I gave birth to three of our children, one we adopted at birth and one is the child of my heart. It was a spring day in 2002, when Christina came to Richard at school and asked if she could come live with us. We talked about it, prayed about it and decided that it was a perfect fit. Our youngest, Nathan, was about to finish high school and head off to college but I wasn’t ready for an empty nest. Ours was a home that needed a child and Christina was a child who needed a home.
Chrissy hadn’t seen or heard from her father since she was a preschooler. With her mother and younger brother, she’d spent her childhood moving from place to place as her mother moved in and out of one relationship after another. When it became obvious that that was about to happen again, Chrissy decided that this time she simply couldn’t go. She had recently become a Christian, had made a new circle of supportive friends that included our daughter, was involved in a youth group and wanted to finish high school in one place.
Though we reminded her that in spite of the fact that their relationship was in tatters at the time, she had only one mother who’s place we would never be able to fill, we welcomed her into our home and took on the role of surrogate parents. Like any parent/teen relationship, ours had its ups and downs, its good times and its bad but we bonded and became family.
There were funny moments, of course, but one stands out as being the most hilarious. Shortly after moving in with us, Christina accompanied Richard and I on a trip to Vancouver to meet my parents and our oldest son, Matt. My parents immediately accepted her as another grandchild. Rather than buying gifts at Christmastime, it was their habit to send each of their grandchildren a cheque. When December rolled around and it was time to write the cheques, my father realized that he didn’t know Chrissy’s last name. He asked Matt who couldn’t remember either. He, in turn, volunteered to phone our daugher, Melaina, at college to ask her. When Melaina got off the phone, her roommate (now her sister-in-law) asked who she’d been talking to. “That was my brother,” she replied. “He needed to know my sister’s last name.” It wasn’t until she realized that her roommate was looking at her quite oddly that she realized how strange that sounded! She had to go on to explain that our family really wasn’t as dysfunctional as that made us sound!
Eventually, Chrissy went off to college too and there she met a fine young man. We were delighted when she and Buck married and lived for a time in Sedgewick. They even moved into our house and took care of it for us for the year that we lived in Japan. Now they live in Winnipeg and have a darling 21-month-old daughter who calls us Gram and Grandpa.
Ten years have passed since Chrissy visited Richard’s classroom in search of a stable Christian home. How fitting that I should spend this Mother’s Day here in her home!