At 3:45pm – Albuquerque time – I met my newest son, and Jose met his new brother.
It is so amazing how three people – complete strangers – immediately merged as one family. Jose, Valerie (the adoption worker), and I were on the patio when Quintin and his foster dad, Jun (pronounced “June”), stepped out.
After a round of hugs, and introductions, there were no awkward moments… we simply stepped into the roles of the Jolliffe-Haas family. Jose and Quintin already act as though they have been brothers since birth; they eased into their relationship without missing a beat.
We spent some time with the staff, and Jose and I were treated like celebrities. Red Mountain Youth Services is outstanding, and I fell in love with these people.
Finally, Quintin, Jose and I met with Quintin’s therapist, Dr. Davison, and this guy is outstanding. I can see why Quintin improved so quickly – he not only had Red Mountain, but Dr. Davison, and two wonderful foster parents, Jun & Nina.
At 5:00pm, we were ready to go our separate ways and Quintin became very quiet. Finally, he spoke up and asked, “Can I spend the rest of the evening with them?”
The minute his foster dad said, “Well, sure,” the biggest smile spread across his face and within minutes we were in the car heading through some of the most beautiful countryside I have ever seen. As we drove along a high ridge of the valley, we could look out over the beautiful city of Albuquerque and the mountains beyond… breathtaking!
As always, the first meal with any new son was eaten together at Wendy’s in honor of Wendy’s founder, and adoption philanthropist, Dave Thomas. I am sure the guests of Wendy’s was wondering why I was snapping photos – but this was a big moment.
We had the best time, and it took very little time for Quintin to begin tossing in the wit, and throwing it right back at me – like Jose. We laughed, shared some serious conversation, and laughed even more.
Since Jose and I are in a nice efficiency room, we decided to stop by Walmart for some breakfast food. As a father, I had the best time shopping with my two sons! Quintin quickly learned that Dad does not lay things in the cart – he throws them to each son.
As we stood in the produce department, I turned to Jose and asked if he would please go grab a basket. In true Jose-fashion, he snapped his finger at Quintin, and said, “Hey! New guy!” and directed Quintin to the carts!
Again, it amazed me at just how much we seemed like a family who has been together for years.
We drove Quintin to his foster parents’ home, only to discover they had gone to church. Jun said it was fine that we go ahead and drop Quintin off at church since it was right by the airport… well, their church happened to be across the street from our hotel!
We sat in the lobby waiting for church to let out, and had even more fun chatting. By this time, Quintin was acting as though he has been my son all fifteen years of his life.
I got to meet Nina, and she is just darling. Nina’s parents were there, as well, and they were both so thrilled that Quintin was being adopted. Many of the church members greeted us, as did their pastor who was a swell guy. The neat thing was that Quintin was introducing Jose and I as his dad and brother.
Quintin began sinking in spirit as we began our good-byes for the evening. When I asked what he was thinking, he looked up said, “I don’t want to leave you.”
I explained that he had school Friday, and we would be getting together after school at Red Mountain for a catered luncheon they are throwing for this celebration. He nodded, but was still down.
So… my family has grown, again. I simply cannot put into words this entire experience. Perhaps I truly understand Mary, the mother of Christ, when “she pondered these things in her heart.”
While sitting in the office of Dr. Davison, Quintin announced that he wanted to be sure I was OK with him changing his last name to Jolliffe-Haas. “Is that OK with you?”
I assumed this would be the course, but he is an older child and could have kept his birth name.
So, Quintin Jolliffe-Haas it is.
Jose seems excited, even thrilled with his role as the older brother, and I saw him bump it up a notch today.
Tonight, I will close, echoing the words of baseball hero, Lou Gehrig: “Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”