This entry is in memory of my mother who passed away July 2, 1990. During the nineteen years since she’s been gone, I’ve entered all fifty years worth of her genealogical research into the computer, and then added to it as well. This research adds up to over 21,000 names.
While going through the seemingly endless boxes of her research, I found the following piece that she typed up. She never showed it to me; but reading it now after all these years, many emotions and questions have surfaced that make me wish I could have just one more day with her. I’m not sure that all the pages of what she wrote are here, but I’ll share what I do have of my adoption story, written by my mother, Helen Ruth McKinney Marple.
What a happy day when I went to the hospital to pick you up and to claim you as “my very own.”
Ann Wiley had been working for five doctors and your “other mother” (Virgina) had come in to be examined because she thought she was pregnant. They talked while she was waiting and Ann told her about a family that was so anxious to have another baby added to their two boys. It must have been a very sad time for Virginia, not many friends, in a strange city, being forsaken by the father of a baby on the way...but she told Ann that she was thinking about adopting her baby into a family that would love her, give her both a mother and a father...”greater love hath no man...than to love that baby more than herself.”
When Virginia was four months pregnant, she made arrangements to come into our home and see what kind of place it would be for her baby. She later said that she was so pleased with Dean that she began to visualize what it would be like for her child to be raised in the same kind of home and have Dean for a big brother. Jon wasn’t there so she never met him.
The months seemed long. I was having a bad bout with arthritis at the time and was in a back brace and was unable to do much of my work. I wanted the baby but despaired that I would never be lucky enough to have one given to me. We had had so many disappointments about babies that I was ready to give up and not hope longer, it must have been the feeling Sarah had before her child was born. I was almost forty years of age and it wasn’t likely that even if Virginia decided to give us her child that the court would go along with it.
About the first of July the phone rang and Ann Wiley was on the phone. Did I still want the baby? She was going to be adopted out and if I didn’t want it, the doctor did. “Yes, I’m still interested, YES, YES, YES!”
We heard from Virginia that night at seven o’clock and she said it had been a hard decision but that she was going to let us have the baby.
The next three weeks seemed like years. I could hardly wait! Finally we would get that third child that I always wanted...a million dreadful thoughts raged in my head...what if it were born dead like one of the babies that we had papers all signed, and then the baby died at birth...what if the judge thought we were too old? What, what, what...racing clouds of doubts fluttered through my mind. The Lord probably had many other things for me to do so why did I keep “hounding” with my prayers for another child? But I had been persistent and even if this didn’t work out at least I was busy and excited about this baby that was due anytime.
Our friend, Doctor Finke was the physician and he never saw Virginia until the baby was due. He said if it were not for us he wouldn’t have taken her as she had toxemia and there was a great danger that problems would arise at the delivery.
We offered Virginia money for living expenses, food, etc...but she refused to take anything from us. I had the usual misgivings that she wouldn’t have enough to eat, but she worked as a telephone operator and was able to afford anything she needed. She smoked and I worried about that too.
I saw her only the one time when she was four months pregnant and didn’t hear from her again until she was three weeks from delivery time, We talked several times on the phone...I was already impressed with her and with her attitude about the baby. She would have been a good mother.
On Thursday the 24th of July I got a call and a humble little voice said, “Will you go to the hospital with me? No one knows about my pregnancy and I don’t want to go to the hospital alone.” I was delighted!
When I got to the hospital, Virginia was already in labor, she labored from Thursday evening until Mollie was born at 9 p.m. on Friday evening.
The doctor said that she couldn’t relax and therefore the baby was having a hard time. Virginia was so small in the tummy that I could not believe a baby was lodged in there but the nurse took my hand and showed me where the baby was and assured me that she was pregnant.
