program for the state.
On the inside, I was dying. Longing for a child.
At church, someone suggested we consider adoption. I was tired of all the doctor’s visits, the treatments, basal thermometers, and the prayers to God. I wanted relief. I wanted to feel good again, to feel God again. Adoption seemed like a good option.
We did our research. We talked with counselors and social workers. We talked with our friends and parents. We prayed and fasted. We had so many questions about the process, the costs, but especially the kids. What if they’re not black, what if they’re retarded, what if they’re violent?
God answered all those questions with peace. As Psalm 34:4 says: I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.
Adopting was not easy. In fact, in the beginning it was like pulling a scab from a wound I thought had healed. But today I have three boys. Not three rejects or three unwanted children. I have three sons. The 12-year-old football star science whiz. The 8-year-old computer junkie Van Gogh. The 7-year-old future Savion Glover award-winning novelist.
Some people call them someone else’s children. I call them mine.