Sunday, April 17, 2011

A simple man

As he approached our table in our first adventure in eating out with three children, I knew he wanted to tell us something about our kids.  A compliment, a shared experience, an overly nosey inquiry into our family, I have become used to them in the two and half years of being a mixture of blue and almond eyes, pale and brown skin.

I sized him up, the baseball cap, the starched jeans, the tattoo on his forearm, the fact that he was eating alone.  A older gentleman, a southern man, a simple man, a small part of me tensed just in case he had an insult for us, some hatred for seeing a family of different races, white faces loving brown faces.  But then I noticed his eyes, he had kind eyes and I began to relax.

He told us of his granddaughter and how she came to join their family.  He said that he hadn't understood, why would his son and daughter-in-law would want "someone else's child" after all they are already had a son, a real son.  He seemed to be admitting a secret he'd never shared, he needed to confess, he thought they were making a mistake.

"But she has made our family complete."  I bit the inside of my cheek to keep the tears in.  This man who went on and on telling us about his granddaughter, how she is smarter than everyone in her class, how fast she can climb the stairs, the way she looks up to her older brother.  She plays the guitar, she's in second grade, and she knows where everything in that house is.

"You have a blessed family."  A man, who once didn't understand adoption, who couldn't understand loving a child born from another, couldn't hide the fact that the love of his life is a little eight year old girl born in China.  His joy was too big to keep for himself.

It made me smile seeing him there, a simple man, who never would have dreamed his granddaughter would be Chinese, never would have expected that what they're family was missing they would find in opening their hearts to a plan that looked so much different from their own.  A man who wanted us to know, once he didn't understand adoption, but now he does.


thewonderfulhappens said...

Oh dear, that made me tear up! I don't know how you held it together!

Walsh Family said...

wow! Thanks for sharing that!!

emily wierenga said...

oh friend, this made me weepy too... children are such gifts from God, no? it matters not their bloodline, only their smile, their laughter, their hugs... beautiful prose. thank you! xo

Joybird said...

What a great moment, and beautifully told. The honest confession followed by the honest profession of love...wonderful.

Barbara said...

I love this story and how you told it.