The powwow is about over but I decide to stay a little longer; write in my journal and reflect on my summer experiences. Spending so much time at powwows this summer has again peaked my interest in finding any information concerning my father and my grandparents.
I had not seen my father since I was four, about 47 years ago, when he came by to ask my mother if my stepfather would adopt me so he wouldn’t have to pay child support. During the years that followed my mom would make excuses for him, that is wasn’t his fault or mine…why he left me. I started searching for him in 1979 but every lead came up with nothing. After more than twenty years of searching, letters, phone calls and knocking on doors my heart resigned to the belief something extraordinary happened. Perhaps he was still in a POW camp or in the CIA or some other secretive governmental agency. My secret dream, maybe he’d just show up some Christmas with brothers and sisters, having been looking for me too; a Hallmark moment.
Then in 2000, I found his name on a genealogy site. I couldn’t believe it, I found him, but there were no links, no towns listed, only names of his family and his children; except me. Had he forgotten me? Was he ashamed by my existence? Is that why he never told his family about me? Why wasn’t I listed as his child?
I became increasingly bitter over the years, further internalizing the shame and unworthiness I felt as a woman. As a young girl, as it is with most children of divorce, my identity became associated with that loss. It has only been in the past few years have I understood this and how much my father’s leaving affected me. A lifetime of shame, of being unwanted and unloved became my identity and my addiction.
After a couple of hours of searching, after so many years, I found my father…in the Social Security Death Index. He had died nearly two years ago on October 26, 2008. Just two days before my 49th birthday, two days before my jubilee season began. All I ever wanted to know was that my father loved me, that I was wanted. I would never know the truth of why he left, why he never came back.
A few years ago I heard speaker, Christine Caine, talk about having found out as an adult that she had been adopted. The adoption papers said she was unwanted. After a period of heartbreak she did come to terms with this and accepted the love of the Father as her daddy. Deep in her heart she knew she was loved and wanted. She claimed the power of Isaiah 49:1, which says “The Lord called me before my birth; from within the womb he called me by”. This gave her the courage to overcome such a heartbreak.
Psalm 68:5 says God is the “Father of orphans”, and now I truly am an orphan. This verse should give me comfort, but it doesn’t. My heart is not comforted. Not yet. In 24-hours I have lost my father and the lifelong dream to know him and any brothers and sisters that may be out there as well as Kim’s cancer. This is too much. The search is over but there’s no resolution. How can my heart deal with this, the pain is too deep.
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. Romans 8:26-27 (NLT)