He saw an image of himself as a father a decade before he married, but wondered if it was just his imagination.
- Posted on May 23, 2019
As a kid growing up in rural Arkansas, Walt loved to wander the woods. He enjoyed the time alone. He felt closest to God alone among the trees, under the dappled sun.
One hot summer day, Walt paused to rest during one of his walks. Suddenly something flashed through his mind. A clear picture formed. There he was in a yard, all grown up. He was twirling a little girl around in his arms. She had dark brown eyes and olive skin; she looked nothing like green-eyed Walt. Yet he knew this was his daughter. And he even knew her name: Chloe.
As fast as it came, the vision went. Walt was unsure of what he’d just seen. At 12 years old, he couldn’t imagine himself as anyone’s father. And Chloe was a weird name, especially back in the 1980s.
The experience stuck with Walt throughout his teens and into his twenties. Had God tried to tell him something that day in the woods? He wasn’t sure. Not until 12 years later, when he grew closer to a childhood friend, Annie. They’d grown up together, but Walt no longer lived in town. When she enrolled at a college near him, they hit it off. They began spending more and more time together.
Conversation flowed easily. They’d shared so many experiences in their lives that it didn’t take much time for them to start talking about the future. “I know I’m going to be a parent,” Walt said. “I’ve always wanted to be.”
“Me too,” Annie said. “I even know a name I like for a girl—Chloe.” Walt’s eyes went wide. “I know the name of my daughter too,” he said. He told Annie about his vision: the girl with the brown eyes. Chloe. It didn’t sound so strange anymore.
In May 2001, Walt and Annie married. Four years later, they decided to have kids. Walt felt sure that now was the time—he’d finally get to meet the little girl named Chloe. Though he didn’t know how exactly it would work out. He and Annie were fair, and she had blue eyes.
They tried for six months. Nothing happened. They saw a specialist. Tried hormones, herbs, lots of prayers. Still, nothing worked. Finally Annie brought up the possibility of adoption. Walt knew he wouldn’t love an adopted child any less. But what about Chloe? He couldn’t help but wonder. I thought God had a plan for me…. Was he getting ahead of God just because things were taking too long? Or was that childhood vision just his imagination?
Three months after applying at an adoption agency, they got a call. A woman named Allie had chosen them to be the parents of her baby. They met with her to discuss the birth plan and work out how everyone would get to the hospital. According to Kansas law, Allie would name the baby at birth. Walt and Annie would choose the name that went on the birth certificate.
For some time, Annie and Walt had decided that they wanted to incorporate the name Allie chose. When they talked to Allie, she placed a hand on her belly. “Since I got pregnant, I’ve been calling her Chloe. I don’t know why.”
On February 17, 2010, Allie gave birth to a healthy baby girl. Walt looked down at the child in his arms and caught his breath. She had olive skin, brown eyes and wisps of dark brown hair on her head. His Chloe. Walt couldn’t wait to twirl her in his arms.
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