My sister Barbara Jane and I are both adopted children. We are not related by birth; I’m two years older than Barbara. My feelings about my family are entwined in a wonderful way around this part of our lives, and Barbara and I want to share our adoption stories with you.
So, why would we narrate the details of our adoption? Well, it is one of the marvels of being adopted by Neil and Zorene Thompson; they did it right! Barbara and I have always been very secure with our adoptive parents and their families. This security came in part from Mother's telling and retelling of our adoption stories when we were very small. Below are our own recollections of these stories, written down and presented to mother on her 89th birthday, January 28, 1990.
A few years ago, I created a video of my story from family pictures I had, along with some that I found on the internet that seemed to tell the stories. So now, you can view my video (5 minutes), or read both of our stories (below); I hope you enjoy them...
(On the next page you will find the short version of a wonderful story about my successful search for my birth mother!)
Ray’s Video Story
Our Adoption Stories as We Remembered Them
Barbara Jane (Thompson) Coleman - November 86
I was five days old when my life began.
Five days old and only five pounds when my
mother first saw me and said, "This is the one...
I want HER."
She chose me in spite of the brash young doctor
who asked, "Are you SURE, Zorene?
She's a scrawny little thing... she might not last the winter."
But MY mother (like any good mother) whispered
softly to herself, " I'LL MAKE HER LIVE! "
And she did.
"Mother, Tell Me About Being Born"
Ray Mack Thompson - December 89
"Mother, tell me about being born."
"You mean about being adopted?"
"Yes, about being adopted..."
"Well, after your daddy and I married, in 1925, we tried for a long time to have a child born to us but we were not able to do that. We knew that there were many lovely children who needed parents, and so we began to think about adopting a baby. Some friends told us of a Baptist preacher from Abilene who helped children who could be adopted to find good parents. We contacted him, and he came to our home to talk to us and to find out if we would make good parents."
"What was his name, Mother?"
"Don't you remember his name? What did he have that you liked?"
"I think it was Brother Nicholas and he had a long white beard."
"That's right! And you remember him because after you were adopted he came to see us for several years, to see how you were doing, and to make sure your mother and dad were good parents."
"Yeah.... I remember! But how did you get me to begin with?"
"Well.... when we decided that we wanted to adopt a baby, Brother Nicholas started looking and watching for us. It seemed like we had to wait a long time, but in the summer of 1930 we were just ready to leave on a vacation trip to Cloud Croft, New Mexico with some friends when Brother Nicholas called to tell us that he had several babies ready for adoption. We told him about our vacation trip and he suggested we go ahead and go, but come back through Abilene on our way home. We were very excited of course and, although the vacation was a special treat, we could hardly wait to get to Abilene!"
"Why didn't you go right away?"
"Well, I'm not sure, Ray Mack... you see, it was a very big decision to make and although we had planned to adopt, I guess we didn't think real hard about it until we knew there was a baby we could actually get and bring home. We didn't even tell any of our friends about the call from Brother Nicholas. We really needed some time to make sure we were ready to adopt a child... we talked about it a lot on our trip to Cloud Croft."
"Did I know about you and daddy?"
"No, sweetheart, you were just a baby... just a few days old! I guess you just slept through the whole thing, while I didn't sleep very much at all! Unfortunately, one of the friends in our vacation party had a call from home about a death in his family, so our vacation was cut short. This was fine with me, because by now we had decided we would adopt a baby and we wanted to go and tell my parents."
"How long did that take?"
"Well, we drove to Pecos in one day, spent the night with your Grandmother and Granddad Todd, then drove on to Abilene the next day. It did seem like it took a long time to get there, and we arrived late in the day. We found the home where the children for adoption were cared for, and Brother Nicholas was waiting for us."
"Tell about how daddy picked me out..."
"Well... everyone could see we were very excited, but very nervous. Brother Nicholas took us to the nursery where several babies were lying in their cribs. All of the nurses then left the room so we could make our decision in private. There were several girl babies, and one boy. I was looking at the girls first but your daddy stopped at the crib where this big baby boy lay. I heard him say, 'this is the one I want', and when I turned around he had picked you up and was holding you!"
"Did you want me too, mother?"
"Well, of course I did! We were both so happy we cried. All the nurses cried because we were crying, and because they were happy to that you were going to have a mother and daddy."
"Did I know it was happening? I think I can remember it!"
"No, Ray Mack, I don't think so.... remember, you were only a few days old! You have just heard me tell this story so many times you think you can remember it!"
"What happened next? Did we go home at night?"
"See! You know this story better than I do! Yes! It was unusual, but because Brother Nicholas had already visited with us several times in our home and knew that we could take care of you, we signed some of the papers in his office so we could take you home that very night! Of course, we didn't have anything prepared for you, but daddy had to get back home to his job. So, the nurses loaned us blankets, diapers, and a bottle and we were ready to go. It was after dark when we started back to Lubbock, driving our little one-seat Chevrolet roadster."
"Was I still asleep?"
"Yes, dear one, you were a good baby to take care of, right from the start... We drove nearly all night to get back home and you didn't wake up until we got nearly home. When we got to Slaton, about 20 miles from Lubbock, you began to fuss a little and your new parents had to decide what to do! We decided that you were hungry, and daddy went into a cafe to get your bottle of milk warmed. I fed you your bottle and it made me feel so good! It seemed to make you happy too and we got home just fine."
"Was I adopted THEN?"
"Yes! You were our baby boy from that day on! Brother Nicholas came to see us in a few days to complete some of the adoption papers, but you were ours for ever and ever after that!
"BOY! Am I glad!"
Other Adoptees in Our Family
Of course, we didn’t completely understand when we were very young. We would sometimes cry and say, “but we want to be your children Mother!” Her response was to patiently explain our adoptions…again.
Couples considering adoption were often referred to “Neil and Zorene” for advice and counsel. So, we were frequently “inspected” by friends from our church. We enjoyed the attention, perhaps too much!
There were many adoptees in our larger family circle, Especially in our Grandmother Todd’s family, the Mackey’s. This picture of eight Mackey adoptees was taken at the 1951 “Mackey First-Cousins Reunion.” Barbara and I are on the far right (me with my eyes closed!)