The roots of parenthood run deep, even when they are grafted together by marriage. Linda Young’s mother, Della, had been the unfortunate victim of a first husband who didn’t take his rightful place as a spouse or as a father.
“I’ve never had the desire to meet my ‘bio dad’,” she said. “He relinquished his rights to be my father and basically walked out. From what I’ve learned, my life was so much better without him because no father could’ve been better than my adopted dad, Bud Young, who loved me more than anyone ever could.”
As fate would have it, Della ended up marrying Bud, who had been the best man in her first marriage. He was the true security and love she had been yearning for, so at the age of nine, Young was legally adopted, alongside her brothers, one who was 13 months older.
“We lived in Babbitt as a family and the adoption was a completion for all of us. As a firefighter at the base, my dad was the smartest man I’ve ever known. He could get anything to run and could fix everything. He has always been my hero.”
Today, Young and her mother Della visit Bud at a local rest home while he recovers from some unforeseen health issues.
Still, a smile lights their faces as they reflect on this awesome man and all the joy and fulfillment he brought into their lives. A dedication to this man runs deep, but Young would say it best. “It wasn’t just his decision to adopt us; it was his total commitment to actually father us as if we were always his.”
In the summer of 2014, Young was invited to a reunion in Oregon to meet her bio-dad’s family.
There she learned that this man died at age 60 after living a rough life. There were half siblings and an aunt and uncle that ended up adopting all five of them.
This aunt, who was Young’s bio-dad’s sister, and her husband raised his kids and attempted to stabilize their lives. Once she met her aunt and saw pictures of her birthfather, she definitely found physical resemblances.
“I still Facebook one of my half-brothers, stay in contact with the aunt and uncle, plus I took tons of pictures, realizing they were my blood relatives. But the connection wasn’t there – not like it is with my real dad, who is the one that raised me.”
Young has had the privilege of adopting two sons, through marriage and also fostered two girls that needed a home.
“When I adopted my husband’s two sons, it was many years ago and their own mother approved it while relinquishing her rights.
“My husband at the time, who later died, was grateful for a smooth transition as the boys were teenagers and needed some acceptance. I could relate to their situation, even though I had been much younger in my own adoption.”
Adoption has no age limit. It is the acceptance of not only love, but the completion of counting enough to be parented. To be included, enough to go through all the legalities and to be taken by name to be someone’s child is highly regarded and important to any child.
“For me, it became real; that I was a child that mattered and there was a security that I would never be fatherless. That’s what adoption did for me.”