Sometimes the whole family isn’t on-board with the decision to adopt, especially if the adoption is of a child that differs ethnically or racially.
My father–in-law was, Bruce, “concerned” when we told him of the decision to adopt from China. He said something once and then kept his feelings to himself. That alone spoke volumes about how he felt. This was a man I loved deeply, but was known to tell the occasional off-color joke. Mark and I had already made our decision and proceeded with the adoption. No one was going to dissuade us. We hoped he’d come around.
One of the adoption support networks, Families with Children from China, Indiana, creates and sells a beautiful annual calendar. My father-in-law saw it and told us, “I can’t wait to meet my granddaughter.” We were so happy to hear that his heart was open.
When we arrived home with Josi ten months later, Bruce was there to greet her at the airport. After Holden, he was next to hold her. She went right to him. He held her close, kissing her, his face infused with love.
Bruce came over the next morning, but Josi pushed him away after feeling his beard. She didn’t like the scratchiness of his whiskers. He returned later that day, clean shaven. She snuggled up with him.
Bruce came daily, always making sure he had no beard. Josi had her own special name for him – “Pa”.
I never heard Bruce tell another off-color joke or allow one in his presence. He opened his heart to his other grandchildren as they came home, embracing them with his unconditional love.