Washington, VT, Dec. 11, 1916
My Dear Niece,
My Dear Niece,
I think I ought to write a few lines to send in Robert’s letter. Do you know that when I think of you it is always as the little girl that came by to visit me with Sister Jane. I can see you now as you were then and some of your talk is as fresh as it was the day you were here, and right here I will take the liberty to say that I think your mother done the best thing she could do for you when she gave you to Sister Jane. I could not see at that time how a mother could give away a daughter, but later I could see an over ruling power in the transaction.
You were in the hands of God and he knew best what was for your future good. He never makes a mistake.
I am so glad that you were a faithful daughter, and cared so tenderly for Sister Jane in her last trying days.
May God bless and keep you ever near him is the wish of your
This letter has a special place in my heart. Great-great aunt Rosetta (wife of Robert Fletcher Richardson II) does not know about "positive adoption language," but she does echo my heart that God does know what He is doing in directing our lives even when things don't always make sense. Since my daughters are adopted, I believe too that God had a plan for them when they came my way and that it was for good for them and even more for me (us).
Ella Jane, born Julia Eldora, the name she had until she was six years old was born to Mary Elizabeth Richardson and Evi Welch on June 18, 1861. Evi only lived a few months beyond Julia's birth. He may have been a wonderful person or not, but he impacted our family in a dramatic if short way. Either his grave is no longer marked, or he was moved to a different cemetery in Vermont, so we can't pay our respects in person. When Julia was six yearsold, Mary and her second husband, Martin Dexter, allowed their childless sister and brother-in-law to adopt Julia who then became the Ella Jane that was known and loved by so many. The picture above was said to have been taken the day of the adoption.
I have love enough for both Mary Elizabeth, my birth great-great grandmother and for Rosina Jane, my adoptive great-great grandmother. I've stood at both of their graves, in West Topsham, VT and Kendall, Wisconsin respectively, and I thank them both for the part they have played in my life. Ella Jane would not have been the person she was without both of them and without all three of the father's that played a role in her life -- her birth father Evi, her step-father, Martin (who held her in his arms all night before they went to court the next day (so they say)), and David who raised her along with Jane.
I look forward to meeting all of them someday at the restoration of all things.