Jamie sat on the porch next to his suitcase with a worried frown on his face. His mother and dad had just given him some news he wasn’t at all sure he liked.
The morning had started out all right. Mom had made pancakes for breakfast and Jamie liked pancakes. But after the blessing, Dad had cleared his throat and said, “Jamie, we have some good news for you. Do you remember how we talked last year about a new brother or sister? Well, last night, the adoption agency called us. They have found for us both a brother and a sister. We will be gone for a few days to go get them and sign all the papers. You will be staying with Grandma until we get back.”
Jamie gulped. He had forgotten all about the discussion they’d had last year. At the time, the idea of a brother to play with had sounded fun, but he wasn’t so sure now.
“How old is the brother?” he asked.
“Your new brother is seven and your new sister is five,” said Mother. “Would you like to see a picture of them? His name is Jon and her name is Jacinta.”
Jamie looked at the picture of two small, solemn looking children.
“Now Jamie, we have a lot to do to get ready. We are buying bunk beds for your room. You will have one bed and Jon the other. Jacinta is going to have your old bed in the spare bedroom, and we need to buy two dressers, and some clothes.”
“I could share my legos with him,” offered Jamie. He really didn’t know why he said that.
“I’m sure he’ll like that. Now, they won’t speak English, you know. They speak Spanish.”
“You mean he can’t talk to me?”
“They’ll learn English, you’ll learn some Spanish. You’ll get along fine. Now you go pack your suitcase to go to Grandma’s.”
It didn’t take Jamie long to pack some playclothes. He went out to sit on the porch until it was time to go. Having a new brother had sounded like fun, but this new brother couldn’t even talk to him. “Probably doesn’t know how to play ball or anything,” thought Jamie. “I’m not sure I like this at all. What if my friends at school laugh at him? Maybe they’ll laugh at me too.” Just as he felt like he might cry, his Dad came out and sat next to him.
“Going to be a big change, having more than one son around here,” Daddy said as he sat down next to Jamie. “Glad we’ve got a big yard.”
“Do we have to get the new kids?” asked Jamie suddenly.
“No, we don’t have to get them,” said Daddy slowly. “But we want them.”
“I’m not sure I want to share my bedroom with somebody who can’t even talk to me.”
Daddy looked at Jamie for a long minute and then asked, “Jamie, are you afraid Mother and I won’t have enough time for you once Jon and Jacinta come?”
Jamie looked at his feet. He didn’t know how to put what he had in mind in words. He just felt scared and worried inside.
“Jamie, Mom and I love you. You’re very special to us. Our love won’t be divided between you and your new brother and sister. Jesus made love so that the more you give away, the more you have, so you never run out. You will always be loved. Do you understand?”
Jamie still felt strange, confused, and sort of afraid, but knowing his Daddy loved him helped.
About a week later, Grandpa and Grandma and Jamie were walking through the airport terminal to pick up Mother and Dad.
“There they are!” Jamie shouted to Grandpa. Daddy reached out his arms and Jamie ran into them for a hug. Then he hugged Mom. And then he saw his new brother and sister standing back holding hands.
They looked small and lost. They both had dark hair and big brown eyes.
Jamie smiled at them.
“Hi, I’m Jamie.”
Jon looked at him for a long time. Then he stuttered shyly, “Hello-Jamie-I-am-Jon-How-are-you?”
“Hey, he speaks English!” Jamie said.
“Not really. He’s been practicing that all the way from the orphanage! He does want to be friends,” smiled Mother. “I think they’re a little too shy to talk right now. We need to get them home away from this noisy airport.”
On the way home, Jamie was silent. He really didn’t know what to say. He kept peeking at Jon and Jon kept peeking at him. When they reached home and had carried in the suitcases, Mother showed Jon and Jacinta their rooms, and then their toys. They looked at everything with wide eyes. Mother sighed. “I wish I spoke more Spanish. I want them to feel at home.”
Jamie was silent for a while. Then he brightened. “Mom, may I go for a walk? I’ll be right back and I won’t go far.”
“Well, I guess you may, but what’s so important right now?”
“I’ll be right back, Mom.” Jamie said as he ran out the door.
In a very short time, Jamie returned with an older man who walked with a cane. He brought him into the kitchen.
“Mom, I want you to meet my friend Mr. David. He special.”
“Well, of course he is, but why . . .”
“Mr. David was a missionary. Now he teaches adults who want to learn Spanish at the high school. He can help us talk to Jon and Jacinta.”
“He does? He will? That’s a great idea! They’re just in sitting on their beds afraid to move and I want them to know everything’s going to be fine.”
They all went into the bedroom. Jon and Jacinta looked up timidly. Mr. David smiled broadly, sat down on a chair and spoke to Jon. Jon was so surprised at hearing his own language that he forgot to answer him.
“What do you want to say to them?” Mr. David asked.
“First, tell them this is Jon’s bed and these are his toys and his clothes. Then we need to show Jacinta her room and oh, wait- first tell them we love them. That’s the most important,” said Mother.
“Tell them I want to be their friend and big brother,” added Jamie.
“Tell them this is their home and we want them to be happy,” said Daddy. Mr. David laughed and began to speak in rapid Spanish. Jon and Jacinta looked at the beds and clothes and toys. Finally, Jon said something.
“Jon wants to know if these are really his and if we’re sure they can stay,” Mr. David translated.
Of course they are his! And we do want them to stay,” said Mother. She smiled at the children. For the next hour, Mr. David helped the Rodgers talk to their new children. He promised to come back the next morning.
At worship that night, Daddy put his arm around Jamie. “Jamie that was a great idea. Having someone around who speaks Spanish will make the first few weeks so much easier.”
“I think I’m going to like being a big brother. I’m going to start teaching Jon to speak English. And he can teach me some Spanish too. Mr. David said he’d help us.”
“That’s great. Let’s thank Jesus right now for our safe trip, and our new family and our friend Mr. David.”
By Jeanette Pelton
Source: Empowering Families for Growth and Chance: Family Ministries Planbook. Silver Spring, MD; Department of Family Ministries, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 1994.