Virginia was out on medication at the last and I was in the room with her. The nurse told me to push on her stomach and to say, “Bear down.” She showed me what to do and then left the room. Cautiously, I put my hand on her stomach, almost afraid to push down. I gently pushed and said “bear down.” My heavens I was frightened to death, never having a baby normally myself, I didn’t know that the baby had left the birth canal. I ran out the door and tried to say “Nurse, Nurse,” but no words came out...or at least I could not hear myself. But a nurse must have seen how frantic I was, came running into the room, called loudly, she’s delivering...hurriedly told me to get out and I went downstairs, picked up an old copy of Readers Digest and proceeded to wait for the delivery. Mine always took a long time, so I wondered how long she would continue in labor before I would know about the little boy, to be named David Harrison, if we were lucky enough to get him away from the hospital staff, the doctor, and the courts.
I just sat down or so it seemed, when a nurse came to me and said, “Your baby is here” but she didn’t know whether it was a boy or a girl. I couldn’t believe that the baby was born so soon! (Soon? Virginia had been in labor off and on for twenty-four hours!!)
I went up in the elevator and down the hall...I FORGOT THE NAME OF THE MOTHER!!!!! What could I do? How could I ask for that certain baby when I was supposed to be the mother’s sister and I couldn’t remember the name? I went down the hall and would look into the rooms hoping that I would see the new baby...I was terribly confused at the time. A nurse was in a room sitting in a rocking chair feeding a baby a bottle...I asked, “Is that the last baby born?” “Oh no,” she replied “this baby is two days old”...well that strategy wouldn’t work...I finally arrived at the window of the nursery, a beaming nurse held the baby to the window and said, “This is your baby”...I looked at her little feet, her little knees, then spied her bottom, Why it was a girl! A girl, a girl...she was a girl? I couldn't believe it. I saw the doctor still in his rubber gloves and cap, I thanked him in my heart that he had delivered a baby girl and that everyone was saying it was mine...but I think I was kind of delirious...I left the nursery area, got on the elevator and finally arrived at the door of the hospital...I was crying uncontrollably... when I stepped out into the night air, a policeman, seeing my distress, but really joy, came up and said, “May I help you lady?” I just kept saying over and over, “It’s a girl! it’s a girl!”
Mollie was born at St. Ann’s Hospital on the east side of town and we lived on Olentangy River Road where that Riverside Hospital is now located, so I was quite aways from home. Mollie was born at nine o’clock on Friday the 25th of July, she weighed only five pounds, seven ounces, but she wasn’t skinny. She was eighteen inches long, her eyes were really blue, and she was already looking around and seemed to have an air of expectancy about her. I couldn’t believe that she was a girl and that she was beautiful. As I said, I was several miles from home but I used to live in that area when Jon was six years old and Dean was born shortly after. I got lost and was wandering around the east end, finally ended up on a street named Shoemaker. Arriving home finally it was almost midnight. Jack was in our lower room reading the paper and I rushed into the basement grabbing my full-skirted dress and swishing it around, dancing and giggling, “It’s a girl, it’s a girl, and you should see how beautiful she is." Jack said later he knew it was a girl when I came down that stairs as I was lit up like a Christmas tree.
Saturday I went to the hospital to see Virginia and the baby...we talked and talked...she told me of some of the things that she would like for the baby...a religious background— something she had never experienced, piano lessons if possible, she told me that she sang and played five different musical instruments...she had beautiful auburn slightly curly hair...the smoothest and softest white skin, she wasn’t really pretty but she had beautiful hair and skin...and she was a lovely person...my heart ached for her, to think of the sadness that she would go through in giving up her child...Virginia was twenty three years old, on her own since she was sixteen, a product of a broken home and a mean stepmother...I prayed that someday Virginia would find a happiness that she deserved.
Sunday, Jack was to go down to Hamilton, Ohio to visit the branch of the church there and I debated whether to go with him or to stay and see that baby...I couldn’t seem to see enough of her. We had only one car and I didn’t know how I would get to the hospital so finally decided to go with him. Monday morning would never come anyhow.
Brother and Sister Heinz invited us to their home for dinner and she still tells me how elated I was about that baby. He was the Branch President and now they are Temple workers in the Washington DC Temple.
