I know this is long, but...I had to share. We received this letter from Aaron's Uncle Merle on Monday. He and his wife Barbara adopted their daughter Karen when she was a year old. Get out your kleenex....
"THE WAY WE WERE"
Remembrances of the Merle and Barbara Craner Family
Karen Isabel Craner on her fortieth birthday
October 10, 2007
Karen was born on October 10, 1967, in Aberdeen, Washington. She was named "Karen" by her foster parents in Aberdeen. After we adopted Karen in September of 1968, we kept her name and gave her the middle name Isabel after Barbara's mother Esther Isabel Case. Karen was our "Bonus Baby"!
After Barbara and I were married on June 6, 1955, we moved to teaching jobs in Kellogg, Idaho, and Nancy was born in Wallace, Idaho, on October 18, 1956. From Kellogg, we moved to Benge, Washington, where Dan was born in Ritzville, Washington on August 21, 1958. From Benge we moved to Albion, Washington, and Edward was born on February 18, 1962, in Pullman, Washington.
Barbara and I had planned to have at least four children, and were somewhat dismayed when her obstetrician advised her not to have any more children because of the difficulty she encountered in birthing Edward who weighed almost eleven pounds! About six years later we decided to adopt a little girl as a little sister for Nancy, Daniel and Edward.
We pursued adoption through the State Adoption Agency in Whitman County. Our caseworker was Helen Knox of Pullman. In the spring of 1967 we went through weeks of interviews and home visits by Mrs. Knox and she approved and initiated our search for a baby. In early September she called us and told us she had found "our" baby in Aberdeen so we strapped a collapsible infant play pen on the top of our Nash Rambler station wagon and hurried across the mountains to the coastal town of Aberdeen.
The plan set down by the Aberdeen caseworker for us to see Karen was quite elaborate. We were to check into a motel and then call the caseworker who would come to the motel to interview us. After ascertaining our identity she informed us of the process, which was to bring Karen to the motel to get acquainted with us. If all went well she would leave Karen with us for the night then come back in the morning to check on her adjustment. The intent was that we would stay in Aberdeen for two nights and if all went well we could take Karen home on the third day. It sounded like a good plan, but the Lord had other plans!
Here is how it went! After the caseworker visited us at the motel the next morning she went to get Karen. The ensuing drama was like something out of a spy movie. The motel we were staying in was a two story building with a courtyard and exterior walkways. We were in our room on the second floor peeking out from behind the curtains when the caseworker drove up with Karen. You could have heard a pin drop in our room as we all maneuvered for a place at the window. One of the kids said, "there's that sweet little baby".
Karen was a beautiful eleven- month-old. Her foster parents had bought her a pretty dress and patent leather shoes. She was a little shy and nervous, but after Barbara took her in her arms and the children started loving on her she was all right.
We kept her that night without incident. She had her own bed in the play pen and she slept well. I am not sure how Barbara and I slept!
The caseworker returned the next morning and found all was well with Karen. Before she came Barbara and I discussed the fact that to stay In Aberdeen another night would be superfluous ... we knew Karen was our baby. So after a few pleasantries. I said to the caseworker that we knew that God wanted Karen to be in the Craner family and that we would like to take her home that day, not staying another night. She was somewhat taken aback saying, "This is highly irregular but I will check with my Supervisor and get back to you". She left for an hour or two and came back with the necessary paperwork for us to take Karen home that day. Praise the Lord!
Karen legally became our child about a month later in front of a Judge in the Whitman County Court. We all dressed up and filed into the courtroom for the proceedings. The Judge reviewed the papers, chatted with us for awhile, then pronounced Karen of Aberdeen, Washington, as Karen Isabel Craner of Pullman, Washington. That was a wonderful day for all of us.
Karen has been a joy to us and to all our extended family and frlends. She was nicknamed "Peeps" by our friend and neighbor Nellie Woods, and she got the nickname "Doodles" when we stopped by the State Capitol building in Olympia on our way home. She will have to tell you about that. She also garnered the name "Karhorn" sometime in high school and carried that name to Whitworth College.
Our "Bonus Baby" is now forty years old and is the English Department head at Priest River High School where she has been teaching for 14 years. Like her idol Henry David Thoreau she lives in a cabin above lake Cocolalla where she retreats after a hard days work. Unlike Thoreau, however, Karen's family includes a trusted watchdog named Rusty who guards her cabin day and night!
Karen's Mom Barbara loved raising her children and took special joy in Karen. When Karen was in elementary school she came home and asked Barbara if she was "dopt". Barbara said yes, she was adopted, and explained to her that she was very special because God wanted us to have her and because we got to choose her. Later Barbara said to a friend with tongue-in-cheek that Karen wasn't really adopted because she (Barbara) remembered having her!
In recent years I realize that our adoption of Karen was not so much about us enlarging our family as it was God's provision for Karen, a little soul who was only a case number in the Social Services of the State of Washington for eleven months. We know that our family is part of God's provision for Karen. The same Jesus who said, "Suffer the little children to come unto me, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven" has provided for the infant Karen, and we are all the benefactors of His love. That is why we continue to praise the matchless name of our Lord Jesus Christ who sits in heaven at the right hand of the Jehovah the Father interceding for all those who would believe and become His children!
Merle R. Craner
October 10, 2007