IT'S NEVER TOO LATE
by Kathleen Anderson
A dear friend in her mid-80s told me, while I was sharing the trials of my genealogy research, that she was adopted and had promised her mother she would not search for her birth mother as long as her mother lived. Her mother lived to age 95, so my friend Helen thought it was much too late to find anything at that time. I asked her if she would like to know something now, and she said yes.
I was given a few papers with the birth mother's name and where Helen was born. I began searching and over a year and a half gathered information about everyone I could find in the late 1800s to the present time with her birth mother's surname in South and North Dakota, putting everything in a binder, not knowing who was connected.
I found a willing person involved with a historical society and must have piqued her appetite for mystery solving as she began to hunt along with me. We filed for the court to unseal Helen's adoption records and we waited many months for a result. Six weeks ago the records were unsealed and we found the birth place of Helen's mother. With that it confirmed who her mother was--the only person with that name in the small North Dakota town and exactly the perfect age. I found a distant relative of the birth mom who referred me to an aunt who had lost contact with this branch of the family, and who gave me the married name, death date, and place last lived for Helen's birth mom. I called the office of vital statistics in that state and had a death certificate sent overnight. On the death certificate was the the name of a daughter with an address. Although 20 years had passed, the address was good. I found the phone number and nervously explained my reason for calling.
From that contact my friend Helen, who was raised by a loving pastor and his wife, but as an only child, now has met a wonderful brother, Earl, living two hours from her. She has two other brothers and a sister, 15 nephews and five nieces, one of whom is a U.S. senator. Through a great-grandmother, Helen is also a descendant of William PENN. My friend just celebrated her 85th birthday two days ago and received a large bouquet of flowers from her brother Earl and his wife and lots of beautiful birthday cards from all over the United States from new-found family who are welcoming her. This Saturday [11 March 2000], Helen and her two grown children along with my husband and I will be going to Earl's for lunch and a surprise party for Helen. As many family members as possible will be there to meet my friend.
I write this to encourage others. Who would have guessed that such a wonderful outcome was possible? And Helen thought it was too late.
OUR GENEALOGETIC EFFORTS
It takes a lot of work to search for folks
Who haven't been around for years and years.
"Their graves are just beyond a bunch o' oaks
Two hollows over," drawl the neighbor dears
Who think we're lost out on that lonesome road.
"Y' take the blacktop out past Rocky Moss
Until you come t' Fork o' Hoppy Toad.
An' then y' take the one-lane dirt across
Th' mountain. Ruts was awful bad last week.
Be careful, now." We thank them. "Welcome, friends!"
We smile and wave, and then we're off to seek
Again--renewed, enthused. The roadway bends
And twists and rolls and cuts, then turns to dirt,
Just like they said, and forty minutes more
Go by. We find the trees. Our ankles hurt
From walking through those stickers. "Shoulda wore
Yer boots," the friendly folks had smiled and said.
We look around. The graves cannot be seen.
Then Nellie calls from where she's gone ahead,
"I found'em!" Sure enough, and there between
Our great-great-grandpa's dad and mom
Are laid the seven babies told about
In Grandpa Charlie's fam'ly Bible. Tom,
My cousin, wrote and told me there was doubt
About an older son who'd come to say
That God, Who'd taken all the seven back
At such an early age, was wrong. To pray
To such a God was stupid. He'd attack
Most anyone who'd try to tell him why
It wasn't up to us but God to choose
Who'd get to live, and when, and who would die.
"Believe in Jesus Christ? No. I refuse."
And then the son himself had died, or so
The story went, but no one'd ever found
A way to prove that son had lived. For though
The mom the seven names had written down,
The tattered page was gone above the list.
And now we stood before the stones. And there,
A ways apart, we saw a tenth we'd missed.
We brushed away the leaves that covered where
We couldn't read. It said, "Here lies our son
Who never would accept the Gift of God
As payment for his sin--the only One
Who perfect lived, our Lord and Saviour. Sod
Beneath your feet can only cover bones
Of him whose soul is not at rest, nor will
It ever be. Oh, reader, may your moans
Be never heard in hell! Your heart be still,
And listen to the Lord, and question not
His ways. Accept the blood of Jesus Christ
As cleansing payment for the stain and blot
Your sin has left upon your heart! "Suffice
It here to say that I, that reader, knelt
And prayed right there and then that God would give
Me His forgiveness. Suddenly I felt
The weight of sin was gone, and knew I'd live
Forever, just as He has promised here:
"For God so loved the world that He gave
His only Son, that whosoever'd hear
His voice, believe in Him Who sent Me'd have
Eternal life and never perish."* Now
I know He took me there that noon to see
That all the work I do is trash+, and how
I live is not the way to heaven;++ we
Can never earn our ticket there! Instead,
Dear cousins, we can but accept His Gift.
Accept Him now. Don't wait until you're dead
To ask. You'll be too late. His grace He'll lift,
And you will have to pay your debt yourself.
Our genealogetic efforts fail
To fill this bill. So please go to your shelf
And get your Bible down and read the mail
Your loving heav'nly Father's sent to you:
The Book of John is where it is. And then
Please read it over once again. A new
Creation waits!** Just let Him have you, friend!
* John 3:16, John 5:24
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes on Him Who sent me has eternal life...