Monday morning did come and I was to pick up Virginia and the baby! How I went through holy torture! Jack was working in the barbershop and couldn’t go with me...now I think that is sad...pick up a new baby and he was too busy? But we both accepted that fact that work came first and I went to the hospital. I took some lady with me but can’t for the life of me remember who it was.
Dean picked out the outfit to bring her home, it was a little yellow sleeping suit, a yellow blanket, white undershirt and a diaper with rubber pants...the outfit was pale yellow and I wasn't too impressed with it but he liked it...the nurse dressed the baby, wrapped her in the blanket and Virginia looked at me so proud...we got to the car and the nurse handed the baby to Virginia, but right before that she asked if I would mind if she held the baby...oh how sad, it was one of the saddest days of my life...she cuddled that baby in her arms, trying to put a lifetime of remembering in a ten minute ride. As we pulled up to the curb, she talked, and as the words poured from her heart, my heart was bleeding, paining, and if she would have said, “She’s mine, I’m going to take her home with me, you can’t have her," I would of gladly, willingly, let her have her back...I was so sad for this Virginia...sad that she was in such a position that she felt she needed to give this baby a home that would offer it more that she could...as I said before, greater love hath no man than to love another more than herself...Virginia said something that will remain with me forever..."I did a perfect job up until now, will you take over and finish the job?”
With both of us in tears, she got out of the car and walked away. I sat numbly in the car, not able to do anything but sob...why, why, why? If all young ladies could see a movie of this mother giving up the only thing in her life that she felt she had ever achieved at, it would a lesson that one could barely ever forget.
I had assured Virginia that if she needed to call and find out how the baby was, she was welcome to do so.
Mollie was about three days old when Virginia called...I was scared...my heart pounded...my pulse was racing...she was going to take the baby! But none of this was so, she was having a hard time and called to see that Mollie was all right, she assured me that she had called in a weak moment and that she would not bother me again. With a lie on my lips I told her it was all right, I understood how she felt but such possessiveness came over me that after I hung up the phone I thought of a million reasons how I could make it impossible for her to ever contact me again, but Virginia moved to California. She sent me a beautiful letter that I wish that I had kept, in the letter she said that she felt that God had shown her what to do with her baby, that she was satisfied that she was in our home and that she felt good about the decision she had made.
Every year at Christmas time we would get a card signed "Virginia” and in return I would send a card with a picture of a beautiful little blond girl, never putting a return address on it, nor a name...but after six years, I never heard from Virginia again...I hope that she found a happy life for herself and as I told her at the adoption time in court, “Maybe we can’t share Mollie in this life, but if we both lead a good life, we will certainly share her in the next"...I told her that Mollie would be raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, commonly called Mormon...and being in California, who knows, she certainly would hear of the Mormons in that state...I love Virginia, I am anxious to once again meet her and I will be happy about most of the things I have done with giving her little girl a great love from two brothers, a Mother and Dad...Virginia, bless you and thank you!
Mollie was adorable from the very minute she was born. She was so beautiful, so healthy, so full of life. We adore her. I couldn’t find enough hours to hold her. Betty would want to hold her in church and I would be so selfish as to not let anyone have her.
Mollie not only was extremely healthy, she was full of pep, she kept us going at nine miles a minute.
The day she was blessed we were going to the little church on Indianola and Ninth Street. Jack could hardly get through the blessing and I cried so loud that Dean whispered, “Mother!” I think I embarrassed our boys. Probably not Jon as he was at the sacrament table. Her Dad gave her a beautiful blessing.
From my baby book my mom wrote~~I was dressed in a pink dress, slip and the loveliest shoes given to me by a dear friend of Mother’s...Charlotte McCoy. The church was crowded and everyone cried. Daddy cried so hard he could barely get my blessing said, they were tears of joy because mother had wanted a little girl ever since she was big enough to know of little babies. My grandfather John Robert Mckinney, an Elder, my Uncle Lloyd Richard McKinney and President of the Branch, H. Clay Gorton officiated.
Not flesh of my flesh,
Nor bone of my bone,
but still miraculously my own.
Never forget for a single minute;
You didn't grow under my heart but in it.
A simple life
1 day ago