“Perth was quite provincial in the 1960s: being pregnant and unmarried was unthinkable, a shameful disgrace. I was so naive; I only knew I was pregnant for five months. I was also self-centered and had other plans for my life. So when my parents arranged for me to be sent to Melbourne to have the baby and put it up for adoption, I went along with it. I was not forced. I let it happen.
Then I moved on with my life, adoption being my only dark secret. I’m normally open, but I buried this and didn’t tell anyone.
In 1981 someone very close to me died. We were on the beach together when he was carried away through a crack and drowned. It was terrible; after that, I was a mess full of turbulent and painful emotions. When this intense grief was over, I began to ask questions. Until this point in my life, I had striven to be happy, but now I wanted to know what life is all about. Was there a God? If so, who was he? Was he good or a monster who takes away people you love? I was looking for reality, whether it was fun or not.
At the time, the only Christian I knew was a friend, Colleen. She had visited me before the tragedy and talked to me about God, but at the time, I saw it as just being enthusiastic about religion. Then, after the disaster, she returned and shared the gospel. This time I was ready. I wasn’t prepared. I suddenly understood three things: something very wrong with the world, the fault in me, and Jesus is the answer. I was born again. I had very little theology, but I believed in Jesus.
After that, it was a process of learning and change. I have also come to see that God does not like secrets. Suddenly, in 1989, after nearly 25 years, the buried secret of the baby I had given away was dragged into the light by the Holy Spirit. There was something about adoption everywhere I looked – on the TV, on the radio. At the same time, adoption laws had changed, allowing contact between biological parents and adoptees: it was no accident. I knew God wanted me to deal with it. He wanted to restore us. I was told her name was Susannah and I wrote her a letter.
Susannah turned it down. She politely replied that she didn’t want any contact and didn’t know how to deal with having two mothers. Years passed, and I prayed for her. Although this was a blow, I later saw God’s timing and that this was only a first step; neither of us was ready, and I think it would have been a train wreck if we had met then.
Then, in 2014, the problem somehow reawakened in my heart. Maybe I can try again. I sent forms to the agency, but while waiting for them, I got a letter from Susannah wanting to get in touch! I didn’t know, but God was working on us simultaneously. He is great!
I seized the opportunity and had a strong connection from the first communication. We just left. The journey, while exciting, also presented significant challenges. The big one, of course, was that I was a Christian, and Susannah wasn’t. In her eyes, I was a Pentecostal, while she was trying to become a Buddhist. After much talking about it, in 2015, we decided to leave it. We said, ‘Let’s see who gets the lightning bolt first!’ A year later, the lightning bolt hit her! Hallelujah!
I am now 80, and Susannah is a beloved, precious daughter, fully restored to our family. Looking back, I see God knows the end from the beginning. He can restore and redeem! His timing is always right. Deuteronomy 7:9 says, “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, who keeps his covenant of love unto a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.”