by John C. Westervelt
Nineteen-year-old Tamra chose to give life to her precious baby. Since she did not feel she was able to give him the home he deserves, she chose an adoption agency that places children in Christian homes.
Robert and Mary Kim, my daughter, have wanted children. Finally they chose adoption. The agency interviewed them to confirm that they were Christians. One requirement was an album of text and pictures of Mary Kim and Robert and their extended families.
Tamra read several albums and chose the one labeled Mary Kim and Robert Gray. During the first interview, Tamra held the album close as they became acquainted. The next interview was with Tamra’s father. Mary Kim and Robert visited with Tamra’s mother and her two younger sisters on several occasions. Every family member is a Christian.
At six in the morning, Mary Kim and Robert had a call telling them that Tamra had gone to the hospital. Mary Kim was with Tamra and her family until a normal delivery at 1:11 PM on February 11, 2002. At the doctor’s request, Mary Kim cut the umbilical cord.
Two days later at three o’clock in the hospital chapel, a friend of Tamra’s dad conducted an entrustment ceremony. As Tamra handed Joel David to Mary Kim, not a single eye was dry. By four, Joel was safely home. This normally pristine and straightened house will never be the same again.
On Sunday February 24th Sandy and Paul, my son, came from Katy, Texas, and Linda, Mary Kim’s cousin, with three of her children, drove from Denton to Plano to see Joel. While they were passing a sleeping Joel around, Tamra came with her mom and two sisters. Joel is doubly loved.
My turn came to hold my grandson on March 19th in Plano, Texas. That evening after Joel was down, the three of us had an Asbury Preschool and Mothers Day Out shower. I felt that the Asbury teachers were present with us as Mary Kim and Robert opened gifts, read cards, and expressed their feelings of gratitude that these women loved Joel too.
One of my joys during my three-day visit was to observe how loving Mary Kim and Robert were. Mary Kim would talk and sing to Joel as she busied herself with his care. Robert came in at six from work. Before any interest in supper, he spent time with Joel. Later in the evening, Robert would calm Joel for sleep by a gentle touch of his fingers moving across Joel’s back and head. Joel’s mom and dad make up songs and sing them in the round to him.
During the day I took care of Joel while his mother got bottles out of the dishwasher, moved clothes to the dryer, and put another load in the washer. When awake, Joel is perpetual motion. His head moves about as he flails his arms and legs. As I carried him through the house, his head would stop and his eyes would focus on the blue and peach of the valance above. Beside the front door, he studied the blue, green, and rose in the stained glass window. I wondered what his brand-new brain was processing. He finally tires; his eyelids are half closed; his eyes roll back; and suddenly he is as limp as a wet washcloth.
Tamra and her year younger sister were out of town, but Tamra’s schoolteacher mom was available for lunch since she was on spring break. At the Cheesecake Factory restaurant, Mary Kim offered Sherry the seat beside Joel. It was clear to me that Sherry loves Joel as much as I do.
Noah’s Ark is the theme of Joel’s nursery. Robert’s collage shows an elephant, a camel, a giraffe, a tiger, and a penguin that he photographed at the Vienna zoo. Mary Kim is working on a cross-stitch of Noah’s Ark. An artistic Tamra painted a picture with two each of tigers, zebras, flamingos, rabbits, giraffes, cats, and birds. The Ark rests on the mountains of Ararat. A rainbow encircles the sky above the storm clouds. At the bottom of the mountains, Noah stands beside an altar with his arms outstretched to God. Written around the perimeter of the picture are the words of Genesis 8:20-21.
On the day that Tamra was going to send Joel home with Mary Kim and Robert she wrote him a note and enclosed a poem.
"Sweet Joel David –
This poem is so close to how I feel - although no words will be able to describe it. I never thought I’d be able to love anyone this much and I’ll never understand how it works. My prayer for you is that God keeps you in His loving hands and uses your life in astounding ways. This day is bittersweet for me. In one way I’m having to give you to God and the Grays and that means I have to say goodbye and watch you grow from a distance. In another way the goodbye isn’t permanent.
My love forever, Birth Mommy Tamra"
On The Wings of A Prayer
By Lisa Bote-Phillips
I set you free on the wings of a prayer
To fly through life in His tender care,
You’re free from the nest and the ties that are bound
Free from the pressures I carry around.
If I kept you I’d only be cutting your wings,
Not offering the chance a true family brings.
The decision I’ve made has my heart torn in two,
But I know what I’m doing is the best thing for you.
The sky is so vast, the mountains so high
Take wing and remember: I love you.
Goodbye.Return to Table of Contents