Imagine putting on a special pair of glasses—ones that make you see people in a more honest way. Each time you put them on, words appear revealing a secret about the person in your view. You glance over at the man in the coffee house and you see the words, “Struggles with addiction.” You notice an old woman on a park bench and read, “Nobody calls anymore.” A pretty young girl walks by and you’re stunned to see that she, “Thinks she’s ugly and wants to kill herself.” The truth is, no one knows what each of us struggles with. No one knows the full story.
For more than 20 years, if someone had those special glasses and looked at my wife, they would have seen the words, “Wants desperately to meet her son.”
In 1990, I met a beautiful young girl. She was full of life and she had a smile to die for. Although we were just friends, I couldn’t wait to see Polly every day. What I didn’t know—and neither did she at the time—was that she was pregnant. After she found out, she was rejected by her boyfriend who wanted nothing to do with her or a baby. She was lost and alone. Eventually she made the difficult decision to put the baby up for adoption. “I got to hold him for a few minutes before he was taken from me,” Polly said. “I talked to him and kissed his forehead about a million times. When the nurse came to take him, she took a part of me with her. I literally couldn’t breathe. I can still feel it today. I remember running to the corner of the hospital near the elevators. I sank to the floor and just cried. It was the worst day of my life.”
Every year on December 10th, Adam’s birthday, she would get out the handful of baby pictures sent to her by the adopted parents. She would stare at them, marveling at the way his eye crunched when he smiled just like hers. She wondered if he was okay. She wondered if she did the right thing. I never knew exactly what to say. I just hugged her.
One day, Polly Googled adoption-finder websites. She randomly picked one—incredibly, the same site the now 20-year old Adam chose to put his information on. Getting his full name was as easy as typing in the correct city of birth and birth date. She looked him up on Facebook and there he was.
In a matter of days, Polly found herself in the car driving from Nashville to Saginaw, Michigan to meet her son…again.
I do not yet know the end of this story. I do know that when they saw each other, Adam broke through the awkwardness and said, “Can I give you a hug?” And he lifted her off the ground. I know I’ve never seen my wife more at peace. I know God brought Adam into this world for a reason. I know my family just got bigger. Adam serves his country in the Army, So I know we found a hero.
There is no such thing as those special glasses, but I imagine they are real. I put them on every day and look around. I see that every person has something big they’re dealing with. I see that no one knows anyone’s full story. I dig deep within to find compassion.
I look more closely and get a different view.
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