“It’s getting late,” Jamie said as they pulled up to the ranch. They had left Brad’s truck at the farm and were driving Jamie’s Jeep because Jake’s things were already packed inside and of course they wanted to be together. “Do you think we should wait until tomorrow to tell them we’re getting married?”
“It’s your call,” Brad said. “But we’re obviously going to be telling them the good news about Jake and I would really like them to know that after we’re married, I will officially become his father. You do want to go through the process of making me his adoptive father don’t you?”
“Of course I do. We’ll go through the challenges of parenthood together. Jake is sound asleep. Poor little guy. This has been a big day for him and although he knows and trusts me, he has to be somewhat confused.
Just look at those two. He and Arf are both sound asleep.”
They pulled up to the ranch and Brad asked Jamie if he could carry the sleeping little boy inside.
“Of course you can. My room has a couch that makes into a bed. He can sleep there tonight. If he stays asleep, lets take him up there, now. Mother can watch him while we wake up the whole household to tell them our wonderful news.”
The next few days were a flurry of excitement. Brad and Jamie decided to have the wedding at the ranch. It was the beginning of a beautiful autumn, so they looked for a suitable place where they could have the ceremony outside. Katie and Arf showed them where their special tree was and they decided it was the perfect spot.
Everyone made a fuss over Jake and he loved every minute of it. He had been through an extremely tough time. A time no little four year old should have to experience. Jamie loved seeing the constant frown he usually wore, slowly leave and be replaced with the sweetest smile she had ever seen. She felt a complete and utter attachment to him and she knew Brad did, too.
On the eve of their wedding, Jamie finally sat Brad down and told him Jake’s story.
“I actually came to know him through Dr. Adams. He’s a children’s advocate and had been assigned to Jake’s case. He spent a lot of time with Jake and often brought him to the clinic.
Jake has been in foster care off and on since he was an infant. His mother was a very troubled teenager and was never able to give him a good home. It wasn’t completely her fault. She had no family support. She wanted to do teenage things and wasn’t interested in being Jake’s mother. She relinquished her parental rights a year ago.
Dr. Adams could see that I was becoming attached to the precious little boy and he was becoming attached to me. One day he told me that Jake was going to be moved to yet another foster home. There were no homes in this area with space for him, so they had been looking at other places. They felt it might be a good thing because if he were in a larger city, Jake would probably be adopted out immediately.
I couldn’t bear the thought of his leaving. In fact, I knew without a doubt that I wanted to be his mother. I also knew that as a single woman, my chances were extremely slim… but I pursued it anyway.
I was going through rigorous interviews and inspections when mother had her stroke. I just knew that would be the end of my dream to be Jake’s mom.
As it happened, they had already inspected the farm. Remember, I was living there full-time before Mom’s stroke. The other thing in my favor was a promising future as a veterinarian and even if I didn’t get through my last two years immediately, Dr. Adams guaranteed that I would have a job at the clinic with enough income to support Jake and me.
Even with that, the answer continued to be no. Then several days ago, I got a call from CPS. They asked me how soon I could be ready to adopt Jake.
Of course I told them I could complete the adoption immediately. I still can’t believe he’s really mine…ours. Everything feels so right, Brad. Do you feel that way, too?”
“Come with me,” he said. “I want to show you something. Jake is in the kitchen with Miss Bessie. Let’s go get him and bring him with us.”
Arf: The little guy hasn’t let me out of his sight since he got to the ranch and he wanted me to go with them…wherever they were going. We drove until we got to a beautiful meadow about five miles from the ranch house. Brad stopped the truck and got out. He opened the passenger door for Jamie and got Jake out of his car seat which was in the back by me. I wondered why we had stopped. There was nothing there. I could tell Jamie was wondering, too, but I didn’t care anymore because Jake started throwing the frisbee to me.
“My beautiful, wonderful, Jamie,” Brad said as he took both of her hands in his. “I’ve been thinking about something ever since we decided to get married. What do you think about us building our own home on this land? We would still spend a lot of time at the ranch of course. Our family lives there. I just keep thinking it would be good for Jake to grow up in a home with just the three of us.”
“No…” Jamie said.
To say Brad looked surprised would be an understatement.
“Did you say no?”
“I grew up an only child with parents that cared more about traveling than spending time with their daughter. I’ve just started to get to know them and I’ve discovered they’re really fun, warm-hearted people. I want Jake to grow up sneaking cookies from Grandma Helen and Miss Bessie in the kitchen, learning how to throw a rope from Mark, and sing, dance and play the guitar with Katie and Clark. My parents can dote on him and you and I will just have to get used to being the adults in his life. In other words, I want him to enjoy the loving family we’ve all been blessed with. And Brad…he would never want to leave Arf and Annie. Just look at him playing with Arf.”
“What do you say, Brad?”
“Amen… Let’s go home. Someone told me tomorrow is our wedding day.”
Clark played his guitar and Katie sang the wedding song.
Arf managed to keep his boutonniere in place and Annie’s crown of flowers stayed on her head the entire day. To all who witnessed the marriage of Brad and Jamie, it appeared they were going to have a beautiful life together.