The nicest thing anyone could do for you, if your biological parents didn't want you (and you spent a few years in foster care with a serious medical problem), is for a very special set of parents to adopt you and love you as one of their own.
That is my case.
When I was born with craniofacial anomalies, my biological parents gave me up immediately for foster care/adoption. So I spent my first 3 years in the Indiana state foster care/adoption system. I was cared for by an elderly foster mother in inner-city Indianapolis (who devoted herself to caring for unwanted, sickly babies in her tiny bungalow), who took care of my tracheostomy care and my NG
tube feedings and worked with Riley Hospital for Children in caring for me. (Long after I was finally adopted, I continued to visit her quite often until her death in 1991 at a very ripe old age).
In 1978, when I was 3, two very special parents adopted me into their already large adoptive family of 8 at the time (since then, I have lived in Fort Wayne, IN
, until I moved to London 2 years ago). Mom and Dad fell in love with me at first sight. My first memory of Mom is seeing her in an Indianapolis office building. With tracheostomy tubes and feeding tubes I came into the burgeoning Smith family home and was given my new (current) name, after St. Francis of Assisi. My parents had devoted themselves to adopting and caring for children with medical and other problems whom nobody else wanted.
Just like the TV
show, "The Waltons", we grew up together in a very loving Christian home. Mom and Dad went with me to 2 different children's hospitals (in 2 states--IN and MO
) for my 20-30 facial reconstructive surgeries well into my young adulthood, and fought with me for social acceptance and a decent education (both tough battles to fight, when you have facial disfigurement). I was also finally able to get proper intensive speech therapy and help for my bone-conductive hearing loss with special hearing aids. My parents also taught me a lot about life, especially to have a strong faith in God through my adversities.
With their help (and God's help, as well as help from close friends throughout life), I am finally able to start living out my ambitious goals and dreams, which are to enter medicine and specialise in craniofacial anomalies research (that's why I'm at King's College London in England now for my 2nd year).
That, I think, is the BEST thing anyone could have ever done for me.
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made... (Psalm 139:14)