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SALT LAKE CITY — Out of the 10 of us kids, perhaps it was my older brother Eric that had the greatest desire to bear children and pass on the “Rose” name. It seemed especially cruel that he and his wife couldn’t get pregnant.
After years of struggle, the difficult decision for adoption finally came. There was mourning that there would never be a child conceived by them, but great excitement that there still could be a baby. Adoption was a new concept in our family where Mom and Dad had 10 children without any problems. We, like many, had heard different views on adoption.
I think one of the things that surprises me most is the stereotype that we often hear — that somehow if a baby is adopted there is a strong chance that he will struggle in life. As if the nine months a baby spends in utero is enough to somehow overshadow an entire lifetime spent with its mother and father. Saying a child went “astray” because it was adopted is like saying a child went “astray” because it wasn’t adopted. They’re both silly.
Once Eric and his wife Brandi had filed the paperwork, all that was left was the anticipation. When would the call come? How long would it take? The dream of simply getting the call and picking up a baby that day was exciting.
Weeks passed, then months and then years and finally it happened. I remember my mom proclaiming that Eric and Brandi had received a call and that they had finally been picked! Even at an age where my emotions and feelings were largely self-centered, I could sense what an incredible blessing this baby would be.
Eric had told us that the baby would be premature and as a consequence may be born with some handicaps, but that they knew this baby was theirs and they would love it as such no matter what. Consequently none of us dwelled on the condition of the baby.
Weeks later as we sat in front of the TV, we received a call. Mom’s voice was excited and we all stopped to listen. The baby was here! We then watched as mom’s voice fell and then cracked. “Oh no. Oh no!” In shock she hung up the phone and then looked at me. “The baby died” was all she said as tears streamed down her cheeks and then my own.
In that moment, I realized that I really had no clue what adoption entailed. It’s couples who go through years of struggle before finally deciding to adopt. Couples who put together mini scrapbooks of themselves with pictures and lists of hobbies. They wonder, “Are we pretty enough? Am I too big? Do we have enough talents? Am I smart? Am I educated? ” But mostly they pray, “Please someone pick us.” In a pool of thousands, it is a long process and a miracle each and every time a couple is chosen. But for all the sacrifices that couple will make, there is another couple that will make an even bigger one. They will place their baby for adoption.
Sometime later, my mom gathered our entire family together for a meeting. I remember sitting alongside my other siblings in the living room as Mom said she needed to tell us something very important. A pit developed in my stomach when suddenly the door down the hallway opened and out walked Brandi who had been noticeably missing during the meeting.
We were confused until she began to slowly make her way down the hall. Our eyes shifted from her glowing face to the small bundle she cradled tenderly in her arms.
“A baby!” someone cried.
A cheer erupted and then tears for a baby that had finally come.
It would take seven more years for Eric and Brandi to have their next and last child.
Adoption should never be looked at through a stereotype. Adoption is a miracle brought about by selfless acts, prayers, tears, hope and love. I have eight nieces and nephews from three of my brothers and their wives who understand the sacrifices that make up each one of their kids. They believe that it is because they are adopted and not in spite of it that they are special.
Now, when people refer to a child that has struggled because it was adopted or that they would never adopt because they want a child of “their own,” I tell them Eric and Brandi’s story and I always conclude it the same way. “Never has there been a child more loved and prayed for like that one. Adoption or not, he is their own.”
*About the Author: Kate Rose Lee
*Kate Rose Lee is a Utah native, mother of three and author. You can read more of her writing as well as her books at www. momentsofchunder.blogspot.com. Contact her at email@example.com**