Monthly Archives: February 2013

My Grandsons – a chapter or a book in the story of our lives

. . . and now we are safely home again.  

I cried a bit on the way home and since I’m home.  A bit.  Okay, a LOT.  Just lots of emotions crashing around my heart.  Especially after being with Raph and Gina and the boys.  Too many memories, and so many things to think about.  I wish we lived closer.  But then –.   Maybe it is better this way. I just want to hold them and squish them and fix everything for them.

Most of all, I want them to love us –Grandpa and Grammy, and all the Yutzy aunts and uncles and cousin.  They are so little.  They are accustomed to people moving in and out of their lives and not staying.  Or not coming back.  They are fresh from a traumatic upheaval.  And all the rules are different for living.  My heart aches for them in ways I cannot describe.  Just this deep, desperate ache because no matter what happens, these little boys will still have missed so much.  

And it’s not fair.

I know, I know, life isn’t fair.  But Oh, Lord Jesus, would it be too much to ask that somehow, someway, life could be fair for the children?  Especially in the things that really matter?

The theology is there.  I know the right answers.  I know that man is a free moral agent and when people make wrong choices, the innocent suffer.  And usually I can find peace with this.

But tonight the injustice of it all shines out in three pairs of dark eyes, and my heart hurts.

Once again, I do not know the end from the beginning.  This story is not finished yet.  God has yet to write the final chapter.  Who am I to say that this coming into Raph and Gina’s family isn’t what God had in mind all along?  I don’t know.  I don’t know. I don’t know. 

But I do know that I prayed specifically for the child or children that God would bring into this home. Long before I knew there were these three little boys, before I knew that Raph and Gina would take a sibling group, before all of this, I prayed.  And I believe that for this place and this time, this is what God has.  I do not need to know the future.  But I can pray about that, too.

And I also know this:  

                             Jesus loves the little children.  

                             All the children of the world.  

                             Red, brown, yellow, black and white.  

                             They are precious in His sight.  

                             Jesus loves the little children of the world.

And that means the three little boys that I am glad to call my grandbabies.    

I’ve learned long to trust that love.

I choose to do so now.



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Certain Man and I are safely landed at Eldest Son’s house in Sugarcreek, Ohio.  It has been a very busy, emotionally draining, but GLORIOUS five days since we received word of Mom Yutzy’s passing.  It has been wondrous, indeed, to watch God’s gifts to us over the last week.  There are things that are too incredible to be co-incidental.

First and foremost: We are without chickens.  The one thing that was going to be a real problem was a formaldehyde treatment for our chicken houses that HAD to be done on Saturday or Monday.  This was the primary reason we had decided not to go to Ohio this weekend to see Mom Yutzy.  And when it seemed like she had rallied, and was expected to last a few more weeks, maybe MONTHS, we felt like it was God’s direct provision for us.  Then, on Wednesday, our service man called and said that they had changed it to Thursday morning, first thing.  So when the call came that Mom was gone, by the time we got ready to leave, the treatment was finished, and CM was able to do his part of turning off the gas, and making sure everything was in order.  While we have been here in Ohio, we got word that our “chicks in” date has gotten moved back a day, making things so much easier for when we get home.


The 19 Grandchildren of Sue Yutzy 

Back row: Raphael Yutzy and Lem Yutzy (Oldest and Youngest Sons of Daniel) Jay Yutzy (Oldest Son of Joseph) Aaron and Peter Zehr (Fourth and Fifth Sons of Rachel)  David Zehr (Only Son of Ruth) Mark, Jeremy and Philip Zehr (Oldest Son, Third Son and Second Son of Rachel) Weston Yutzy (Youngest Son of Joseph).
Second row: Deborah and Rachel Yutzy and Christina Bontrager (Middle, Youngest and Oldest Daughters of Daniel) Anna Rose Zimmerman and Miriam Bergey (Oldest and Youngest Daughters of Rachel) Joy Cedarquist (Daughter of Joseph) Bethany Weaver, Katie Steria and Charity Zehr (Middle, Oldest and Youngest Daughters of Ruth).

