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Biker Angel

A stranger told Steve what I had been telling him all along. Maybe he just needed an earth angel to convince him.

Earth angels: Biker convinces couple to adopt
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It was my husband’s idea to celebrate my 34th birthday with a vacation trip to Yellowstone and the Teton Mountains—on our Honda Goldwing motorcycle. Steve lived and breathed motorcycles. In nine years of marriage, I’d learned to like them, too, but a three-day journey from our home in Wisconsin was proving to be a long ride. “We’ll finally get some time alone together,” Steve had said. “What more could you want?” For me, there was one thing more I wanted. A baby. 

Tests showed that Steve and I were both capable of having children, but so far nothing had happened. And it wasn’t for lack of trying. Steve was resigned to letting nature take its course. But I wanted us to be a family. A family with kids. I’d tried talking about adoption, but Steve always said it wasn’t an option for him.

By that third day into our journey, I was exhausted. Camping by the roadside, eating snacks at convenience stations—I was ready to be there. I switched on the microphone in my helmet and buzzed Steve on our intercom. “I’m so looking forward to Jellystone,” I said. 

“Yellowstone, silly,” Steve said.

“Right.” At this point I couldn’t even think straight. 

“We don’t have far to go. Hang on and enjoy the view,” Steve said, giving me the thumbs-up. The scenery whizzed by without my paying much attention. If Steve only understood how much I want a child, I thought. Sometimes it was hard for me to think of anything else. 

I leaned around Steve to see if there was a sign for Yellowstone. Up ahead was a giant roadside billboard featuring a smiling toddler in a diaper. The message read, “Adoption Is an Option.” Not for my husband, it wasn’t. Dear God, please help me accept the things I cannot change.

We were weary-eyed and numb when we finally pulled into a campsite just inside Yellowstone National Park. It was crowded, and we’d neglected to make reservations. “What if there’s no room at the inn?” I said.

Steve handed me his wallet. He stayed with the bike, and I went to the ticket window. “You’re in luck,” the attendant said. “We have one bike spot left at No. 9. There’s a bear box to protect your food.”

I told Steve about the bear box. “What’s that all about?” 

Steve chuckled. “Bears live here,” he said. “We’re just visitors.”

We unhitched the trailer and popped open our tent. “Evening,” said the old biker camped next to us.

“Evening,” I said. Right away I noticed that his motorcycle was just like ours, only older. Steve helped me open the tent, then reached for a soda from the cooler. “I’m going to talk to our fellow camper,” he said. “I’ll leave you to set up, if that’s all right.”

“Sure,” I said, waving him off. Now that we were here, I was determined to have a good time. My worries would be waiting for me when we got home.

“Nice bike,” I heard Steve say. 

“Name’s Ed,” said our neighbor.

I finished unpacking and joined the men. Ed was as passionate as Steve about motorcycles. He was from Saskatchewan, Canada, and had been biking for years. “Travelin’ solo lately. The wife likes to stay home with the grandkids,” he said. “A fella’s gotta get on his scooter and see what it can do, aye?” Ed stood up and danced a little jig. “How long you two been married?” he asked.

“Nine years,” I said.

“Kids?” Ed asked.

Steve was silent. “It doesn’t seem to be in God’s plan for us,” I said.

“Yes, indeed,” Ed said. “Eleanor and me were married near 10 years and feeling like something was missing. You know the feeling, aye?”

“All too well,” I said.

“I wanted nothing to do with children unless they came from me. Stubborn, aye?” 

I couldn’t help reaching for Steve’s hand. Ed kept on: “Finally I gave in. We adopted a little girl. Best decision we ever made.”

Steve stood up, turned around and kicked at the dirt.

“Not adopting would have meant no grandchildren,” Ed said. “Life without a child is one thing. Being alone in later years is another.”

Steve turned back.

“It’s something to consider,” he said. “See you in the morning, aye?”

Steve ushered me into our tent. “That was weird,” he whispered. “A stranger on the road. Riding a bike like ours. Talking about adoption…and making a lot of sense. Maybe I’ve been stubborn, just like Ed was.”

I couldn’t believe my ears. Was Steve changing his mind?

In the morning we saw Ed before he left. He looked at Steve. “Did you give any thought to what I said?” 

“It’s definitely something to consider,” Steve said. “Definitely.” Then Steve and Ed shook on it.

“Don’t wait too long, aye?” Ed said. Then he winked at me. “Have fun in Jellystone,” he said. He waved goodbye and rode off on his bike.

“Did he say Jellystone?” I said. “Was he for real?”

“Maybe,” Steve said. “A real angel.”

I thought of the smiling baby on the billboard. Thank you, God. Adoption was now an option.

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