A Letter to My Son on Adoption Day

Dear Corbin –

Let me start by saying you are the BEST surprise we never knew we needed! God, however, always knows what we need.

  • God knew that CeCe needed to grow up with her baby brother.
  • God knew that Campbell needed a roommate and a best friend.
  • God knew that Clarey needed another little one to mother.
  • God knew that Carter needed someone to listen to him read.
  • God knew that Dad and I needed our faith stretched and challenged.
  • God knew that our entire family needed a little caboose with a gentle and joyful spirit.



When I first knew about you, I wrestled with whether or not I could handle the demands of five kids. A dear friend said to me, “Elizabeth, I know these days are difficult for you, but one day it will all be worth it. Your kids are going to do amazing things, whether it’s Carter giving a big speech, or that foster baby you almost didn’t take . . .” and I don’t remember another word she said because the moment she mentioned you, you became real to me. You were no longer a baby I hadn’t met . . . you were my son.

When people find out that you are CeCe’s biological brother, they often say, “Oh, well of course you had to say, Yes. What else could you do?” But we want you to know that bringing you into our family was not a decision made out of obligation. You were not a duty. You were and you are a privilege.



  • You were a decision made out of prayer. We prayed for wisdom and guidance. We wanted to provide for Carter, Clarey, Campbell, and CeCe and give them all they needed and deserved, yet we wanted to serve you well too.
  • You were a decision made out of love. We realized that we had enough love for more children and we knew you would have enough love for all of us.
  • You were a decision made out of wonder. We envisioned your future with us and without us, and we didn’t like the unknown. We realize the future is never a known commodity, but now we get a front row seat to watch your future unfold and there is no place I would rather sit!

Corbin Ray Oates

In the Bible God often gives people a new name—a name of significance. We, too, gave you a name that carries with it great meaning.

Corbin means “raven”:

“Consider the ravens:

They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn;

yet God feeds them.

And how much more valuable you are than birds!” (Luke 12:24)


We look back at the details and circumstances that occurred years before you were even born and we know that God has always been caring for you . . . you are that valuable! There will never be a moment when God is not caring for your every need.

Ray means “radiant” or “beam of light” and that is exactly what you are. You are a light and a ray of sunshine. You have never had a bad day (except for the day you got your adenoids out—that was a really bad day). You are always happy, easy-going, full of life, and ready to snuggle. You are our a gentle giant who exudes joy, even when you bump your head or step in an ant pile. You are named after Daddy’s dad: Bobby Kenneth Ray Oates, or Bob-O as the grandkids called him before he went home to be with Jesus. You and Bob-O have birthdays just one day apart, you both have infectious laughs, and you also have similar physiques, including rotund bellies that shake when you laugh. You would have loved playing together and I know Bob-O would have spent hours chasing you around the backyard. Your Bob-O would have loved you so.

If nothing else, remember this, Corbin:

You were created by the same God who created the entire universe.

He knows you.

He loves you.

He has big plans for you.

Your life matters.


And we are honored to play a small part in your big life.

We love you.

Mom, Dad, Carter, Clarey, Campbell, and Cecelia



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A Letter to My Daughter on Adoption Day

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