There were additional gifts — things we couldn’t have orchestrated, like lodging arrangements, traveling mercies, all the grandchildren being able to be there, unbelievable provision for this “completely out of state” immediate family that included wonderful three meals, an after viewing snack that was more like a meal, warm and encouraging friends who shared hugs and prayers and kind words and sleeping/living spaces and positive memories of Mom that we would never have known.  What wondrous LOVE is this?

And the weather!  We woke to ice on Friday morning, and it was cold and unpredictable for the next two day.  Monday morning, the day of the funeral, dawned sunny and clear. CM father’s funeral in November of 2010 was bitterly cold and windy, but this day was calm and bearable.  The funeral went without a hitch, and the time around the grave was so meaningful.  

One of the things that the Ohio family does is always cover the grave as part of the committal service.  They see it as a final service, a labor of love to their beloved family member.  Yesterday, there was even a small shovel provided for children, and it was special to see our Grandbaby, Charis, shovel a few shovels of dirt onto the grave of her great grandmother.  It was precious, precious, as each of our children and our beloved son in law, Jesse, took their turns as well.  I wish so much that it was something that would be done as a matter of course in Delaware.  Years ago, when Daniel’s brother, Joseph, was killed in a truck accident and buried in the Greenwood cemetery, Certain Man, and his father were startled to discover that the grave was covered by strangers.  They appealed and won the right to come back later with several of Joseph’s close friends to help cover the grave.  Daniel’s father felt that to not be allowed to do this would be a grave injustice to the family.  It has been done a few times in recent times.  When my precious daddy died in 2005, I know it was a big leap for some of my siblings, but Daniel and I so much wanted to have the opportunity that the family agreed.  Since then it has happened a few times, and it seems to be a most meaningful part of saying good-bye.

And then it was time to wrap us some things regarding paperwork, meet old friends and some family for supper, sort out some of the things from the funeral and to  crash at Greg and Valarie’s house for one more night in that great bed.  This morning we slept in, packed, ate a breakfast with Greg and Valerie, picked up Lena on the next street, dropped her off at the airport and got on our way to Holmes County.     

And now we have this chance to spend some time with our three new grandbabies.  And “babies” are what they really are! The three year old is two years and one week older than the youngest, one year and one day older than the middle one.  And the middle one was born on my birthday!  How cool is that?  I think it’s beyond Cool!

Lord willing, we plan to be home sometime tomorrow.  I’m anxious to be there, but I’m not exactly looking forward to the drive.  We have a book to read:  Not Bad for an Amish Boy, written by Eli Helmuth, a friend of both of us, with lots of familiar names and places in it.  We started it today, and are enjoying it while the miles roll by.  It is a cold and rainy day, and sharing the words of an interesting book in a warm car while the windshield wipers slap back and forth makes for cozy driving.

The boys are napping (that would be the three little ones, their daddy and grandpa as well!) and soon it will be supper time.  Wherever you and those you love are tonight, may you be safe and warm and dry.  And don’t forget to share with those who have less.

Thank God for the Hope of Heaven!



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Mom’s Obituary


     Susanna J. (Beachy) Yutzy passed away at Mayfair Village Nursing Home, Dublin, OH, on Thursday, February 21, 2013.  She was 89. 

     Sue was born on April 11, 1923 to the late Joe and Alma (Miller) Beachy at Plain City, Ohio. She was born and raised Amish, one of a family into which 15 children born, 12 of whom were raised to adulthood, six boys and six girls.  The siblings and their families enjoyed many happy times of fellowship over the years, sharing special meals, game nights and family reunions.  She worked for the I.G.A. Market in Plain City until 1960, when she married widower Ralph E. Yutzy and became an instant mother to his five children.

