Welcome to 30 Adoption Portraits in 30 Days, hosted by Portrait of an Adoption. This series will feature guest posts by people with widely varying adoption experiences and perspectives. 

Benny’s Answer to a Prayer
By Sarah Larsen

In 1969, I was adopted. Forty years later, my husband and I adopted our son and named him Benjamin John. I was always hoping to give Benny a sibling and jokingly told a couple different lawyers I know that if they ever had a client that was placing their child for adoption to let me know.

I have an older brother who is also adopted, as well as two sisters that my parents had biologically. My adoption wasn’t open, but Benny’s is, so he has contact with his biological siblings, but it isn’t the same as having someone living in your home.

I have the unique experience of understanding some of the mixed emotions associated with adoption. We work hard to make sure Benny understands that he is our son, and he has another family who he very much belongs to as well.

Benny has biological siblings, and we had his oldest brother spend a week with us this summer.  It was wonderful seeing Benny with Noah — the way they interacted and seeing Benny as the younger brother instead of the older one.

After almost ten years, I was beginning to feel like we would be a family of just three, and I was okay with that. We were planning a trip to Florida for Mother’s Day weekend, which would also be our sixteenth wedding anniversary. It would be a first for Benny seeing the ocean and being on an airplane.  

It was the morning of Good Friday 2018. We all had the day off from work and school and decided to be lazy and sleep in. I had even turned off my ringer to ensure silence. (I have only turned off my ringer on a handful of occasions, one of them being the night our caseworker was trying to get ahold of us to let us know Benny’s birth mother had chosen us.)

We were just relaxing in bed and my husband got a text from my sister who was trying to reach me.  

Her first words were, “Take a deep breath and say a prayer.”    

Then, “There is a little boy that needs a home……today.”  

She didn’t know much about him other than he was five weeks early; and his great grandparents had custody of him. They wanted to see if they could raise him; after a few days, they realized it was just too much at their age.  

I hung up and told my husband, John, about the conversation. After discussing it, I could see that John was thinking things over, and I said to him; “I’m in. Take a couple hours and pray. I will survive whatever answer you give me, but you are going to have to make the decision.”

After what seemed like forever to me, John told me yes. I called my sister, who gave me the phone number of the grandparents. I called Great-grandma and we talked for a bit.

Then she said she would be over to our house in an hour with our new baby. AN HOUR!!!  

I went upstairs to tell John about the call, the best part which is the little boy’s given name……….. Benjamin John.

Yes, you read that right, the baby that was on his way to us had the exact same name as our nine-year-old 

Next up was to retrieve Benny and let him in on what was quickly unfolding. The thing you need to know about Benny is that he had been asking to have a baby brother since he could talk.  Anytime he asked, my answer was always the same, “Talk to God, Baby, that’s how we got you.”

A few weeks earlier we had been at Mass, and there was a baby boy behind us. All through Mass, Benny was looking back at the little one with this look of longing on his face. After Mass, before we had even left the pew, he took me by the shoulders and said, “I want one. Where can I get one?” My response, “Talk to God baby, that’s how we got you.”

We went into the kitchen, found Benny, and told him. I started by saying that weren’t going to be able to go to Florida. He looked all sad and asked, “Why?”

I said to him, “Well, you are going to be a big brother.” With a blank stare and slight grin on his face he responded, “What??”

So I proceeded to tell him the story.

A little while later, there was a knock on the door and we met Benny’s answer to a prayer — now named Ezekiel Frances and lovingly called EZ.

EZ came with a car seat, a couple outfits, a few bottles, a bit of formula and some diapers.  Needless to say, this warranted a trip to the store!

A few weeks later, I realized that EZ had been born in the county in which I work. I process birth, death and marriage certificates in our county and had processed his birth certificate.  I remembered seeing it and thinking, “Benjamin John. That’s my son!” And sure enough, he is!

EZ has completed our family. It was as though we were always a puzzle with a missing piece that we didn’t realize wasn’t there until we found him.  Benny is an amazing big brother to EZ, and he knows EZ depends on him like little brothers do.

One of the amazing things about our little family is that if any of the three birth mothers had made a different choice, we wouldn’t be us.

Sarah Larsen is a contented wife and mother living in a small Midwestern town.  She and her husband John are raising their boys with love, faith and sarcasm.  Sarah is a Deputy Clerk in Vital Statistics and frequently uses her own adoption experiences in her job.  Sarah enjoys knitting, listening to books and laughing with her husband. 

 

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Carrie Goldman is the host of Portrait of an Adoption. She is an award-winning author, speaker, and bullying prevention educator. Follow Carrie’s blog Portrait of an Adoption on Facebook and Twitter