Love from Head to Toe

Lorena Templeton Querns - Rochester, New York
As heard on The Bob Edwards Show, February 8, 2013
Lorena Templeton Querns

When Lorena Templeton Querns was a teenager, her family adopted a baby boy. Though the feelings of love for him did not come right away, the family made a choice to love him.

Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: children, family, love
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I believe that love is a choice. I have seen that choice made in my own home, and I know the difference it makes.

When I was fourteen and my sisters were eleven and nine, we adopted my little brother, Tyler James. My parents had wanted another baby for a long time. When a baby didn’t come through pregnancy or adoption, my mom started praying for God to take the desire for a baby away.

Finally, she felt like He did. She had just started a new job when we received a call from the daughter of a family friend. She told us that she loved her baby very much but could not take care of him in the way that he deserved. She knew my parents had wanted a baby for a long time, and she had seen the way they loved my sisters and me.

A family meeting was called, and my parents consulted us on the new prospect. The decision was made to adopt this tiny baby, because as my parents said, “If God drops a baby in your lap, what can you do? Say no, I don’t want it?”

Although the decision to adopt Tyler may have been a natural one, loving him did not come as naturally at first for my mother. She was confused because she had finally become satisfied with her life without another baby. There were times when my mom held him and felt guilty because she did not feel the same intensity of love for him as she had for us.

Even though she didn’t feel the same love for Tyler at first, she chose to love him anyway. She did this by taking care of him, singing to him, holding him, and talking to him. She loved him by changing his dirty diapers and getting out of bed at four in the morning when he cried. She behaved the same way she did with me when I was a baby, although she may not have felt the same way. Soon, the feelings of love joined the behavior of love.

Today, Tyler is nearly eleven and has been officially ours for nine years now. The only thing that makes him any different from his sisters is that he celebrates Gotcha Day, the day of his adoption, every April. Our mom and dad love all of us the same.

Often my mom can be heard telling Tyler, “I love you from the top of your head, to the tips of your toes, and everything in between,” and she means it as much as she did when she said it to me as a child. More important, Tyler’s response of “even up to the sky” shows he knows it as much as I did. Many of my friends are shocked when they find out that my little brother is adopted, because he looks like he belongs in our family. And of course, that’s because he does, because we chose to love.

Lorena Templeton Querns teaches middle school language arts at a Christian school in New Jersey. She and her husband Steve live in Pennsylvania with their dog Finnegan. Her brother, Tyler, lives next door and loves to spend time with his big sister and brother-in-law.

Independently produced by Dan Gediman for This I Believe, Inc.