     She joined the United Bethel Mennonite Church as an adult, and was a faithful member until her death.  She and her husband were often involved in the work of the church in practical ways, meeting the physical needs of the body of believers, visiting the sick and elderly, and inviting those who had no family into their home for food and friendship. 

     Sue worked hard for as long as she was able, helping Ralph in the various endeavors they took on, gardening, (and preserving the fruits of her labor) cooking and housekeeping.  Sue loved a clean house.

     She was predeceased by an infant son in 1962, son, Joseph, in 1981, her husband, Ralph, in 2010, just months after celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.  She was also predeceased by her parents, brothers; Eli W., Noah, and Lawrence Beachy, sisters; Emma Detweiler, Alma Gingerich, and Laura Beachy, Malinda and Alice Beachy who died as young children and a stillborn youngest sister.

     She is survived by daughters, Lena Yutzy of San Diego, CA, Rachel (Ivan) Zehr of Waterloo, NY, and Ruth (Andrew) Zehr, of Croghan, NY, son, Daniel (Mary Ann) Yutzy of Milford, DE, and daughter in law, Ruby (Nelson) Yoder of Harrisonburg, VA.  Also surviving are 19 grandchildren and 51 great grandchildren.

     She is also survived by brothers, Homer Beachy, Joseph (Ada) Beachy, and Walter, (Mary Jane) Beachy, and sisters Lavina Hostetler and Inez Miller, and a host of nephews and nieces.

     “She fought a good fight, she finished the course, she kept the faith.” 

     Calling hours will be at United Bethel Mennonite Church from 2-4 and 6-8 on Sunday, February 24, 2013, and the funeral will be Monday, February 25, 2013 at 10am, also at the church, with burial in the adjoining cemetery.

     In lieu of flowers, the family suggests Memorial contributions to United Bethel Mennonite Church (11342 Lafayette-PC Road, Plain City, Ohio, 43964) or Odyssey Hospice (540 Office Center Place, Suite 100, Gahanna, Ohio  43232)  

     The family wishes to recognize and thank the many friends who have visited faithfully and provided assistance to Mom so frequently over these last years.  Special thanks to Jonas and Arlou Beachy, and Jami for their unwavering loyalty, love and support. Your kindness to Mom is a gift of great value and we all thank you.

     Visit to share a special memory.



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It was almost midnight when I rounded the corner from Interstate 70 to Plain City-Georgesville Road.  In the seat beside me, Daniel snored softly, exhausted from the intense day.  When we received word of his step-mother’s passing, he thought that we could be on our way by noon or soon thereafter, but there were monumental things to accomplish, packing to do, calls to make, and when we finally got off around 3pm, I sank into the passenger seat and prayed for grace.

Daniel drove while fielding calls on his blue tooth, making funeral plans and discussing home arrangements.  We had gorgeous weather, sunny and clear.  I spoke with the nursing home to find out about Sue’s last moments, and found that she had been doing fairly well when she was checked on around 7:30.  She had responded with a nod of her head when spoken to, and had even given a half smile.  They said that she had shifted in her bed like she was a bit uncomfortable, but she was better than she had been in some of the past few days, and it seemed like she was at least on a plateau of some sort.  When her breakfast tray was taken in to her an hour later, they found her gone. 

I worked on the obituary while we drove, trying to find words that would capture the essence of the life of Sue Yutzy.  Last week, when I was thinking of her in the nursing home, facing the passing without any of her children there, it really troubled me.  But over the days since then, as we were made aware of all the ways that the local people cared for her, provided for her needs, and visited unceasingly, I was immensely comforted, and certain that it would all be okay.  I had thought long and hard about her life and accomplishments and wondered just what she would say mattered most to her. It gave me great cause to consider, not only for her, but also for the life I am living.

We had a sweet time together, both of us a bit pensive and weary.  The miles rolled themselves away, but there are so many of them!  About an hour and a half from Plain City, Daniel was really beat.  He pulled into a rest area and relinquished the wheel.  I never really like to drive, but I had told him that I would drive if he got too tired.  I had gotten a big Berry Flavored Tea from Wendy’s when we stopped for supper, so I was very awake.  

