Reflections on an Unintended Life

As we say goodbye to 2016, some thoughts . . .

As we say goodbye to 2016, some thoughts . . .

A long time ago, in a world torn by war — two people got together and created a life. The woman’s husband was out at sea. She was here, probably lonely. However it happened, she and a man who was not her husband met and had some sort of affair.

Did they mean to? Was it meaningful to them . . . or just a one-night event? We can’t know now. There is no clear path back to those times. But their coming together created a new life. A baby was born.

That baby was me, a child brought into a world who could not be publicly acknowledged. A child whose life might have been so very different from what it has been!

So, as 2016 draws to a close, I’m taking a few minutes to reflect back on this most amazing life and some gifts I have received.

1. I got great genes. So far my health is very good. I don’t take it for granted — although I haven’t always done everything I could to protect it — but so far, so good. I know nothing about my birth parents, but clearly they gave me some very good stuff!

And as I grow older — a true privilege — I am finally taking better care of myself. I’m eating healthier foods. I’m exercising more. I have dogs again, so I laugh a lot more! (See? Sometimes wisdom does come along with age!)

2. I got great adoptive parents. They did something quite remarkable in a time when out-of-wedlock pregnancies were shameful and adoption was a closed affair: They talked to me about being adopted from day one. I have always known I was an adopted child, so there was no ugly “surprise” in later years.

Even better, my parents told me again and again how they had chosen me out of all the other babies who were waiting to be adopted. They built a wonderful story about seeing baskets of babies, all hoping to go home with them, and yet they chose me. That story sustained me all through my childhood, because I always felt special. Who wouldn’t?

Of course, adults know that the process doesn’t work that way, but so what? What else does a child want except to feel loved, cherished, and wanted? I don’t know how my parents knew to do all that, but I will be eternally grateful that they did.

3. I grew up with enough. What do I mean by that? Well, we always had enough of what mattered. Enough food. Enough love. Enough family members. Enough friends.

We were neither rich nor poor, so money was never talked about (at least that my brother and I can remember). We had the smallest house of any of the relatives, but it was still big enough for us. We had a big enough yard to play in. We had a small garden where my dad grew tomatoes and corn (maybe other things). We had enough.

What a gift all that was! To this day, I feel grateful every day because I know I have enough of what’s important. And I hope you do, too.

I don’t know what 2017 has in store, but I look forward to it. Bring it on!

Originally published at

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