Three months had passed since mom took the baby home. And although Dad worked side by side with Barzel Childers every day, there didn’t seem to be any discussion about Barzel’s plans. Barzel had never come to see the child, or even brought his other children to see him; it was as though the baby had been forgotten.

Well, if my mother had any say in the matter, there would certainly be no abandoning of that baby.

One night at supper. “Paul, Barzel needs to come get this baby. He’s getting very attached to me. Something has to be done.” Of course, deep in the recesses of her heart, my mother knew it was she who was becoming deeply attached. “ I know,” says dad. “I’ll talk to Barzel tomorrow.

And he did.

Brazel agreed to let my parents keep the child. He just couldn’t find a way to care for him. Dad obtained a lawyer who drew up the adoption papers. On a cold February morning in the winter of 1944, Mom and dad drove to Whitesburg, Kentucky to adopt my brother. Whitesburg, eleven miles southwest of Haymond on hwy 119, is the county seat of Letcher County.

The night before the adoption, Mom took the baby to the Childers’ home so the other children could spend time with him. The next morning Brazel, the baby, and my parents with Hester Stapleton as a witness, met in the lawyer’s office. I can just see my mother….demure, holding back her excitement and yet beaming with joy.

When I heard this story, it raised a lot of questions. But I didn’t ask. I hold on to the belief that powers larger than the situation were at force. My brother would have a life much different than the one he would have had had Brazel taken him back.

One by one they all signed the papers. Afterwards, Barzel took a deep breath and rested the baby in my mother’s waiting arms, arms that already knew the gravity of the moment. “ He’s all yours. There ain’t nobody this side of hell can take him away from you.”

They named him James…he who supplants…the child had made a humble plea to be loved.

My sister Sue was six years old when Jimmy came home to stay. Six years later I would arrive, and Jimmy would be fighting for his life.

Years later as my mother was dying, she went to see a doctor. “Tell me something, will you?” asked the doctor. “What got you through all of life’s upheavals?”

“Faith, and my children. That’s what. What else is there?”



  • I, well remember the Childres family. Doris as I recall was Jimmy’s sister a very likable person. Your family was a very important part of our community. Your dad was a staunch hard working gentleman as was my dad, they didn’t have time nor the energy for foolishness. Lol. Jimmy was a delightful young man and I dare say had enough love given to him by your family to last a lifetime. It is difficult to comprehend at the time events occur in our lives, that perhaps God has sent a blessing that will last forever, your mom and dad loved Jimmy with an everlasting love.
    Take care my dear friend,

    Nancy (Warf) Manning
  • I meant “head bowed”

  • I meant “head bowed”

  • Aching and feeling both nodding at truth told and headboard at shortcomings of my own.

  • You are a writer. Beautiful story.

    Mary Simeone

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