I hope when you read this letter, some years from now—the time in which I pen it—you are a curious, wondering child (regardless of your age) who wants to know the story of you and the story of your family. I hope you feel loved by your Mom and Me. We know we’re flawed. By now you know our flaws more than any other. All the same, we believe we can be good parents. We hope we have been good parents. We long for you. We love you. We love you now, as we write these letters, and as you read them. We will always love you.
I want to share some of our experiences, the steps along the path that led you to us and us to you.
Yesterday was a long, fulfilling day. Many months ago your Mom and her fellow elementary school teachers participated in a fundraiser. Culver’s hosted the event. Your Mom approached the manager of Culver’s that night. She asked if they ever held fundraisers for private citizens. Usually they do not, but for your Mom they considered making an exception. The manager presented the inquiry to the owner. He decided to support us. The support has not been passive: the manager and owner worked to contact people they knew who could publicize the event. The planning and organization took some months, but Tom and Jackie (the owner and manager respectively) have worked hard to make the event a success.
Not only were fifteen percent of the profits donated to us during the evening rush, they helped publicize the event and even our new website—upon which this letter now appears. They arranged a spot for us on a local radio station, X-96, this morning. Mom and I met Tom and Jackie at the radio station. We were given a few minutes to get the word out. Family, friends and strangers heard us. We were nervous—public forums, especially live ones, are not our forte. But, it was amazing to hear the feedback. I have just started teaching students with disabilities at an elementary school. The Educational Technology Specialist, Brittany--who has been helping me with so many facets of my new job—heard us on the radio. She approached me about the radio appearance. It was nice to get the encouragement; but then, via email and unbeknownst to me, she put the word out to my fellow teachers. My principal, Dianne, received a phone call from her son; he had heard one of her teachers on the radio. That afternoon my principal announced the event to my fellow teachers over the intercom. Several of my colleagues came to Culver’s. They brought their families. Some say, “Money makes the world go `round.” Maybe they’re right. But, love and support elevates the soul.
Seemingly small gestures and enthusiasm mean so much to your Mom and me right now. Financial support is what we need. However, I am convinced that the moral support we have received from family, friends, co-workers, neighbors and so many strangers is what really keeps us on our path to you. This whole process has affirmed, for me, the goodness of people. Life is tough all over—no one has it easy—but it is oh so fulfilling. It is a miracle of love that just won’t stop. We are all blessed because of it. For me the real miracle isn’t stupendous events that defy physics or pluck us from reality. The real miracle is love between people. Care, support, concern. When people share these feelings and act on such feelings, this is when the nuts and bolts of love are evident, and this is when the machinations of love move me. The miracle of love is awe inspiring, but it is a miracle that is basic, common and so human—it is extraordinarily ordinary and it never stops amazing me.
I’ll share one moment from last night. I stood next to the counter, waiting to take the next order to some customers. A man approached me. I did not recognize him. I did not know him--a complete stranger. He began to ask me about how, if he gave some money, he could be sure all of it got to your Mom and me. By the time you’re reading this, my child, you’ll know I can be dense. This was one of those times. I began to explain the fundraiser, how Culver’s was donating a percentage of the profits. He cut me off. No, how could he donate and be certain all of the donation went to us. I started to talk about the website we had just launched, PayPal and the like. He cut me off again. He said he wanted to donate, but, he wanted to be certain every penny went to us. Finally, I understood. I told him that your Mom and I had a savings account dedicated to our adoption fund. He then said, “Well, I’ll just give this to you.” This stranger handed me some folded up bills. I knew he had given us a considerable amount; I had glanced at the fold of bills before putting them into my pocket. What I saw was not the print of familiar denominations—ones, fives, tens or twenties. I thanked him. He walked away. A little while later your Mom and I were eating—this fundraiser was over. I told her about the encounter and pulled out the bills. The man had given us two hundred dollars.
So many strangers have given so much. This is one anecdote. There’s not much to say but a lot to feel. I feel blessed, humbled and grateful. This encounter is one amongst many. My dear child, I can only do my best, and hope you’ll do your best too, to be good to people. People are good. People have been good to us. People—family, friend and stranger alike—have made our family. I love you.