Not all adoptions are created equal, and our son Philip’s story is an exceptional one. Suffice it to say here, that we would have never had the privilege of knowing Miss Joyce had Philip not come into our family.
Miss Joyce departed her earthly home early this morning, July 1st, for her heavenly one. Philip had the privilege of participating in a face-time call to his biological great-grandmother last night with other members of his birth family. How precious is that?
During his college years he learned that Miss Joyce was his great-grandmother. Ever sensitive to our feelings, he always asked, “Are you sure you will not feel threatened if I try to find my birth family?” We continued to assure him that we would not, even encouraging him in his search and offering to help in any way we could.
He was so excited to learn of his “Gammy!” By that time in his life, both his adoptive maternal and paternal grandparents were deceased. Gammy invited him to come and visit her at her home, and he asked us to accompany him. Her kind invitation meant the world to Philip, and to us.
We had a lovely visit! Miss Joyce was warm, gracious, full of questions, and obviously delighted to meet her great-grandson. She was also relieved to learn about Philip’s upbringing in our home, about his adoptive siblings, and she very much appreciated meeting us as well. She indicated that she had always wondered about his adoptive family, how he was raised, what kind of young man he had become. After seeing him, getting to speak with him previously and in person that day, and meeting us, she expressed that she had experienced great peace of heart and mind.
Not so very long after our visit, Philip became engaged and invited his great-grandmother, his great uncle Les and his wife, Helen, and his great aunt, Douglas, to the wedding. I asked Miss Joyce to sit next to me as the great-grandmother of the groom, and Philip walked her down the aisle to be seated. Prior to the wedding, Miss Joyce and I had a few telephone conversations regarding her wedding attire. She wanted to do everything just right! I chuckled when she told me that sometimes she could be a pretty wild dresser! At the reception, she and Philip shared a dance! How often does a great-grandmother get to attend the wedding of her great- grandson?
The rehearsal dinner, wedding, and reception were wonderful! Philip met other members of his biological family for the first time and we all had the opportunity to get to know one another. We learned that one of Les’ and Helen’s daughters is married to one of Jenny and Ron Steele’s sons! Ron was an assistant pastor at Briarwood and their sons were little boys when we attended church there years prior to attending Third Presbyterian. The Lord often chooses to bring people together in the most unconventional ways!
I communicated with Miss Joyce on Facebook (she was pretty tech savvy!) and Philip and I went to have lunch with her on one of his days off from work. She was fiercely independent, lived by herself for many years, was never at a loss for words, and seemed to have a real zest for life.
The world needs more people like Miss Joyce; “Gammy” will be missed by her great-grandson Philip and his family, and by all who knew and loved her.