I suppose that when you come right down to it, the story of how I became Linda Kidd's son explains everything about me that is worth knowing. It has shaped my reverence for family, informed my belief in the sanctity of life, and convinced me that to be good, one must also be optimistic and faithful.
Indeed, my adoption is the central fact of my life, and it has been for as long as I can remember.
Every night as she tucked me in, Mom described how she and Dad brought me home from an agency in Springfield, Ohio, on Oct. 24, 1969, two days before she turned 23. She used to call me the best birthday present she ever received, and even into my adulthood, she never let “our” anniversary pass without a card or phone call.
Today, however, the mailbox will be empty. My phone will not ring. Linda Kidd died three months and 10 days ago.
I miss her every day, but none more than on this first Oct. 24 without her. Now, our anniversary reminds me not only of my good fortune, but that I shared a bond with her that I share with no one else and will never experience again.
I am sad for this loss, but not bitter. Mom left me well-provisioned with lessons about grace in the face of sorrow. In fact, my adoption was borne of this, as you can read.
For Mom did more than whisper our story into my ear at bedtime. She committed it to paper. A few weeks after she died, Dad gave me seven type-written pages he found while sorting through an old file cabinet. I had seen them before, but not in many years. Writing a few months after bringing me home, Mom described a strong yearning for motherhood and a well-tested faith that, eventually, everything turns out for the best if only you will let it.
I share it here on our anniversary, exactly as she typed it. I hope reading it girds the faith of those like my mother, who for so long wanted something for herself, but only for the most unselfish of reasons.
I haven't been a young mother very long--only 8 weeks, 6 days, and approximately 18 hours--and I didn't become a mother in the conventional way. My journey into motherhood began when my husband, Glenn, and I walked up the steps of our county's childrens home and walked back out with our new son.
That bright fall day climaxed four years of waiting, wishing, hoping, and praying.
My husband and I were married young--I was eighteen and he was nineteen. We've known each other since grade school days and ever since I can remember Glenn has been my "boy friend". We dated all through high school and our puppy love gradually deepened into the forever after type love. We were married a year after I graduated from high school.
Maybe we're prejudice, but Glenn and I believe that we have a very special kind of lover. We like each other and we're friends as well as lovers. I think we've found the happiness that everyone dreams about. In the four years of our marriage, there was only one thing that marred our happiness. We hadn't been able to have a child.
At first we weren't too concerned. We laughed good-naturedly at the jokes and jibes of well meaning friends and relatives. I watched girl friends and cousins give birth to bouncing baby boys and girls. I bought tiny clothes for gifts and sighed longingly. But gradually the seed of doubt began to grow. We decieded that I should see a doctor and put our minds at ease. Thus began an endless series of pokeings, prodings, and general degradings. Don't get me wrong, my doctor was a kind, understanding man, but there is only one way to find out about these things and that's to start at the bottom.
After my initial examination, I was given a temperature chart. Every morning before I got out of bed, I had to lie there with a thermometer in my mouth for 5 minutes. There was a slight temperature rise about 14 days after the start of my period. This indicated that I was ovulating, and indicated my fertile days. This eliminated one problem. Glenn was tested also and pronounced perfectly normal. During the next two years, I went through several tests that caused me to loose all modesty. I was punched, X-rayed, and timed. For one test, I had to be examined 1 hour after Glenn and I had had relations. The thing that bothered me most was that after all these tests, we didn't know any more than we did before. There was no medical reason why I couldn't conceive.
By this time, I was beginning to really feel sorry for myself. I couldn't understand whyother girls could so off-handidly give birth, when I wanted a child so badly and couldn't have one. Just the sight of a baby in a store could upset me no end. Countless nights I cried myself to sleep in Glenn's arms. He was so understanding. Through the two years of tests and doctor bills, he never once complained. When I cried that I wasn't a real woman if I couldn't have a baby, he always assured me that he loved me for me and not for the babies I could give him.
I don't know exactly when we began to think seriously about adoption. I think the idea was in the back of our minds for quite a while before we gave voice to it. It was mentioned only casually at first, but the more we thought about it, the more excited we became. Glenn said that maybe I couldn't conceive for just this reason. Maybe God knew that we could love a little baby with no parents and that was why we hadn't had one.
We talked to a few people we knew who had adopted children and we discussed the pros and cons with our parents. They were all for it, so we made an appointment with a case worker in our local children's home.
Our case worker turned out to be a very warm, understanding woman. The first day we talked to her, she explained the process of adoption and told us all the joys and pitfalls. She didn't try to glorify the process. She told us we would get tired of waiting and be exasperated by the technicalities. She didn't want us to make a decision then, but gave us an application and told us to go home and discuss it. The next day we sent in our application for adoption. She had told us that it would take approximately one year from the time of the application until we got our child. This seemed like a long, long time. We had already waited 3 years for a child, but now that something concrete had been done, we were in a hurry.
