Ask any question at all about his new baby and Dr. William Owens sounds like any other typical, doting father. Except for the fact that he is a 72-year-old retired educator and father of six grown children.
“…I already have six grown children. The youngest is 35. But little David brings us such joy that we can’t fully express it. Starting all over again with a newborn is the greatest blessing imaginable – even at age 72. I am happier than I’ve been in years...”
| The marriage of Dr. Deborah Owens and Dr. William Owens – already distinguished by a 25-year age gap – now includes a recently adopted infant son born on Christmas Day, 2011. (Photo by Tyrone P. Easley) |
“My son has many of my characteristics,” he says. “He has a head like mine; he rests on his arms, and crosses his legs when he’s asleep. That’s exactly how I sleep. I feel that David came to us straight from heaven, the greatest blessing God could bestow. And he is, in every possible way, our child.”
His wife, Dr. Deborah Owens, concurs that David Barak (pronounced bear-wreck), their new child, has brought “unspeakable joy” into their home. The adoption of their six-week-old son is teaching them both to live every day with exuberance and gratitude.
“My husband and I are 25 years apart in age,” said Dr. Owens. “As we considered adopting, it occurred to us, of course, that Bill may not have as many years with him as we would like. But if God should give us five years with David, we will be grateful. We married back in 1995. The Lord has already granted us 16 wonderful years. Each day is a precious gift from God that we happily embrace. Bill and I are making the best of this incredible journey.”
William Owens acknowledges that he has more years behind than ahead, but says, these latter years will be his best years.
“Many children, especially in the African-American community will never experience even one day with their father,” he said. “I have a tremendous opportunity to nurture my son and pour into him what he will need to grow in the fear and admonition of the Lord. By the age of four, many aspects of home and family values have already been instilled. Love and exuberant joy is ours because David has come home.”
‘Love at first sight’
“Barak is a Hebrew word, and the name of the commander of the army of Deborah, the prophetess and heroine of the Hebrew Bible. He went out to conquer the enemies of God’s people,” Deborah Owens explained. The child’s first name, “David,” means beloved.
“David was born on Christmas Day,” she says. “The birth mother sought me out months before he was born. I labored with this child emotionally and spiritually. This past week, in a Dallas courtroom I had a chance to thank David’s birth mother for blessing us with such a wonderful gift. My baby was handed to me, and we locked eyes. That was it. Bill and I were in love with him from the first moment we laid eyes on him.
“What a joy he is to us. Both Bill and I are retired educators, and I presently run a non-profit organization called Mission Education. My passion is connecting children in need with the social services and other interventions necessary to their ability to learn? We are currently in Dallas, Texas, where I am working with an HBCU in student support services.
“We are only here temporarily. Our heart is in Memphis. When this assignment is over, we will be returning. Memphis will always be home.”