Wednesday, Sep 9 1999 (7:30 PM) Melbourne, Florida
I arrived home from work at 7:30 after a long day’s work. Carly was just hanging up the telephone as I entered. “Mark, I just got off the phone with Judy Houser… you remember, the social worker that performed the home study for our planned international adoption. She just phoned to tell us that there are 9 month old twin boys available for adoption here in Melbourne. The family traveled here from Tennessee. She wanted to know if we wanted to visit with them and entertain the idea of adopting them.”
For some strange reason, amidst the flurry of work issues in my head, I was able to rapidly assimilate the proposal. It’s the big things I can process such as adopting kids , brain surgery (which I did have for those that don’t know me too well) – but sometimes it’s the little things, like taking out the garbage, that can overwhelm me. In any event… I said “Sure, Carly, it can’t hurt to meet them. We can be over there by 9 PM.”
So off we went. On the drive over, my mind was filled with projections… how would we get clothes/cribs on such short notice? What if we don’t bond with them?… What about my work? … What’s the criteria for choosing children after a single visit.? A tight ball of fear lay in my belly. We entered the room, along with the social worker and an associate from the adoption agency, and warmly introduced ourselves to the birth parents. My immediate impression of the birth parents was that they were gentle, hardworking folks doing the best they could to care for six children. One was asleep in the crib; the other was doing a “backward crab walk” across the bed.
One of the boys was then awakened and Carly and I played with the two boys for an hour – interspersed with questions/answers between the birth parents and us. One of the twins took a real liking to Carly as he sat up in her arms – mesmerized as he stared up at her. We left around 10:30 PM. Being that the birth parents had to soon return to Tennessee and that other couples were interested in meeting the children – we had to make a decision by noon the next day.
Thursday, September 10 1999 (7:00 AM)
Carly and I woke up in a daze. I can remember feeling physically nauseous over the import of the decision we faced. We shuffled and bantered about the house as we readied for the day – both of us resisting the daunting task that lay before us – making a lifetime decision. We were looking for a sign.
Boys two and four at rodeo
We called our minister and laid out the details in front of him. We certainly did not expect him to make the decision for us, but we were looking for his guidance and validation of our thought process. He helped frame the event from a broader perspective. He helped allay our fears of becoming “instant parents,” as he suggested that parenting is the most demanding job in the world for which few are adequately prepared. He observed that Carly and I were committed and respectful of each other and that we could bring to the boys only that which we have developed in ourselves.
A few minutes later the social worker called to check in with us. It was at this point that it was revealed the boys’ birthdays were December 20 – the same date as our anniversary date. Immediately I thought to myself – “A sign!! … A sign from God!! … They’re ours !! It was also revealed that this day (September 10) was the anniversary date of the passing of my Grandmother. The pieces started falling into place. We had originally planned to go to Russia to adopt two siblings – and here twin boys dropped in our lap. We would adopt them !!
We contacted our friends and exclaimed, “Can we borrow some children’s car seats right away, we are adopting twin boys in the next half hour!!” After our friends picked up their jaws from the ground, we were provided the car seats and we were off to the adoption agency.
As we were awaiting the paperwork to be processed, we had a chance to spend some more time with the birth parents. Carly and I were flattered to hear that the birth parents were more comfortable with us and had chosen us over other couples who had visited. The obvious question soon arises in people’s minds is “How could they possibly relinquish these two adorable boys?”
My boys and I (Coach of basketball)
Their response was that they simply weren’t able to provide the necessary time and attention that all of their children deserved and still make ends meet. Carol and I accepted the explanation at face value and concluded that their decision was carried out through their hearts and the through the guidance of their God. Carol and I chose to believe that in many respects, they are performing the greatest form of love for their children by doing what they feel will be for the highest good for these two young boys.
The most emotional moment came at the point of separation. The process was set up so that, though the birth parents met with us, they were never made aware of our names nor our residence. The attorney handling the process, in attempt to substantiate closure and to emphasize that a firm accord had been realized, stated “Please say your good-byes now.”
My son dressed as a nerd... funniest costume ever !!
I could feel my heart sink to my stomach. After the parents tearfully planted kisses on the cheeks of the boys, Carly and I, now crying along with the birth parents, embraced them and guaranteed that we would care for the children to the best of our abilities. In the short time we spent with the birth parents, we formed a real kinship and respect for each other and as a result, Carly and I feel tasked to do whatever it takes to provide an environment in which the boys can thrive.
Thursday, September 10, 6:00 PM
Carly and I arrived home with the boys and it quickly became apparent that word had spread about our “acquisitions.” Friends from the neighborhood and our church, as well as Carly's friends from her activities (Junior League, Book Club, Guardian ad Litem program), poured into our home that evening with food, diapers, toys, cribs, playpens, clothes, shoes, highchairs, strollers etc… Carly and I were overwhelmed by the love and support we received. It felt like an Amish barn-raising! We are blessed to have such solid, trusting friends and we couldn’t have been more thankful and appreciative.
Next came the immensely pleasurable task of telephoning our families to share the wonderful news. Once the initial shock wore off, their next comment was “When’s the next flight to Melbourne?” Much later that night, with our hearts overflowing, Carly and I retired for bed with the firm belief that all of our needs would be taken care of.
UPDATE: Both of my twin boys live in South Florida near their father and grandparents and are freshmen in college. The mom plans to join the rest with her fiance in the near future.
Almost current day