The first time our son-in-law Stephen came to our house, he was with his Let’s Start Talking team from Purdue University. At dinner, as the team members got acquainted, our daughter Kelsey had shared with the team about finding and visiting her birthparents .
Afterward, in a foreshadowing of multiple times of working together, Stephen was in the kitchen helping me with the dishes. In his quiet, understated way, he said, “Maybe I should find my birthfather, too.” I was surprised, because when Kelsey had mentioned being adopted he had said nothing.
He told me that his father adopted him when he married Stephen’s mother. Stephen was just a toddler. He had never had any curiosity about his birthfather, but hearing Kelsey’s story had sparked his interest. He said he might follow up on that. Then it was years before he did so, easing into the relationship with letters and calls before meeting.
I’ve discovered that this is typical of Stephen’s personality. He thinks things through carefully before acting. He investigates all aspects, not jumping into anything. Then once he has the facts, he’s right in there.
A couple of years ago, he suddenly lost his job. He came over to our house to fax some papers. I asked if they were about a job.
“No, I’m applying for a loan to buy a house,” he said. I was flabbergasted, but Stephen knew exactly what he was doing. While looking for a job, he rehabbed a foreclosure house and later sold it for a tidy profit.
A couple of weeks ago I invited them to dinner. Stephen asked, “What kind of tools should I bring?” That’s our reputation with him—always something we need for him to fix. Our fathers were fix-it guys, but Steve and I are not. It’s wonderful to have Stephen nearby to install smoke alarms and doorbells, to restore the remote for the television, or to secure and stabilize an unsteady coffee table. And he does it all with apparent pleasure.
He is an avid reader, a constant learner, and a man of integrity, all characteristics he shares with his father-in-law. They are both from Indiana, but their mutual interests go far beyond their common roots.
He works in downtown Cincinnati as an electrical engineer; he has made it his business to get to know the indigent who are always there asking for money. He greets them by name and knows their situations. He has opinions about whose needs are legitimate and whose are not.
He is our church deacon in charge of benevolence, and that’s a good role for him. He has compassion tempered with common sense.
Whenever he eats a meal with us, he is the first to clear the table and load the dishwasher. He has a servant heart that I love to be around.
He thinks deeply about his family, spiritual matters, friendship, and work. He gives his best to whatever he is doing.
How could I not adore this man? He is just what my daughter needed for her life companion. Together they grow spiritually. She pulls him into social situations; he stabilizes her in her varied social and spiritual involvements.
He listens well to my stories and cares about my life. I am honored that he is my son and my friend.