Monday, April 07, 2008

Book Two -- There Are No Accidents

"There Are No Accidents."

It's a mantra many of us who were adopted want to believe in. In fact, I think many of us work to make it true. Some of us work extra hard to find our purpose and make the most of our lives, to PROVE that we were not accidents... that we are exactly where we are meant to be.

The more we reflect on this, the more we notice that there are no "coincidences." Everything's connected. Or maybe we make it so. Regardless of how it happens... it's all connected.

Here's my most recent "Holy Cow!" example:

My natural father's sister, "Kathleen" and I have become close. She has been very excited for me and supportive of my nonprofit work with RandomKid. So when a producer from NBC Nightly News called to say that their "Making a Difference" story (click here to view) was airing just nights before Christmas, I called Kathleen while she was traveling, to let her know.

She called me the day after Christmas to share something that seemed like more than a coincidence to her:

I'm paraphrasing:

"This is all so unbelieveable. The timing is magical. As you know, Don and I are down here in Florida visiting Aunt Emily. The three of us had been invited to a neighborhood cocktail party. Emily doesn't get out much and we really wanted her to go. But then you called and said your story would be on, just as this party was starting. I asked if it would be o.k. for us to come late. The hosts were very gracious and asked us to please come whenever we could. So I watched the NBC story... it was so wonderful. It is awesome to think about how many lives you have touched. We went to the party right after the news, and I was completely preoccupied with you and all the wonderful things you've done. So imagine how stunned I am, when the first person I meet says she's from 'Nowhere, Nebraska'-- the same town your birth mother is from!! Without even thinking, I say, 'Oh... do you know so & so?' To which she says, 'Why yes! I graduated from high school with her! In fact, I just saw her at our reunion!!'"

Well, Kathleen quickly tried to reel everything back in. After all, she didn't know how much this person knew. Did this classmate know her high school buddy gave a baby up for adoption when she was in college? When pressed, Kathleen simply said that her brother had dated this person in college, and that this person was so lovely and kind. Next thing you know, the classmate is pulling out my natural-mother's address, phone number, email address and more! Kathleen didn't know what to do. She knew that up to this point, I had no plans of seeking my natural mother out, but she also knew that I had recently raised the subject... more as an interesting topic of conversation, rather than a matter I was seriously pondering. She told me, "This woman practically forced it in my hand, I didn't know what to do or say. I said ,'This is so... so... ' my voice trailed off, and her mom jumped in with great enthusiasm, 'Well you know what it is? It's the Holy Spirit at work, dear!'" :)

Holy Spirit. Coincidence. Connection. NBC followed me on my trip to South Africa back in August. In December I mused in an email to Kathleen--wondering what my natural mother ? Kathleen emailed back indicating that years ago she had tried to track down my birth-mother, hitting nothing but dead ends. Why did it air 4 months later? Why that day? What are the odds that these two women, neither of whom come from or live in Florida would happen to be at the same cocktail party and discover this person we all have in common?

Sometimes when these “coincidences” happen, I let them lie. This is a biggie. I had no plans to seek out my birth parents. (See this post for background.) I have been letting this one lie since December.

On Good Friday I went to church in a beautiful cathedral while traveling out west. I was thinking of my birth father. He died on Good Friday. I also thought about the letter I wrote to my birth parents on the eve of my 25th birthday. I turn 40 this year. Another landmark birthday. Will this be a year that my natural mother and I somehow connect? I pondered the question as I turned on Francis Lane. It did not go unnoticed that the church’s street address bore the same name as the woman who gave me life. I pulled my car into the lot, got out and locked the doors. With great intention, I sucked in as much of the cool mountainous air as my lungs could hold, and then I slowly, effortlessly let it all go. I opened the enormous doors to angelic music welcoming me to celebrate my faith in Jesus Christ—The Son of God who showed us how to love.

*Note: All names have been changed to protect people’s privacy.

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