“Just let me get a little rest,” he said, groggily.  “I’ll be okay after a sleep.”  I saw him limping as he walked around the car.  His knee was bothering him more than usual and driving is never easy on him.  He got into the passenger seat, and moved my precisely placed seat all around until it suited him.  He winced a time or two, but finally got things situated.  He tucked his pillow under his head and went right to sleep.  

I’ve been having a problem with moving one of my misshapen front teeth over one of my misplaced bottom teeth over these last few weeks.  A few times I even found the top one almost numb from the stress I’ve wreaked upon it.  I’ve found that I can’t do this annoying habit if I sing.  Yesterday was a really bad day for unthinkingly grinding these two teeth together, and when I took the wheel, I felt the familiar ache in my tooth, so I recalled some old songs and softly sang the miles away.  From Zanesville, into the dark fields of Ohio, on to the lights of Columbus and then on the the dark plains of Madison County.

At the end of the ramp, I came to a stop, then pulled onto the familiar road that once led home.   It is a three mile drive from Interstate 70 to the little house on the hill that once belonged to Daniel and I.  I thought about the many, many times that I traversed this road, and how familiar it once was to me.  It winds and dips and makes its narrow way in no predictable fashion, and the houses have changed on either side to the point that I hardly know where I am any longer.  I felt an ache in my heart that has been absent for many a year as I looked at the dark houses and the winding road.  

Daniel had stirred on the seat beside me, and he looked through sleepy eyes at the passing scenery.  We passed “our” little house on the hill,  and then began the seven mile trek to town.  We passed the house where Uncle Paul and Aunt Martha live.  Went past the house where Uncle Allen and Aunt Mary Leona lived when we first got married.  I remembered the happy times spent in that house and the brave lady who taught me more about living with and loving a Yutzy Man than pretty much anyone else.  There was a catch in my throat as the dark house slipped by.  On through Amity, and past Gingway Products and the old Plank homestead, and on into the quiet town of Plain City.  Past Leroy and Mary Troyer’s house on the edge of town, and on to West Avenue where we’ve turned left for almost forty years.

And then we came into the housing development where Daniel’s cousin, Valerie and her husband, Greg, live and where we have found a place to land whenever we have needed shelter in the last five years.  I looked at Daniel and said, “I cannot wait to crawl into that great bed!”  He laughed a bit ruefully and said, “Isn’t that the truth!”  It was freezing cold, and we grabbed the most necessary things and made a dash for the comfort of the warm house.  Valerie and Greg were sleeping but our bed was waiting, and we were soon safely there.

Today has been a whirlwind of activity.  We started with a coat of ice over everything, and getting anywhere was precarious.  We picked up Daniel’s sister, Lena, at the airport this morning, then went to the nursing home and cleaned out the room.  Daniel’s sister, Rachel, and her husband, Ivan, arrived just about the time we got done, and we grabbed a quick lunch and then went to the Funeral Home for a planning session, and then went to the church for more planning with the ministers.

It is hard to believe this, but at this point every single one of the grandchildren plan to be here for the funeral.

Rachel’s seven (Mark, Philip, Jeremy, Anna Rose, Miriam, Aaron and Peter)

Joseph’s three (Jay, Joy, and Weston)

Our five (Christina, Deborah, Raph, Lem, and Rachel)

Ruth’s four (David, Katie, Bethany and Charity)

Only three of these are unmarried, and most of the spouses are coming, too.  Some of the 51 great grands are coming, too, but not nearly all.  It makes these days so rich and full of eager expectation.  As we wait for our children and grandchildren to arrive, I am reminded of how our Heavenly Father must have been longing for Sue to come home on Thursday morning, and how preparation and planning could have been going on as they readied for her arrival.

It is a time of great rejoicing even though it is a time of good-bye.

And a time of remembering.

And a time of aching teeth and aching hearts.

