I watched an Irish movie that brought tears to my eyes and reminded me of my mother’s story. The movie was based on a true story of an impoverished family where the mother dies and the father runs off and doesn’t care of the children, who are taken into custody by the state and placed in orphanages.
The same thing happened to my mother and her siblings, only it wasn’t in Ireland. It was in Colorado. She was the age my littlest granddaughter is now—almost two years old—when she and her siblings were taken into custody by the Otero County Court. The judge declared them “neglected children” and wards of the state until age 21. Mother’s one sister and two brothers were sent to the Denver Children’s Home, but just in time a childless couple adopted her. And though she never saw her siblings again, she was raised by loving Christian parents and grew up to be a self-sacrificing, loving pastor’s wife. This is an old photo of her the day she was adopted. Her adoptive parents found her dirty and frightened.
Some things have come full circle. Since I moved back to Colorado, I have found Mother’s birth family. Our son, who is a lawyer, has done pro bono work representing neglected children who have no legal representation.
Though Mother has been gone from us over 38 years now, I never want to forget how God rescued a sad little girl whose mother had died of TB and whose father had run off to find work or something in that dust bowl era. I never want to take for granted the way God rescues us, provides for us, gives us people to love and be loved by.
I remember Mother smiling through tears of blessing as she sang, “A tent or a cottage, why should I care? They’re building a mansion for me over there. Though exiled from home, yet still I will sing, All glory to God, I’m a child of the King.”