“THE OTHER DAY…WELCOMING AN ADOPTED CHILD”
THE REV. MONTE W. HOLLAND, COLLABORATIVE WRITER
1300th POST ON CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS
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NOTE: It’s a New Day was a daily (Monday-Friday) radio show broadcast in Connellsville, Pennsylvania in the late 1990s. My husband Monte, a local pastor, and I presented the following program on July 23, 1997. Names have been changed in this piece.
Monte: Good morning. Welcome to It’s a New Day. This is Reverend Monte Holland of Wesley United Methodist Church on South Pittsburgh Street in Connellsville. My wife, Carolyn, is joining me in sharing something that happened “the other day” when we were privileged to be part of a group of folks who gathered at the Pittsburgh International Airport to greet the arrival of a Chinese toddler and her first meeting her adoptive father.
Carolyn: We have known Grace for a number of years. She’s always known how to throw a celebration, but in this airport party she, her husband, and their new daughter were the guests. It was a celebration of the transformation of their family.
Monte: Grace and Mike have been dealing with the fairly common problem of infertility. This day was the culmination of the long wait to become parents. Grace and her mother were arriving from China with their new daughter.
Carolyn: On the way home you mentioned to me that while we were sharing in this 7:00 a. m. party you were observing several areas of caring. You indicated that there were at least four Scriptural imperatives being responded to. The most obvious Scripture applicable is that we are to care for the orphan.
Monte: Grace’s mom shared that this child had been abandoned on a park bench so that the police would find her and see that she was cared for. This apparently is quite common in China where boy children are highly valued, but girl children are not.
Carolyn: That is why Grace and Mike were almost certain they would be adopting a daughter. We waited while all the passengers disembarked the plane, then we waited a few minutes more until we saw Grace disembark with Marie in her arms.
Monte: After Grace introduced the child to her new father and grandparents she sat on the floor and allowed the child to play with some familiar things. She did not subject her to more than casual interaction with those of us there. She allowed the child to be a person coming to a new place instead of an object to be passed around.
Carolyn: Meanwhile Grace shared Marie’s favorite activities with us, including her trying on Mom’s shoes. And I just had fun blowing bubbles with Marie. I didn’t need to hold her.
Monte: Grace, the experienced celebrator, had even planned ahead for her own arrival. She had sewn little United States flags for each of us to wave to give her the sense of being back in her homeland. She had sensed that she and her mom would need caring after that long journey.
Carolyn: The flags also represented a dream fulfilled in a way different than Grace had originally expected, a dream now fulfilled through a blending of two cultures.
Monte: Sounds Biblical to me. It reminds me of Moses being cared for by an Egyptian family. There was another level of caring that Grace made a part of this celebration.
Carolyn: You mean the gifts she had previously prepared for those who would be close to the child, the caps that said Granddad and GrandPal, and mugs with appropriate inscriptions?
Monte: She made certain that everyone knew that they would be part of this child’s growing up by being close to the child and part of her Christian nurture—family, church friends, and neighbors.
Carolyn: Clearly she’s sensitive to Jesus’ teaching to love the little child but also to the loving interaction among all neighbors, large and small, old and young, far and near.
Monte: We can’t forget the great gift that Mike’s presence was at this celebration. Colleen’s mom had accompanied her to China because Mike’s long-term difficulty with crossing bridges and being in confined places has kept him from traveling far from home.
Carolyn: The gift of their daughter became such an incentive that he was able to overcome his fears enough to be there at the gate to welcome Mom and daughter with open arms.
Monte: Loving support from family and church friends made the difference in his being able to get to the airport.
Carolyn: Our trip to the airport reminded us of the importance of celebrating in a supportive, loving, Christian community. We are thankful for Grace who continues to teach us how to celebrate.
Monte: Let us pray. Dear God, may we always be ready to meet you and hear you in every place and time. May we listen to your promptings and accept your offerings to us and build the beat of “the new days.”