April 20, 2015

The Search for My Father:
We've Come a Long Way, Baby!

Major advancements are happening in the search for my natural father. I believe we are close to an end of the search and am cautiously optimistic. 
I never would have dreamed even a month ago that we would be at the place we are at now.

Incredible breakthroughs have happened.  It’s amazing how many people have come together and given of themselves to help me. I have the most amazing search team, ever! My stepfather Tom (who is assisting me in the search) mentioned to me the other day how amazed he is that so many are helping – and specifically some people who do not share my religious beliefs.  I explained, I have many friends – even very close friends, who do not share my faith.

I am not shocked that people who don’t share my beliefs help me, as I’ve always had relationships with people of many backgrounds and walks of life. I am, however, surprised at how many complete strangers are helping me.

One day I will share the story, with names changed as I always do, to protect those who need privacy.  

A Reunion Before the Reunion

A blessing that occurred recently in this process of the search is being reunited with my foster parents. So far we have just connected over the phone but we hope to meet in person this summer.

“Mr. and Mrs. N” cared for me the first two months of my life, exactly…from August 5 to October 5. The first four days I was in the hospital and after that I went to their home.

Our reunion came about because I have been in close touch with the adoption agency that handled my placement. I have developed a good rapport with a social worker there who I'll call Linda, and she has treated me with extraordinary kindness. 

During the process of discussing other issues, I asked Linda if the agency had ever facilitated a foster parent/child reunion. She said to her knowledge, they had not. I requested it and she was delighted to try to make it happen. She found my foster parents who are now in their 90’s.  

Linda also gave me a report of things that happened when I was in the care of Mr. and Mrs. N, and reflections they had about me. I found it so interesting that a few things have not changed.

One thing Mr. and Mrs. N said was that I “always seemed to know when something was happening.” I have discernment today about things going on around me and the ability to read a room well. Another thing they said was that I was cautious before making a move. Still am. Just ask my assistant, Erika. We brainstorm on a lot of things, but I probably say, “I’m not ready to make that move just yet…give me another day or two to consider it..” a plethora of times a week. More than she ever wants to hear, I'm sure. I don’t like to make any move without really thinking it through. In fact, before I accepted the offer on my current job I fasted and prayed for 26 days just to make sure I was making the right decision. I’m probably the least spontaneous person anyone knows. Apparently some things have not changed since Mr. and Mrs. N. took care of me.

I called Mr. and Mrs. N and their daughter spoke to me most of the time because due to their age, they are hard of hearing. Nevertheless Mrs. N. insisted on coming to the phone to try to talk to me. When Linda spoke to her, she remembered, "Melanie" right away.  She would not have known me by the name Deanna as my name was not changed until I left her care. It was a wonderful conversation and she told me she was so proud of who I have become and that I took the time to reconnect with her.

The N’s daughter shared with me that when her parents cared for the newborns awaiting adoption, she and her brother always helped. She said her little brother’s self-assigned role was making sure a baby cried as little as possible. It evidently tore him up to hear any baby cry and as soon as the cry would begin he would run to them and attempt to soothe. It wasn’t that Mrs. N. didn’t care that a baby cried or make a move to do something. It was just that her son had such a desire to help and would run quickly to try to make them happy and contented again. Hearing her share the good memories and her heart for children gave me some solace about my first few months of life.

The N’s invited me to share barbecue and bring some pictures when I come to visit them. They are also looking through their photos of 1966 to see if they find any of me there.      

Finding the Gift
Two years ago my natural mother and I had the terrible falling out over my natural father’s identity. Then she died taking the name to her grave. I felt like all hope was gone concerning this. I have said over and over that I would never wish any of this on my worst enemy. And I wouldn’t. But one thing all this has shown me over the past few years is how many people do understand and care, and how far they are willing to go to help me.

I believe there's a gift in every situation. Sometimes we have to look hard to find it, but it's always there. Going through this, I can readily see the gifts...

I have new friends I had never met before this, who have lived through the same situation I have. We have a special bond as those who can understand what it’s like to go through this. Two that immediately come to mind are Lynn Grubb and Kristi Lado. I am so grateful for these sisters. Perhaps our paths would have never crossed or we wouldn't have connected as we have, had I not gone through this.

Relationships that I already had with various family and friends have been strengthened during this process. Last night as we were in  bed, holding each other in the dark, Larry quietly said to me, “Babe, so many people really, really love you so much.” I feel that.  My heart is full.

Strangers have helped me search and a few have readily agreed to DNA tests to help me discover whether their family member is my father. I am encouraged that there are so many kind and compassionate people in the world. 

My faith has increased as I have seen the hand of God open doors that man said were closed forever. The Lord has changed situations around that formerly looked as if they were without hope. It's like red lights have turned green, and STOP signs taken down.

I've been on a special fast for 23 days now. The bible says some things happen only by prayer and fasting. Perhaps the resolution of my search is one of those things. I am going to continue going for at least another 30 days and believe. I know God is for me. I stand on my life verse...Joshua 1:5

"No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you."

I anticipate announcing a victory very, very soon.
Yes, a victory. 

I use that word because it is fitting. 

When my natural mother passed away, I was devastated, not only at the loss of her life but her actions in taking my father’s name to the grave.

She promised she would do it. But still...
I held out hope that she would do the right thing.

 Many people choose to make things right on their death bed.
 She chose differently. 
And when she died, it slayed me for so many reasons.

My friend and fellow Lost Daughters sister/blogger, Michelle Lahti, simply wrote one line on my Facebook page the day she died. I’ll never, ever forget it. It simply said:

“She is not the victor…………….”

Well geez, it sure felt like it that day. 

But God specializes in things thought impossible! 
He is a table turning God!!!

She is not the victor, and nothing’s over til’ GOD says it’s over.

My mother doesn’t write the end of my story. 

I’m in the grip of grace, and He’s writing the ending.

He has fought the battle for me and He is the victor.     

*All photos by Deanna Doss Shrodes