Several months went by and we hadn't heard anything. We bought a big, homey-looking house in our city's best school district. I spent hours pouring over baby books and looking at baby clothes. The wait seemed endless.
When we could stand it no longer, Glenn called our case worker to see what he could find out. She said that she had contacted our references and asked for letters of recommendation. We were on our way. Next Glenn and I had to have complete physical examinations and finally a letter from our case worker arrived asking us to call for an appointment. She talked to each of us seperetly, asking us our views on child rearing, our family background, education, and just general philosophy of life. Shortly after our interviews, we were notified that we had been accepted and now all that was left was to find a baby that was suited for us. We had requested a boy, but that was all we specified.
In the next few months, our son was all we could talk about. We fixed up a nursery and began to make preparations for our new arrival. We were so happy! At last our dreams were coming true. We would be parents. Of course, we had doubts. Would our famiy and friends accept this child? Would we be good parents? What would we tell him when he grew up? There were no answers to these questions. We would just have to have faith and trust God.
I was at work the day the call came. I had planned to work until we knew something definite. When I answered the phone, our caseworker said the words I'll never forget. "We have a baby for you". I was so excited I could hardly stand it. I called Glenn at his office and told him. Three days later we went to the home to hear about the child chosen for us. Our case worker told us all about him and his natural parents. He was 3 months old and in perfect health. There was only one problem. My husband has blond hair and blue eyes, and I have dark brown hair and eyes and naturally we would have liked for him to look like one of us. Right now, the baby had blue eyes and light brown hair, but the alleged father had red hair and freckles, so there was a chance that the baby could have red hair.
We weren't permitted to make our decision that day. We were to go home, discuss it and call back Monday with our decision. We did nothing but discuss it all weed-end, but I think we already knew what our answer would be. We were determined to be rational and level-headed, but in these cases, I think its best to let the heart rule. So what if he did someday have red hair. He was healthy and he could be ours. Glenn said maybe this was God's way of testing us to see how badly we really did want a baby. Monday morning we called and told them our decision. We wanted this baby. We were told that we could see the baby Friday and if we wanted could take him then.
There was so much to be done. I gave final notice at work, and started buying undershirts and rubber pants. We called everybody we knew and told them the good news. Everybody was very happy for us. They seemed to think that adoption was very special and that we were indeed blessed. After 4 ywars of waiting, the time had come. I was so happy, but at the same time I began to realize just what it would mean to be a mother and have the life of a helpless baby in my hands. The more I thought about it, the more frightened I became. Would I be a good mother? What if I did something wrong and m de him sick? I was terrified.
The day finally came. A beautiful sun-shiny fall day. I was shaking so badly when we walked into our case worker's office that Glenn had to hold me up. A woman came in with a blanket wrapped bundle. I sat down and he was placed in my lap. Glenn sat down beside me and then we were left alone with the baby. I pulled back the blankets and looked at him. He was sound asleep! He was beautiful! He looked so innocent and peaceful and was completely unaware of all the excitement he was causing. I looked at Glenn and eyes misty, he nodded. This was our son! When our case worker came back in, Glenn smiled and said, "We'll take him." We were given his schedule and a letter from the foster mother describing his habits. All the way home, I just stared at our son. I couldn't believe it. Our baby! Our very own baby!
That first night, everybody came to see him and he was so good. He never once cried. I was awake practically all night, getting up to check on him and just look at him. He just came in and took over. My husband isn't usually an emotional person, but every time he looked at Jeffrey, he would get tears in his eyes. We loved him instantly and after 2 weeks I was an expert in child care.
Jeff is a constant joy to us. He's a delightful child and he has just charmed everybody. My parents and Glenn's think the sun shines out of his eyes and there is nothing too good for their grandchild. In every sense of the word, Jeff is our son. When he smiles, or laughs, or cooes, or rolles over, it's a miracle. When he cut his first tooth and learned to crawl, he was the most clever baby in the world, and the only one to do such marvelous things. Every day we thank God for our son. Adoption may not be the answer for every childless couple, but it certainly was for us. In a few years, we plan on adopting a little sister for Jeff, and perhaps a brother, and another sister, Etc. Etc.
Mrs. Linda Kidd
607 E. Madison Ave.
Springfield, Ohio 45503
Mom was wrong about one thing — there would be no more adoptions. Five hundred, twenty-eight days after they brought me home, Mom gave birth to my sister. I don't think a doctor ever explained to them why, for so long, they had such difficulty conceiving.
At that point, I doubt it mattered much, anyway. Looking back, the reason seems obvious.