“I can still remember the crisp, cold December morning when I got ‘the call’ that would bring my youngest children home. I had stopped at my mom’s house for coffee before work. When my phone rang, I thought it was my husband Dan asking how my boot hunting expedition had turned out. To my surprise, the voice on the other end was our foster care social worker.
Always bright and cheery, she asked if I had a few minutes to talk. I grabbed a black Sharpie marker and paper plate, the only items nearby for note taking. I jotted down all she was telling me about the sweet 10-month-old and ‘almost’ 2-year-old sibling pair that were currently in a foster home that wasn’t pursuing adoption. She told me to talk it over with Dan and to let her know. The children’s case had just gone to ‘termination of parental rights’ and a forever home needed to be secured. I told her we didn’t need another minute to think about something we had been praying about and working toward for so long. I gave her a confident, ‘yes!’ I can still remember the text I sent to my husband at work. ‘Do you want TWO babies?’ ‘Sure!,’ he replied. I called him to give the him a few stats I had – boy, girl, black, biracial, a year apart, biologically shared one parent…my voice trailed off. When I saw my son-to-be’s date of birth, I choked back tears. To understand why, I need to first rewind this story about 18 months.
When our oldest children were in middle school, I asked my husband to ‘pray about expanding our family.’ I know he thought I had lost my mind, but he obliged. Within a few weeks, he came back to me with his thoughts. We felt right away that adoption was the answer. We ultimately decided to open our home and hearts to foster care and adoption. The months flew by as we readied our family. Our teenagers were excited and supportive. Right around the time our licensing certification was filed, my husband was feeling rather run down. It was sudden and pronounced fatigue, odd for an avid cyclist. At 32 years old, he was fit and used to physical labor. We both shrugged it off as work related. After all, it was Christmas time and he had been working a lot of overtime to help with holiday expenses and our upcoming family expansion.
We ended up in the emergency room just days after ringing in the New Year. Pneumonia? A sinus infection? We needed answers and an antibiotic, perhaps. I promised our daughter and son, then 14 and 12, that we wouldn’t be gone long. That quick trip turned into a three day stay and a diagnosis of blood cancer. It was too early to know all of the specifics. It was a devastating blow. The next few weeks were a blur, as more specific arrangements were made for his treatment plan and as more testing was completed to determine prognosis and sub-type. We were thrust into a world of phone calls with insurance companies, routine blood draws, and preparing our family for a health crisis of unknown proportions. There were times we were scared out of our minds. I remember thinking our adoption dreams were shattered. I was scared of living this life without the one I loved so much. There were other times where we felt a tremendous peace that I can only credit to God.
I can vividly remember the snowy evening when the hematologic oncologist treating Dan called to tell us that he had Acute Myeloid Leukemia, a disease that would act quickly with the potential to relapse without a stem cell transplant. Little did I know at the time, on that very same day, our now youngest son was being born. This was the news that would later be revealed to me, over a phone call in my Mom’s kitchen, jotted down on a paper plate. We wouldn’t meet that sweet baby boy, or his little sister for a little while. First their Dad had to smash statistics and beat the hell out of a disease that snuck up on us so quickly.
Years have passed since the call to bring our children home. We are hundreds of miles away from where our story first started. Dan is as healthy as he was almost 10 years ago. Our children are thriving. In the quiet hours of the night, I still peek into the bedrooms of our ‘littles,’ to watch their peaceful, sleeping faces. They are a whirlwind of joy. They are intelligent, thoughtful, hilarious, beautiful miracles.
Our ‘bigs’ are grown. Both have fantastic lives and careers of their own. We have been blessed with a daughter-in -law and this fall we will also gain a son-in-law. Oh…and our oldest have each have chosen our little chunk of the Midwest to call home. Within a mile from my front porch, both of our adult kids have established their roots.
Our home is the nucleus of this entire family dynamic. Often, you’ll find bigs and littles deeply involved in a game of Magic the Gathering. Sometimes a Nerf gun war will erupt. There are pool parties and movie nights. We have turned blizzards into family adventures. We work hard and play hard and love hard. These kids of ours were brought together in a slightly unconventional way. These four are pure, solid trust and love. Sixteen years span oldest to youngest, but to see them in action, you’d think their hearts and souls have known each other forever. I like to think that’s God’s hand in their lives, taking bits and pieces of what one needs and the other has, to weave them into perfection.
I like to think that’s how God works in all of our lives. We are all woven into perfection by His hand. We may not understand a certain season or situation at the time, but the beauty and joy that can arise from it is infinite. I have been told a time or two that we have changed the trajectory of our youngest children’s lives by adopting them. It’s one of those truths that unveils an even deeper set of facts. Without a doubt, our adoption journey has changed the path of all of our lives! Our bigs and littles are all so accepting and so full of love! So loving and accepting in fact, that our littles are about to become middles, as we once again open our hearts and home to adoption. I love that they are supportive and have an ‘all in’ attitude to welcoming another little sibling, too. Life is messy and beautiful and unpredictable. These guys have taught me that we can create our own version of perfection. I’m proud to call each of them mine.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Darcy Walton. You can follow her journey on Instagram and on her blog, where she writes about her family’s homeschool and other adventures as a transracial adoptive family living life in the Midwest. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.
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