Saturday, January 26, 2013

Adoption and Super Bowl XLVII

Next Sunday, many of us will be glued to our television screens for one spectacular event.

Some will watch for the football. Others will remain captive for the hilarious commercials. Others still will hang out for the game just to witness Beyonce's half-time show. 
(Bet she won't lip sync this one...)

Anyway, whatever we consider the main event next Sunday, most of us will be watching.

As an adoptive mother and adoption advocate, I'm always looking out for adoption stories around me. Today, I thought I'd share stories I've discovered in next week's Super Bowl. Of course I must begin with my beloved Ravens...

Michael Oher

Michael Oher has a story that's been told before. If you've had the opportunity to watch Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side, you've heard Michael's story already.

One of twelve children, Michael grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. Due to his father's frequent incarcerations and his mother's addiction to crack cocaine, he spent much of his childhood in and out of foster homes. By the time he reached high school, he'd attended eleven -- yes eleven -- different schools. At times, he even found himself homeless, with nowhere to go. 

During one of his homeless stints, his path sovereignly crossed with Sean and Leigh Ann Tuohy. And the rest is God-inspired history. The Tuohy's opened their home and hearts to Michael at age 16 and became his legal guardians just a year later.

Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick's adoption story has made headlines recently -- but for all the wrong reasons. The media loves drama, so everyone's telling the story of Colin's unwillingness to meet with his biological mother.

I make no judgements here of Colin or his birthmother Heidi Russo. Hopefully, the time to meet will be crystal clear to both of them, and prayerfully, that day will come.

But I do love what Russo said about her decision to place Colin for adoption (via Fox31 Denver): "I knew I couldn't have provided my son the kind of life he deserved when I became pregnant. I had him for about six weeks before putting him up for adoption, and what a blessing it was to have Teresa and Rick Kaepernick be able to step up and raise Colin."


Patrick Willis

Patrick Willis has a tear-jerker story similar to Michael Oher's. Raised by Ernest Willis, a single father in rural Tennessee, Patrick has endured -- or should I say overcome -- extreme poverty and physical abuse by a drug-addicted, alcoholic father.

When authorities removed Patrick and his three siblings from their home, a twist of fate landed them in the home of Chris and Julie Finley. It just so happened that Child Protective Services called Patrick's football coach, Rod Sturdivant, to inform him of Patrick's impending move to a foster home in another county. Determined to keep Patrick on his football team, Sturdivant embarked on a mission to find a local foster home for Patrick and his siblings.

His search began and ended with the Finleys, who had only been married a year. Unable to handle all four children for long, they provided Patrick and his brother Orey with the love and security they desperately needed. Chris guided Patrick through his season of college recruitment and later assisted his search for an agent.

Today, Patrick calls both Ernest Willis and Chris Finley "Dad." 

And the rest is NFL history...

Enjoy history-in-the-making next week when the Baltimore Ravens beat -- I mean face -- the San Francisco 49'ers!



  1. So encouraging and so much hope! Does my heart good!!

    1. I thought it would Deborah! Thanks for reading!!!

  2. This is so inspirational! As a non-profit that works with youth who are homeless or in foster care, these encouraging stories help us all see the beauty that adoption and a safe home can bring to a child. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thanks CHRIS Kids for reading and commenting! And thanks for the work you do for homeless youth and youth in foster care.

  3. Carla, I just love this piece!! So cool for children who have been adopted to know about their "heros"-- like these celebrity football players-- who have been adopted too. Thanks for your continued inspiration!! xoxo, Gretchen

    1. Thanks Gretchen! You are a dear friend, a great writer and an adoptive Momma that "gets it." So glad God crossed our paths at Mount Hermon!