Every Sunday night, four couples from our church join the wife and I for conversation and prayer (and sometimes dinner). We've been working our way through a discussion guide on marriage written by a psychologist and an Old Testament scholar. Last night's topic centered on the significance family stories.
When someone asks us a question about ourselves, we usually respond with a story. We love hearing and telling stories. Intimate marriages and close knit families are built upon a willingness to share stories. We reveal ourselves through our stories.
Last night, everyone took turns telling stories. Tales were told of acts of courage, heartache, or just plain silliness. Some of us grew up with forbidden stories that were never to be told. Some of us grew up with stories that were incomplete. That was certainly my experience. Growing up as an adopted child, I often asked my Mom to tell me the story about "the lady who had me" (my way of referring to my birthmother).
My adopted parents knew virtually nothing about my biological parents (times were different then). They passed on a few sketchy details that raised more questions in my mind than answers. My biological history remained shrouded in an unsolved mystery until just four years ago.
With the help of the archives unit of my adoption agency, I found the missing pages of my story and met the maternal side of my biological family. (It's a great story...I'll have to save it for a future blog entry). Not only did I get a birthmother, but I learned that I had three brothers, a sister (all "half-siblings" but we quickly dropped the "half), five nieces and nephews (now eight!), and a step-father (who now treats me like one of his own). Such great people...I felt like I won the "adoption lottery."
Before the reunion, I used to look in the mirror and see no one but myself. Now I see familiar faces from the past and present. It reminds me of a verse of scripture where the Apostle Paul contrasts a Christ follower's present relationship with God with his future one. He says that, "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known" (1 Corinthians 13:12).
What was once a hazy, vague part of my life is now filled with crisp details. The empty pages of my story now burst with prose.