This I Believe

Jenna - Charlotte, North Carolina
Entered on May 23, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: community, family

Several years ago, I lay in bed listening to NPRs Early Morning Edition. I lived in Northern California at the time. The story was about an elderly Italian man seeking family by placing an ad in his local paper. After reading many responses, he selected the woman who was to become his new daughter. She made a long journey to collect this man. Never having flown or traveled by subway, she breezed through, because, she said, she was coming to get ‘him.’

This story struck me. Estranged for over ten years with no hopeful reconciliation in sight with my own family, this man had done many of us wished we had the guts to do. Advertise and get a new family.

A couple of years later, I moved to Charlotte, North Carolina. My new home represented a fresh start, so it was exciting. It was also lonely and I longed for the warm embrace of friends. Having forgotten about the Italian, though craving companionship, it dawned on me.

With this man’s story as my inspiration, I placed an ad in the newspaper. Local coverage was given. As my post office box bulged with a loving outpouring, my hands shook as I read stories of courage, encouragement and offers of family. I called the couple who’s letter spoke the loudest. We met shortly thereafter and even after the first dinner together, I knew that something profound had taken place.

My new parents have taught me a great deal about unconditional love, patience, commitment and promise. As a result, I have hope. I smile more and count my blessings. My new parents have offered me a life with them. I also have new siblings. We are different from one another and relish the richness of diversity. Over one year later, we are family.

As my lessons are forthcoming and the promise of a bright future great, I now realize that if you have the courage to ask, people will respond. It is never too late to capture what was thought lost. It is never too late to learn something new. And it is never too late to wonder ‘what if?’

I don’t know what happened to that man in Italy. I hope for him all the happiness I have gained as a result of my new family. If I saw him, I would thank him for changing my life in the best way imaginable. If I saw him, I would ask him to be part of my family. For we are all one and that is never more clear when one influences another as he has me.

I believe in the power of taking risks and second chances. Most of all I believe that miracles are born of desire, because I did not believe in the power of family before. And now I do.