Three Adoptions That Changed My Life

In 1947, on a September day in Altadena, California, a young couple brought their baby in for adoption. The adoption was immediate, and customary for that time, records were closed. The little girl grew up with a sister, riding horses in the desert canyons of Southern California.

In 1973, just three months after the historic Roe vs. Wade decision, another little girl was placed for adoption. It was March, and the beginning of spring in North Carolina. She spent her childhood in Charlotte, an answer to many prayers of her loving parents.

In 2007, on another continent, a little boy was born in the city of Soddo Wolaitta, Ethiopia. In October, he was left on the steps of Soddo Christian Hospital. Whoever placed him there took the time and effort to make sure he was found in a safe place.

Three adoptions, spread over thousands of miles and each almost thirty years apart. Each of these adoptions has changed my life.

November is national adoption month, and to celebrate, I want to say thank you. My thanks is for three women I most likely will never meet. These women found themselves pregnant and unable to care for their child. If I could, this is what I’d say:

Thank you. Thank you for choosing to carry this baby in your womb for nine months. Thank you for not choosing other “easier” options. Thank you for holding this child safely inside you, allowing him or her the chance to live. Thank you for making the painful decision to place your baby up for adoption. Thank you.

And then I would want to share with each woman how much her choice meant for me personally.

IMG_1219The baby girl (Linda) born in 1947 would eventually marry and give birth in 1971 to a little boy. He would grow up in a loving and caring home and find himself a student at the University of North Carolina. I met him there. He was a senior and I was a freshman. I loved his passion for evangelism and the fact that he’d spend Friday evenings sharing the gospel with other college students. Eventually, he asked me to be his wife, and we married in 1997. We now have three children (all of whom love their Grandma Linda), none of whom would exist without the choice you made. How can I ever say thank you enough for the mother-in-law, husband, and children you’ve given me?

259862_2115296446966_643734_nThe baby girl (Erica) born in 1973 grew up in Charlotte and eventually became my neighbor. All of our children are in the same grades at school and have been friends for as long as they can remember. I regularly call her my sister-wife because we do life together. We carpool, chat almost every afternoon, and spend a week of summer at the beach together. She faithfully reminds me of everything I’m apt to forget, always offers a listening ear, and warmly welcomes people into her home. I can’t imagine my life without her. How can I ever say thank you enough for the friend you’ve given me?

IMG_1215The baby boy born in 2007 would eventually be placed in an orphanage. A few weeks after he was born, his picture was sent to my brother and his wife. They’d been planning, hoping, and waiting for a referral. As soon as they saw him, they knew that he was their son. Nine months later, he found himself on a plane heading to North Carolina. He’s named after my grandfather, father, and brother: Robert Preston Bryan IV, but we call him Beau.He’s my nephew, and I cannot imagine our family without him. He makes us laugh, gives the best hugs, and has a steel-trap memory. How can I ever say thank you enough for the nephew you’ve given me? 

It’s difficult to imagine the loss of what we cannot see. Abortion silently, persistently, unrelentingly, continues to take away generations from all of us. There simply aren’t tears enough to satisfy the mourning that would take place if we had eyes to see those who are missing from our lives.

When I look at my husband, chat with my friend, and hug my nephew, I thank God for what he’s given. I thank him for three women over three generations who gave me so much.

Today, I celebrate adoption. I celebrate life.