Sunday, January 18, 2009

Adopting Phil

Steven and I feel that both of our children were special gifts from God. One was born to us and one was literally handed to us. Back in February 1973 when Steven and I were married, we decided that we would like to give birth to one child and adopt any others. On Christmas Day 1978 our daughter Sherri was born to us after a long and difficult delivery. Although we knew that we eventually wanted to adopt a child, we got caught up in the busy-ness of life and didn’t actively pursue the adoption process. When Sherri was a baby, Steven went on active duty with the USMC as an officer and we began the standard military life of changing duty stations every three or four years. In January 1984 we were sent on a three-year tour of duty to Okinawa. We told our family and friends before we left that we might check into adopting a child from overseas while were in Okinawa, but once again, we didn’t pursue it. God had other plans for us, though! In late November 1985 we got a call from Steven’s mom back in the States, wanting to know if we wanted a baby! It happened that she had gone from her home in Arnold, California to visit a longtime lady friend in Lompoc, California. While she was there, her friend’s daughter came to visit, obviously pregnant and close to delivery. Steven’s mom started asking her about the baby, and she admitted that she couldn’t keep the baby. Someone had given her money to get an abortion, but she had decided she didn’t want to do that, so was going to give him up for adoption instead. She really wanted to be part of the process, though. She wanted to be able to choose the parents, so she wasn’t going through an agency. She only had two criteria for the prospective parents: 1) that they were born-again Christians, and 2) that they were in the military. When Steven’s mom heard that, she perked up! She said, “I know someone that fits those criteria: my son and his wife in Okinawa. Would you mind if I gave them a call?” The girl said, “No, go right ahead.” So that’s when Steven’s mom called us. After only a couple seconds’ hesitation we said, “Yes!” Steven took 30 days leave and Sherri got off early for her Christmas break from school, and we caught a military hop to Travis Air Force Base in California. (That flight is a story in itself: We kept getting bumped. So we spiraled all the way around the Pacific Ocean, traveling almost 24,000 miles to get 6000!) Steven’s parents were at Travis to meet us and took us down to Lompoc, where we stayed with family until the baby was to be born (supposedly around Christmas). While we were waiting, we collected the necessary release forms with signatures and had guardianship papers drawn up. Wouldn’t you know it, though, Phil decided to be late! :) Steven’s 30-day leave was up and Sherri needed to get back to school, so Steven and Sherri got a military hop back to Okinawa. I stayed until after Phil was born. He was born on January 18, 1986. Although I wasn’t in the delivery room, I was at the hospital when he was born and got to hold him when he was 20 minutes old and help clean him up. I spent the night with family friends and the next morning, I got a call from the hospital saying: “Come get him, he’s yours!” So I picked him up from the hospital when he was 12 hours old and took him home! It took about a week to get the necessary passport and visa for him. Then I flew to Oregon to show him off to my parents and family. We stayed about a week there. Then we took a commercial flight to Okinawa. After we got back to Okinawa, it took about 6 months to complete the adoption. Under the Status of Forces Agreement with Japan, many legal actions our military personnel undertake in Okinawa are legally binding here in the States, including adoption. So, Phil’s adoption was completed with a Japanese lawyer and is in Japanese! (It came with an English translation, though. :>) Although, we, as a family, have experienced all the normal ups and downs and frustrations of child rearing and growing up, none of us regret the adoption experience. It was an open adoption, so Phil knows his birth-mother, his siblings, and has all his life had regular and loving contact with his birth-mother’s parents. They were very precious and supportive. Steven and I can truly say that we have been blessed more than we have blessed!

Happy birthday, Son!

1 comment:

  1. Ahhh, he wa such a cutie! Happy Birthday Phil!