A Very Special Gift

I received a very special gift from my Grandpa yesterday.

My Grandpa is a very special man in my life. He has been the only constant male figure for me. He helped raise me and actually walked me down the aisle. He is a very traditional, proud man too, which has led to some nice disagreements over the years… particularly in my teenage years. I’m pretty sure I’m the only grand-kid who has ever really talked back to him and told him he was stubborn! He taught me how to be wise with my money, since my parents were not the best examples in that department, and taught me how to barter 🙂 I have never paid full price for any appliances I’ve ever bought! He has been very generous with his money and time throughout his life. He is very mission-minded, giving to charity, volunteered for various organizations and loaned money with out an expectation of repayment. He believes once he has loaned money it is gone, repayment is a nice surprise. Because he is such a great man and so generous, it makes you want to prove yourself to him and pay back every cent. I was so proud that he was proud when I paid off my loans from him. I hope I continue to make him proud 🙂

This past year has been really rough on my grandparents. They are in their late eighties and Grandpa’s health has taken a noticeable turn for the worse. The stress has affected my Grandma’s health too. My mom is the main overseer of everything medical for him too, so I hear everything first hand. He has been in a lot of pain this year and in and out of lucidity, depending on the day. It is hit or miss whether we will get a good visiting day or not.

My Grandma had already given Jon and I a bit of a donation towards our “Bring Sofie Home” fund which I assumed was from both of them. Yesterday I stopped in for a visit with Livi, which I usually do a couple times a month. Grandpa asked Grandma to go and get “the envelope”. He reread the note inside it and handed it to me apologizing that his writing has gotten smaller and shaky and he hoped I could read it …

In case you can’t read it, it says “Dear anxious and Hopeful Parents! Here is waiting and with much prayer that highlights you forth. May you be richly blessed! Love Grandparents with love, I & A Schmidt.” A check for the same amount that Grandma had given us was in the envelope, doubling their donation. (I did clarify that with Grandma that this was a lucid decision. She said the first gift was from her and this was from Grandpa. I like how they have “separate” money at their age!)

The money is such a blessing to us right now, as we are already using borrowed money to pay for the adoption costs, but the effort for the note and his attitude towards this adoption is priceless. On visits that my Grandpa has been able to talk, he has always asks about our adoption, though he may not remember all the details 🙂 He can’t write as well as he used to and it takes a lot of effort for him. He worked long and hard on the note but wasn’t happy with it. He wanted to throw it out and start again. Grandma stopped him and told him “it is perfect”. She is the most gracious and beautiful woman I know. I’m thankful she stopped him from throwing it out. His note outlines his attitude and the support that he has been through this whole process. Even though he is a little more traditional in his thinking, he completely understands our journey and acknowledges it!  This is not something we have encountered from the senior population.

It means so much to me that he acknowledged how anxious and hopeful we truly are. He is waiting with us, not just watching from the sidelines. My grandparents actually adopted their sixth child through a private, domestic adoption. They know what it is like to be adoptive parents. Unlike some of Grandpa’s peers, he better understands what we are doing and has only taken notice of Sofie’s Down Syndrome once or twice. Sofie will be his beloved great-granddaughter first and foremost. He mostly doesn’t understand why it costs so much, but that is the Mennonite in him talking. He thinks there is corruption in the governments for the prices to be so high 🙂

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