For as long as I can remember, I have;known;I;was;adopted.;My parents had always told me I was adopted. They would simply
explain, “We did not just have you; we
I grew up in a rural agricultural town
in eastern Oregon. My dad always said
with my beautiful, red-headed mother
how mom always snubbed him in their
youth. He was surprised when a friend
succeeded at setting them up. My mother
told me she had just been going along as
a favor for a girlfriend. As it turned out,
dad won her over. He adored her.
My parents could not have children of
their own. Dad had been content, so he
was surprised when mom suggested adop-tion.;Although;it;took;some;time;to;con-vince him, mom eventually sold him on
the idea. After all, how much trouble could
and his bride would be happy with a baby
As is often the case with fathers and
daughters, my sister Lori had our dad
mornings and rush home in the evenings. He had experienced a childhood
He;was;mesmerized;by;the;small,;help-less being that had come into his life.
It was only a short time before my par-
ents were considering family expansion
and again began the application pro-
cess. While on a trip to Portland
with my granny and cousin Jim, they
their application. They were surprised
to learn it could be approved and final-
ized that very day. Throughout their
long wait in the waiting room, they
could hear the occasional cries of ba-
bies. Well, all but one was occasional.
There was one cry that was constant.
Years later, my dad always displayed a
mischievous smile when he would tell
me, “I turned to your ma and said ‘I bet
Although my older sister never really
voiced questions about her birth family,
ingly giving up her baby. My parents
did their best to be open and answer my
questions. They assumed I was the prod-
uct of an unplanned teen pregnancy, and
yet they assured me that I was wanted
and that they loved my sister and me.
Despite;my;parents’;efforts,;my;child-hood was not always filled with bliss.
family.;Both;of;my;parents;suffered;un-expected health challenges which lead to
severe economic hardship.
My sister and I attended church regu-
larly with our mother during our very
early childhood. It was a small, tradition-
al church. With the few other children,
we were shuffled off to a class and taught
mother that loved me
enough to give me life.
My adoption being finalized, from left to right:
my dad Archie Dickerson, sister Lori Mahan,
Judge Kaye, me, and my mom, Zada Dickerson.
From left to right: my cousin Jim Barnett,
my granny Angel Barnett, me, and my
sister Lori Mahan