What’s in a name?
We often choose our children’s names to honor someone we know who has impacted our lives. We even pick names for cars, boats and vacation homes—even those have meaning. Sometimes the meaning may be apparent, other times not so much.
My name is certainly an unusual one. Let me share the story behind it:
My adoptive parents, who I consider to be nothing less than biological parents, had two daughters before I was born. Both were diagnosed with what we know today as Cystic Fibrosis, and my parents buried both within the same year.
Linda was six years old, and Karen only six months.
Being a newly identified disease with no effective treatment, my parents were advised by doctors to not have any more children because of the high probability of having another child with this same disease.
My parents, both strong in their faith, knew they wanted to have more children to raise in a Christian home and began to look for alternatives. It was not by chance that they had a friend, a local physician, who knew of their struggles. This doctor had a patient who was not able to keep her baby—and that baby was me.
Dr. Noskow approached my parents with the opportunity to take in this baby. But there was one caveat: they were again expecting another child of their own. My brother Jeff, who was due in February of the next year, was due just two months after I was expected in December.
Still, they proceeded with the plans to adopt.
My parents prepped and planned to bring home two newborn babies within a short time period. One Sunday morning, just after six o’clock, Dr. Noskow called to congratulate them as parents to a healthy baby girl.
I chill as I write this, remembering the gleam in my mother’s eyes every time she recounted the story of my birth. Oh, how they had waited with anticipation for this day.
They took me home on a Wednesday to a house full of relatives and friends anxious to meet me. As Health Department workers would visit periodically and make their reports, they trusted and believed this adoption would be approved.
Then, February arrived and Jeffrey was born, healthy and having no indications of Cystic Fibrosis. Another healthy child of their own, their own DNA, with the truth being that they could have easily turned me over to the State.
The following June my parents went to a formal adoption court hearing before a judge. The legal papers were processed, and I was written a new name, Gaylynne, taken from parts of their deceased daughter’s names.
God says he has a plan for our lives, that our lives are predestined. His plan for my life was to be part of this family.
As an adoptive child, have I ever felt less loved? No. On the contrary, I felt more loved. The price it cost for them to claim me as their own and the love they had for me was abundant—just as God’s is for us all.
I remember visiting the grave sites of my older sisters and seeing my name on two stones, just as I still do when I go home to Delaware. I cannot begin to imagine the pain to bury a child, let alone two a few short months apart.
Yet, the cost of their lives gave me mine: a life with two godly parents.
Did I ever want to meet my biological parents? No. There are no parents for me but the ones who raised me. Am I curious about my heritage? Yes, and I believe that’s only natural. I knew with olive skin and dark features I was not English like Mother nor Irish like Daddy.
I stood at the reception line on my wedding day while Jamie’s family came through telling Daddy and me how much we looked alike. We’d look at one another and laugh. With my love for him, and all the time I spent with him, there is no wonder we resembled one another.
Is that how it is with our Lord: the more time we spend together the more we look alike?
When I was a child, my parents were there for my every need, providing, protecting and guiding me. As a young adult, they were there when I celebrated successes and held me up and encouraged me with my failures. As a wife and mother, they were my godly example to follow.
Once, I was asked by an acupuncturist to describe my parents in one word. It didn’t take me long to say “Christ.” Immediately, his countenance and body language changed as he asked me to explain why I said that. I thought it simple, really. Christ is the epitome of the Fruits of the Spirit: loving, joy giver, peace-filled, patient, good and kind, gentle, self-controlled and faithful.
As I look at my adoption, I am able to see parallels with that of my being adopted into God’s family through my faith in Christ Jesus:
- They waited for me; Christ waits for us to accept Him.
- They paid a dear price; Christ paid with His blood.
- They loved me unconditionally, beyond comprehension; Christ loved me on the cross.
- They gave me a new name; God gives me his name as belonging to him.
- They protected, provided and guided me; God does the same.
- They picked me up when I failed and gave me another chance to succeed; God is all about forgiving and restoring.
- Like our God, they wanted nothing but the best for me.
My parents were my example to how to live in this world of uncertainties with full dependence on God.
I had a third brother, Jerry, who was also adopted. But, unlike me, he held resentment in his heart because of it. Resentment not for our parents but for his biological parents. He claimed he felt rejection and never could get over it and accept the outpouring of love he got from Mother and Daddy.
Jerry missed out on what I was so richly blessed by. I know it pained my mother as she watched how he allowed his anger to destroy him—No different than how Christ must feel when people reject his love.
My parents went home to glory in 2002, only three weeks apart from one another. I miss them terribly, and there are days I seek their wisdom and council, but I know one day I will be reunited with them.
In the meantime, I hope to carry on their legacy and show the world my name is full of the Fruits of the Spirit.
“He predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.”