It is a time of being grateful for family and friends who provide safe harbor.

Of holding on to some things and letting go of others.

Oh, Lord Jesus.  Make our hearts so soft towards you that the things we hold on to and the things we let go are both unimportant beside the magnificence of the hope of Heaven and the promise of eternal life.  And even while we count as unimportant the things we hold so dear, may we celebrate what is important, and that is that you’ve already paid the price and someday, we’ll be HOME.


Lord Jesus.  How sweet that will be!



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Sue Yutzy

Home Free

February 21, 2013

Rest in Peace, Mom



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Each of the last few days have seemed to be a week in themselves, each one dawning with the uncertainty of what this day will hold.  

How do we plan?  How is Mom Yutzy doing today?  Should we plan the funeral that she has steadfastly refused to plan.  (Unless, of course, there is someone out there that knows something we don’t.  To Daniel, she has only said, “Whatever you decide, it will be alright.  Just whatever you decide.”)

At the advisement of the resident Hospice nurse, (our Deborah) the family decided against hospitalization, against I.V. hydration, asking instead for comfort measures, anything that would make things comfortable for the present situation, where death appeared to be imminent. Daniel’s sister, Rachel and her husband, Ivan, went to Ohio on Sunday.  I cannot begin to say how much that meant to us.  One of the things that made me “heavy hearted” was that it seemed like one of the family ought to be there. It was an incredible comfort to feel that Daniel could stay in Delaware, take his turn at preaching the Sunday sermon, attend to getting the chickens out on Monday, and plan a bit more rationally.  Just to have someone there!  It truly was a blessing.

Yesterday, Deborah drove a mini-van to Holmes County for Raph and Gina and their expanded family, and then went down to Cedarville, spent the night with Rachel and today, took her Hospice skills to the nursing home where Mom Yutzy makes her home.  She has conversed with social workers, nursing home personnel, nurses and the Hospice workers that have been assigned to Mom’s care.  She called with her observations and evaluations and I feel like I am less in limbo than I have been for almost a week.

Mom Yutzy is stable.  She has improved quite a bit since the urgent call telling us of her rapidly declining condition.  She is definitely deteriorating, and with the elderly, it is always an educated guess as to what is actually going on.  But Deborah said today that her vitals are stable, that she is actually “healthy” for the most part, and that since she has improved from the infection that hit her really hard, she is doing pretty well.  Deborah feels that, as is typical of patients with dementia, she could (probably WILL!) continue to decline slowly.  Very slowly.  But, as every single health care professional tells us, “No one really can predict.”

So Deborah has a ticket to fly home on Thursday, and Daniel and I are planning to hold off going for right now.  We were there a little over a month ago, and it will be okay for us to “wait and see” for now.  I feel a great sense of relief in one sense.  The only thing that troubles me is that going to see Mom Yutzy was my ticket to see my newest Grandbabies.  I can barely wait to squeeze them, and see this young couple be Daddy and Mommy to their ready-made family.  It has been so exciting to see how God equips and gives grace and turns everyday living into Glory.

And that is one story that continues to be written in all our lives. 



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My heart is heavy this morning, as the woman that has been my mother in law for almost forty years appears to be preparing for her last journey.  

Sue Beachy Yutzy, how I pray that you will be comfortable, that you will experience the presence of Jesus, and that the crossing will be glorious. 

I pray that the disappointments of this life, all the many things that didn’t turn out the way you had hoped, will be swallowed up in victory, and that your eyes will, even now, be seeing that place of eternal rest, where there is no more sickness, no more sorrow, no more pain, no more parting. May this hope comfort you in these difficult hours. 

I think of The Great Cloud of Witnesses — the people waiting for you over there that must be watching — Dad Yutzy, your baby that lived but a couple hours, Joseph, beloved sisters and brothers, Doddy and Mommy Beachy, dear friends and extended family. If you are cognizant of anything, may it be of what is coming, and the Light that draws you Home.

