In 1967, Joan and Chuck French wanted a family. Joan, then a 33 year old volunteer with the Red Cross who had a passion for cooking, and Chuck, 35, who traveled a great deal for business, decided to turn to adoption through the state as their starting point. They adopted Mark and he arrived at their home 10 days after being born. Eight years later, they adopted another child, a six month old girl. Joan French would go on to act as the President of the Board of the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange from 1972-1979. In her role, she had the opportunity to sit down with news anchor Jack Williams and discuss recruitment strategies over lunch, giving birth to the idea of Wednesday’s Child.
Growing up in Lexington, Mark was a happy-go-lucky kid. When he wasn’t playing in the backyard pretending to cut the grass with his toy lawnmower, he was playing with his dog or practicing swimming; in the winter he loved playing in the snow. When his dad traveled for business, he looked forward to receiving postcards where he learned of other cultures and different countries.
“I always had everything I could need. There were so many people outside my family that made sure I grew up knowing all the ‘right things’ in life”, said Mark, who added “one thing I always knew was that I was adopted.”
Mark never thought of looking for his biological parents until he became sick in college; his doctor asked him to provide a family history to find a solution, and to do so, Mark contacted the Probate Court and received his entire adoption file, where he found out his entire family history, including the names of his biological parents. Two years later, he contacted and met his biological mother. He has never contacted his biological father. Mark, now 48 and a working professional, recognizes how important it is for parents to take the time to talk to their children about being adopted, and reflects on his past in a positive way: “After meeting my biological mother, I saw what my life would have been like if I had not been adopted by two of the most loving, caring and kind people on the face of the earth. My parents never hid from me the fact that I was adopted. They always told me that my mother loved me enough to let me go, and be raised by people who would love me and make sure I always had everything she could not do for me, and she was right!”
Over time, Mark has also been able to work as a resource for prospective adoptive families, and remembers how, while living in North Carolina, his supervisor, who also wanted a family, approached him with questions about adoption.
Joan and Chuck French’s legacy continues on with Mark, as he states: “Adoption is one of the biggest decisions any prospective parent can make for a child. Adopted children are no different than children that are not adopted. They need love, attention, stability and honesty.” And what does Mark see in his future? “I want to find a wife and adopt at least two kids! ”