John Denver: “Zak Was the Child in My Dream”

Dream PBE:

We then went through the adoption process, which I remember as a time of great humility. Once we started processing the adoption papers, whenever I found a quiet moment in the day, including just before I got out of bed in the morning, I offered a prayer to this little spirit out there: “Whoever you are, wherever you are, I don’t know what you have to go through to get here and be with us, but we love you very much and can’t wait to be with you.”

With all of those anticipations streaming through me, we came to New York. I had four sold out nights at Madison Square Garden and we were staying at the Sherry-Netherland. It was May 12, 1974, and that night I dreamed that three people in white robes came and gave me a little boy. We hadn’t specified either sex in our communication with the adoption agency, all we wanted was that the baby be healthy enough to live with us in the mountains. We were active people, we liked to be outside, and we wanted that for our baby as well. But in my dream, when the baby was put into my arms, I noticed that it was a boy— a dark-faced boy with round eyes and a bit of an overbite— and as I was holding him, he looked up, grabbed my thumb, and smiled.

In the morning, I recounted the dream to Annie. Eleven days later, Zak was born. We didn’t see him then, but we were notified about his birth, and when he was about two months old we went up to Minnesota to the adoption agency to pick him up. I remember hearing ‘Annie’s Song’ come on the radio as we were driving there. It had become the number one song in the country that week, which struck me as an interesting coincidence. For some reason, I automatically translated that piece of information into a projected entry in Zak’s baby book: On this hot day in August, the number one song in the country is a song Dad wrote for Mom. Anyway, we arrived at the agency. Zak was being flown up from the South. There were papers to be signed. There was also a little formal procedure to go through, designed to help adoptive parents deal with the anxiety of meeting their child.

They had walked us through the place when we were there before. You first went down a long hall-way, and then upstairs at the end of another hall there was a little room decorated as a nursery, with a crib and a couch. This was where you were supposed to get your first glimpse of your baby. We had just been told that the young woman who was bringing Zak had been delayed and we were trying to keep from feeling disappointed, when the door at the far end of the hall opened and the woman appeared after all, with our child. Without a word, she came running down the hall and handed the baby to me. He had round eyes and this little bit of an overbite, and when I held him he smiled and grabbed my thumb. Zak was the child in my dream— exactly the same child! I recognized his face and I think he recognized mine. At least he looked at me in the most knowing way. Right there, dream and reality came together for me.

quoted from Take Me Home: an Autobiography by John Denver, p 116

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