This is a special week in our family as we celebrate three birthdays in the span of six days. My mother Bonnie was born July 6, 1945. I was born July 5, 1970. My brother Jeremy was born July 1, 1972.
As I write, I hear fireworks going off in the distance. When I was younger, I believed they were for me as these loud, colorful celebratory displays always happened on or near my birthday. Early July birthdays are great!
Five weeks ago I shared about the precious treasure that my mother recently received, letters her long-deceased mother had written that revealed much about her life as a dear woman, sister, young wife and mother.
This week, I want to share the first letter my mother ever wrote to me. It is one of many. Upon reaching adulthood, we three children were incredibly blessed to receive stacks of letters she had written to each of us—precious treasure.
I am adopted, and this letter was written six weeks after my birth, the first day my parents met me, before they brought me home.
August 17, 1970
Dear Shawn Marie,
We were not sure of your name before we saw you today. We thought of such beautiful names as Heather or Sheila Patrice, but we knew that it had to be Shawn Marie the moment we saw you.
If you could only know how excited we were about coming to see you. You see, we had begun adoption procedures nearly a year ago, and we had thought about it for a long time before that. We wanted a child so badly.
We told Mr. Mann, the director at the children’s home that we would like a baby between infancy and preschool age. We didn’t care whether we got a boy or a girl, a black, brown, red or yellow one. We knew that we could love the child no matter what. We thought it would only take a few months, but it took nearly a year to complete everything.
Mr. Mann called Friday the 14th to ask us to come in on Monday to see you. Your dad was golfing with friends when he called. Well, I could hardly contain myself. I told him that we’d love to come in to see you and made the appointment. I was so excited that I forgot to ask how old you were, how much you weighed, the color of your hair, anything! I didn’t think it was too important at the time and I still don’t.
We made it through the weekend quite well because it all still just didn’t seem real. Monday came slowly, but it came. Your dad came home from the Fire Dept. and we dressed for the meeting. We wanted to make a good impression on you. And we made sure to bring our camera so that we could record every moment for our family album.
Like I said, we didn’t know what to expect. For one thing, we got there early and had to wait. If you’ve ever experienced real butterflies, you can understand how it felt. Bennie was always calm and collected; oh, but he was afraid too. We didn’t know what to expect. But, quite honestly, we didn’t expect you to be so beautiful and perfect.
When the social worker brought you in, we knew why God had prepared us with the year of waiting. You may think that it’s sorta mushy, but we knew that God had given us this beautiful gift from heaven. Yes, darling, you were an angel bundled in a pink dress and white shoes. But that’s not what we noticed first. No, we saw your head full of dark hair and your beautiful, big blue eyes, peeking out from behind plump, pink cheeks. We couldn’t get over your perfect looks!!! We silently thanked God for our wait, and we asked His blessing and guidance.
We took you to a private room and got well acquainted with you that day. Why, you held on to Daddy’s finger with such a tight grip! We held you, rocked you and kissed you. You seemed happy; we knew we were! We took many pictures but not as many as I would have liked. We were afraid that the flash would scare you and hurt your eyes.
Before we signed the papers, Mr. Mann went over everything again. I held you and you fell asleep on my shoulder. I had to wake you so that I could sign my name to help make you ours. After the signing was over, we had to do the hardest thing—we had to say goodbye to you for a few days until everything went through the courts and was quite legal. We delayed our parting as long as possible—I even changed your diaper in order to stay with you a little while longer. You began to cry as we put you down and started to leave. You were only six weeks old and were probably getting tired form all the work of the morning, but we hopefully thought that you were crying because we had to part for a few days. Oh how we hated that!
We rushed right home to get everything ready for your arrival. We went shopping, went to Grampa Belcher’s for Uncle Paul’s baby crib, play pen and high chair. Daddy took the crib apart and really went to work. I doubt if you’ll every know him for his abundance of patience and diligence when he sets out to get a job done. He stripped that bed completely and sanded it down so smooth you could slide on it. It took him two days, but that included many many hours. I had the job of staining it, like I usually do. We wanted it to be so pretty for you, because you were so special.
Your Aunt Mary was really great! She helped Bennie and me so much. I hope that you grow to love her as I do, because it was she alone who listened to my fears and angers, who comforted my hurts. She made immediate plans to give me a baby shower. You certainly would be a lucky baby. I had so many relatives and friends who would come and you could be there to share it all. Most babies have to wait until they are born to see all the gifts, you could be right there when it all happened! I know they’ll all fall in love with you, Shawn. And why not? You’re a winner!
Yours with Love for a bright future,
Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for the good to them that love God; to them that are called according to his will.”
These letters are so special, a very precious gift. I am so thankful she had the desire and determination to write to and for us!
In honor of my mother’s beautiful existence, I wrote a paraphrase of an ancient, well-known oracle, written by a king, taught to him by his mother. It is titled...
The Best Bonnie I Know
She speaks up for those who can’t speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who need an advocate.
Speak up, judge righteously,
Defend the cause of the poor and needy.
A wife of noble character you are,
worth more than precious gems.
Bennie had full confidence in you
and lacked nothing of value.
You worked to bring him good
all the days of your life.
You procure necessary elements
and work with willing hands.
You are like a merchant vessel,
bringing food from afar.
You arise early to feed us
and direct those under your care.
You consider fertile soil, obtain it
and from your earnings, multiply a crop, blessing others.
You gather strength around you
and throw yourself into your work.
You see that business affairs go well, home to SCS to Focus Hope to Carlson to Strayer to Girls of Grace to OaklandHope to home;
your lamp stays lit at night.
You put your hands to the iPhone, the pen, the keyboard, The WORD,
your fingers handle The Truth.
You reach out to embrace the poor
and open your arms to the needy.
When it snows, you have no fear for your household;
since all of us are doubly clothed with Truth.
You trained all your children in the nurture and admonition of the LORD;
you are clothed with the Son and the Father, the Priest and the King.
Your husband has a fine reputation
then, as a loving caregiver, and now, as a resting saint.
You make the Way known to those searching for Truth;
you give pearls when they are desired.
Clothed with strength and dignity,
you laugh at the days to come.
When you open your mouth (sometimes out comes silly sarcasm), you speak wisely;
on your tongue is loving instruction.
You watch how things go in your house,
never eating the bread of idleness.
We arise and call you blessed;
your husband too, as he praised you:
“Many women have done wonderful things,
but, Bonnie, you surpass them all!”
Charm can lie, beauty can vanish,
but a woman who fears ADONAI should be praised.
Give her a share in what she produces;
let her works speak her praises at the city gates.
(Adapted from Proverbs 31:8-31)
ADOPTION, a Beautiful Option...WAIT NO MORE
My parents, birth and adoptive, are a beautiful example of what can happen when love and trust overcome fear and doubt. So many loving families are waiting to become parents. So many children are waiting for a healthy, loving family. Learn more about how to connect the two HERE.