Thursday, November 22, 2012

Adoption - The Rest of My Brother Story

As usual, when I write a post in which I feel I am completely undressing my heart publicly, I get an overwhelming response.  And I am undone.  Again and again.  His grace and His glory shine in the  vulnerable places...

Some of you would like to know more of the adoption story because you're on your own journey of Big Questions.  I will gladly share more of mine!

This little-brother-by-choice went off on his own.  He sought and found his birth mother, but that didn't work out in a way that anyone desired.  Understandably.  I grieved that she would feel she had failed her son twice.  I wish I could find her and tell her about grace.

We rarely knew where he was.  The nature of his disability is that it's very hard for him to hold down a job or function as a normal adult so he lives a transient life.  Because he's quite childlike, he's easily led.  This got him into trouble before and was the thing I dreaded most--that and the possibility he might be preyed upon by perverts.

Many nights I would lie awake and wonder where he was.  Alive or dead?  Hungry?  Safe?  I remember one night in particular...I could not sleep and tried to lift all my anxious thoughts in prayer.  I imagine that it reached the Father's ears in a cacophony of anxiety and fear mixed with genuine love.  I'm so grateful that He blows away the chaff of unbelief and gets to the heart of the longing.

The next day I got a phone call from my brother.  He was so excited to tell me how he'd been hitch-hiking in the middle of the night (that didn't calm my anxiety one bit!) and how the soles of his boots had fallen off and he was walking barefoot.  A trucker stopped to pick him up (my unbelieving heart leaped in fear again).  This trucker took him to a store (in the middle of the night?) and bought him new boots and a warm jacket.  Then he took him to KFC for a hot meal.  According to my brother, this man then "disappeared".  He was so excited about his new coat and boots--he hadn't a second thought for the mystery.  I could barely breathe and I certainly couldn't contain the flow of tears.  Man or angel, I know not.  This I do know:  my Father heard my prayers and He really, really wanted me to know that my love is but a drop in the ocean of His compassion!  I can trust Him to care for and watch over my broken brother.

I had a lot more peace about him after this.  My prayers held more faith and less fear.  I'm also very grateful that he calls from time-to-time.  Someone lets him use their phone to call and I get to hear his voice and have a general idea of his location.

In the summer of 2008 we were holidaying in the area where he was living.  I knew he had a job as a dishwasher in a road house.  I prayed he would call and he did so we made a plan to connect.  I wasn't absolutely sure he'd be there, but as we pulled into a dusty parking lot by a derelict road house, I saw a fellow that must be my brother.  He ran sobbing into my arms.  The emaciated, toothless, unwashed body held the heart of my little-boy brother seeking comfort.  Our tears mingled and that dusty corner became holy ground while my kids looked on in wonder.

We broke bread together in the road house.  A surreal experience.  It was a place unlike any other in which I'd ever eaten--I felt as though we were literally glowing in the dark.  I tried to absorb the fact that this man was the brother I hadn't seen for eighteen years.  All the while being mother to three kids who were trying to sort out this experience.  Was this man who looked unlike any they'd ever met really their uncle?  Why didn't he have teeth?  They tried to be polite and look away when he laughed in all the wrong places and talked way too loudly, but mostly they stared.  And he was delighted!  Delighted to be hosting his family.  He wanted to tell everyone I was his sister and he was an uncle and...and my heart ached because we all need to belong to somebody.

He was especially proud to introduce me to one of the waitresses.  Her face and her eyes were far older than her years.  She was tough, yet when she looked at my brother there was a motherly tenderness.  As she refilled my coffee cup, she rasped into my ear that she was happy to meet me and that I shouldn't worry as she was looking out for him.  I stopped to hug her long and hard when I left.

I could hardly stand to leave.  I longed to fatten him, put him in a shower, give him clean clothes...but he'd refused that kind of help.  I had to let go, recognize that I am not his rescuer.  Place him in the hands of my Father.  Trust.  And give thanks for mysterious truck drivers, crusty waitresses, "some guy" who's letting him stay in a cabin, for the knack he has with small engines, for a welfare system that does help those who simply cannot, for random phone calls, and most of all for a Father who never abandons the helpless.

Father to the fatherless,
defender of widows--
this is God, whose dwelling is holy.
God places the lonely in families;
he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.
Psalm 68:5-6


  1. Many tears as I read this. So very poignant. That you even found words to express some of the depth of your emotion and gratitude is a gift. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for pointing us yet again to a God of love whose mercy passes all understanding, and whom graciously gives us privy to see it.

  2. I agree with Brenda....thank you so much for sharing this story...

  3. I'd often wondered where he was and what he was doing. Thank you for sharing. Such a tough situation, but so grateful for your testimony of love.