TITLE: Doubly Adopted
By Abby Kelly
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I was first adopted at the age of 24. Oddly enough, that’s the same time that I adopted my first little sister. Confused yet?
The Brewers were a kind family of three that I met at church. I had married about six months earlier and my husband had immediately deployed to Iraq, leaving me family-less on the east coast. I snuggled in at church, feeling loved by the crowd of people. I joined the choir, I helped with kids’ classes and attended every service. But being a part of a church family isn’t the same as having a sister, a mother or a grandmother.
Kaitlin Brewer was 15, about the age of my sister living states away in Kansas. She was bubbly and talkative. When the congregation stood to shake hands or mingled in the foyer I spoke briefly to Kaitlin and discovered small things we had in common. I knew she loved to read, I knew she was growing up in a conservative Christian home. I knew that Kaitlin had a crush on a guy in the youth group. I knew how much I missed my sisters.
I got a crazy idea. I stopped Kaitlin after service on Sunday afternoon. “Kaitlin, I was wondering if you might want to go to Barnes and Noble with me this afternoon. I just want to browse, flip though girly magazines and get a coffee. It’s something my sister and I love to do together, but she’s not here and I really miss her and... I’d love to adopt you as my little sister.”
Kaitlin’s eyes glittered with enthusiasm. “I’d love to! I’ve never had a sister. That sounds like so much fun!” A few hours later, I drove up the Brewer’s driveway and Kaitlin climbed into my passenger seat.
I didn’t spend a profound afternoon advising Kaitlin in the ways of a godly woman. Instead, we sang at the top of our lungs with the radio. We shared our favorite books and I felt sheepish at her detailed memory of every book she had ever read - many more that me. It was a priceless afternoon that filled a growing void in my heart.
Through the next year, Kaitlin and I grew closer. I remember her crying a few times when she thought Daniel would never notice her. She listened when I whimpered about missed my husband’s phone call from overseas.
The holidays were fast approaching and Kaitlin went Christmas shopping with me. She helped me lug them into Quik Pack’n’Ship as I tearfully mailed all the gifts to my family. I refused to go home for Christmas while my husband was “celebrating” in the desert.
On Christmas Eve, I got a phone call from Mrs. Brewer. “Abby, Kaitlin has really enjoyed having a sister. Logically, that would mean you are my daughter. Would you spend Christmas with our family?”
The next morning, I joined the Brewers for coffee cake, French roast and the reading of The Christmas Story. Mr. Brewer intoned Luke 2, just like my own daddy. Mrs. Brewer’s mom lived with them, as she slipped into the later stages of Alzheimer’s. I sat on their living room floor and took a nap in the study as the joyful day wore on.
The Brewers entered my life in an informal way, but they became my family. I adopted Kaitlin and their whole family adopted me. With no effort at all, I mentored, encouraged and came alongside Kaitlin, and benefited enormously at the same time. Mrs. Brewer began to email me about once a week, teaching me in an unconscious way to honor my parents, respect and submit to my husband, love unconditionally and rejoice in my role as a godly woman.
My relationships with Kaitlin and Mrs. Brewer were never sanctioned “mentorships.” We slowly started to do life together. As we each personally continued to submit ourselves to the Holy Spirit’s leading, He led us in obedience to Titus 2:3-4.
“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”
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