Updated: Sep 6, 2019
On May 23, 1988, my twin, Matt, and I were born near an orphanage in Bogotá, Colombia. Little did I know, just like many others of you, that in that moment and because of that moment, so much emotion would transpire over the years from many different sides. From the beginning, it was never about me. In fact, someone much greater than any of this knew about it all beforehand, and I am continually learning that to this day. It would take many pages to write all that has happened and for full comprehension of what I am living through presently, but for now I will try to give a small, yet mighty picture of what God has done in my life through His works.
Shortly after our birth, my twin and were adopted by a family from the United States. I grew up in a loving home to parents who were unable to have children of their own, but had been praying years before that God’s plan would be fulfilled within their lives. Three years later, another boy was adopted from the same orphanage, FANA, in Bogotá, so we grew up the three of us, each different in our own way.
I was the outgoing, wild kid who enjoyed life but quickly bitterness set within, and I had so many questions about my adoption (as do many other adopted kids). However, it was too much, and I wasn’t handling it in the right way. I refused to see God in it until much later in life.
Ten years ago, the five of us, my mom and dad, my twin, and my younger brother, visited Colombia. I had gone before but this was the first time our family of five was able to travel back together. Matt and I were able to meet with some of our caretakers from FANA, and they gave us a packet of information about our birth. We were also told, we had two other half-brothers and that our mother loved us so much but had to make a hard choice. I didn’t understand what all of that meant as I was mesmerized by the photocopy picture of her that was on the last page of the documents we had been given. Though I had always wanted to meet my birth mom, from that point on, I was determined to find her.
Over the years I looked but to no avail. I asked my Colombian friends, lawyers, and pastors but no one was able to help. At one point three years ago, it was discovered that she was still alive. I kept praying and many nights my pillow case was full of tears, soaked from the continual questioning and suffering until one night I had decided it was time. Time to hand it all over to the Lord. I had closed my hands for so long holding on to something that I thought was mine. It was my treasure. My story. In reality, it was our Sovereign Lord trying to open up my hand to say, “In my timing I will do great wonders for you and the others.” It was clenched tight, but I had to open it up, which was tremendously scary, and release everything unto Him. I didn’t understand, but that night I “gave up” something only to see much more of the story unveil several years later.
I had served in missions in other countries but none seemed to work out until I was called to join a team in Colombia just last year. Imagine that! My home country! Who would have ever thought?
So the interesting part of the story goes like this: On July 24, 2018, I found out through my roommate’s friend (within two days of her asking the friend) that my birth mother had passed away last year. I was crushed, and I had just been sharing with a group from the States that I had hoped to meet my mom some day. The group had been asking questions, and I shared with them my dream. My life long dream that night had ended.
Through a series of events as I was getting her death certificate, three other names were given. Three sons. I was in shock and had no clue what to say but the tears began to pour as I found out my two half-brothers that I had previously known about were alive, and that another one was born after Matt and I. The oldest, Julio, had left his phone number and as I looked up each one of their names on Facebook, each brother had a picture of a little boy and a beautiful women beside them with the date of our mother’s death. Yes, it was them. Why God? Why now? What do you want in all of this?
I visited my mother’s grave a week later and saw there were flowers there. I knew someone had passed by recently. Ten days after that, I woke up one morning ready to contact Julio. I was nervous, but prayer was the only answer to calm my anxious heart. God had been orchestrating the story thus far, and He would continue to do so much more if I was obedient. I sent my brother a message and the following day he responded. What has happened since then has been an incredible journey of God’s goodness, mercy, and love. I talked with Julio, then Kleen, the youngest, and a few days later, Sebastian. Each video call full of tears, of sadness and yet complete joy. I found my family after all these years, but only through the death of our mother. Do I understand why that is? No, and I probably never will, but God does and I must rest in His unchanging love for me.
I know now that my mother suffered and begged God to have it be some other way that she didn't have to give us up for adoption. Julio was 11 and Sebastian was 3 when we were born. Julio remembers that they were very poor and living in a small apartment. When he came home from school, he would do odd jobs for people to make money until 6:00 when he had to go home to take care of his little brother while his mother worked at a food stand until 10:00. His father was not in the picture nor was Sebastian's. They were unable to make their rent payment and were evicted from their apartment. He remembers that his mother had a boyfriend about this time, but he left shortly after. She was already pregnant with us because he says the police offered them the option of the orphanage and took them there where Mercedes (the founder and our caretaker) had established the Marguerite d’Youville home for unwed mothers.
While at the orphanage, the mothers are given free prenatal care and some job training. When their children are born they are under no obligation to release them for adoption but they can no longer remain at the home. Julio says he remembers after he was in bed at night hearing his mother crying and asking God to show her what to do. The adoption papers state that our mother said she “couldn’t take care of the children she already had” so my parents’ conclusion was that she would not be able to provide for two more little ones. God’s plan was not what either side of this would have chosen, but He would provide a miracle. My brothers and mom had a rough life and only a mattress to call their own. They all started working at a very young age and none of them finished school. Our mother told Julio to never talk about what had happened at FANA. Sebastian was too small to remember any of it, and Kleen knew nothing of the story.
Right before our mom passed away, she had asked Julio to find her lost twins. That never happened, but the Lord brought it to pass in a different way that brought Him more glory. I met them for the first time August 29, 2018. I talk with two of them every day, and we have forgiven each other for wrong thoughts and for the suffering over the years.
Looking back now and realizing after all the heartbreak, the agony, and the questions, my adopted parents went through all those same emotions when the door closed to have children and my birth mother had similar emotions when she chose out of her infinite love to give my brother and I a better life. My brothers agree that she certainly achieved that dream. For everyone, in the darkest of places, room was left for light to shine the brightest. Through my unfaithful years, He was still faithful.
Thanks to my mom for giving me the life she dreamed that Matt and I would have. Thanks to my adopted parents for fulfilling this dream of hers. Thanks to my twin and Bryan, my other brother who was adopted, for putting up with me all these years. Thanks to my three “new” brothers for receiving me with love.
And most importantly, with a grateful heart, undeserving of such kindness and compassion, I give praise to the Lord, who in His infinite loved bestowed upon every member of this family life and hope.
Psalm 139:13-14, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”