Fourteen months prior to that episode two important events occurred: Tish and I attended an informational meeting at a church near Lindale for potential adoptive parents through Loving Alternative (a local adoption agency), and a young child was born to a single mother and absent father in Nacogdoches, Texas.
The most difficult aspect of adopting is the waiting. It took us from February of 2011 until December of that year to get all of our home-studies done and our paperwork together. From December of 2011 to May of this year was simply waiting.
While you’re doing home studies and getting references and such the wait is no big deal, because you’re doing something. Some document must be turned in before you get a child, so there’s no need to be concerned—that’s the attitude, and a source of comfort during that period. But once there’s nothing to do but wait, you just wait.
Hopefully, you also pray, which we did (with varying levels of consistency). Feelings of anxiousness were compounded somewhat, though, by the remarkable fecundity within our Sunday School class.
As I bemoaned not having a child, a young boy was being passed around from home to home. He was born to an unfortunate drug addict, who had given birth to three prior children, placing them all to adoptive parents or with relatives. After a year or so of neglect, his birth-mother’s aunt stepped in and petitioned a court for custody of the child. CPS got involved and sided with the aunt. After the child was placed with Aunt Kim, she was diagnosed with melanoma, and having several children of her own, she simply could not afford to take care of the young boy, so she asked a friend of hers, Katrina, to keep him
For six weeks, the child lived with Katrina, her three kids, and all of their goats, donkeys, chickens, and dogs out in deep East Texas, in a mobile home off of a black-top road. Katrina is a good, country woman who is a legal assistant at a law office in Nacogdoches, whose husband operates a watermelon farm elsewhere in Texas for much of the year. She found someone to sit with the child during the day while she worked, and she dutifully cared for him for six weeks.
On Tuesday May 29, 2012, around five o’clock, I received a call from Chris (the court reporter).
“I have a question for you.”
“Sure, what’s up?”
“Are you and your wife still interested in adopting a baby?”
“Are you still okay if the child is half-black, half-white?”
“Sure, we’d love a mocha baby!”
Chris went on to tell me about this little child, and gave me Katrina’s phone number. It turns out that Katrina knew Chris had previously adopted a black child, and asked Chris whether she’d be interested in a new addition. She was not, but mentioned my name.
Immediately, I called Tish.
Immediately, Tish cried.
A few minutes later, Katrina emailed a picture of the child.
After work, Tish and I prayed, then went to vote in the primary election. We had to go to two polling places, because my voter registration still had me at an old address. Then we went out to eat, discussed the hope before us, and came home.