The woman’s oldest daughter was 18 and considered an adult, but she had a couple of her own children already. The children’s fathers were not considered suitable options for their care. At a custody hearing, an aunt took Adasia’s two brothers, and a cousin took her two sisters.
No one was able to care for Adasia.
Sister Margaret Ann had joked with Randall over the previous year about wanting to take Adasia home with her. Now Randall wanted to know if she was serious. A hearing would decide where Adasia would live.
Sister Margaret Ann said she didn’t expect it to be with her.
“I’m white, I’m not a relative and the foster parent had some intention of taking her,” she said.
When Sister Margaret Ann went to the hearing, she didn’t know the foster parent had dropped out. The hearing took five minutes and 16-month-old Adasia went back to Hope House with Sister Margaret Ann.
“People, especially Ursuline associates, started bringing clothes, cribs, diapers …” Sister Margaret Ann said.
Adasia was baptized Jan. 11, 2004, on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Her godparents are lifetime Ursuline Associates Carolyn and Benjamin Head.
At her adoption on May 22, 2006, Adasia’s name was officially changed to Zinselmeyer.
“At St. Jude they say, ‘Adasia Zinselmeyer?’” Sister Margaret Ann said of the strange name combination. “I say, ‘Doesn’t she look German?’”
Adasia takes medicine at 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. every day. Even missing the dosage by an hour causes the virus to begin replicating, Sister Maureen said.
Adasia will be on medication all her life, but now her viral load is undetectable. Chances are low that Sister Margaret Ann could contract HIV from her, she said. There’s a good chance that if Adasia has children some day, she won’t pass the virus on to them.
One girl who started at Hope House in its early days is 17 now, so she gives Sister Margaret Ann hope.
One of Sister Margaret Ann’s classmates in the novitiate was Sister Claudia Hayden, who works as a staff nurse at Mount Saint Joseph and is raising her niece and two nephews. She said the two have talked about raising children.
“Marge is really smart and she has a natural skill with children,” Sister Claudia said. “I just recall her on campus with sisters’ nieces and nephews who were toddlers or preschoolers. She has a big heart.”
Sister Margaret Ann concedes she always wanted to be a mother, but she attributes a “mini-spiritual conversion” between 2001-2003 as playing a role in adopting Adasia.
“I was just open to it,” she said.
The pitfalls of becoming Adasia’s mother – concerns from the Ursuline community, the costs of Adasia’s future health and education needs, Sister Margaret Ann’s age of 58 – were nothing to prevent her from acting.
“You just don’t worry about it,” she said.
“I told her she can be anything she wants as long as she gets a scholarship,” she said.
Sister Margaret Ann’s family was ecstatic by the addition of Adasia. “She and my dad bonded really well, and she and her Grandma Mary also,” Sister Margaret Ann said.
Adasia goes to dance class, and her competitive streak often results in a challenge to her mother to race. Like many children, she thinks her mother should be more patient, Sister Margaret Ann said.
“She’s got a great sense of wonder,” Sister Margaret Ann said. “She’s broadened my world. It’s like God, you don’t know what’s going to happen next. She drew a picture in her school when my dad died that said, ‘My grandpa is an angel who watches over me.’”
Sister Margaret Ann sees beautiful children each day who come from a tragic home life. What made Adasia the one she decided to adopt?
“She’s such a fighter. She had nobody,” Sister Margaret Ann said. “I never had an affinity with anyone like I did with Adasia.”
No questions asked.
By Dan Heckel