by Patti Callahan Henry
Over two years ago, in the middle of an ordinary day, the extraordinary happened, and my family will never be the same.
Some twenty-one years ago my little sister placed her baby for adoption. It was the most heart-rending, courageous and difficult decision she had ever made, and we all wept with her when she handed her baby girl to an anonymous, yet hand-chosen family. Then . . . two years ago, I received a Facebook friend request from a young girl with the same birthday as my adopted niece. It was too much to hope for, almost too miraculous to believe. But it was true: my sister’s daughter, my niece, found us on Facebook.
|Catherine and Patti |
Our family had often talked about my niece, using the name my sister had given her. We remembered her whenever we saw a girl who would be her age at that time. Every time my parents moved into a new house, they planted a tree for her and we all prayed for her happiness and safety. We knew nothing about her – all those years we didn’t know where she lived or with whom. Although we knew that legally she could find us when she turned twenty-one, there was no way for us to find her. And then finally, all those years of unknowing and all those years of wondering culminated in a reunion that most dream about.
My sister’s story was the inspiration for a fictional novel. Storytelling is my way of exploring the way we live with unknowing. We want certainty, We want solid ground under our feet. We want to be sure of our place in the world, and yet we rarely, if ever, have that certainty. So then, how do we live? And what happens when the lost become found?
Although the personal facts are left for my sister to tell, the fictional story in AND THEN I FOUND YOU explores the emotions and extraordinary change that reunions bring to a life and to a family.
Adoption Awareness happens in small and large ways. NCFA and iChooseAdoption are large efforts. Individual stories are part of the smaller pieces that add to the larger effort. As a storyteller and novelist, I hope that this story finds a way into the world to raise awareness.
Patti Callahan Henry has written nine novels and has been hailed as a fresh new voice in southern fiction, appearing in numerous magazines including Good Housekeeping, Skirt, The South, Southern Living, and more. She has been short-listed for the Townsend Prize for Fiction and nominated four different times for the Southeastern Independent Booksellers Fiction Novel of the Year. Two of her novels were OKRA picks and Coming Up For Air was an Indie Next choice. Patti Callahan Henry is a full time writer, wife and mother of three living in Alabama.
Category Personal Stories