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Michelle and Adam Voos with their son, Nathan.

“Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth would care to know my name?” (Mark Hall, Casting Crowns). I struggled with the answer to that question. For years I didn’t even know my family of origin.

For me, my story began when I was adopted at five months of age on October 8, 1965. My life was full; my parents were wonderful, loving people that gave me everything I needed. Yet I wanted to know the rest of my story. I wanted to know about my first five months, mainly, why didn’t “someone” want me when I was born? Mine was a closed adoption, making it impossible to get information about my life before my adoption. I used to have dreams about a baby lying in a crib, crying. No one came to her aid. Finally a woman would pick up the baby and say, “Poor thing; she has no one.” The baby was me.

Now there is a distinct difference between my immature, adolescent thoughts versus the reality of my childhood. My family couldn’t have done any better or tried any harder, yet something in me wanted closure. Call it insecurity or ignorance. Either way I had decided to believe the story I told myself, that when I was born no one wanted me.

I grew up with an understanding of “religion.” I attended church, prayed, and read the Bible in religion class. God was either someone I feared or someone to help me out of a bind. I had never experienced God’s love or reconciliation with Him through Jesus Christ. Because of that which I chose to believe about my beginning, I struggled through years of poor choices in dating, poor self-image, shame, fear, and at times, deep darkness.

In my thirties I met Adam, the catalyst for me to begin a relationship with the one true King, Jesus Christ. I decided to give this “God” thing a try again, partly because I wanted to and partly because of my deep crush on Adam! I had completely forgotten that Jesus was a man, not just God. It wasn’t until I went to an Easter drama that depicted Jesus walking through Jerusalem, carrying His cross, and ultimately having nails driven into His hands and feet that I wept with empathy for Him. I couldn’t believe anyone could ever endure such pain and suffering. My faith was no longer about religion, but relationship.

A few years later an event sealed the deal for me. I sat in church waiting for service to start. It began with a little girl’s voice speaking the words “For You know my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb; My frame was not hidden from You when I was woven in the secret place; Your eyes saw my unformed body” (Psalm 139). Wow! I thought, “Where in the world does it say that?” Had I really grown up in church never hearing those words? That moment was the beginning of a whole, new journey. Perhaps it didn’t matter who gave birth to me or why I was given up; God saw me first. He had a purpose for my life.

Three years later I was a wife to Adam with a fulfilling career and a relationship with Jesus Christ I never dreamed possible. I had come to accept that I would never know the circumstances of my birth. Then one day as I was fiddling on the computer, I typed in “adoption 1965 in Milwaukee.” Among the options that popped up was a website from the Wisconsin Department of Social Services. I thought, “Why not?”

I filled out some paperwork and sent it to the adoption specialist. A few weeks later she called and said she had my file. I couldn’t believe it! Was this really happening? I asked her to send me the non-identifying information and told Adam, “How weird would it be if I received the paperwork on my adoption birthday, October 8. I prayed, “Lord, if You give it to me on October 8, there is no way I could ever believe it is not from You and I will tell this story.” I could not fathom how anyone could statistically justify how receiving the information on that specific day could be a coincidence. What are the odds?

Well, you guessed it. Adam called me at work on Friday, October 8, 2005, and said, “It’s here.”

I wish I had had the courage to drop to my knees in praise but I was frozen. Could this be happening? When Adam and I opened the paperwork we were taken aback at the amount of information provided. It revealed my entire history – from my birth mother coming forward to get help with her pregnancy to the day she terminated her rights in court. I read how difficult it was for her to give me up, how much she cried, how much she wanted to get married and keep me, but she was only 16 and still in high school. It broke my heart. Adam’s eyes filled with tears as he said, “Honey, you were loved!” It was as if the Lord Himself touched my heart and said “You’re healed.” My whole life I had chosen to believe a lie!

God’s grace, love, and blessings enveloped me. I was overwhelmed with humility and gratefulness. I developed a strong desire to contact my birth mother to tell her it was ok, how courageous I thought she was, and how thankful I was to her that she allowed the life I had with my family and my husband. Shortly after contacting the adoption search specialist I was told my birth mother was deceased – the cause of death unknown. Still I was thankful for what I had received thus far and knew God would provide more information if I needed it.

I wrote a letter petitioning the Court in Wisconsin to open my birth records, a request I was told was nearly impossible. I had such peace in my heart about the entire process I knew it could be nothing but God. Months later I received the court’s approval to open my records, which granted me all identifying information about my birth family. It didn’t take long to find them via the internet. I wrote a heartfelt letter to my biological uncle and included pictures of me from childhood up to adulthood. I told him all I wanted was some medical history and perhaps a picture of my birth mother, to see if I looked like anyone else in this world.

He responded immediately. He had always had a strong feeling he would hear from his sister’s daughter. I learned my birth mother was tragically killed in a car accident, and that my biological family was a close-knit bunch.

As we planned a trip to meet my bio-family, it hit me. This entire story, the story I thought was all mine, was so much bigger. It was about bringing truth, peace, and healing to a large group of people, including me.

Since meeting everyone eight years ago, I’ve maintained strong relationships with both sides of my biological family and was even blessed to have all of them meet my mom, dad, and brother. That meeting was filled with lots of tears and stories, but mostly, reconciliation. Adoption can be a touchy subject and the stories are not always positive. For whatever reason, I believe God is using me to tell this story. You don’t have to believe a lie. You are loved by Him FIRST. “If you seek Him, He will be found by you” (2 Chronicles 15:2).

My life has come full circle. Adam and I have had our own infertility struggles. We felt the Lord leading us to adopt. After three years of filling out endless paperwork, securing finances, gathering background information, and completing home studies, a birth mother with Bethany Christian Services chose Adam and me. Last September we adopted a precious two-week boy we named Nathan, which means “a gift from God.” He is our joy. It’s our desire for Nathan to know his story. We will teach him how much Jesus loves him, that he was not a mistake and not hidden from God, that all the days ordained for him “were written in [His] book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16).

God is faithful – and not because of anything I could ever do or achieve but because He is King of kings and Lord of lords. His timing is perfect. He had a plan for my life all along, and I get to be the humble recipient of His abundant grace. Only God.

Featured Photo Credit: Photography Studio Six

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About The Author

Michelle Voos, a trauma program manager/hospital liaison for Alameda County Emergency Medical Services in San Leandro, California, attends Creekside Open Bible Church in Martinez, California. You may reach her at Michelle.Voos@acgov.org