I was probably around four years old when I found out I was adopted. It was really a non-issue. I’m sure my sweet parents worried about what to say and how to say it, but it was truly of no consequence to me. It didn’t change who I was, it didn’t change who loved me, it didn’t change who I wanted to hug and comfort me when I was sick. My Mama called me to her on this particular day and played a song from a record we had called “I’m Something Special”. It talks about the unique qualities that each child possesses. She went on to explain to me that most parents just take the child they are blessed with, but she and Daddy got to choose me. She firmly believed, as do I, that God placed me with them for a reason. I don’t believe it was chance, and I absolutely know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I had the best parents anyone could ever ask or hope for.
My parents had grown up in the same small town their parents had grown up in. Daddy had gone to the University of Georgia only to be brought back home due to the draft towards the end of World War II. After serving, he came back home and finished school, becoming an educator and coach in the same small town he’d grown up in. Mama, still in high school at this point, played basketball at her small high school under the watchful eye of a new coach, fresh out of college, embarking on a career. Her father was a big supporter of high school sports, especially basketball, so the coach often stopped by to visit after school. Of course this was my Daddy, but at that point, he was enjoying his new career and didn’t think twice about the young girls he was coaching other than as players. Upon graduation, Mama headed to an all girl’s school several states away to broaden her experiences. Because of the distance, she did not come home often, but the following summer, she happened to be at home when Daddy stopped by to talk basketball with her father. This time, he noticed her in a different way. He asked if she’d like to go play tennis. Mama said she was a nervous wreck and had no idea what to call him. I’m not sure she called him anything that day, but that was their first date. She returned to school and corresponded via letters for the next year. Since it was only a two year school, she then came back home and continued her studies at the University of Georgia. By all accounts, she was home almost every weekend to see Daddy. I’m sure he visited some, but with his coaching schedule and games on the weekends, it was tough to go up for him. After another year, it was finally decided that marriage made more sense than a 4 year degree as her father owned the business where Mama would work.
The first year of marriage found them living in a bedroom at my Daddy’s parents’ house, but eventually, they built their first home in 1958 and set up housekeeping. After two years of marriage, they were settled with jobs and a home, and the desire to start a family was at the forefront of their minds. But year after year, there were no children to fill up their home with love and laughter. Infertility was no different back then than it is now in how it makes a woman feel.Mama watched as friend after friend got pregnant and gave birth, her heart breaking a little more each month. After 10 agonizing years of disappointment, testing, and no answers, they were ready to consider adoption.