Tracie – 2

 

Alternative to Abortion

 

In these days of instant abortions in nearly every street corner clinic, this is a chronicle of a life… which is a testimony of allowing it to be birthed into the world, regardless of the circumstances; a life which was a blessing to nearly all who were associated with it.

The life represented by the “IT” belonged to a beautiful dark-haired girl named Tracie, full of life and a joy to her acquaintances. She became a blessing by being an adoptive child to my wife and me. But, before that event, a little background information on her ‘to be’ family is in order.

Teresa and I were married in 1962, after a one year engagement. We moved from a small town in Virginia to the small town of Erwin, Tennessee, where I was employed in the radio broadcasting business. We had planned to wait a short while before beginning our family, and, after a year we decided that the time was right. However, our efforts were unsuccessful.

Unfruitful years elapsed, and we began to investigate the reasons why. After much testing, it was determined that I was unable to father children. So, in 1966, we agreed that we would adopt a child (four years later my wife delivered our son!). I had a fondness for little girls so my wife and I decided to ask for one.

At this point in the story, we need to look at the spiritual background of my wife and me. At that time we were not Spiritually-aware people. Still, it is evident that God was at work in our lives! We did not know about ‘speaking things that are not as though they are’, or, that ‘God will give you the desires of your heart’, etc. However, ignorant as we were, God did honor His Word!

Teresa and I were both Christians, having accepted Jesus as our Savior at a very early age (I was eleven). We both had a good church background especially in our younger years. But, like many Kingdom people, we were not living our adult lives in a way that would bring glory to our Master (we were not bad, mind you, but we were not the good witnesses that He wanted us to be). We were members of a local Presbyterian church but were only occasionally found there! We were upstanding in our community and, being in the radio business, we were more or less in the public eye (especially in a small town!).

We waited and waited, rather impatiently, to hear something from the state welfare agency. There were many couples in our same condition waiting to adopt and the waiting period in Tennessee was about one year. During that time, the adoption agency investigates the would-be parents for a good background, the ability to support the child, etc. They also spend much time matching up the child with the couple, by trying to find adoptive parents much like the natural parents; similar ethnic, social and financial background, etc. They did a very good job too, for when they introduced us to ‘Tracie’, she looked like our child!

The first meeting had shades of mystery and intrigue; we traveled to a city some 40 miles distant, checked in to a motel room, and, at the appointed time, the social worker came and left the five-month-old child with us for a number of hours. We got acquainted with her that day, then the worker came back and took the child back to the foster home. It didn’t take us long (about two minutes, at the most) to know that she was for us! Then, we had to go home and think about her for a few days!

In June of 1967, we received her into temporary custody (for the first year) while being visited occasionally by the ‘worker’. At the end of the year, we went to the state court and legally adopted her into our family.

We named her Tracie Michelle, not a ‘family’ name, but one which was popular and for which her mother and I were fond (we spelled her first name differently which did cause some problems later on, like ready-made name tags, etc.).


Before we took Tracie into our home to be our own child, she had a rough start in life. According to the information we were given by the State, she was born illegitimately on January 18th, 1967, in Knoxville (or Knox County), Tennessee, and was placed in a foster home which had ten other, older children. Naturally, she was the last of the children to receive attention and the last to be put to bed! She needed constant attention and absolutely would not go to sleep until the wee hours of the morning, which haunted her (and us) for her first five or six years of life!

However, since she was used to having lots of people around, she was a very sociable young lady! She was a beautiful child and, as such, was constantly coddled by just about everyone. When we would take her ‘out to eat’ to our favorite restaurants, she had swarms of people around her. When she learned to walk, she would go visit the other tables, conversing with the other diners, and even into the kitchen to ‘speak’ to the cooks. She was welcomed everywhere!

Within the group of adult friends that Teresa and I had, there were several children who became Tracie’s closest friends. Most notable were Julie and Sherri, both of whom, incidentally, were also adopted (the parents of Sherri were to later become a major part of our family’s future Spiritual life and direction).

TracieAt a very early age, Tracie would ask us to take her to Sunday school. We were like many ‘Christians’, with regular attendance on all special or holy days (Christmas, Easter, etc.). After a while of taking her and ‘dropping her off’, it soon became embarrassing; we should be going ourselves. So, we started going regularly (like we did years ago as youngsters). Thus, she influenced us in church attendance.

In her early school years, Tracie participated in the things that most other young ladies did, including dancing classes, swimming at the ‘Y’, and so on. She took piano lessons, and played flute in the school band. But, she always ‘required’ companionship…she needed someone around. By contrast, our son, Marty, who was naturally born into our family four years after the adoption, could entertain himself all day. So Julie, Sherri and others were always around.

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