And I know I didn’t tell you often enough.  I love you.





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I get the picture (the one I can’t share on social media) on my cell phone.  It is my daughter in law, holding a little brown boy, his mop of curly black hair is mounded up against her chin.  His head, nestled against her chest.  I can see his face.

The message is short:  “And S- where he’s at the majority of the time.”

I look at Regina’s face.  Her hair is askew, her striped orange shirt rumpled, but her face is one of peace.  She’s doing what she’s wanted to do for a very long time.

I look back at the three-year old’s face, and find myself blinking back the tears.  What S- is doing is listening to her heart, his ear plastered against her chest.

What he doesn’t know, but probably understands, is that he is hearing the strong beat of a Mama’s Sweet Love.




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Supper at Shady Maple Smorgasbord

In New York City, (Brooklyn, to be exact) on a street that is dirty, and in a neighborhood that is anything but “good”, there is a sign that marks to meeting place of the Followers of Jesus Mennonite Church. Using the same facility is a Christian Day School.  They call this school “Followers of Jesus School” and it ministers to children of inner city Christians, but also to other children whose parents, for whatever reason, have sought out an alternative to the public schools in the area.  

This school is largely the result of a vision of my Beloved Daddy, Mark Yoder, Sr., who was overseer of the Followers of Jesus Church for many, many years.   He felt that a Christian Day School would serve as a tool for evangelism and “equipping of the saints” in the work of the church in Brooklyn.  And (I say this with a great deal of admiration and respect) he was right.

The school relies heavily on outside support to supplement the tuition.  Teachers work for a great deal less than they could probably make somewhere else.  There are times when the work is discouraging but there are rewards, and most of them are in it for the long haul.

I say all that to say that this school is having a fundraiser at

129 Toddy Drive, East Earl, Pennsylvania 17519

On Friday, March 8th at 6:30pm.

The event notification on Facebook can be found by copying and pasting this web address:

There, the description of the event reads as follows”

Do the headlines depress you? Do you wonder what is the future for urban youth and education? Come hear what happens when a few young people and a few adults dedicate their lives to building a Godly future in the middle of one of New York’s worst neighborhoods. Believe me, there are plenty of reasons to celebrate.”

 There will be a program, and music and information given — and (of course!) SUPPER!!!

I believe all the tables have been funded, which means that interested people just need to let someone know they are coming and then show up.  Between our Sweet Mama, (Alene Yoder) and Certain Man’s Crew, there is room for quite a number of guests, and some of our church is planning to attend.  However, we do not begin to have enough people to fill the tables.  So if you would like to go, would you please let me know — either by leaving a comment here or messaging me privately?  No matter where you may be, if you can make it to East Earl, PA on the evening of March 8th and would like to take this in, please, just let me know.  And we should have your answer by this Sunday evening, February 17th, if possible.

Consider yourself personally invited!





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More about our Foster Care Experiences — Columbus, OHIO, 1975-

While writing yesterday’s blog, I dug out some of the old records that I kept from Foster Care.  It was so interesting to me.  And frankly, I wish that there would be a child out there that would see their name here (even though it is only a first name) and recognize themselves and contact me.

The thing that was hardest for me about moving to Delaware was that I had to give up one of my dearest, secret dreams.  You see, I always dreamed that I would open the door of that little house on the hill someday and there would be one of our kids — that finally found their way back home.  

The house has been sold, more than once.  I don’t know the owners, and would never expect anyone to try to respond positively to a stranger on the front steps . . . or that they would make any effort to help.  So, as I processed leaving Plain City, Ohio, and life as we had known it ever since our marriage, I grieved the loss of many, many things, but the thing that tugged the most was giving up that dream and believing that God’s eyes saw where mine could not, His hands would reach where ours could not, and He would watching over the little ones.  

“I still believe, Lord Jesus!  I still believe!”


