Sunday, June 16 2024 - 1:21 PM
Photo by Sam Carter with Unsplash

Locating Family Members

I follow a few reality television programs. One of them consistently makes me cry. I am eating my lunch and turn into a blubbering mess. I love “The Locator,” and always get emotional at the end of episodes when adoptees or their parents/siblings find missing family members. Someone sends a powerful video explaining their desire to find a lost or missing family members to this private investigator. He has a team of searchers who find records and phone numbers, then he flies to places and attempts to reconnect people — if they are willing.

Those who find missing siblings or parents often cry that now they have found the missing hole in their lives, or the missing puzzle piece of completeness. The missing parents often explain that they had to let a baby go due to difficult circumstances and always wondered what happened to the child. People cling to tattered photos and bits of memories.

Reuniting Family Members

And I wonder why I find this program so satisfying. Perhaps it’s just that my one brother means so much to me, or that my father was an only child. Perhaps I once had an in utero twin since this is so moving to me. My friend and some of my family members are adopted, so I do think of them as I watch families get reunited. I have had a client who has been separated from family for many years, and I see how completely alone this person has become.

I had hoped at one time that family members could be located. However, that may never happen. I wish that for everyone even though I realize it is not without risk. I cannot wrap my head around people having no other family members to share in their lives, even though I know there are some who are better off without toxic family members.

Hopeless Rescuer

As a child I wanted to have an “animal orphanage.” I tried to rescue baby lambs in our barnyard however, that turned into a disaster when it was explained to me that the mothers would return to their babies as long as they didn’t smell like humans. Hence several pet lambs. My last dog is a rescue and I will gladly make that choice again. The rescued one just seems so glad to be apart of the family, and to be loved. As though gratitude is what he exhales.

Perhaps I am just a hopeless rescuer. My default position is that no one should be alone or die alone. I attempt to guard against that as a weakness for my professional life. I can see the complications in the lives of some of my clients. Crossing boundaries, mothering, smothering, refusing to let go of others…suffocating enmeshments. Yet that is different from being a “locator” — facilitating the restoration of ties and then letting love grow as it is nurtured by those involved.

Lost Children

Could that be the essence of joy that our God experiences every time someone comes to Him and there is reconciliation? The lost son, the lost lamb, the lost coin are all there to remind us (Luke 15). The collective sob and sigh of the universe when He gathers His own back into His arms of love? Jesus Christ, the Locator — searching for all the lost children and wanting to fill that empty spot in their hearts, and His.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem… how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing” (Matthew 23:3, NIV).

Questions for personal journaling or group discussion:

1. How do you see God in the adoption process?

2. What has been the outcome of some of your rescuing attempts? Or do you wait to be rescued?

Karen Spruill writes from Florida.

If you liked this, you may also like Finding the Lost

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About Karen Spruill

Karen Spruill

writes from Orlando, Florida.

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