Doubly Adopted


I was adopted at the age of 24. Oddly enough, that’s the same time that I adopted my little sister. Confused yet?

The Brewers were a kind family of three that I met at church. I had married about six months earlier and my husband had immediately deployed to Iraq, leaving me family-less on the east coast. I snuggled in at church, feeling loved by the crowd of people. I joined the choir, I helped with kids’ classes and attended every service. But being a part of a church family isn’t the same as having a sister or a mother.

Kaitlin Brewer was 15, about the age of my sister living in Kansas. She was bubbly and talkative. When the congregation stood to shake hands or mingled in the foyer I spoke briefly to Kaitlin and discovered small things we had in common. I knew she loved to read. She was growing up in a conservative Christian home; she had a crush on a guy in the youth group. I knew how much I missed my sisters.

One Sunday after the service, I stopped her, “Kaitlin, would you go to Barnes and Noble with me this afternoon? I just want to browse, flip though magazines and get a coffee. It’s something my sister and I love to do together, but she’s not here and I really miss her and… I’d love to ‘adopt’ you.”

Kaitlin’s eyes glittered with enthusiasm. “I’d love to! I’ve never had a sister. That sounds like so much fun!” A few hours later, I drove up the Brewer’s driveway and Kaitlin climbed into my passenger seat.

I didn’t spend a profound afternoon advising Kaitlin in the ways of a godly woman. Instead, we sang at the top of our lungs with the radio. We shared our favorite books. I felt sheepish at her detailed memory of every book she had ever read – many more that me. It was a priceless afternoon that filled a growing void in my heart.

The holidays were fast approaching and Kaitlin went Christmas shopping with me. She helped me lug them into Quik Pack’n’Ship as I tearfully mailed all the gifts to my family. I refused to go home for Christmas while my husband was “celebrating” in the desert.

On Christmas Eve, I got a phone call from Mrs. Brewer. “Abby, Kaitlin has really enjoyed having a sister. Would you be my ‘daughter,’ and spend Christmas with our family?”

The next morning, I joined the Brewers for coffee cake, French roast and the reading of The Christmas Story. Mr. Brewer intoned Luke 2, just like my own daddy. I sat on their living room floor and took a nap in the study as the joyful day wore on.

The Brewers entered my life in an informal way, but they became my family. I adopted Kaitlin and their whole family adopted me. With no effort at all, I mentored, encouraged and came alongside Kaitlin, and benefited enormously at the same time. Mrs. Brewer began to email me about once a week, teaching me in an unconscious way to honor my parents, respect and submit to my husband, love unconditionally and rejoice in my role as a godly woman.

It’s been almost seven years since I’ve seen the Brewers. Kaitlin’s has gotten married. We’ve moved about three times and they’ve probably moved just as many. Once in a while, I’ll open my email to find a well-crafted devotional titled “As God Pleases, Dispose the Day.” Mrs. Brewer continues to teach me.

My relationships with Kaitlin and Mrs. Brewer were never sanctioned “mentorships.” We slowly started to do life together. As we each personally continued to submit ourselves to the Holy Spirit’s leading, He led us in obedience to Titus 2:3-4.

“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”

One thought on “Doubly Adopted

  1. This is just so beautiful, Abby. I am often reminded of the promise that whenever we lose family for Christ’s sake, He will repay 100 fold. And those informal mentorship relationships are so often the way that happens. Honoured to share this story with you, and a much needed reminder for me today. ❤

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