Many members of the Sub Zero family have been touched by adoption in wonderful ways. In celebration of National Adoption Day, which occurs every year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, here is one of their stories.
Once a child enters your heart, a part of it belongs to them forever.
Many people who have experienced adoption will tell you there was something more that inspired them toward it, something bigger than themselves driving them toward finding the missing members of their family. Whatever that power may be, there is something magical about adoption that only those who have experienced it can truly understand.
One of ten children, my mom wanted a big family. One of two, my dad was more comfortable with a small family. They agreed on the average of six kids, but after five kids, my dad was feeling done while my mom still felt there were others who were missing. After a ten year gap she finally had one more, but that feeling that there were others did not leave. The idea of foster care, and eventual adoption, started to take root in her mind, but she also didn’t want to bring it up with my dad. After all, it had taken ten years for her to convince him of the last one. She determined, yes, she would do it, but only if my dad brought it up first.
My parents had season tickets to the theater that year. The next show was Annie. My parents were sitting on the last row, only empty seats beside them. As Annie joyously ran into Daddy Warbucks’ arms, something touched my dad’s heart and he heard a voice tell him, ”You are Daddy Warbucks. Your family is not complete.” He turned in his chair, but there was no one there, no one beside him, only empty chairs and a wall behind him. The words would not leave him; etched on his brain, they echoed repeatedly in his mind through the rest of the performance. He looked at his wife sitting beside him and wondered how he would tell her that they were expecting more children.
He talked with her on the drive home describing his experience. She admitted that, despite not having had such a dramatic experience, she, too, could not get the idea out of her mind. They figured out the logistics of making it happen and when they were ready, they told us, their kids, and we prepared ourselves together.
One day, we got a call. ”We have three children flying in tonight from California. Can you take them?” Even they knew very little about the children—two girls and a boy who might have nothing but the clothes on their backs. We agreed, trying to be ready for anything, and that night I met my three new foster siblings. We learned more about their situation and realized they came from a loving family that was just going through a hard time and had made some bad choices as a result. They stayed with us for almost a year, but their mom met the conditions for them to return to her. We had all been cheering for her and it was a day of mixed emotions when they left us. They never quite left my dad’s heart. He still sends them presents every Christmas.
We got our next three while I was living away from home serving an eighteen month mission, and they didn’t tell me until I video-called next. They had only been there for maybe a week, but imagine my surprise when I called and they introduced me to my three new foster siblings, again, two girls and a boy. The feeling was different this time as they soberly told me, ”This time it will probably be permanent.” Their mom was very young, my age in fact, and very unlikely to meet the requirements to get them back. It was probably a good thing on all sides because it would give her a new chance at life. They stayed with my family for the remainder of my mission, just over a year, when I returned to meet my new siblings.
It was a surreal moment, greeting them for the first time. I had heard about them for a year. My family had said things like, ”It’s amazing how much they feel like part of the family, like they were always meant for us.” It was immediately obvious to me that they were right. When I first held those kids, I knew they were mine. My siblings. Mine to love, mine to teach, mine to help and watch grow. I can only assume the feeling was even greater for my parents.
Within a week of my return, there was a final court hearing. The judge terminated the parents’ rights and then turned to my parents and asked, ”How many will you take?” Stunned silence reigned only a few seconds before my parents replied with the obvious answer, ”All of them,” they said. ”All of them belong in our family.” We celebrated like it was a wedding. Our family had grown by three in one day! When it was all official, we held a special religious ceremony that would bind them to our family forever as though they were born into our family rather than adopted. They are ours.
The change in my new siblings was immediate. They had suffered various abuses in their previous life, but being bound so permanently to a new family healed them in ways we could never have foreseen. Other healing and progress took longer, but it did come. They were adopted in 2014. Five years later, they fit into our family so well, you would never know that they were adopted except for the differences in appearance. There are moments where, If I didn’t know better, I would swear they share genes with me and my other siblings. They belong here.
Adoption is something special. I’ve seen it and experienced it with my little siblings. I understand why people may be afraid of bringing foster children into their home. There’s a fear of the unknown. Children who are old enough to remember may have been through terrible situations that foster parents can hardly imagine. How do you help a child survive things you have never experienced? But, I know there is something powerful in choosing love. Choosing to love someone whom you were not compelled to love, such unconditional love changes a child and can heal even the deepest of wounds. The stability of knowing their family chose them, will be there for them forever, these will help them through the disagreements and difficulties of life that always arise. Children don’t need perfect parents. They just need unconditional love, a place in your heart, and the stability of a place in your family solidified by adoption.
There will always be fears and reasons not to, but what might you miss by not taking that chance? Who might be missing from your family?
Sub Zero is supporting National Adoption Day on November 23, 2019 by inviting all whose lives have been touched by adoption to come to our corporate headquarters, located at Provo Center Street, and enjoy free pizza and ice cream cake, while supplies last. A portion of sales from the whole day will be donated to an adoption cause.
We invite you to share your stories of the wonder of adoption here too.
Picture alt text: Pictured is the family described in the article, two parents and nine children. Everyone is very happy except the youngest natural born sibling who feels left out because he did not receive the gift of a stuffed animal and box of candy like his three new adopted siblings, who are each holding their gifts.