The Continuing Story

To all of our faithful readers and friends, God has been at work behind the scenes writing the next chapter of Born to Deliver…

On January 9, 2018, I traveled to Memphis to spend a couple of weeks visiting my brother and family. As I spent time in my hometown, memories flooded back of years gone by. I felt my heart pulled in a thousand different directions as I remembered my tumultuous childhood, broken relationships, and shattered dreams. Above all the rest lingered memories of the son I had been forced to relinquish to the care of another family. How I wished that I could have kept him, watched him grow up, or at least known that he was okay.

As much as I wanted these things, I pushed the longings from my mind. I had been rejected once when I tried to find him and couldn’t bear the thought of going through those emotions (or putting him through them!) again. Instead, I continued praying daily for “my son and his family.” I prayed for each of my daughters and their children by name. But for him I had no name. Just a flood of emptiness.

Wistful thoughts simmered in my mind for the rest of the trip. When I once again crossed over that bridge to head home to Kansas I longed for my family and for peace.

When I arrived home from Memphis, my dear friend Deidre came over for a visit and asked about my trip. I shared the highlights, but then confessed how much I had been struggling with the void of uncertainty about my son. A giddy smile lit up her face as she reminded me that she had been a Private Investigator, adding modestly that she was quite good at it! She had faced similar situations before and had proven methods for finding missing persons. Hope and fear mingled in my heart. Reluctantly, I finally agreed to let Deidre start investigating, but I was adamant that we couldn’t go through the home I had contacted about him in 1988. She agreed.

After pouring over records for four days, Deidre called. She had narrowed the search down to four boys who were born on his birthday in the same town at the same hospital. She told me the four names. I caught my breath when I realized that one of these belonged to the nameless boy that I had prayed for all these years. Excitement began to build in my bones!

It’s not as simple as one might think to connect the right names to the right people. We began the process of elimination. After a week, we had spoken with a kindly pastor who assured us that he was not adopted, but he wished me the best in my search. The second call produced similar results. My anxiety grew as the list narrowed to two.

We easily tracked the third name down on Facebook and I read every post he had written for the last several years. He had a son named Ethan (coincidentally also the name of one of my grandsons) and every picture brought flashbacks of my son’s father. They looked strikingly alike. It had to be him. I compared photo after photo. The more I looked, the more my uncertainty grew. Maybe this was a terrible idea after all.

I told Deidre to see if she could rule out the fourth name while I stepped back and spent some time praying and preparing. I told Deidre that I was afraid of another rejection. More than anything I didn’t want to upset my son and cause him grief. She reminded me that the last attempt to connect had been thirty years ago.

“You aren’t the same person today, and neither is he.”

Her wisdom was reassuring, but the prospect of pain was real. Would it cause my son more stress and hurt if I kept pursuing him? I had made a choice to give him up which greatly impacted both of our lives. But how I longed to find answers to my questions! “Was he alive?” “Did he have a family?” “Who did he look like?” “Did he have a good upbringing?” “Should I dare to hope for as positive an outcome as when Amy found me?” “How in the world would I communicate with a son?”

I wasn’t prepared for another rejection. But I was even more unprepared to go on not knowing. I didn’t want to miss a blessing, and I wanted him to know he had a wonderful family that would embrace and love him. And so the investigation continued. Two down, two to go.

After two weeks of riding emotional highs and lows like a rollercoaster, my world seemed to halt when I heard Deidre’s voice on the other end of the phone, “I think I found him.” It was Monday morning, February 5, 2018. She was full of excitement and said she just wanted to contact a relative to confirm what her instincts were already telling her. Was this one was really him? She had fired off a message right away and was waiting to hear back. I asked if we should go ahead and contact the third man that I had been putting off. Before she could answer, a message popped up in her inbox: “Is this concerning an adoption?”
Before I knew what was happening, the relative on the other end contacted my son to relay the news that she had heard from me. She revealed that they were searching for me in 2014. I believe in God’s providence and in His timing. In 1988 I was in the middle of a divorce. For whatever reason, it was not meant to be then.
My heart was bursting! My son was looking for me! Within minutes my trembling hands pressed the phone to my ear and I heard, for the first time in 52 years, the voice of my only son.
After praying for my nameless son and his family for so many years, the first thing I did was grab my prayer list to add his name and the names of his three daughters (all of which I’m withholding right now in order to protect his family’s privacy). I couldn’t stop saying his name over and over. I still am. I love saying his name.
The next several days were a whirlwind as I soaked up as much information as I could. I knew it was impossible to fit a lifetime into a few phone calls, but we sure tried! Conversations flowed easily between us as we asked and answered a barrage of questions from each other. I found myself smiling and laughing often at his shockingly funny and outgoing personality. He was incredibly open and assured me that he had never felt any resentment or bitterness toward me. His parents were wonderful, loving people who had always cared for him and supported him. He had a wonderful family. I was so relieved and couldn’t have asked for more!
After five decades of waiting and wondering, God had answered my prayers above and beyond my wildest imaginations, I enjoyed introducing him by phone to all of his new-found sisters, brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews, and his Uncle Eric. My family has welcomed him with open arms and we can’t wait to have a huge family reunion face-to-face!
When I think of how differently this story could have played out, I am in awe of how richly God has blessed me and all of my children. I have never felt more at peace and settled in my life. Imagine how my heart bursts with joy now when someone asks me the question I once dreaded? “How many children do you have?” Proudly, I respond, “I have one son and four daughters. Plus, eighteen beautiful grandchildren!” My heart is full.
How grateful I am that God doesn’t bless us according to what we deserve, but according to His own steadfast love and mercy.