Some stories seem too heartwarming to be true.
This is the story of my niece, Christine Hart. I am her adoptive mom’s youngest brother and the youngest of 12 children. Until May of this year her story was reasonably normal.
At 57 Chris is both an accomplished and loved high school teacher and athletic director. Her immediate family includes her adoptive parents and adopted brother. From infancy Chris experienced tremendous love and support along with something extra special; the wonderment of her adoptive mom’s prodigious family of 8 girls and 4 boys.
The turning point occurred in May when she received a life-altering letter from her birth mom, previously a completely unknown person in Christine’s life.
The letter was sent through the adoption agency, Catholic Social Services (CSS). CSS did this as there was important health history that needed to be shared. Christine’s birth mother included a request for contact with her. Chris delayed her response, uncertain as to how she might begin a dialog. A month passed and Christine received a 5-page handwritten letter from her birth mother, Sharon. The letter was heartfelt and as Chris said, it was simply amazing.
With several emails exchanged, Sharon contacted Christine’s birth father, Don, and they arranged a meeting. Christine learned that Sharon and Don never married…each other. Sharon has been married to her husband for the last 50 years, and they’ve lived about 7 miles from Chris for more than 20 years. Sharon attends the same Catholic Church as Christine, and her youngest daughter was a student at Alter High School in Kettering, Ohio where Christine taught and is currently the athletic director.
She learned that Don and his wife have been living in Norwalk, Ohio, several hours north of Kettering for 55 years and that Don and Sharon had not seen each other, or even spoken since before Christine was born 57 years ago.
To her amazement Chris learned that Don has 8 children and Sharon has 3. Remarkable is the fact that all involved — the birth parents, their spouses, the adoptive parents, and all of the siblings — were thrilled with news of a new family member! It’s not surprising considering the influence of their Catholic faith.
One day Chris was the older of 2; the next she was the oldest of 13. How about that, she beat me by 1.