A UNIQUE & BLESSED LIFE
Anne Carter (nee Greer) has had a life quite different from most women. In addition to being a nurse, a wife, and a mother, she spent thirty years as a medical missionary in Africa along with her physician husband, Dr. Louis Carter and children. Their experiences in preparing for and working in Africa are extensive. However, in honor of Mother’s Day, the story of how Anne became a mother follows:
“My husband and I moved to Dallas, Texas, following his completion of medical school at the University of Tennessee. After five years of remaining childless, we decided to apply for adoption.
“The application for adoption in Texas was thorough. There were lengthy forms to complete, eight references, and an office and a home visit required. In preparing for the home visit, I scrubbed the house as if I were preparing for surgery! Just before the case worker was expected, she phoned letting us know that ‘Dr. Carter is expected to be there, too.’ I said, ‘No, he is at work.’ She insisted it was necessary that he be there. Louis was at the hospital and had been there for the past 36 hours. Shortly after the case worker arrived, a very tired Louis also arrived. It didn’t take long for Louis to drop off to sleep. He even snored! I knew that our hopes for adoption were ended. Nevertheless, I prepared a nursery during the nine months to one-year waiting time, just in case.
“One day, about a year after our interview, I received a phone call from the adoption agency. A voice said, ‘Mrs. Carter, you have a baby boy in Fort Worth. Can you and Dr. Carter pick him up today at 3 o’clock?’ ‘TODAY?’ I said. ‘Yes,’ she responded as if there were no options. Louis was at work, so I called Louis with the news. I was stunned by his response. ‘Do you think we should take this baby?’ a shocked Louis asked. I answered, ‘What do you mean? Of course, we should take him!’ Despite many hurdles and events that occurred that day, we were able to get to Fort Worth and bring home our nine-day-old son, David.
“We were told that the adoption agency preferred to wait two years before another adoption. However, because we were planning to leave for Africa in two years, we were told to apply in one year. When David was one year old, I called the adoption agency and was told that because of the law legalizing abortion, fewer babies were available. So Louis and I decided we were a family of three and were thankful for that.
“We had received permission to serve in Nigeria. Before we could leave, it was necessary to complete all the plans, and in addition, Louis was to take the surgery boards. One day in September, Louis had an errand in Fort Worth, and we decided to take David by the adoption agency. While there, we were asked if we would like to fill out papers for another child. I said, ‘I know you don’t have enough babies now.’ She was insistent, saying, ‘Oh, we don’t think one child makes a home.’ Well, I thought, it sure made ours! I took the papers, planning to ignore them. Later the agency called letting me know they were expecting those papers, so I completed them and rounded up the referrals that were required. We were so busy making plans for Africa, I forgot about the adoption papers, believing that there was no way we would get a baby before we left for Africa.
“On Friday, December 28th at 4 p.m., I received a phone call and a voice said, ‘Mrs. Carter, you have a baby girl.’ SHOCK! I had nothing prepared and asked to delay picking her up. She replied, ‘Well, be sure and pick her up by the 31st so you will get a tax deduction.’ With the help of friends and panic shopping, I was able to assemble the basic items needed. We happily picked up our 11-day-old daughter, Laney, and continued making our plans for Africa.”
The move to Africa was possible through the Carters’ appeal to many sources and the help of many people. The shock of arriving in Africa was lessened because of a prior visit. However, this trip, according to Anne, had the added “joy” of traveling with a baby and a small child.
Yes, the Carters’ 30 years of serving in Africa were filled with stories and adventures worthy of a book. For example, shortly after their arrival, Laney became ill with malaria and almost died. Another time, while serving in an area with poor schools, the Carters had to send their children to a boarding school 400 miles away from home. A friend flew them once a month to visit the children, but it was very traumatic to all. Anne says, “Each time we left, we had to leave an almost hysterical daughter.” They eventually moved to a location where the children were able to attend a great school. Today, David and Laney are doing well and in frequent contact with Anne.
The Carters visited Kirby Pines in early December 2021. Unfortunately, Louis died on Christmas Day. Anne moved to Kirby in July 2022. She is still making adjustments to her changed lifestyle but says that the friendliness of everyone makes her feel welcome.
Written by Joan Dodson, Resident, Kirby Pines.