It is probably only if you know me really well (or paid attention to long ago blogs post, if you’ve been around a few years) that you know that the man who raised me actually adopted me. My biological father is German, and he and my mother divorced when I was about 2 years old. Those of you who have been in a “broken” home may understand that looking back, I can see how that affected me in various ways emotionally and spiritually, even though I was fortunate and there was no open animosity between my parents afterwards. Neither ever spoke maliciously of the other to me … other than maybe to try to explain why they’d broken up. And even in that, they were very careful.
(^^ my biological father and me)
When I was a month away from turning 4 years old, my mom re-married an American soldier, and we moved across the ocean from Germany to the Northern Virginia area. Later I grew up in my dad’s native East Tennessee, and still to this day consider Tennessee “home”.
When I was 7 years old, sometime around the birth of my half-brother, this man adopted me and gave me his last name. It was probably the most gracious thing anyone has ever done for me. I was able to grow up, nurtured by him, without many questions about my parentage unless we volunteered it. Some times people would comment that I must have gotten my blue eyes from my dad … and we’d just grin at each other because the truth is BOTH my biological parents have brown eyes!! Maybe God chose blue eyes for me just for this very reason? They matched my adopted dad’s!!
(me, my mom, my brother, and my dad^^)
Much through the influence of my dad, my family came to know the Lord because he had accepted Jesus as his Savior at a young age, but wandered far away from God during his 20 years in the military. But God fulfilled His promise that if a child is trained up in the Lord, when he is old, he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6). My dad led our family back to God and to church when I was 8 years old.
The story goes on … and like anyone’s autobiography, there were bumps along the way as we grew in the Lord together, as I went away and started making my own decisions, and now as I’ve established my own family. We haven’t always agreed or seen things quite the same, but in the end, now, as my dad is about to celebrate his 80th birthday, I can honestly say he has been one of God’s greatest gifts to me. Even now, in his own way, he takes care of my little family because he too went through a job loss and some of the same transitions we are dealing with yet.
My biological father lives mostly in Southeast Asia now. When I was a child, I’d see him every summer because I’d go to Germany to stay with my grandparents there. As an older teen, he showed me the Black Sea in Bulgaria, Amsterdam, and Paris! Sadly, I have seen him maybe twice in the last 10 years … but even so, he still sends an occasional post card from Angkor Wat, Cambodia or Phuket, Thailand. He also faithfully sends money for his grandchildren about twice a year. In his own way, he’s cared for me from a distance. I haven’t faulted him because I know he didn’t know how to be a father as his own died on the Russian Front in World War II when my father was about 7 years old. Sadly, my father doesn’t know Jesus or believe in God … other than the lovely “fairy tales” that are the Bible. I won’t give up praying for his soul even though he too is now 80 and seemingly hardened to the Gospel message.
(my biological father – with me and Drew, his only grandson)
In my life, I have been blessed with two very different fathers … and I remember them fondly this Father’s Day. I am also blessed with a gracious, loving Heavenly Father who has been with me consistently from my birth until now and will stay until I die and go to be with Him forever. I sometimes feel like I missed out on being “Daddy’s Girl” here on earth – but I feel more and more that I have always been God’s girl, the apple of His eye … and that’s enough love to make up for all the gaps.