adopting a prompt (pun intended)


This opening sentence comes from the following blog:

Having not been blessed with natural children, the McNeilsons devoted their life to fostering and adopting.  married five years earlier, the couple had been to numerous doctors, tried various treatments. Jeanie had been subjected to more than one surgery.  The endometriosis was just too serious, and it was the 1960’s.  There just wasn’t much that could be done.  So on that Thursday when Jeanie had called Bill from school weeping because she was not pregnant after all….again…..he said, “Enough.”  Enough pain and probing and hurt and watching his wife mourn over something she could not control.  And the next day he called the state adoption agency.

Their first social worker was…..well, a bitch.  Though the McNeilsons were good, churchgoing people, bitch was the only word that fit.  The house was too clean.  Jeanie was too good a teacher.  Bill had too little hair.  And the best of all the irrational shortcomings…..they were both too educated.  Bill called and complained, reporting her unprofessional behavior, and a new social worker was sent.  They were told the process would take time.  They were encouraged to be patient.  It was hard.  Jeanie was 26, Bill was 35, and they had been wanting a child for so very long.

On the morning of July 22, 1968, they got out of bed and wished each other a happy anniversary.  Jeanie was out of school for the summer, and though Bill did teach a couple of summer classes, his schedule was flexible as well.  He would go into the office for a bit, and then they would have a wonderful evening together.  Seven years of marriage.

Bill was gathering paperwork at his desk when the phone rang.  He picked it up and his secretary told him, “it is Jeanie, and she sounds upset.”  His heart sank.  He picked up the extension.

“They called!  We got a call.  The social worker!  A baby!”

“What?  Slow down Jeanie.  What are you saying?”

“A baby!  There is a baby!  OUR baby!”  She laughed and cried.

Bill was stunned.  What an anniversay gift!  They were going to be parents.  A thousand questions swirling into, out of, and around his head.  But he could only formulate one of them.  “When?”


Tomorrow!  They were going to be parents….tomorrow!  The phone felt like a foreign object in his hand.  His office was the last place he wanted to be.  “I am coming home now.  We have….we have a lot to do.”

He hung up and leapt from his chair, closing the door more forcefully than he intended when he closed it.

“Is everything alright, Dr. McNeilson?” the secretary’s voice was filled with concern.

“yes, absolutely,” Bill answered as he hurried to the outer door.  Then he stopped.  “I am going to be a dad…..Tomorrow!”  Then he left the office building.

The day was a blur of shopping and phone calls and cleaning and decorating and rearranging…and rearranging again. there were tears and laughter and excitement and fears.  They hardly slept. The anniversary dinner had been simplified, but it was an anniversary they would never forget.

Twenty-one years later, their daughter would be sitting across from Jeanie at a favorite restaurant having a celebratory lunch on July 23, 1989.  Jeanie would retell the story in more detail than she ever had.  And I, Jeanie’s daughter, would be so very thankful that God had allowed me to be adopted by two such loving people.  Of course, their names are not really McNeilson – that was just the name in the prompt.  But the rest of the story is absolutely true.


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