Days to honor mothers leave in its wake the all-to- familiar tears and emotions that had surfaced over the past 10 years of my daughter-in-law's marriage to our son. Unable to bear children of her own, this compassionate and loving daughter courageously accepted well-meaning attempts at church to include “all” women in their praises for motherhood whether or not they had actually given birth.
Although she was helping to raise our son’s daughter from a previous marriage, and loved her dearly — those god-given instincts for childbirth were not totally satisfied.
They had bonded almost instantly, stepdaughter and stepmother; but not without the usual challenges that often come when a birth mother or father is absent from a family unit. They were a very happy family, but deep down the feeling persisted that they were not complete.
“It was almost like waking from a dream,” my daughter-in-law said as she related the feelings of receiving a call from LDS Social Services to let her know of a 1-year-old boy currently living in a foster home and soon to be available for adoption.
Of course they had pursued adoption, but after waiting almost four years without even so much of a nibble, it seemed very likely that dreams of more children would turn out to be just that — dreams!
Often, when reality strikes and removes you from a dream state, it is hard to focus, to comprehend what is being said. You hear the words, but they don’t resonate. It has been too long without even a glimmer of hope to hang onto; it was a dream that had not come true. There would be no fairytale ending here.
Yet, as the words grew louder, clearer, and their meaning began to sink in there was almost a feeling of dread, that this too was only a dream; one that would end just like all the others.
“I said, there is the possibility of adopting a 1-year-old boy, are you still interested?” persisted the caller on the other end of the line.
The events following that “dream shaking” phone call have become only too real and too wonderful. Not only were they able to gain custody and then formally adopt this miracle gift, his birth mother was again pregnant and within two months of gaining custody of one child, his newborn brother was placed into our daughter in laws arms, right from the womb of another.
Several months have passed since the arrival of these two precious boys into the heart of our family. They will likely never know fully the love they have brought into our lives, or being an answer to prayers offered by so many for such a long time. Unlike the legal aspects of adoption, a calculated process filled with roller-coaster emotional highs and lows, it took no time at all for these new additions to assume their stately role as the newest members of the “Malone Zone,” as we affectionately refer to our family unit, doted over by aunts and uncles, cousins, and close friends each offering their support, love, and acceptance.
A hint of coolness in the morning air brought hope that fall was just around the corner, as my wife and I made our way up the steps to the entrance of the Mesa Arizona Temple. I gazed up at this beautiful building and reflected back many years ago as a member of another Christian faith and recalled how my thoughts were confused about what happens when this life is over. I found the concept that life and relationships and families “just end,” at death, to be hard to swallow. When I learned from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that both the Bible and newly revealed scripture contained in the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price, taught of a life after death where families could be reunited for eternity, I was both relieved and excited.
Now, as I sit as a witness to the sealing of a family unit, together for time and all eternity, I ponder even deeper the significance of those teachings learned so many years ago. My two little grandsons and teenage granddaughter all dressed in white, surrounded by those who love them, soon to become brother(s) and sister, mom and dad forever; adopted into a family who will love and cherish and support.
The sealing ceremony is short — too short when one is filled with emotions of “the moment.” Yet, I contently drink in the radiance of a husband and wife kneeling together as they had done so many times before when pleading with the Lord for a miracle, but now giving new meaning to the words “happiness” and “forever.”
Chuck Malone is an Arizona native, graduating from Arizona State University and enjoying a career in real estate, public speaking and entrepreneurship. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org or he blogs at chucksquest.blogspot.com.