Sixty-five years ago today, my parents got the phone call they had been waiting, hoping, and praying for for many months: the adoption agency had a baby girl for them. Nancy was a blue-eyed, dark haired, nearly three-month-old beauty that captured their hearts and completed their family. They thought.
When the day began, they had no idea it would end with them becoming the proud parents of a new daughter. Mom was busy preparing for Christmas, and Dad was at work in his law office. Whatever task they were engaged in was forgotten as they flew into action, finding a crib, buying baby clothes and other needed items.
When Mom and Dad got married, they planned to have a big family. My father came from a family of thirteen kids, my mother from twelve (ten made it to adulthood). After years of disappointment, the doctor told my mother it would be a miracle if she ever had a baby. Then a surprise pregnancy ended in an early miscarriage. Another blow to the young couple. They decided adopting a child would be a wonderful option. The downside was, it was a lengthy process, even in those days.
Nancy brought them joy and made them want more children. The adoption agency called again when Nancy was close to two years old to say they had a baby boy for my parents. It was bittersweet news because my mother had learned she was pregnant. It was common practice at that time to actually take adopted babies back if their parents had a biological one within a certain time. My parents were worried that would happen if Mom carried her baby to full-term, so they did not adopt the little boy.
My brother was born when Nancy was two and a half, followed by me, another sister and another brother. Yes, that puts me in the middle with an older sister, older brother, younger sister and younger brother. My parents welcomed each of us as a bonus blessing. Four more miracles.
I can’t imagine life without Nancy, and the rest of my siblings. I love and respect and truly appreciate each one. But I have to confess, when growing up, to being a little jealous of Nancy on one day of the year. In addition to the gift on her birthday, my parents also gave her a gift on the anniversary of her adoption date. December twentieth is an important date for all of us. There is no doubt Nancy was meant to be with us.
Christine Husom is the author of Murder in Winnebago County, Buried in Wolf Lake, and An Altar by the River.