February 21, 2014 by Renee Griffin
(Eyes of a Stranger is my adoption reunion story. This is post #2 in the series.)
Standing beside his grave these two words spun over and over in my mind.
Is Papa really gone?
I couldn’t quite believe it, yet the scene around me proved it was true.
My father-in-law was with Jesus and pain-free, and for that we were thankful.
Even so, the reality kept striking my heart.
In a place of goodbyes, standing in a dusty graveyard beside a beautiful country church, my adoption reunion journey began.
As my heart was breaking over losing Papa, the finality of life’s end turned my thoughts inward.
If I knew my time was short, what would I do?
Like match striking against a stone, a hidden dream burst into flame; I would find my birth family.
Hibernating in the back corner of my heart, a motionless dream was waiting.
Like a seed, burrowed deep, still and unchanged, movement occurred. A stretching, sprouting motion reached up through the darkness toward the surface.
I told mama my dream when I was in elementary school. Upset with her about something or other, I angrily let her know one day I would find my “real” family.
Oh, how that memory stings.
She grew very quiet as the intensity registered, but with grace, she soothed my broken heart in a tender reply.
When that day comes, I will help you.
God had His Hand on mama because little miss stubborn, never lacking for words, was saying something mighty important. Even though it was painful and awkward, Mama understood it was a pivotal moment, and her response allowed my dream to live until the time was right to begin.
The beginning didn’t come quickly. Even after my time at Papa’s grave, nothing happened. I’d made a decision, and nothing could change it, but I had no idea how to accomplish this wild & difficult task.
So, I waited and prayed.
When my kids were little, we spent most afternoons outside. I’d rest in a lawn chair and watch as the kiddies drew with chalk, ride their tricycles, splash in tiny plastic pools, and bounce colorful balls across the grass. One particular day, months after my resolution, we were outside as usual, when the answer of where to begin my adoption reunion search splashed across my mind like cool waters across hot little feet.
I would start at the only beginning I knew of: the Department of Family and Children’s Services.
I rushed inside and grabbed the phone book. (I’m chuckling as I type the words “phone book” since hardly anyone uses those dinosaurs anymore.)
I flipped frantically through the pages in search of the number, and after locating it, I picked up the phone and begin to dial. Halfway through dialing, I hung up.
What would I say?
I had no information, but what I remember from a faded sheet of paper. How do you begin a request without a lead?
It’s so like God deliver a dream and then give space to see clearly that without Him, this vision doesn’t have a chance.
I felt silly as I placed the call, convinced the person answering would either laugh uncontrollably at the impossibility of my request, or scold me and say never to call again.
This “answer” suddenly felt stupid and improbable as I dialed the number a second time, but I moved out of my comfort zone anyway.
It was a Friday afternoon, when the stranger’s kind voice answered. She listened with care and respect as a nervous, frightened caller stumbled over words.
I remember every part of the call except my own words. I can only suppose it went something like this.
“Ummm…yes ma’am…ummmm… I am calling because… ummm…I was adopted as a baby. And I don’t know if you can help me or if there is really anybody that can help me, but I need to find my birth family. I realize my records are sealed, and this is probably impossible, but I need to try anyway. I had this one old piece of paper with biological data on it I carried forever, and now for some reason I can’t find it. And…ummm I need to get another copy please and anything else you can give me. Can you help me?”
“Okay, sure”, she said.
Ummm…wait, did she say, “sure”?
Did you know adoption laws in Georgia changed, and for a few dollars you can request the information on your lost paper plus any other “non-identifying information” contained within your record?
Are you registered with the Adoption Reunion Registry?
No, I definitely wasn’t.
She filled me in on the changes within the government regarding adoptees, which nobody bothered to let ME know about, and my one ridiculous, unlikely step to begin opened a new door.
When I began to move in faith, nothing visible from my perspective changed, but God opened a gate leading to a journey far beyond my imagination.
Looking back, had He revealed everything in the beginning, I would’ve been frozen by fear instead of moving by faith. My Creator knows me and what’s best for me.
While I felt trapped like a solitary seed crushed by the heavy dark earth, change was happening. The waiting and moving both had a purpose.
One movement, designed by God, pushed a seed to sprout and opened a new path in dark soil.
Never mistake stillness for death.
God does mighty works inside of us when we remain still in His Presence.
As my search began to develop, months of waiting were spaces God moved on my behalf and the visible, external change was not the beginning. The beginning was inside the stillness.
Today, won’t you sit quietly with Him and be the motionless seed?
Accept the darkness blocking your sight as a backdrop for God’s Light to shine.
Allow the weight of heavy earth to press and trust its provision as a fertile soil feeding a hidden miracle.
And when He calls you to begin, move.
Give in to the stretch of growth and change, and allow God to take you where He has planned.
I promise, He’s worked out all the details.