I hardly ever listen to National Public Radio anymore, except on some Saturday mornings when I'm in my car headed to a meeting. Saturday morning belongs to the longtime host of Weekend Edition, Scott Simon, who has seemed like a friend to me ever since 1980, when he crashed a celebration party in Chicago (on the air) at the end of the Iranian hostage crisis. He's a liberal, of course, but of the old school, Hubert Humphrey mold: a reasonable man who spares an ear for the other side of the argument and occasionally even pens an editorial for The Wall Street Journal. His latest, published Dec. 17, addresses a timeless issue: "The Case for Adoption."
"This is the season that begins with the story of a couple who wanted a baby," Simon writes. His opening sentence earns no points for biblical insight, but Simon's personal experience of wanting a baby is deeply felt. He married late and he and his wife discovered quickly that they were not able to conceive. They considered assisted fertilization, but as well-traveled individuals they knew first-hand that there are plenty of orphans needing homes. They adopted Elise from Nanchang, China, when she was 11 months old. Six years later they returned for Lina. While he faults no couples or pregnant women for the personal choices they make, he wants to promote an option that has been deeply satisfying for him, his wife, and their daughters. That's the reason for his latest book, Baby We Were Meant For Each Other: In Praise of Adoption.
I'm very glad the Simons made their decision-but not just because it was so fulfilling for them. Without saying a word, the two little girls make a powerful statement. Their story reminds me of another adoption story I heard several years ago at a fund-raising dinner for the local crisis pregnancy center.
Around the turn of the last century, an advertisement appeared in The Kansas City Star offering a healthy baby girl to anyone who would love and care for her. Several days later a young unmarried mother from St. Joseph, Mo., stepped off the train in Kansas City to meet the farm family from southwest Missouri who had answered her ad. After visiting with them for the afternoon, and presumably reassured about their suitability, she gave up her baby and returned home.
The little girl grew up happily and eventually married a farmer named Scott. The family produced several model citizens, including the one who spoke at our dinner: a state senator and the grandson of that baby who was adopted as the result of a newspaper ad. One of Delbert Scott's signature issues in the Missouri Senate has been pro-life legislation.
Like every father, Scott Simon wonders what his daughters will be like when they grow up. They may share, with famous adoptees like Art Linkletter and Wendy's founder Dave Thomas, a sense of obligation or mission. And I pray that they will be two more voices for life and the blessing of adoption.