THE AMISH COOK: A Beautiful Yoder Christmas Story, Part II
Editor’s Note: This is the second of a two-part column from Gloria about their long journey through the foster care system and, ultimately, to adoption. Adoption among the Old Order Amish and New Order Amish is a long tradition, but it’s not widespread everywhere or among everyone. Personally, I’m more familiar with Amish families adopting children from overseas (a long, complicated process). As among the non-Amish, fostering and adopting takes the right people in the right combination of circumstances. Adoption of non-Amish children who need a home is a way to spread the bounty and blessings in a deeply meaningful way – Kevin Williams, Editor
We bade the birth parents farewell, and the door shut behind them. Could it be true? We looked at each other then at our darling children. Would they really be for keeps? Would the birth parents change their minds? How much should we really allow ourselves to think of being Rayni and Jesse’s parents for life?
At any rate, we didn’t waste too much time calling to Ohio to tell Daniel’s family of the birth parent’s proposal of us keeping the babies.
“I’m gonna call Fannie,” I told Daniel. Their little son was only two weeks older than Jesse, and I couldn’t wait to tell her the news. “Oh Fannie,” I said my voice was quivering, “I have good news… sorry, it’s just that we’re so happy…” Gathering myself together and wiping more tears I blurted out, “The way it looks we’re gonna keep Rayni and Jesse!” Four years ago when Austin was born, Fannie had a little son who went to be with Jesus only several hours after his birth. Now we may actually each have a son, just days apart in age. Fannie and her husband rejoiced with us as did the rest of the family.
As days turned into weeks, the gnawing question kept coming back, “What will happen? Will they really sign over?”
At the same time, our hearts grieved with the birth parents, as we sympathized with the tremendous loss they were facing.
One afternoon I opened a large envelope that had come in the mail, and my mouth dropped wide open. I knew it was coming, yet seeing is believing, for sure. It was a stack of papers we were asked to fill out; on the first page were the words, ‘Full adoptive mother’s name.’
“Daniel, am I really going to be an adoptive mom?” I asked, as if reality was starting to soak in, in a new way. It had been a dream since girlhood, would it really come true?
The next court date was November first, which was the day the parents planned to sign over their parental rights officially. We were there, bright and early, and spent some time chatting with the parents before being summoned into the courtroom.
Daniel and I took seats at the back. The judge reviewed the case at hand. When the time came for the birth parents to stand before the judge and simply sign their darling children over into our care, I felt something stirring deep within me that I can hardly explain, tears came to my eyes. Daniel sat to my left, out of the corner of my eye, I could see him ever so slightly shake his head in awe of it all. There was nothing we wanted more than to be mother and father of these dear children, yet it also looked like a very weighty responsibility.
Having the papers signed, we all stepped out into the waiting area where “birth mom” and I wept in each other’s arms. How can one have so many different, yet strong emotions at once?
The next court date was scheduled for January then again in May. No one knows exactly what this journey to adoption will be like and just how long it will take. The lady who is our caseworker in the foster system is also our adoption worker. She has been a great person to work with throughout the entire process. She estimates that the adoption should be completed by next Fall sometime. So yes, our goal is adoption as soon as possible, yet we also realize that things can turn up. Until it’s all finalized, there are no guarantees. Thankfully, we do have one guarantee that comforts us a lot throughout this whole process: we know that ultimately, God is in charge of it all! Only time will tell on how much contact we will maintain with the birth parents after the adoption. For the time being, it does make it easier for them to see the children every month or two.
A question many of you may have is to whether they will be raised Amish. Yes, they’ll be raised just like our other children, and like them, will not be forced any religion as they grow up — everyone has their own choices to make. While there is not a large number of bi-racial people among the Amish circles, you will see them here and there; we feel deeply blessed with not having any worries whatsoever of Rayni not being accepted with her slightly darker skin color. We certainly wouldn’t change her, even if we could.
This year we’re excited to go to Danville, Ohio, and spend time with Daniel’s family the week of Christmas. And yes, we’re especially thankful to God to be able to take our foster children along with thoughts of being the official parents in a year from now. This holiday season I just want to give a special thanks to all of you readers, friends and family for welcoming Rayni and Jesse as a part of our lives, and yours as well. You are a blessing!
How about wrapping up with a Yoder family favorite Christmas candy?
Peanut Butter Balls
1 cup butter
2 cups peanut butter
1 1/2 pound milk chocolate coating
Cream together butter and peanut butter. Add powdered sugar and mix well. Roll into balls, your choice of size; I prefer small ones with the children. Place onto a cookie sheet or flat-bottomed container of any kind, freeze for one hour or until they’re set. Next dip in chocolate, one at a time. Place in wax paper-lined container. Chill and enjoy!
Yields about 10 dozen.