Adoption

By July 12, 2010

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.

Article filed under Reflective Posts


Comments

  1. I couldn’t agree more. Kate has been working on a devotional essay on this topic for a while. I’m eager to see how it shapes out.

    Comment by smb — July 13, 2010 @ 11:02 am

  2. I love this SO MUCH!!! The way your wife was instantly accepted, cared for, loved. And that this is carrying on with her/your children. Everything about this story tells me that God’s work has been done and is continuing to be done in your wife’s life. It inspires me to be more like the people in your wife’s hometown.

    Comment by Angie — July 13, 2010 @ 11:19 am

  3. Thanks for this, Steve.

    Comment by Ben — July 13, 2010 @ 12:31 pm

  4. Thanks. Sam, didn’t you say that you and J. were working on an article about adoption in early Mormonism? I know that some of the posts you guys have done on the topic has influenced my thinking on this.

    Comment by Steve Fleming — July 13, 2010 @ 1:54 pm

  5. Good stuff, Steve.

    Sam and I ended out splitting it in two, with him writing to the death of JS and me following up with after his death.

    Comment by J. Stapley — July 13, 2010 @ 2:04 pm

  6. Thanks, Steve.

    Comment by Jared T. — July 14, 2010 @ 9:23 am

  7. Both articles are under review at JMH right now, and I’ve heard through the grapevine that other people are working on modern responses to LDS adoption theology. On Sundays as part of my devotion I’ve started working on a personal essay that I think I will pitch to Kristine.

    Comment by smb — July 14, 2010 @ 11:16 am


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