Living in the South, I am no stranger to the hype, energy and excitement that surrounds homecoming celebrations. For many colleges and universities across the country, September to November is peak time for homecoming. Until about six months ago, my idea of a homecoming celebration was synonymous to that of the rest of the country with college alumni returning to their alma mater and celebrating their schools’ culture and tradition alongside the present student body. The word “homecoming” has a completely new meaning to me now because of Mr. Austin Lewis Pettigrew. Six months ago on May 26, 2012, my wife Tameka and I were able to bring our adopted son Austin home. For Tameka and I, our homecoming celebration will now and forever take place in May.
Being an adoptive parent, I recently learned that November is recognized as National Adoption Awareness Month and my wife and our son Austin have inspired me to share this submission with you all as our form of recognition and celebration. I can’t express strongly enough in words, written or spoken, just how excited my wife and I are to have Austin as a part of our lives. Austin was nine days old when we brought him home. My wife, Tameka, and I couldn’t believe he was finally with us. The child we prayed for night after night was finally in our arms. Here we are six months later and each day is more of a blessing than the day before. It’s been such a joy to watch Austin achieve every little milestone so far: from sleeping through the night and holding his head up on his own, to rolling over and to crawling as of last week. For anyone who is considering adoption, I strongly recommend it. For as much of a blessing as you can be to a child, I guarantee they will be more of a blessing to you. Children are truly a gift from God and the love we show them and the manner in which we raise them is our gift back to Him. Our process and experience had a few bumps and disappointments along the way, but we know now without question that Austin is our baby and this is the child that God intended for us to have.
My wife, Tameka, and I have been married for 10 years and our “Road to Austin” began nine years ago; a year after we were married. Like many married couples, we assumed that we would just have children when we were ready, but as many adoptive couples I’m sure have realized, it’s not always that simple. We agreed to pursue adoption about two years ago and our placement took a little over a year including time allocated to the process of filing paperwork, background checks, home studies, etc. Any hurt, pain and frustration that was experienced throughout the process, was immediately wiped away once Austin arrived. His homecoming was truly a remedy to it all. Austin also arrived with some lessons from God. Throughout our “Road to Austin” we were very impatient; we began to question God’s promise which led to acts of disobedience to God’s instructions. It wasn’t until we exercised patience, faith and obedience that we were blessed with our baby boy. We are so grateful for our son and excited about what God has in store for us all: individually and collectively. We realize and acknowledge that God used a team to arrange for this blessing and we are grateful for them all. We would particularly like to acknowledge all the birth parents that have the courage and selflessness to offer their children up for adoption. It is because of that selflessness and faith, that couples like Tameka and I are able to experience our blessing and will be celebrating Austin’s Homecoming every May. So for those of you considering or going through the adoption process, please remember to exercise faith, patience and obedience. God knows the plans he has for you. –tru pettigrew