Former Student Gives Baby to Mission Teacher
“It’s so humbling,” Janice Clark says. “I’m expected to teach Huxley about his Creator.”
Janice Clark never planned to adopt a former student’s baby, but then the infant was thrust into her life unexpectedly.
“I’m having a baby that I can’t keep, and I’m wondering if you will have him,” the former student, Annette, said by telephone in March 2016.
“What do you mean by ‘have him’?” asked Janice, a 47-year-old physical education teacher at Mamawi Atosketan Native School, a Seventh-day Adventist mission school for First Nations children in the Canadian province of Alberta.
“I want you to adopt him,” said Annette, 18, who was already the mother of two.
Janice didn’t think the girl was serious, but she tried to organize a meeting with Annette and her parents just to make sure. Every effort to meet with Annette and her parents fell through.
Two months later, Annette’s younger sister approached Janice between classes at the school, where she studied.
“My sister is having the baby by C-section on Thursday,” the sister said.
The night before the caesarean section, Janice’s phone rang. It was Annette.
“Could you come to the hospital to support me tomorrow when I give birth?” she said.
Janice and her husband, who have five biological children and four foster children, arrived at the hospital early in the morning. The nurse greeted them with the words, “Oh, you’re the adoptive parents.”
Janice was shocked. She thought Annette had other plans for the baby because adoption had never been discussed over than during that single phone call two months earlier.
In the hospital room, Janice asked the expectant mother about her plans.
“What’s the baby’s name?” she asked.
“It’s your baby,” Annette said. “You should name him.”
Only then did it sink in that this would be her adopted baby. A healthy boy was born a few hours later, on May 12. Janice stayed at the hospital that night and brought him home a day later. She named him Huxley.
Janice believes that Annette gave her the baby because of the teachers’ love for students at Mamawi Atosketan Native School.
“It’s not about me personally,” she said. “I worked with her family at this school for many years. She and all her siblings know that the teachers love them. That’s why she asked us to be the boy’s parents.”
Tears formed in Janice’s eyes as she spoke.
“It’s so humbling to think that I am part of this picture,” she said. “I’m expected to teach Huxley about his Creator.”
Janice Clark says she is more than a teacher to the First Nations community. She also is a relative. (Andrew McChesney / Adventist Mission)
Part of the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering in second quarter 2018 will help Mamawi Atosketan Native School expand its education program so it can teach more children about Jesus. Thank you for your mission offering.
The former student’s name has been changed