>While waiting for a recent medical appointment an older gentleman who was also waiting asked, “Can I show you something?” After responding, “Of course,” the gentleman showed me the picture of a small child, a precious little girl maybe five or six years old. He went on to tell me that she is his granddaughter. I immediately knew that she was not a biological granddaughter because she was obviously of a different nationality. But this stranger didn’t give me a chance to ask about the relationship. His self revelation flowed freely and quickly. Without taking a breath, he went on to tell me that his wife passed a few years ago and they had no biological children. Before her death they had become acquainted with a young family new to America. They befriended this family of five and unofficially adopted them as their own. They babysat the child one afternoon when she was three years old. When her mother came to pick her up, the child told his wife that she had to leave, but if he and his wife needed her, she would come right back. Those precious words touched their hearts so much that bonds that cannot be severed were sealed between the families. Since then the gentleman’s wife has passed, he had helped the young family financially many times, and the child and her siblings are now his family. He went on to tell me that he had to finish up at the doc’s office quickly because he had to go to her brothers’ soccer game that night. “Isn’t that something,” he said, “an old man eighty-three years old, going to a soccer game.” I smiled as he questioned, “But what else would I be doing? Sitting home… alone. These children are the joy of my life. There’s nothing like the love of a child. I’m so proud of them I don’t know what to do.” I thanked the gentleman for sharing and left thinking what a blessing he is to this young family. He is helping them financially. But so much more, he is being a gentle and loving father to two young adults struggling to make a home in a foreign land and he is being a doting and loving grandfather for three precious children far away from all extended natural family members. But just ask him and he’ll tell you; he’s the winner! The love of this family has given him a reason to live.
North Carolina Baptist Aging Ministry (NCBAM) often encourages Christians to consider adopting a lonely older adult, and that’s a good idea. But older adults may want to take a cue from this gentleman. Perhaps you could adopt a young person or a young family. You don’t have to help them financially. Just love them and I think you’ll find their love in return will sweeten your attitude and give you renewed joy in life. Adoption works both ways, you know.
Wendy Minton Edwards, Eastern Regional Director – NCBAM, 1-877-506-2226