In 1987, after nine years of marriage and the heartbreak of finding out they were unable to give birth to a child, Jo Lynn and Bobby Bays hoped adoption would be the answer to their prayers.
“We wanted children very badly and we knew God must have a different route in store for us,” Jo Lynn said.
Beginning their adoption journey was a leap of faith for the couple who lived in Houston at the time but they were certain there was a child out there just for them.
“I remember asking anyone and everyone we knew about the adoption process and whether they could recommend an agency,” Bobby said.
After a few discouraging months’ search and a feeling they had not yet found the right agency, a San Antonio friend recommended Methodist Mission Home (MMH). As they made arrangements to attend an adoption information seminar at MMH the following week, they could not have anticipated the extended relationship their family would have with the agency in the years ahead.
“I remember loving the MMH staff right away,” Jo Lynn smiled, reminiscing. “They were sincere in wanting to help us build our family. It made us feel so comfortable and at home.”
Only a couple of months after they filled out their application and completed their home study, their adoption counselor called with exciting news. Cammie, a birth mother due in two months, had chosen them for her baby.
“We really wanted Cammie to get to know us but our counselor cautioned that she did not want to meet us until after her daughter was born, so we had to wait patiently,” Jo Lynn remembered.
Just two months later, their daughter Jennifer was born. Althoughthey never actually met Cammie, they were deeply grateful for her courage and loving gift. Because baby Jennifer was such a wonderful experience, they decided to adopt a second child through MMH and completed their application and home study.
“A few months later our counselor called and told us about a birth mother named Susan, who really wanted to meet with us,” Jo Lynn said, reliving the excitement. “We called and met her at Denny’s that same night. Her whole family came and it was a great bonding experience.” Susan was only a teenager at the time and in no position to raise a baby. When they found out, a little later, that Susan had also been adopted from Methodist Mission Home, the Bays felt even closer to her and her family.
Two months later, in March of 1992, Susan gave birth to baby Elizabeth.
“We went to the hospital the day after Elizabeth was born and I remember seeing her for the first time. She was so cute,” Jo Lynn laughed.
Over the years, the Bays watched their little daughters grow into young women. It was just last year, in 2011, that they discovered Elizabeth was pregnant and that she herself was considering adoption.
“I knew I couldn’t raise a child,” Elizabeth explained recently, sitting with Jo Lynn at Methodist Mission Home. “I wanted to give my baby the same chance at a better life Susan gave me, and I knew it would happen here at MMH for my daughter as well.”
Elizabeth chose the perfect family and on July 13 this year placed her baby, Betsy, with the Gross family.
“I’m so grateful for all the support Methodist Mission Home has provided me and my family over the years,” she said. “I was an adoptee and now I’m a birthmother, and it’s clear to me more than ever that adoption is about courage and love and never an act of abandonment.” She smiled a little, possible realizing then how both her birthmother and adoptive mother had felt about her.