Father 1. 2. 3. 4.
Father 1. 2. 3. 4.
“Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.” — Corrie Ten Boom (The Hiding Place)
My birth mother raised my two older sisters and one brother, but placed me up for adoption at birth. From the first time my siblings and I met as adults, I felt outnumbered. Holding tightly onto my birth certificate, my brother informed me at the get-go, “You do know our father is not yours, right?” I couldn’t understand why sharing this unsettling premise with me was so important to him. No matter how much I wanted them to represent a whole part of me, it was too late for my brother to take back his callous words.
Looking at me with uncertainty in her eyes, my one sister, more like a mother to me, wasn’t so sure. I was definitely a spitting image of our late mother, but their father and I shared some similarities in our distinct looks as well. With a bear hug, she choked up and said, “I just don’t think daddy would have given up one of his own; we will make this up to you.”
My sister helped pay for an expensive blood test that proved my birth certificate is incorrect; the man’s name on the legal document was not my father’s after all. If only we could have just left the wrongs alone, I could have passed as his little girl. He wasn’t even alive to ask him in private to explain why his name was listed on my birth certificate. Feeling betrayed by the crushing truth, I moaned, “Oh, God, this hurts too much.”
After putting my heartaches aside, it only seemed right to go in and ask the courts to remove their dad’s name off my birth certificate. Noting I was visibly upset by her answer, the strictly, business-like woman standing behind the counter reiterated, “If your birth mother was married to the man on your birth certificate at the time of your conception, then by law, he is technically considered your father.”
No way, this can’t be true, I mumbled to myself while shaking my head in disbelief. “Great, I’ve had two adoptive father figures, as well as my “real” biological father all walk out of my life since I was born. And now I am supposed to just suck it up that my birth mother’s husband who signed the consent to give me away at birth is one more absent father.”
I wanted to grab that incorrect legal document out of the secretary’s hand and white-out the biological father’s name and say, “Here, I don’t want anybody’s name there.” Instead, feeling defeated I just looked at the innocent woman and said, “Thank you for your time,” as I tried to swallow my pride and walked away.
At this juncture, finding my birth father seemed like my only option in finding closure. I needed his help in persuading the courts to hopefully put his name on my birth certificate. But hearing the comforting words, “You belong to me,” was not how my journey would ultimately end. After leaving no stones unturned, I disappointingly learned that the man who was believed to be my biological father passed away just a few years before I began searching for him.
What I know to be “real” and constant through my life story is my loving husband and daughters, as well as my dear friends. I am blessed that they have continued to stay true, freely offering encouragement and solace through some difficult chapters. Over the years, I have even felt the arms of total strangers wrapping their words of kindness around me with big hugs. One of the most memorable responses I received was in my inquiry letter to see if small-town folks might know the identity of my mystery father. Calling long-distance, such a gentle-sounding voice shared with me that he was a 95-year old blind-man and had asked his wife to dial my phone number. Although he did not have any answers for me, I felt compassion in his words, “My wife and I just wanted you to know we care and are praying for you.”
It’s when life throws hard balls that I can see God standing up in the bleachers reminding me of His promises.