When I was fourteen years old, I was talking with my grandmother's best friend, Mary. During our conversation, my mind drifted to the memories of her husband, Wayne, who was like another grandfather to me. He was the type of grandfather who took me to the local donut shop every weekend. Each Saturday morning I would wait in anticipation until he stopped by and we would walk to get my favorite donut, a chocolate long john. I was only five years old when he passed away, but the memories of those Saturday mornings are forever etched in my mind.
As Mary talked, I felt how much I loved her and I asked her why they never had children. It seemed Wayne and her felt they were too old to have children. Too bad, I thought, as they would have made amazing parents. I remember the sadness in her eyes as I followed her gaze to the large family which constantly surrounded my grandmother. It was at that moment she said, "In life, don't make the mistake of not celebrating your marriage every day, and do whatever it takes to become a father and raise a family of your own. Without this you will always have regret, for you will find yourself alone like me - alone and thinking about what could have been."
She completed her journey alone for twenty more years after Wayne passed away. I knew each day she regretted not having children. Sadly to me, it seems some couples are so consumed by having children on their own they lose sight of the real dream of being parents. I told her I wanted to adopt her, as I felt like she was already another grandmother to me anyway. We did not need any paperwork for I had already adopted her in my heart. This seemed to add a light to her eyes, which I think helped ease the feelings of regret she had all those years.
My parents adopted me when I was 10 days old. Before I was adopted my mom had six miscarriages in seven years. My parents adopted me because they did not want to miss out on the joy only a child can provide. Everyday I realize how important I am to my parents. The fact that I was adopted doesn’t matter. It is simply another way to become a parent. My parents have been asked by other couples considering adoption if they could go back in time would they choose to have a child of their own blood. The answer has always been a resounding “No!”. The love we share can be no greater than that experienced by biological children and their parents. After adopting, every adoptive family comes to learn this fact. Those who have the luxury of seeing my parents and I interact can see the bond between us. In an effort to give back some of the love we gained from adoption, we provided foster care services for over 140 babies through the years. While this was a fantastic experience, we felt we had more to give, so we started American Adoptions. Each adoption is our way of saying thank you for the life we have been blessed with.
The reality in life is the toughest journeys allow us to appreciate things more fully. Nothing ever significant in life is gained from cutting corners. In the end, all your pain and doubt will wash away the first moment your baby snuggles in your arms. It will not matter how you became parents - it will only matter that you did.
You can read my father's story here.
You can read my mother's story here.
President of the Board Of Directors
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