I went to a wedding last Friday night. It was the wedding of a young man we've known since he was in K-4. I was fine until the young man's mother came in. That's when the waterworks started.
She is a gracious woman. Educated--has a PhD and is the dean of the school of business at a local college. She moved to this area when her husband took a job as plant manager of a local industry.
About twenty years ago, she went to Michigan to check on her mother, who was caring for her grandchildren (my friend's niece and nephew). The children's birth mother was not in the picture and the father, due to addictions, was unable to take responsibility. My friend immediately knew that something would have to be done, as her mother was no longer able to properly care for the children--and if she didn't step in, Michigan social services would intervene. So--she packed them all up and brought them back here. And, in her forties, and her husband in his fifties, they adopted the children, ages 4 and 7. Admirable. Remarkable.
They enrolled the children in our school, which is where we got to know them. The little boy was in my son's K-4 class. Several times, we would bring him home with us for the afternoon, and he was delighted. I'll never forget those big eyes and that huge, happy smile.
The children thrived under the care of their adoptive parents. The financial sacrifice involved was huge. The emotional investment was huge. The sacrifice of their time, at an age when they might have been able to travel and enjoy their time alone, was huge. They kept the children in our school, where they eventually graduated, then went on and both graduated from college also. We stayed in touch through their school years because we exchanged school books every year, and I eventually taught both children several times as well.
Three years ago, my friend's husband died unexpectedly. This link is where I blogged about that. The now-grown siblings realized what an investment their adoptive father had made in their lives, and they appreciated it.
But when that young man, Jim, walked in for his wedding, and I could see him as well as his mom sitting up front, and his sister walking in as a bridesmaid--the beauty of the picture of adoption (setting them in families) and the beauty of what his adoptive parents had done for him, was beautiful to observe.
Jim is a fine young man and will be a fine husband. His sister is married to a youth pastor. Two young people who could have been statistics--but for the love of adoptive parents.