Farm, faith and family await one lucky child
By DAVE MYERS
Southwest Kansas Catholic
They are the kind of parents who make you wish you were a kid again.
They are the kind of parents who, when a child one day joins their family through the Catholic Charities of Southwest Kansas Adoption Program, will surround him or her with farm-bred faith and affection and all that goes with it.
“This summer we rebuilt a go-cart,” Scott Leighton said, referring to their adopted children, Brennan, 12, and Aleaha, 7. “We were able to get the engine running. We do quite a bit of those kinds of things together.”
Brennan “has been super athletic since day one,” said his father, who is an assistant coach when not dealing with the day-to-day routine of raising children. And the children enjoy fishing … and boating … and raising livestock for 4-H.
… And tending to a large garden on the farmland outside of Bentley, northeast of Wichita, where Scott, his wife, Robbie—a physician—and their two children (and assorted animals) reside.
Brennan and Aleaha were adopted by the Leightons through Catholic Charities Dallas, and the couple are currently seeking to adopt their third child through Catholic Charities of Southwest Kansas. The couple began the adoption process for their third child after having moved back to Kansas from Texas where Robbie was in residency.
They have thus far waited two years since signing on with the southwest Kansas office.
Brennan, much to the shock and surprise of the Leightons, came just days after having turned in their documentation.
“We just barely got the paper work done and was approved,” Scott said with a chuckle. “Two weeks later we found out about Brennan. [The birth-mother] was basically at her due date when we found out about her. It all came super-fast. I think we set a new record at the agency. We didn’t even have any baby things purchased. We called my sister who has a baby and ask what are the things we need now, like a car seat and all that. We had to hurry and get all the purchases.”
“It was a pretty exciting life change,” Robbie added. “Our birth-mom let us be in the room when he was born. It was amazing.”
As other couples have attested, the joy of finding an adoptive child is countered by the sadness in the eyes of the birth-mother when it comes time to say goodbye.
“One of our strongest memories is of our son’s birth-mother’s tears as she decided to leave the hospital,” the couple wrote on their profile, which can be seen at https://spark.adobe.com/page/RCUUWDKkC2w1S/.
“Her tears were our tears. We learned at that moment it is possible for the human heart to break and rejoice at the same time. Our gain was her loss, and we felt it very much.”
There is sadness, yet the burden for the birth-parent(s) is far lighter than in decades past thanks to the open adoption system, which allows birth parents the choice of remaining a part of the adopted child’s life. Like many parents, the Leightons were concerned at first about the system, but now wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Brennan’s birth-mom called us every day for two weeks after the adoption,” Robbie said. “She visited the house and saw his room. When she got her GED that December, we went to her graduation.”
Their daughter Aleaha, now seven, entered the couple’s lives a few years after Brennan, a little more than six months after they submitted their paper-work.
“Her birth-mother was very, very young,” Robbie explained.
Unless you’ve lived it, it’s impossible to imagine the heart of a woman, especially a young girl, in such a situation. And for this young girl, meeting the Kansas couple proved to be too much for her.
“We didn’t get to see her,” Robbie said, sadly. But 14 months after Aleaha was born, her father and his parents contacted them. The young father wanted to meet his little birth-daughter.
“So, she knows her birth-father’s family,” Robbie said, joyfully. “They’ve seen Aleaha a number of times in the last few years.”
The children attend Catholic school in Ost, Kansas and enjoy a farm-life the couple were born into that never left them even when they moved deep into the heart of Texas. Their faith has held firm all these years, even through the roughest rough-patch of all, when Scott was partially paralyzed in a car accident, leaving him a reluctant hero to all those who mistakenly consider him disabled, and certainly to his children.
Robbie, who is a native of St. Francis and has family in Scott City, and Scott, originally from Quinter, concluded their profile on the Catholic Charities website with this final note to any soon-to-be parent seeking a family for her child:
“We look forward to a new addition to our family. Our children can’t wait to meet their new baby brother or sister and share in the adoption experience. We hope you will get to know us better.
“May God bless you and hold you in his arms as you determine what is best for you and your baby.”