“We should not be asking who this child belongs to, but who belongs to this child.” – James L. Gritter

One of my favorite television programs is “Long Lost Family,” which can be found on The Learning Channel. This show generally focuses upon adopted individuals (most were adopted when they were infants) who now desire to find and connect with their birth/biological families. Some episodes may include individuals who are searching for biological children who they allowed to be adopted many years ago.

I have observed that many of the show’s episodes capture the immense gratitude, love and compassion that adopted children have for their birth mothers. Many of these children are well aware of the fact that abortion was an option that their birth mothers could have chosen.

I have also observed that the vast majority of the adopted children who are featured in this television series possess tremendous respect, gratitude and love for their adopted parents. Each episode of “Long Lost Family” reinforces my belief that there are lots of good, righteous, selfless and charitable people living in today’s ever-so-challenging world.

Finally, it is my impression that all of the adopted children who are featured in “Long Lost Family” have grown up to be moral, selfless and productive individuals.

My very first WTE op-ed was about why adoption is a much better choice than abortion (“Adoption is the better option,” Jan. 27, 2016). “Long Lost Family” thoroughly reinforces the observations and arguments set forth within my column.

Over the past 34 years, it has been my privilege and honor to assist many children in their tenacious and heartfelt effort to find the family that belongs to them. I have also been blessed to have adopted individuals join my family.

For example, my son-in-law Sean is a fantastic person who is closely connected to both his adopted and birth families. I asked Sean to share some of his thoughts and feelings about his adoptive mother and his birth mother. Here, in Sean’s own words, is his Mother’s Day tribute:

“I owe my life to two very special women, one mother who taught and raised me, and one that had the love and courage to give me life and place me for adoption.

“My birth mother was 18 when she got pregnant with me. When her boyfriend at the time found out, he gave her a wad of cash and told her to get an abortion. Fortunately for me, she chose a different path. As my birth mother debated whether to raise me or not, she made it a matter of prayer. Her answer was one of the hardest, yet peaceful decisions she would make in her life. She knew from God that I was not hers to raise, and that my path to my family was through adoption. My birth mother adored her father, and she wanted me to have a father and mother that I would adore and who would love me and give me all the chances at life that she, at that time, could not.

“I was adopted by a wonderful family. My mother who raised me was not able to have children of her own, but knew she had so much love to give, so my father and she adopted me. My parents raised me with great love. Being adopted was never a secret; they taught me that I had two mothers and that my birth mother loved me enough to give me a life that would be full of love and opportunities to grow and learn. My mother took every chance to teach me about God, the importance of family, serving others, science and literature and to love the good things of this world. She created a very modest home where I was lovingly encouraged to become my best self.

“I have since been reunited with my birth mother, and when I sit with both of my mothers, I can see clearly which pieces of me are my birth mother and which are my adoptive mother. To me, they are both Mom. While sitting together, I once told my mothers that God must have given me two mothers because he knew I would be so much trouble. My adoptive mother stopped and said, ‘I have been thinking about this; it’s not that Sean needed two moms, it’s that two moms needed Sean.’ And now my family is larger than ever and filled with so much love on all sides.

“Charles Dickens said, ‘Family not only need to consist of merely those with whom we share blood, but also for those whom we’d give blood.’ In my case, this has certainly proven to be true, as the merging of my families has enriched both my understanding of family and the love I hold for those two elect women who I call ‘mother.’”

The Walker clan is tremendously grateful to Sean’s birth mother for her gift of life. We are also immensely grateful to Sean’s adoptive mother for raising such a wonderful young man.

To all mothers who are reading today’s column (whether birth or adoptive), I sincerely say, thank you and Happy Mother’s Day.

John M. Walker is an attorney and lifelong

Wyomingite who lives in Cheyenne. Email:

jwalkwyo7@gmail.com.

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