Joseph:  Born on April 3, 1975.  Placed with us on December 19, 1975.  Left our home on August 29, 1977  Adopted.  Last heard from him when he was 11.  He was doing well then.  We do not know where he is.  I think of him so often, and wonder whether he has found his way.  When we heard from him when he was 11, his adoptive mother told me over the phone, “Joey is just different.  He went to camp this year, and he says he gave himself to God.  He’s just different!”  She couldn’t see me, but I was pumping my fist in the air and quietly shouting in my heart, “YES, Lord Jesus, YES!!!”

Callena:  Born on July 23, 1973.  Placed with us on May 12, 1976.  Left our home on February 27, 1978.  Adopted.  Disastrous life.  Last heard from her about five years ago.  We do not know where she is.

Shon:  Born on January 13, 1975.  Placed with us on August 9, 1977.  Left our home on August 1, 1978, for another, more specialized foster home.  Eventually, Shonnie ended up in residential care.  We don’t know where he is.  Today, we realize that Shonnie was autistic.  Back then, we didn’t know what to do, how to cope with or how to handle the screaming, meltdowns, and impulsive behaviors.  Ah, Shonnie.  I wonder where you are today.  I still wish that we could have helped you. 

Regina:  Born on April 8, 1973, she was placed with our family on March 1, 1978, when her foster family, that desperately wanted to adopt her, had to move out of state to find work for the father in the family.  She was with us until August 18, 1978, when her foster family was established enough for her to be returned to them, and Certain Man and I were permitted to take her to her new life.  We don’t know what happened to this beautiful little girl.

Thompson:  Born on December 10, 1968.  Placed with our family in the middle of the night on April 29, 1978.  He was a runaway, a troubled little boy, and had seen far too much for his nine years..  He lived with us until March 23, 1979, when he returned to his mother in a bad neighborhood in downtown Columbus.  The last I heard, he was in a correctional facility for youth.  We have no idea where he is today.

Raynard: Born on March 21, 1978, he was placed with our family on May 31, of the same year, when he was only 11 weeks old.  We had Raynie until his second birthday, when he was placed for adoption.  We don’t know where he is.  We have honestly never heard anything directly from him since the day he left.  Our baby.  Sometimes I still weep.

Kimmy:  Born on August 26, 1976, placed with us on September 1, 1978.  Moved to another foster home on March 31, 1979, when when we were surprised by a pregnancy (that was Deborah).  We had five foster children at the time, and three of them were under three.  The agency we worked for decided to downsize our home.  Kimmy went to another wonderful foster home.  About that time, Tommy was ready to go home, and on April 4, 1979, we adopted Christina.  In less than a month we went from five foster children to having two foster and one of our own.  And, no, we don’t know where Kimmy is or what happened to her.

Anna:  Born on May 29, 1969, she was placed with our family on September 22, 1978.  Anna was actually Kimmy’s aunt, one of a family of sixteen.  She was with us until February 1, 1980, when she was placed for adoption with a brother who was close to her age.  She wanted to change her name, something her new family was amenable to, and we don’t know where she is or what has happened to her.

Blandon:  Born February 10, 1976.  (I just realized that he turned 37 yesterday!)  He was placed with our family on April 18, 1980, and was with us until May 17, 1981.  When he came to us, they told us that he had been abused by his mother and one time she pulled his hair out in chunks.  There were days when I had great sympathy for her.  Not that I would have torn his hair out in chunks, but I was certainly tempted to pull out MINE!  Blandon had a father that was pretty involved with him, and I cannot remember if he went to his Daddy, or if he went to another foster home.  We were closing our foster home when Blandon left, and some of those things are fuzzy in my mind.

David:  Born February 18, 1979, he was placed with our family on July 22, 1980.  His young mother, also a foster child, loved her little boy fiercely, and worked hard to establish herself so that she could take him when she turned 18, and was emancipated.  She was never anything but a good mother, relating kindly and consistently with her little guy, and I had high hopes for her.  What niggled at the back of my comfort level were the ugly scars that she carried from being beaten with an extension cord before being taken from her natural home as a young child.  She was able to gain custody of David on June 22, 1981, and we have never seen or heard from him since.  

