Unraveling an Adoption Mystery: The Story Continues

When my daughter tested her DNA with an Ancestry.com, Christmas-gifted kit this past January, it was mostly to uncover her ethnicity and to hopefully add branches to the family tree she’s painstakingly built over the last five years. And for fun. A cool way to indulge her love of history in general and genealogy in particular.

dscf8661When I spit into the test-tube like container of my own DNA test kit in August, it was to seek information about my unknown beginnings and maybe even uncover the identity of my birth parents. While I’d always been curious as to the details surrounding my birth and surrender for adoption, discovering I’d been left on a doorstep, having not been born in a hospital, had piqued my curiosity to a level bordering on obsession. The who, what, how and why questions raced through my brain.

With the help of an archived newspaper article containing the brief details concerning my “foundling” status and a quick Facebook search, I discovered a granddaughter of the couple who found me that mid-November morning in 1963. She’d been eight-year-old at the time and seemed to remember the incident as if it had happened yesterday. Her barely-contained excitement as we spoke on the phone was so genuine and refreshing as she shared details not included in the short, three paragraph write up. Two weeks later we met in person when my husband, daughter, grandson, myself, and my parents made the one-and-a-half hour trip to the city where I’d been found and presumedly had been born.

As we lunched at a local diner, she shared the details of that morning, recounted time and again over the years by her family. When her grandpa let their dog, Frisky, out sometime after five a.m., he was certain there was nothing on the step. But five to ten minutes later, when he opened the door to let Frisky back in, he noticed “something” on the step. Assuming it was Frisky having rolled his small body inside the rag rug on the step—as he was known to do—grandpa called out to the dog, expecting him to shoot from inside the rug cocoon, a trick he’d perfected. But when Frisky came from the yard and jumped over the step into the house, grandpa nudged the “something” on the step with his foot and was rewarded with the sounds of a baby. He scooped up the bundle of blanket and a man’s black wool shirt that encased a 5 lbs. 12 oz. baby girl. He and his wife raced the baby to the hospital, concerned for the child’s well-being.

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front of the house where I was found

I was found to be in good health but remained in the hospital for three weeks, where the nurses named me “Susie Hope”. The woman whose husband discovered me on the step worked in the hospital cafeteria. In the weeks that followed, after her shifts, she often made her way to the nursery where she would hold and rock me. Hospital personnel heard of her frequent visits and instructed the nurses to “not let her do that anymore”, fearing she was forming an attachment to the baby … to me. The nurses, however, chose not to stop her from showering me with attention. I tracked down an employee who worked at the hospital in November of 1963. Although she worked in another department and never saw me, she remembered the doorstep baby story well. She shared that my frequent visitor, a friend of hers, also bought me an outfit. Ah … how sweet.

How I wish those kind folks were still alive so I could meet them, express my gratitude for their thoughtfulness, and share that the “doorstep baby” story did indeed have a happy ending.

My DNA results took only one month to return, less than the six to eight week timeline the website suggests. It contains lots of fascinating information that a caring and very knowledgeable genetic genealogist is helping me to decipher. In addition to the way cool detailed analysis of my ethnicity, the report also indicates a whopping 234 (and counting!) 4th or closer cousins. “And counting” because as more people test with Ancestry.com every day, new connections are discovered. I’ve already gained eleven new cousin matches in the month since I received the results.2016-10-12-5

One first-second cousin match has provided us with enough information to zero in on the family of one of my birth parents. A member of that family has submitted a DNA test, whose results will hopefully narrow down, if not confirm, either my birthfather or mother.

Friends have asked the same questions I pondered myself before even purchasing my DNA kit. Why do I want to do this? What am I hoping to gain? Other than to satisfy even a little of my raging curiosity, I immediately knew I wanted to ease the mind of those involved in what had to be a gut-wrenching decision. “You did what you felt you had to do and everything turned out fine. My story had a happy ending,” I’d say if I got the chance.

Then I’d be tempted to ask, “But what about yours? How have you been since then? Did you spend years worrying about me or regretting the decision?” I hope not. I really hope her life and his life turned out well.

What I really wish is that I’d discovered the “doorstep baby” detail earlier, when the chance of connecting with those involved would have been more likely. But I try to shoo that thought away each time it creeps in because GOD’s hand, HIS protection and timing have been so evident from the very moment I was laid on that door step, that I must continue to trust in HIS plan. I believe with my whole heart there’s a reason the pieces of this giant puzzle seem to be falling into place at this very moment in time.

