I was heavily into ‘lay-ministry’, spending mornings teaching at the Christian school, afternoons and evenings in planning, teaching or working with others in my church’s music department. I loved my work and was excited about every aspect of it. But a gnawing began to grow. I thought I’d lain this to rest. I didn’t need to know now…that void was filled, right? I shouldn’t need to know anymore, should I? Yet, in spite of a fulfilled life, I was suddenly, all over again, aching to know. I didn’t like this. I was happily married with three great kids…Why should this desire resurface now?
Nearly ten years had passed since one of my older sisters, (non-adopted), had posed a question I don’t think had ever surfaced between any of my siblings before… “Don’t you want to know where you came from?” I answered that I had often wondered, but didn’t feel the urgency anymore, except maybe in regard to medical history, and I didn’t want to hurt my dad’s feelings. (My [adoptive] mother had passed away before I’d married.) Apparently, my sister heard something in my voice that I’d not meant to reveal, and the next thing I knew, my father called to give me reassurance should I decide to search. I was shocked…and grateful.
At that time, computer and internet access were not the norm of every household. Not knowing where to begin, I wrote a private investigator. His price to attempt to find missing people was so outrageous that I was thoroughly convinced this was not the proper time to undertake a search. I surprised myself with how little it really mattered. In giving up, I did not grieve, but accepted the matter as closed.
For many years, I believed that to be the truth and never considered this may not be a, “No” to prayer, but rather a, “Wait.” I was not ready and quite possibly, those on the receiving end of my eventual search were no more ready than I.
When I did begin pursuit, nearly ten years later, my motives had somewhat changed from the beginning. Although I discovered the desire to know my biological mother was still intact, no longer was the motivation about ‘me and my void’, but about the possibility of filling someone else’s need and void- someone who needed it filled even more than I. It was about answering someone else’s questions, not just mine. In addition to considering the possibility that my birth mother needed such knowledge, I already knew my own children were curious about their ‘blood heritage’.
To prepare for this endeavor, I had to step outside of my own fear of rejection and trust that if I did fall, I would fall into loving arms. Knowing my husband’s heart, this was not a hard thing to trust. But in the event the search had a sour end, I knew I would need even stronger arms than his…I now was fully confident that those arms belonged to Jesus. My heart and spirit had taken a lifetime to prepare, via hardships, faith, forgiveness and prayer. Through hardships, many the same as any other person would endure, I found faith. Through faith, I found and learned to give forgiveness, and through prayer, I found the ability to forgive a possible offense even before it presented itself. Only by this would I be able to endure the disappointment of rejection.
I have already shared about the friend who confided that his adopted child had been placed up for adoption when the mother was discovered trying to end the child’s life. This story was shared with me years earlier and consequent fear nearly stripped me of the courage to start the search. But the closer I came to the decision to begin, the stronger the idea grew that my mother needed to know about my outcome. As scared as I was of the possible catastrophic findings, this thought was the prevailing motivator: “She needs to know.”
-She needed to know she had made the right choice.
-She needed to know she was forgiven, even appreciated, and understood.
-And she needed to know she had grandchildren.
As it turned out, the idea was not just in my head. It was real. Not only was it true that she needed to know all these things, but more than all these, she needed to know her prayers mattered and were just as worthy of answering as the next guy’s.
By no means a woman of steel, I had received just enough strength to begin the journey. Even with the faith I thought I had, I didn’t know for sure that I would follow through…but I would, at least, pursue a name.
Credits: Cindy Hailey
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