S: JJ's Story by Darlene K. Flaming
FC: JJ's Story
1: This is Mama's story for and about J.J. You were born on April 20, 2007, but your story began much earlier. Let me start with your grandparents.
2: Darlene Kaye Flaming (your Mama) was born on June 27, 1962. I joined sisters Linda and Joy; brother John came later. | John Paul Flaming and Betty Jane McDaniel were married on January 12, 1957. (These are Mama's parents who died before you were born.)
3: I had a very fun and creative childhood. I graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University and spent two years in French Guiana as a missionary. | After Seminary I earned my PhD at Notre Dame. I became a professor of Christianity at Mercer University.
4: Robert G. Felton and Elizabeth Dell Young got married on October 3, 1958. That's your Grandma and Papa! | They were in Louisville, KY between Papa's language school in California and assignment to Germany when a little baby was born on December 23, 1963. They adopted him and named him David Scott Felton. That's your Daddy!
5: David spent his first 3 years in Germany. His family also lived in Kansas, Washington, D.C. and Columbus depending on where his Dad was stationed. He loved to eat, read and play with his dog Rusty. He graduated from Furman and Auburn with degrees in Geology.
6: David loved his family and particularly spending time with Kara and Kayla. But because of work, he moved to the cold of New Jersey and worked for oil companies for 10 years. | While he was there he found his real passion was for the church and he felt God call him to be a pastor. He moved back to Georgia to go to seminary. | This is where our two different stories unite.
7: Jennifer was one of my former students at Mercer and she was in class at seminary with David. She invited both of us to her wedding. We met for the first time in October 2003 and quickly fell in love. | We were engaged in January 2004. | We got married on June 26, 2004.
8: We knew right away that we wanted a family and decided to share our love with a child through adoption. We worked with Bethany Christian Services to fill out lots of papers so that we could adopt a baby from Guatemala who needed a family. | A baby boy was born on April 20, 2007 in Zacapa, Guatemala. The first name he was given was Josué Pérez de la Cruz. His birth mother was Elsa Pérez de la Cruz. She knew that she could not take good care of a baby, but she loved him so much that she made a plan to find him a forever family. | This is the only picture we have of your birth mother.
9: We received a call on Memorial Day 2007 that this baby boy born in Guatemala could be our son. These were the first pictures that we saw of you. We decided to name you: Joshua (the name given at birth) John (after my father) Felton (your Dad's last name), but we always called you JJ.
10: You spent most of your first year in Guatemala with your foster mother, Mama Theresa. | She had two daughters who also loved you and cared for you. | Here are pictures of your first eleven months.
11: Mama Theresa described you as being muy tranquilo-- very calm or mellow. | She still calls and writes because y you captured her heart.
12: On March 16, 2008, Daddy and I flew to Guatemala and finally got to hold you for the first time. We celebrate March 16 as your "Gotcha Day"! | The first night you cried and cried because you had to say goodbye to Mama Theresa, but you quickly learned that Mama and Daddy were going to be your parents forever and that we loved you dearly.
13: We were only in Guatemala for 5 days, then you took your first ride on an airplane home to Georgia. That weekend you met Grandma, Papa, Kara, and Kayla. On Sunday we took you to Daddy's church in Dawson and got to celebrate your first Easter with you.
14: That spring we celebrated a lot of "firsts": Your first birthday, Your first steps, Your first Cherry Blossom Festival,
15: Mama's first Mother's Day, Daddy's first Father's Day, and your baptism. We had a lot of wonderful times together as a family.
16: On June 23, 2008 something very sad happened. Daddy was driving home from church and died in a car accident. We know that Daddy is with God, but it was sad to say goodbye because we miss him very much.
17: You and Daddy had some very special times in the short time you had together. Daddy loved you so much and was so proud to be your father.
18: Now JJ & Mama are the heart of our family, but . . .
19: we are surrounded by a lot of people who love us!
20: This is just the beginning of the JJ story. | Your curiosity, imagination, | intelligence, humor,
21: will bring you a whole life filled with adventure! | and love