Sometimes you have to ask yourself, “If I could only tell one more story, what would it be?” Tell it Well is my answer.
Six months after my son’s birth I moved home, where I felt like a foreigner. Everything had changed, my body, my heart, even my soul. I might have been a junior in high school, but I felt old, and worn, and damaged, and yet, there was the tiniest bit of hope in my heart. I was still a mess in many ways, but I clung to the little bit I knew about God’s love and forgiveness. I remembered one guy in my school who was a Christian and I asked where he went to church. I went to Mass each Saturday night and my new friend’s church on Sundays. The youth group embraced me and loved me. I found a place there that I didn’t even know existed. Nobody was quite sure what to do with a girl who didn’t know the words to “Jesus Loves Me,” and who wept each Sunday for her son, but they stood by me, prayed for me, and taught me about Jesus. They gave me my first real introduction to the Bible and my small faith grew.
A year later Russ’ family came home from living overseas and returned to their home church – the church I had begun attending. From the first time I met him, I knew he was different. His faith was so big, and he was mature. He was nothing like the guys in my high school, and I was nothing like the girls he knew. We became friends, and shortly after our high school graduation we began dating. I knew then that if he asked me to marry him, I would devote myself to him for the rest of my life. I believed I wasn’t worthy of Russ, I knew I wasn’t the kind of girl his parents had dreamed would be his wife, but I also knew that Jesus loved me and maybe I could hope for something, someone, this good.
In October of our sophomore year of college, Russ and I got engaged. Jesus used Russ to bring healing deep into my heart and soul – the love of Jesus reached so far into me that even in my grief over my son, I began to have hope for a life of happiness. We married after our junior year. I longed for children to fill my empty, sorrowful arms, and God in His amazing love and kindness blessed me with babies. Almost three years after we married, Sweet Pea was born, followed by Mimi, Noah, Samuel, and Isaiah (Rusty). No longer was Mother’s Day a time of complete sorrow for me, God had redeemed it and there was some measure of healing.
No child could replace the son I had lost, so the grief still came, but not as often. I prayed for my son and thought about him. I hoped the day would come when I would know with certainty that he was alive and well somewhere in the world. I hoped he knew how much I loved him.
In 1995, when my son was sixteen, I found my way to an online adoption support group. This was a complicated process for a woman who had never used a computer. Windows did not exist, at least not on our computer, so Russ wrote down instructions of what I should type in order to end up on this website. My hope was that I might find my son by the time he was in his mid-twenties and, if he was willing, we could know one another. I posted the little bit of information I had and asked if anybody had recommendations of where I should start, books I should read, and anything else I should know.
Less than 24 hours later I got an email with this subject line, “Is this for real? I’m your son.”
[The Lord] redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion. Ps. 103:4