A Pink T-shirt

by Luanne

T-shirts wallpapered the shop. They hung three deep up to the ceiling and stacks of them rose from every surface. A tiny pink one called to me. But I didn’t have a baby girl at home to wear it. At least, not yet.

When I paid for it, my husband said, “Isn’t it too early to buy something?” Yet as we left, it felt important to me that I was carrying my first gift for the baby we were adopting. It was February 1, and we had finalized our paperwork with the agency the previous September.

Now we and our three-year-old son Marc were waiting for a baby girl from Korea to complete our family. We planned to name her Marisha. Three years before, Marshal and I had gone through the same wait for Marc. That time we hadn’t known what to expect with a new baby. This time, we had already gone through exhausting nights and broken lamps and mashed-banana baths. We had discovered that dogs make good vacuum cleaners underneath the high chair. And how to change a diaper in ten seconds if necessary.

When we waited for Marc we didn’t know if we would get a boy or girl. He came home to us from Holt International, through an agency called Bethany. Their rule was that prospective parents couldn’t request the gender of their first baby. That was fine with us. We expected to hear about our first child sometime in the fall. That summer, Marshal and I made a trip to visit family in Canada. On August 19, as we drove back to Michigan, I felt a thud in my chest and looked over at Marshal behind the steering wheel. “We’re having a boy,” I said.


“We’re having a boy.”

Marshal tipped his head and glanced at me. “How do you know? What are you talking about?”

“I don’t know. I just know we’re getting a boy.”

Two months later, we got the call from our case worker that we were, in fact, getting a boy. What was more remarkable is that our baby was born on August 19.

Now it was 3 1/2 years later, and Bethany had let us choose the gender of our second child, so we requested a girl. As I imagined baby Marisha, I hoped she would be strong and smart and healthy. If she were pretty, that would be great, too. Why not have everything when you’re daydreaming?

I began to feel even more impatient than when we had waited for Marc. Marisha was getting Marc’s oak crib and changing table. The antique dresser from my great-grandfather’s farm in Caledonia, Michigan. Although I worked in our small family-owned business and was a grad student, I felt that I didn’t have enough to do to get ready for her.

As a baby in the orphanage

The First Photo

Finally, we heard that she was coming home in May. Our case worker came over with a document and photo of Marisha. Even in her sleep, she looked wise and boasted a thick cap of black hair. She was living with a foster family in Seoul until she could be released. She was born, that’s right, February 1, the day I bought the little pink T-shirt. I wasn’t there physically when she was born, but I was with her on some other level, just as I had been with Marc.

I can’t help but wonder if others have had similar experiences in their own families.


  1. Great essay, Luanne! There’s so much that we don’t know….but I bet many other adoptive parents have had similarly uncanny experiences.

    Loved the “first photo” — what an adorable baby!

  2. Lisa DeNike Ercolano says:

    I always get a wonderful shiver when I read about these “coincidences” that seem to happen so routinely to those of us who know the miracle of adoption. Thank you so much for sharing yours! (And wow, Marisha was strong, smart, healthy and gorgeous, to boot, and still is!)

    • Lisa, do you think most parents have experiences like that when they are adopting? !! Thank you so much for reading and commenting! I hope Marisha enjoys your compliment ;)!!!

    • Marisha Castle says:

      i enjoy it so much! haha thank you so much Lisa! you are so kind x

  3. Carla McGill says:

    What an amazing story, Luanne, and I loved reading some of your writing again after so long. Nicely done! I love the fact that you were connected to your children even before you had them near you. Signs of God at work?

  4. What a beautiful story.

    Interestingly enough, all of our friends and family seemed to know that we were adopting a girl even though we were open to either gender. When I called my mother to share the news that we were about to meet the birthmother, she immediately asked when our daughter was born. I had to ask her “How did you know 1.) that she is a girl, and 2.) that she had even born yet?”

    • That’s wonderful that the new grandma just knew–as well as your friends and family. So ironic that it was everybody but you! Thanks for sharing your story!

  5. Luanne,

    I loved how you connect a t-shirt, your feelings, and your children’s birthdays in an intertwined story. It’s uncanny how you already knew the gender of Marc. I am certain others have had similar experiences.

    • Thank you so much for reading! When we got Marc’s picture and the info the agency gave us with his birthdate on it, I immediately thought back to that day in the car. Then I checked my calendar to see if I was right. It was amazing!

  6. Reblogged this on Don't We Look Alike?.

  7. I love the “coincidences” in our lives. So many time they have special meaning if we only slow down and pay attention.

    Marisha was beautiful then, just as she is beautiful now – inside and out!

    • Holly, thank you so much for reading and commenting. I agree with you so much about the slowing down and paying attention! I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. I agree with you about Marisha, too 😉 but that’s another matter. (Marisha, close your ears so you don’t get a big head)


  1. […] destinies. Sounds corny and weird, but none of this happened by accident. I mean look back to your first blog post about our family, Mum, about picking out the t-shirt on my birth day. It’s all […]

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