Life changed after 18 years of marriage and no kids

 

TRI-CITY AREA — The month of November slipped by without doing as I had planned, and sharing a story that is near and dear to my heart.

November has been known as National Adoption month, a time that has become extra special and meaningful to my wife and I.

After 18 years of being married and no children, I started thinking, if we are going to consider becoming parents, we need to look in to options.

At 37 years of age, the clock was ticking, as they say, and I was not getting any younger. The thought of having children much later in life was not real appealing to me.

Following many discussions, my wife Betty and I decided to look into adoptions and considered both foreign and domestic agencies.

Hours and hours of homework, research, phone calls and talking with trusted, valuable friends, we decided to begin the process of domestic adoption.

We both love children, wanted to have our own biological child/children, but a higher power had other plans for us. We had spent countless hours praying and listening to God. The desire and motivation to adopt grew stronger with each passing day.

Our son, Sam, is pictured with me at a family wedding reception a few years back. Our adoption of Sam has left us with many smiles and laughs.

After much work and investigating, we finally decided to attend a seminar of sorts to learn about an adoption agency in East Lansing known as Christian Cradle. It was the beginning of a long lasting relationship with many staff there.

As we worked through the process, we learned we would prepare a bio of ourselves, trying to “sell our life and personalities” with perspective birth moms. In filling out the mountain of paperwork and sending photos of us and our interests, we were an open book.

Completely transparent, we were anxious to share our story with a birth mom who might choose us.

Several birth moms sifted through pages and pages of prospective adoptive parents and after what seemed like an eternity of waiting, we received a call from the agency in East Lansing that a birth mom had selected us and wanted to meet us.

The day to meet Sidney finally came and we were nervous, anxious that she wouldn’t like us. This adoption was to be a semi open adoption, where she would maintain some level of contact with us and her birth child through visits, photos and letters for 18 years!!

If we were to go through with the adoption, we had to sign documents saying we agreed to visits with Sidney at the agency where she could see and hold our baby, and that we would give monthly updates through pictures and written letters for the first year and annual updates thereafter, for 18 years! It sounded like a lot, and it was, but we gladly agreed.

We made several more trips to the agency as time progressed, getting to know each other better and little did we realize at the time that Sidney was slowly becoming a part of our family. We shared many interests, with the most obvious one being the unborn child she was carrying and that she had graciously decided to bless us with through adoption.

As Sidney’s due date approached, I carried a pager that would notify me that “our” baby had been born. I clearly still recall the moment the buzz of the pager went off in February of 1996, showing the agency’s phone number. I quickly made it to a phone to call the agency and spoke with our social worker who said Sidney’s baby, a boy, had been born and was doing fine.

We thought we had prepared for this moment. Purchased all sorts of things babies need. We had plenty of input from excited friends and family sharing their knowledge. In a matter of hours, we were going from being married for 18 years, just the two of us, to being parents and embarking on what has been a wonderful, blessed adventure.

The day after Sidney’s baby was born, we went to a mid-Michigan hospital and along with our social worker and we got to see Sidney, and her baby. We congratulated her. Cried with her. Shared the excitement of the new born baby and had a brief conversation of what we would name the baby after she agreed to let us come up with a name.

We were sensitive to trying to incorporate some of what she wanted in a name and in the end, Samuel John was chosen and we all loved it. And him!!

Sam grew up being an only child, which has it’s good and bad merits. He has been such a joy to us. He is tender hearted, kind, funny, and very handsome. He loves God and is a hard worker.

With pride and thankfulness overflowing in our hearts, we have watched Sam grow and become a blessing to so many people. We’ve tried to raise him the best we could and teach him how important it is to have God in his life to direct his paths wherever life took him.

We fully supported him when he and his wife Beth wanted to go meet Sidney for the first time since Sam could really recall, more than 20 years after being born. They had a great visit and Sam was so happy to meet his biological mom.

After returning home, Sam told my wife, although he was glad to have seen Sidney, “You and dad are my parents.”

You can imagine how that melted our hearts and yes, drew tears of joy and thankfulness.

The adoption process has been a journey for sure. One I wouldn’t trade for the world. Sam is now a grown adult in his 20s, married and he and our daughter-in-law Beth are expecting our first grandchild early next year.

We are strong advocates for people who consider the adoption option and have shared our experiences with many. It changed our lives forever and we can never thank God enough for hearing our prayers and answering them beyond what we ever dreamt.

Just when we thought the adoption wasn’t going to happen, God made a way. What a blessing the journey has been. We look forward to what is to come, especially Grand-baby F. in February!