Forty years. Forty years since a baby boy was born at Maui Memorial Hosptial. A typical baby boy, 7 pounds plus, chubby, pink-skinned, with squished up sleeping eyes -- and an almost blonde fuzz covering his head. That wasn't so typical. Most babies in Hawaii arrive with a thatch of very dark hair, curly or straight depending on ethnicity. Fair-haired babies are an anomaly. So are babies who have to travel all the way from Maui to California to find a family.
Actually, this is Arlene's day. I know that for her it is a difficult memory. I cannot imagine how hard it must be to carry a child to term, deliver that child -- and then have it disappear from your life. Know, Arlene, how often I thank you for the gift of your child, given and received with love. Hanai.
My anniversary will come around next week. Forty years ago. Flying from San Jose to Los Angeles on Friday evening, a pair of 20-somethings with a 3-year-old and and empty baby carrier. Christie asking, "Where is my baby brother now?" Waiting with trepidation at the Western Airlines gate, watching, still with that empty carrier. Receiving that baby into my arms, knowing that under Hawaii law, once I held him he was our child. His biological mother made her choice voluntarily, understanding its implications; his biological father, still unmarried, abrogated his rights. We would go into court to legally finalize the adoption, but the time for mind-changing had passed.
We returned to Palo Alto later that same day, now a family of four. The good doctor who delivered our son on Maui, also delivered him to us in California, declaring "You can't greet someone from Hawaii and leave without kau kau!" So we left with a pineapple, and some dried fish, and I don't remember what else -- and a baby.
Give thanks for all those mothers who, out of love, make the decision to give up a child they cannot care for as they would like. Give thanks for the loving arms and hearts which receive those children. Give thanks for those parents, both biological and adoptive, who can openly and lovingly share those children in a non-threatening extended family relationship.
Happy birthday, Kimo.
Don't forget to pray ....