If you’re participating in tonight’s #LakeUnionAuthor Twitter chat: here’s the story behind the adoption of my four children.
In 1995, I owned a small public relations firm. I developed press kits, advertising and catalogs for companies in the Cleveland, Ohio metropolitan area.
One of the companies was right around the corner from my office in Willoughby. This very successful manufacturer made parts for the automotive industry. At the time, I wasn’t aware that the owner, during his youth, had been one of those men who enjoyed inventing widgets in his spare time. I certainly didn’t know that his wife had once been an elementary school teacher. Nor did I know that when these devout Catholics struck it rich, they used their hard-earned wealth to adopt seven–count ’em–seven children from the Philippines. This brought their parenting grand total up to nine children (they also had two biological daughters who were teenagers at the time when I met the entire family).
The president of the company hired me to produce a press kit for a new widget the automotive industry. Now, I was very proud of my work ethic, often heading to work at 5 am and not returning home until 7 pm. Many of my press releases led to local and regional coverage for my clients, and I never missed a deadline.
Well, I missed this one–the first and only deadline I never missed during those hectic PR years. Frantic, I phoned the company president with a dozen apologies. Which he graciously accepted, saying, “Don’t worry about it. I live in Willoughby, about five minutes from Nolfi Marketing Concepts. Can you drop off the press kit to my wife?”
If you’ve read any of my novels you know I believe in good winning out. I’m convinced most people are kind, and rarely mean us ill. I believe endless possibilities for love, happiness, and a better life are available to each one of us. We merely need to believe in ourselves, and in others.
Or, as the Sirens in Sweet Lake would put it: Hear the Siren’s call and give kindness in secret.
You see, dropping off the press kit at the man’s home was a kindness given in secret. We’d been working together for some months. He knew that since I was approaching middle age, I’d given up on the dream of becoming a mother. For years, I’d tried and failed to adopt a sibling group in the U.S. Every time I made the effort, filled out the forms and chased social workers on the phone, something fell through.
Which, I suspect, is why the company president asked me to drop off the tardy press kit at his home. When his wife opened the door, seven bright-faced Filipino kids scrambled onto the front stoop beside her.
She gave me information on WACAP, as well as the direct number for an adoption worker in Manila. One thing led to another; soon I was corresponding with the U.S. missionaries who run The Children’s Shelter of Cebu.
One year later, I brought my four kids–a sibling group–to their forever home in the United States.