It's here!! My Birthday!! I actually like to celebrate the entire month with Birthday hikes, Birthday dates, Birthday coffee...any excuse to celebrate, I'll take it. When the big day actually arrives, I'm pretty fatigued from all of the celebrating and most of the world is confused as to when my birthday really is....because of all the excessive celebrating!
So, just to calcify again. IT'S TODAY!!
This year, I celebrate my birth a few hundred miles away from home doing a women's event in San Diego and watching a Padres baseball game... so it's not all bad! Such is the life when your ministry takes you on the road.
Birthdays are a mixed bag of emotions for me as an adopted child. I don't have those conversations with my Mom about the night I was born, how long she was in labor, what did I look like when I came into the world. I don't have those conversations with my Mom, because my mom wasn't there.
In fact, the day I was born, she had no clue that I even existed. I'm sure she was going about her usual day, taking care of the six other children she had, probably not imagining that a seventh would soon invade her life and more importantly her heart.
It wouldn't be until six weeks after my birth that my Mom and Dad would get an emergency phone call to take in a little baby girl that had not left the hospital yet, a little baby that didn't have the consistent love of a care-giver, but was looked after by nurses on rotation.
What was originally supposed to be a short-term foster care situation turned into 12 years of foster care. After those years passed, I stood before a judge and said "I want Paul and Joan Grotelueschen to be my parents" and I was officially adopted.
So on this April 22, my birthday, I sit and reflect on the fact that I may not be able to say "Hey, Mom, remember the day I was born?" but I have so much more, like remembering the fact that unbeknownst to my parents on this day, the Lord was stirring, preparing, and orchestrating the greatest gift and birthday present I could have ever asked for.... a Mom, a Dad, and six amazing siblings that would love me forever.
Happy Birthday to me!
Growing up in a home that understood the definition of family was a beautiful thing. I remember standing before a judge at the age of 12 and telling him that I wanted Joan and Paul Grotelueschen to be my parents. I wanted to be adopted by my Mom & Dad. They were my parents and they had been for the last 12 years. The Grotelueschen kids were my brothers and sisters. That was real. I didn't even need a piece of paper to tell me that, but you know, paperwork is good!
I didn't look like anyone in my family and that was ok, I didn't even know what it was like to look like someone. I was clearly adopted and stood out like a sore thumb and that was just fine. We knew what family was. My sister was blond haired and blue eyed and my other sister was adopted from Hong Kong. We were sisters. My brothers were great looking white guys, strong and athletic, who loved their little sister. We weren't your traditional family, especially in the 60's and 70's, but we were family and still are!
Back to that little girl.... honestly, there was always something inside me that wondered.... "Is there anyone out there that looks like me?" Well, one day when I was 16, I got the answer to that question when I sought out my biological family, located them and took a train and bus to the south side of Chicago to meet them. It was actually kind of weird. Here, before me, were people who shared my blood line, black people, like me. I felt a bit out of place. It was all so surreal that I didn't even stop to take a mental picture and ask do we look alike?
Well, that was years ago. And here I am, now in my 40's, posing a question which at the end of the day, doesn't matter, yet, I still feel like asking. A question which now doesn't define who I am, because I know who I am, where I belong and whose arms I am wrapped in. I know what family is, I know what unconditional love is. I know these things, but today, it's just kind of fun looking at my sister, Nita, who grew up so close, yet so far away from me, with a different family, in a different environment, and a different Mom, yet a Mom who gave birth to me too, who gave me life and sacrificed so that I could stand before a judge one day and say I want Mr. & Mrs. G to be my parents. That's pretty awesome.
So, tell me....Do I look like my sister?
Not flesh of my flesh, nor bone of my bone, yet, still miraculously my own.
Never forget for a single minute, you didn't grow under my heart, but IN it.
A collection of writings from a life based on the truth that about midnight anything can happen.
As an imperfect servant of the Lord, I often feel I am fumbling my way through life, looking upward for guidance and outward to love. So, I write about it, to break up the noise in my head.