by Rudy Hanson
My story is about my family and how it has been greatly blessed by adoption. Adoption is a recognition of the needs of children, and I first saw these needs when I was still quite young.
My first recollection about this was when I witnessed poor children in Korea while I was serving with the U.S. Army during the Korean War. My mother had sent me a shoebox filled with candy, popcorn, and a Ronson cigarette lighter. The children in this old Korea had very little in the way of housing, food and other basics of life. A friend of mine and I walked over toward the children and I distributed the candy and popcorn to them. My friend had a camera and took a photo of me with the children, which I’ve cherished all of my life. For me, this is where the idea of need was born.
My story moves on to Kalamazoo, Michigan, where I married my sweetheart, Janet (Luanne’s mother and Marc and Marisha’s grandma). Shortly after we were married, the little bundle of Luanne came into our lives. When we were ready for a second child, we found out that we could no longer have additional children. We did not want to raise an only child and started the process of possible adoption. We were turned down by several adoption agencies because we had a birth child.
Fortunately, one local agency changed their policy, and we were privileged to adopt Ted when he was five weeks old. Ted was the first child in Michigan adopted into a family with an existing child who was biological to the parents. As the children grew, we found no difference in our love for our two children.
On Ted’s 21st birthday, we had a meeting with the case worker. We were informed that they knew the accomplishments of both of our children, including Luanne’s National Merit Semifinalist status and Ted’s rank of Eagle Scout. We were instrumental in changing Michigan’s practice of not mixing birth and adopted children (when birth child was first).
Moving on, later in life, Luanne and Marshal married and waited to begin their family. At the time they were ready, Luanne had health problems and her physician recommended that she not become pregnant. We learned that they were contacting an adoption agency about possible international adoption. Through Bethany Christian Services and Holt International, they heard that a baby boy was available. Marc arrived at Detroit Metro Airport from South Korea via Tokyo when he was 3 1/2 months old. The joy experienced by Luanne and Marshal is impressed into my heart! A similar process occurred a few years later with another blessing from Korea, the arrival of a baby girl, Marisha, who was flown by way of San Francisco to Detroit Metro. Luanne’s joy was overwhelming. We were all very excited and happy!
The feelings I had for those first Korean children have extended through my life with the great joy of our grandchildren, Marc and Marisha, as well as my grandchildren Cassie and Cole. Janet and I are so proud of their accomplishments and of them just being themselves–our grandchildren! Our family’s lives have been enhanced by the opening of our hearts to adoption, both domestic and international.