A Gift Made Possible by Gardenia

By Teena Myers

Adel experienced two strong emotions after she married Wade, the desire to adopt and a longing for a new job. She was tired of being a waitress. “I told Wade that I wanted a Monday through Thursday job where I could sit down and didn’t have to deal with anybody,” said Adel. “The next day my pastor called and offered me a Monday through Thursday desk job.”

Adel read her Bible and prayed for God’s will before she responded to her pastor offer. She felt  drawn to the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 17. God had sent Elijah to hide from King Ahab at the Cherith brook. The ravens brought Elijah food, and he drank from the brook until it dried up. As she mediated on the scripture, Adel heard God say, “I brought Elijah to the brook, but he didn’t leave until I told him to leave. Your job is your mission field, and I have not called you to leave.”

“Once God told me my job was my mission field joy returned, and I abandoned thoughts of leaving, but we didn’t pursue adoption,” said Adel.

Two years after God told Adel to remain at her job, a co-worker came to work wearing Gardenia perfume. Adel loved the scent and looked for the perfume every time she went shopping. Her search ended three months later,

“When I got ready for work, I sprayed a lot of perfume on,” said Adel. “Wade told me I had used too much. The minute I walked into the restaurant; I asked my co-workers if I smelled overpowering. There was a new guy working at the salad bar named Gabriel. He said, ‘Yeah, you smell strong, I can smell you from here.’”

As Adel chatted with a co-worker about his son’s upcoming birthday, Gabriel joined the conversation.

“I have a little boy,” said Gabriel.

“Oh, you have a little boy too,” said Adel.

“Yeah, and I have a girlfriend who is six months pregnant.”

“Are you keeping the baby?” Adel was amazed that he she had asked such a personal question of someone she barely knew, but Gabriel didn’t hesitate to answer.

“No, we are putting the baby up for adoption.”

“I’ve always wanted to adopt,” said Adel.

Adel left for a two week vacation the following day, but Gabriel didn’t forget their conversation. When she returned to work, he asked her if she was serious about adopting a baby.

Gabriel and his girlfriend Paige had just moved to New Orleans from the east coast. Before they left, Paige sought an abortion but was denied. She considered traveling to California for a late term abortion, but a Christian woman told her, “There is a family this child is meant to be with. If you keep the child, God will lead you to that family.” Instead of going to California, they choose to live in New Orleans.

When they arrived, Gabriel could not find a job or affordable housing in New Orleans. They expanded their search and found an apartment located behind Adel’s restaurant. Still in need of a job, Gabriel applied and was hired on the spot. “I’ve worked at that restaurant for twenty-one years and no one was ever hired on the spot,” said Adel. “Even if they knew they were going to hire you, you were always called in for a second interview.”

Adel was ready to start the adoption procedure, but Wade had reservations. One day, he was home watching TV, but the enormous responsibility of adopting a child preoccupied his thoughts and drowned out the preacher’s message. Suddenly, the volume on the TV increased and Wade heard the preacher say, “God has adopted us.” That simple phrase opened a floodgate of love in Wade’s heart for an unborn child who needed a family.

“Gabriel and Candace refused to take a penny for expenses,” said Adel. “They wanted the child to be a gift to a couple who could give him a better life than they were able to provide. But we still had to pay a lawyer to make the adoption legal. Every attorney I called quoted me a figure over $7,000. We couldn’t afford that, and I didn’t want to take out a loan.”

Adel was desperate when she went to work that evening. One of her regular customers offered to contact an attorney he knew. Hoping his friendship would elicit a cheaper price, she asked him to call. Much to Adel’s disappointment, the attorney quoted his friend $7,300. She debated abandoning the idea of adopting a child when she heard God say, “I’ll will make a way where there is no way.”

“You’re gonna have to,” Adel mumbled.

The next shift was short a waitress, so Adel worked late. While she took the order from her next customer, she commented, “It’s a shame that if you don’t have money, you can’t do anything. Even give love to a child in need.”

“Have you prayed about it?” asked the customer.

“Yes,” said Adel.

“God will make a way where there is no way,” the customer confidently affirmed.

“He’s gonna have to,” Adel mumbled.

That evening, Wade’s brother called. While Wade chatted with his brother, Adel felt a strong impression to ask her brother-in-law for the phone number of the attorney he had used when he adopted his daughter. Adel called the attorney and he quoted her $1,000. “That is the exact amount to money we had in our savings account,” said Adel.

Adel was at Ministers in Training Conference in Florida when she received a phone call that Paige was in labor. The doctor had miscalculated her due date. Adel and Wade immediately returned to New Orleans.

“Hank was born at 11:30 p.m. that night. Wade and I arrived at 1 a.m. We were present for all the firsts – first bath, first bottle, first diaper. Paige didn’t want to see the baby, and the nurses debated where I would feed Hank until he was discharged. Finally, the head nurse looked up and said, ‘We’ll give you a room.’”

Adel and Wade followed the head nurse to room 413. “My birthday is April 13,” said Adel. As I sat in that room and fed my son, I heard God say, ‘This is a gift that I am giving to you.’”

Before Gabriel and Paige left the hospital, he handed Adel a letter for his son explaining why they gave him up for adoption. Adel opened the letter and read: “If your mother [Adel] had not worn Gardenia perfume, I never would have talked to her.”  

“Gabriel and Paige had bought the same perfume the night before I came to work reeking of Gardenia,” said Adel. “Every Mother’s Day, I buy another bottle of Gardenia to remember how God brought Hank into my life.”

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