Life is full of “whys”. We can drive ourselves crazy trying to unravel the mysteries, decipher the motives, and get a gasp on what the future holds. But isn’t it better to trust in HIS goodness and rest in HIS plan–even and especially when we can’t see the end game?

However this slice of my life concludes, I’ll be fine. Will I be disappointed if I don’t get all the answers I’m seeking? Probably, yes. But that’s okay. And if the reasons for now being the time this mystery unravels are never revealed, I admit I’ll always wonder. But that too will be okay. GOD’s got this. HE’s always had this situation firmly in the palm of HIS hand. 

I’ll keep you posted!  🙂 Scribcolumn

Beth is passionate about seeing GOD at work in the “slices” of every day life AND about the saving of sex for marriage. She believes strongly in accountability and mentoring and considers herself a cheerleader for “renewed waiting” too. Because SEX is worth waiting for. She’d love to hear from you! Comment here OR email her at waitingmatters@gmail.com. Connect with her on Facebook at Beth Steury, Author.

GOD’s got this

We buried a close family friend today. One of my dad’s oldest friends, a fellow church member, neighbor-down-the-road when my brothers and I were growing up.

It was sad yet triumphant. Cancer and pneumonia are no longer ravaging his earthly body. He’s basking in the splendor029 and radiance of his LORD and SAVIOR, an assurance his family and friends will cling to in the days to come.

A week ago Sunday we buried my dad’s older brother. We gathered with family members we’d seen seldom in the last twenty years. I re-introduced myself to cousins I’d not shared breathing space with for thirty-five years. Elated exclamations of “It’s so good to see you!” mixed with regretful murmurs, “Why did we let so many years go by …”

It was especially tough as he was the first of three siblings to pass. Yet we rejoiced that his twenty year battle with Parkinson’s disease had ended. We remembered his bravery in submitting to experimental procedures that paved the way for promising treatments and applauded his decision to donate his brain to research. He too gained his eternal reward and no doubt welcomed my dad’s long-time friend to heaven.

Pill Box

Pill Box

My daughter’s most recent battle with medical bureaucracy has heaped frustration and concern upon an already heavy load. Two weeks of shrugs, finger-pointing and “we have no idea what happened…” to secure insurance coverage for a much needed drug. This skirmish comes on the heels of a sixteen-month-and-counting ordeal of wading through mountains of red tape to gain approval and figure out the endless details for another needed medication. And how could I forget the brand-spanking-new, state-of-the-art piece of medical equipment that suddenly, unexplainedly stopped working. It appears an act of Congress may be required to get it replaced.

Yet our excitement spiked late last week with the official announcement of FDA approval for a drug that will address the basic defect that causes her cystic fibrosis. The answer to twenty-six years of prayers! When the discovery of the gene responsible for the majority of CF cases wowed the medical world the very week she was diagnosed in 1989, we knew GOD was already at work. What we prayed would be available within ten years, alas, took just shy of twenty-six years to arrive. Yet we rejoice and praise GOD for his provision through those long years.   flag - liberty

As our beloved country rocks with dissension, as hatred threatens the Christian tenets many of us hold dear, fear and uncertainty creep in, clouding the peace and joy that should reign in our hearts. We lament the way things used to be. We dread what may be ahead. We succumb to doubts and worry.

Let us be convinced that nothing that’s happened has been a surprise to GOD. Nothing that will transpire in the days to come will catch him by surprise.

If you are a Christian, you serve a GOD who cannot be defeated or crushed or lessened in anyway by the plots of man. Now more than ever we must seek HIS WORD to get our marching orders because we are soldiers in the LORD’s ARMY.HE has not abandoned us. Let’s not abandon HIM.

We long for smooth sailing, for easy everything—for pain and disease and calamity to pass us by. For longer—much longer—with our loved ones. For assurance of plenty in the days to come. Even as GOD’s word plainly tell us to expect the opposite of smooth sailing, it promises us that HE’s got this. Whatever “this” may be.file000125780080 (2)

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV

Two songs have blanketed my mind in recent days.

Even So Come” by Kristian Stanfill

“Like a bride waiting for her groom
We’ll be a Church ready for You
Every heart longing for our King
We sing
Even so come
Lord Jesus, come…”

“We Won’t Be Shaken” by Building 429

“Whatever will come my way
Through fire or pouring rain
We won’t be shaken
No we won’t be shaken
Whatever tomorrow brings
Together we’ll rise and sing
That we won’t be shaken…”

Will you join me in clinging to the HOPE and PROMISE of Romans 8:31…

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”