In 2007, Carolyn Cavanaugh shared the story of how she and her husband adopted their son from Korea. It was a tale of joy and of learning forgiveness. As we'll see in the following update, the legacy that began in 1924 when her father was adopted has not yet ended.
About four years ago, the phone rang. It was our son, asking if we still had any of his old toys. He and his wife had become foster parents for four young children.
We said yes, and planned a quick trip from Michigan to Tennessee to deliver the them and meet our foster grandchildren.
This was not their first time as foster parents. Some experiences were very brief, some ended in the children being adopted by other families. We didn't always get updates on the children, but we prayed they were thriving in good homes.
The path to becoming a foster parent is very rigorous, about the same as for adoption. It's not easy to handle children who've been in less-than-ideal situations. I admire foster parents so much because they try to help troubled kids.
We arrived at their home at suppertime. Our son introduced us to the children between bites of pizza. The youngest was a six-month old baby. Her brother and sisters were two, four, and six years old -- all eager for us to play with them.
After eating, my son asked me to wash the four-year-old's hands. We went into the bathroom, I turned on the water, and she looked up at me with big, innocent eyes and asked, “Are you Grandma?”
Oh my! I gulped and tried to think of an answer, since we weren’t yet officially Grandpa and Grandma, only FOSTER Grandpa and Grandma. I evaded the issue until I could talk to our son.
He said they'd been telling the kids, "Grandpa and Grandma are coming," so yes, I was a Grandma. Wow! The thought overwhelmed me. I’m suddenly a Grandma four times over!
The next morning they were all up early, ready to play. Soon all four were bouncing and crawling around on our bed. What a hoot! This Grandpa and Grandma gig could be fun!
Too soon, it was time to head home. A bigger piece of our hearts was left in Tennessee, and we began to seriously consider moving there.
The old saying, “Man plans, God laughs,” became very apparent to us. Not long after our trip, my husband learned he was being laid off. But then, a couple days later, he was offered a position with the same company . . . in Nashville!
From our new vantage point we were able to follow first-hand the court proceedings for our son and daughter-in-law to adopt the children. There were many ups and downs, with progress being made by fits and starts.
In November of 2012, my husband and I watched the kids for a week while Mommy and Daddy took a trip. Being over the Thanksgiving holiday, this kept Grandpa and Grandma busy!
While still "recovering" from this adventure, a text message arrived on the following Tuesday saying, “Congratulations, Grandma! The adoptions are finalized!”
Was the wait really over? Were they finally and forever part of the family? It was so hard to believe, but our praises ascended to God.
Christmas that year was certainly extra special. Since then, the grandkids have really settled in. Three out of four are now in school. They've all come a long way, and we're so proud of them.
It's been amazing to see the hand of God at work, even when it has required patience and looking back with a clearer eye than when you're in the midst of the situation.
Thus continues the story of building a family through love, acceptance, and adoption. A number of cousins, great-nieces and nephews, and others have joined my family through adoption. It all began with the adoption of my father as a very young infant by a young couple, Alex and Edwina Wingeier, ninety years ago.
Who knows what the Lord has in store for our family as the years go on? Stay tuned! God is not finished with us yet.