Shortly after Fran and I were married, a lady called and wanted to invite Fran’s “little boy” to her son’s birthday party. When Fran responded that we did not have a little boy, she wanted to know “Then who’s Garland?”
When told that “He’s my husband,” the lady said that her little boy wanted her to be sure to invite Garland. So Fran promised that I would be there. Her little boy had helped me wash our car among other activities that we shared.
Try though we might, Fran never got pregnant. She really wanted children of our own; I have always enjoyed playing with other people’s kids. I once asked a very young boy who was examining his toes, how many he had. He gave me a look, and said, “Enough.” Too young to count, he had given me a completely satisfactory answer.
As the years went by with no little Goodwins, we decided we’d better adopt some. When we applied at the Edna Gladney Home in Fort Worth, Fran was sure from my answers during the interviews that we would surely be rejected. When she commented to our caseworker after she had handed a very small boy to us after only a few weeks, the lady said that she thought I was a very “interesting” candidate.
Edna Gladney pioneered changing the adoption laws of Texas, saying that there were no illegitimate children, only illegitimate parents! She called visiting legislators over to the window and asked them which of the dozen or so children playing outside were illegitimate.
A motion picture, starring Greer Garson and Walter Pigeon, was made about Edna Gladney, called “Blossoms in the Dust.” We have a copy.
On our visit to the Home later, they offered us another baby boy, but I would not even go look at him because I wanted a little girl, and I knew that Fran would take that little boy home with us!
A month or so later, they called us to come for our girl. I think every Daddy should have a little girl! Sharon reached up and wrapped her fingers around my little finger, and she’s had me there ever since.
When we went for our final adoption decrees, the Judge told us that we could not disown them because we had asked for them and the decree was thus binding for life.
Both children have located their birth parents in Texas and we flew to Texas to meet all of them. It was really great to see Thomas and his Dad (Jerry) play off each other; now we know where Thomas got his gift for kidding people. Jerry told us that he sure was glad that we had raised Thomas!
Sharon looks like her mother; she did not say whether she thought we had done a good job of raising Sharon. Sharon always said she would not marry an engineer, but she did! Thomas has given us one grandchild and two greats; Sharon two grandchildren.
The younger great grandchild at four was unhappy that I had “stolen her birthday.” She was not comforted when I told her that I’d had it a lot longer than she had!
I am still enjoying “other people’s kids,” two that we adopted and raised as our own, plus their offspring, the grand and great grandchildren. And yes, I still enjoy playing with little people who are not part of my family. These little people not only SAY things, they also DO things that nurture my appreciation of them.