Dear Derek: I’ve written you four letters already, and it occurs to me that, although I’ve talked about how we adopted you, I haven’t said all that much about what being adopted actually means. We should think together about this before I finish these letters.
Dear Derek: It’s awfully quiet around the house now that you’re gone. In fact, hardly a day goes by that Mom and I don’t remark on it. I suppose we’ll gradually get more accustomed to it, of course, but I’m not sure we’ll ever really like it.
In my last letter I wrote about how decisions made in a moment—such as the moment when we decided to say yes to your coming into our home—can shape the whole of life, committing us in ways we perhaps never had in mind. And then the task of life becomes living up to the commitments made in a moment.
Dear Derek: In my last letter I commented on how casually I said yes when Mom asked whether we should agree to have you come into our home as a foster child. A simple decision on a busy day, and it has shaped the rest of my life—and yours. This is worth our thinking about together.
Dear Derek: I have not forgotten the day we learned that you would be coming to live with us. I was sitting in my office at Oberlin and Mom called. She said that Children Services had a three-month-old boy who was due to come out of the hospital but could not be sent home to his biological parents. They needed to place him in a foster home and wanted to know if we’d take him.