It was 38 years ago that we got into a car at 5:30 and drove 4 hours from Tampa to Ft. Lauderdale the most precious gift we had ever gotten. You see, my late wife Cynthia and I were unable to have children naturally so God laid it on our hearts to pray for a child in January 1978 that would be born in the year 1978. April came and we realized that the prayer wouldn’t be fulfilled naturally, so we began to look at adopting a child.
The adoption agencies we went to told us it would take 3-4 years to go thru the adoption process. In May, we went to an adoption attorney in Atlanta who gave us little hope either, but said he would take our names if any situation arose for us to adopt. All thru the summer we heard nothing and reconnected the agencies as well as the lawyer to see if they had any news for us in the fall. No news. No good news.
December 1978 came around with no news of a baby to adopt. Yet we heard from the Lord to believe that He would provide a baby for us in 1978. We had plans to leave Tampa to fly to California to attend a relative’s wedding on December 15. On December 11 no news of a baby. Four days before we were to leave. On that afternoon, I was at a meeting with my boss and while I was there, a call came in to his house trying to find ME. I answered the phone and it was the lawyer from Atlanta. He had lost my phone number but remembered that I was in Florida working for a Christian agency so he called the Florida headquarters to find me.
I’ll never forget what he said. “You and your wife have been chosen to adopt a baby that is to be born December 15 in Ft. Lauderdale.” I told him that we were flying out on that day and he assured me that babies rarely are born on the due date and took down my information as to how to get ahold of us when the baby was born.
I immediately called Cynthia and we began to pray for the baby. The next morning–38 years ago today–we got a call that a baby girl was born and that we could pick her up on the 15th of December. Deborah Elizabeth Gorton. Early on December 15, 1978 we drove 4+ hours to Ft. Lauderdale to pick up our first child. During that era, there was no such thing as baby seats, so one of us sat in the back holding our gift as we drove back to Tampa. We were on the plane at 10 p.m. that night flying to California with our child.
Since that birth, Deborah has finished college, received her Ph.D. in psychology and become a licensed psychologist in Chicago, and is the Head of the counseling department and counseling center at Moody Bible Institute. She in fact set up the program for the school as well as the counseling center. 37 years and counting.
On this journey it is helpful to look back and see the blessings that God has brought our way so as to give us encouragement as we look forward to what God wants to do in our lives.