Zion: (or Ziggy, as we affectionately called him) was born on August 26, 1972.  He was placed with our family on August 29, 1980 and only spend three and a half months with us.  As I recall, he was returned to his mother on December 12, 1980, but I understand it was short-lived.  He was placed for adoption in the same home as Regina, but I think the adoption failed.  We don’t know what happened after that, and we don’t know where he is today.

Of the “long-termers” there were four (beside Christina) that we actively pursued adopting.  The reasons for “no” were varied and sometimes complicated.  Sometimes it became our decision, sometimes it was Franklin County Children’s Services decision.  In one of the more memorable cases (Raynard), we agonized and prayed and plead with God, and then finally decided that it was in his best interest to be adopted into another family.  The case manager came out to find out our decision, and I remember her sitting on the couch, while Certain Man, home from work, sat on one recliner, and I sat on the armchair.  She sat there, almost defensively, as I remember, her books on her lap, her long legs crossed, her face a guarded study.  I had asked Daniel to stay home that day, because I thought that I could not say that our decision had been to give Raynard up.  Daniel was as sad as I was, but at least he wasn’t sitting there sobbing.  “We’ve thought and thought,” he said softly and deliberately, “and we love Raynie so much.  And because we love him so much, we really do want what is best for him.”  His voice faltered, and I remember him looking down at his hands, miserable and struggling to keep control.  And then, I remember him saying, almost so softly that I couldn’t hear him, “and we’ve decided to let him go.”  

I remember sobbing and sobbing, just almost unable to accept that this beautiful little boy, almost two, whom we had loved since he was eleven weeks old, was going to leave us.  We had made long, long lists with pros and cons, and I remember telling someone,Everything is on the side that we should let him go except the “We love him so much’ and when we really think about it, that goes on the side that says we should probably let him go!”   I still thought that my heart was going to break, and I wondered how this classy, black casemanager would respond.  What would she think of us?  What would she say?  

But then something happened the reminded me once again that God never overlooks our pain, that He leads in ways to prepare our hearts for His will for us.

Rhonda, the adoption casemanager, suddenly sat up and snapped her big notebook shut with an unreadable look on her face.  She looked at us, compassionately, but also almost with disbelief, and then she said, “You two cannot imagine how glad I am that you came to this decision on your own.  We had a meeting yesterday and we decided that we would not allow you to adopt Raynard.”  

I can almost hear the general indignant outcry here, but there were rules at FCCS at that time that we had agreed to when we came into the Foster Care Program.  We had signed papers saying that we agreed to follow/support these rules and that we could not circumvent the authority of the agency, particularly when it came to the placement and removal of a foster child.  One of the more strictly adhered to policies said that, while we could request adoption of a child that had been in our care, the agency could rule (and usually did rule!) that foster parents were not given first priority on any child that was under two (no matter how long the child had been in the home).  And while they would consider foster parent adoption for children over two, it was unusual for a foster home to be allowed to adopt unless there were extenuating circumstances.  (i.e. the child had medical problems, was developmentally delayed, was of African descent and there were no families on file who were requesting that particular age/gender/race child, or the child was emotionally unstable.) And if the child was considered healthy and mostly perfect, if the child that was over two hadn’t resided in the home for at least eighteen months, it was fairly unusual for the foster family to be the family of choice.  Someday, I just might document the series of miracles that took place when we were allowed to adopt Christina through Franklin County Children’s Services. Oh, Glory!


In addition to the “long termers” there were ten other children:  sisters; Tina and Christina, a baby; Dione, Anna’s brother; Roger, Mexican siblings; Bernaden and Joseph, brothers; Boyd and Brian, and brothers; Shawn and Timothy — all coming and staying from as short a time as overnight to over seven weeks.  Most were returned to their natural families, but some went to “more permanent” faster situations.




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