How Dear Lois Started
(Excerpts from Dear Lois: Our Adoption Journey):
We made a commitment to both Lois and Ruth after our children were born. We promised to write letters to them each year; around the time of the children's birthdays, we sent along letters with photos that chronicled the past year. These letters would be written until each child turned eighteen. At that time it would be up to Mali and Joe as to whether they wanted to pursue communication with their birth family.
These annual letters were an emotional experience for me. I admit that there were times when I wrote them feeling sad that I hadn't given birth to my kids, and wished I could be an "ordinary mom." But those feelings dissipated as I sat down and wrote them; in fact, most years I ended up in tears, trying to imagine Lois' and Ruth's situation and their wanting to know as many details as possible to ensure that our children were doing well. I cried because these women were so brave to make a decision I don't think I would have been capable of making. I cried because I wanted to share as much as I could with them so they could feel like they were still a part of Mali and Joe's lives. I cried because my heart was overflowing with gratitude.
The letters became a way for me to pour my heart out to these wonderful women who had helped to create our family. Tom would always help me step back and tell a story with different details than I remembered or tell me to add or delete certain things I did or didn't see. We tried to paint a picture for them through words and photographs to give them peace that Mali and Joe were thriving and doing well. Throughout the years, the bond we felt with Lois and Ruth continued to be as strong as the days when they'd entrusted us with the lives of our children. We took the gift of parenting and the promise to write these letters very much to heart.
In 2012, when we reunited with Lois and her children, we found out how important these letters had been to their family. They had all the letters and pictures in a photo album; we quickly understood that these letters were an important part of Lois's adoption journey.
I used to ask God why I couldn't give birth to a baby. I know that if I had the ability to write the story of my life, I wouldn't have come close to what He did. I can't imagine being a mother to any other children, and I also can't imagine missing each and every opportunity to speak of adoption and help others on their own journey. Infertility and adoption were gifts God gave us; He not only blessed us with the honor of being parents to our children but also gave us the gift that allowed us to find our faith in Him. Praise be to God!