I knew something was up when my wife?s high-school Spanish teacher came by. ?I feel like I?m losing a daughter.? We were in my wife?s hometown of Sonora, California, one week before our wedding. Even before we started dating I learned that my wife was an only child of divorced hippy parents. ?Great,? I thought, ?no pressure to be a high achieving son-in-law.? Little did I know?
?He feels like he losing a daughter, what?s going on here?? She shrugged it off like it was normal. That week such statements only multiplied and got increasingly threatening. ?She is very special and if you put one foot out of line ?!? I got that in the temple. I seemed to have married the town darling; why didn?t she warn me!
Though she didn?t have much family, she always seemed to have family. No more so than the Craigs. My wife joined the Church when she was 16; she was babysitting for some recent converts and thought it sounded nice. She had no idea what she had gotten into and became the only member in her family. At that time her mother was spending most of her time with her boy friend down the street and would simply give her money to buy food. The young women?s president stopped by one evening and found her partying with her friends. ?Where?s your mom?? she asked. ?Down the road.?
The young women?s president reported the situation to the bishop, Bob Craig, who offered for my wife to come and live with his family. My wife spent her senior year living with the Craigs where she got family night, family prayers, early morning seminary, and EFY. The grandparents, who lived next door, preformed a mock adoption ritual at a family reunion and declared her to be an honorary granddaughter. When my wife was called to The Canary Islands, Spain, the grandparents paid for her mission (I met her at BYU shortly after she got back).
Both of my wife?s parents have now passed on, but this week she took the kids to North Carolina to go to Bob Craig?s ?Grandpa Camp? (they moved). I had to stay in Utah to get reading done for my exams but it’s wonderful to see the pictures posted on their blog (the last picture has my three oldest in the foreground.)
We all love our families but there is something special about choosing and being chosen. I like that adoption was central to Joseph Smith?s thinking and like to think that my wife?s relationship with the Craigs (and all the others she?s collected along the way) is just as legitimate as any other family bond.