Tyler’s welcome sign for his siblings.
Tyler has experienced more than his share of brokenness in his short life here on Earth, far more brokenness than any 7 year-old boy should have to experience..a broken home, broken trust, broken relationships, and broken heart…but I have witnessed today the miracle of healing and the truth behind the quote, “Broken things can become beautiful things when you let God do the mending.” I had the privilege of watching God reach down from Heaven and touch some of the brokenness in Tyler’s life and mend it. I witnessed a miracle today…
This miracle didn’t happen overnight. It happened over the course of years. It happened in God’s time. It happened at exactly the right time. Four years ago Tyler and his four siblings were removed from their home and placed in the system. Tyler is the second to youngest with three older brothers and a younger sister. They were put into separate foster homes and slowly they were adopted, one by one. As each child was adopted the court ordered visits would end and they ceased to have contact with each other. When Tyler moved in with us he and his brother Brandon were the only ones not adopted so the two of them were the only two that still had monthly visits with each other. As we neared Tyler’s adoption day Brandon expressed to our social worker fears that he would never see Tyler again..fears that, like the other siblings, Tyler would disappear from his life forever. It was our desire to remain in contact but the foster system makes this difficult with all of the privacy laws. After adopting Tyler we didn’t have any contact information for Brandon so we began to pray for him instead. Daily I prayed for this lost brother, this child that the system had left behind and labeled “unadoptable.” I prayed that God would bring about a miracle not only for Brandon but for all the siblings. I prayed that He would heal the broken hearts and broken relationships brought about by abuse and that one day these siblings would be reunited. Well, God did provide a miracle and I had a front row seat as I watched it unfold.
It all began two weeks ago when God used a compassionate therapist to get the ball rolling. At a therapy appointment Brandon told his therapist that all he wanted for his birthday was to see his brother, Tyler, again. That heartfelt desire led to her tracking down my email and making contact. She asked if we would be open to a visit and I replied with an enthusiastic “YES!” This was the answer to my prayers. After setting up a day and time to meet we were ready for Brandon to come and visit, but God had other plans. You see I had been praying for Brandon and Tyler to reconnect but God had bigger plans. God was planning on bringing ALL the siblings together for the reunion of a lifetime. I didn’t realize it at the time but He was already laying the groundwork for this miracle. When God put the idea on my heart to track down the families of all the kids and bring them together all at once I questioned the logistics of how we would pull it off. Once again I was reminded of the truth that when you are doing God’s will there is no mountain He can’t move, no miracle He can’t perform, so I began by calling the number I had for Tyler’s brother Sean. The response I received from Sean’s mom was unbelievable. She shared that she had been praying for this for years and to just name the date and place and they would be there. From her I received the contact information for another sibling and the result just snowballed. Everyone responded with the same eagerness and gratitude for this miracle. As we got closer to the actual day we watched as God cleared schedules, blessed us with perfect weather for our visit, and even help one lost family find our home two hours after the party began. Nothing was going to stand in the way of this special day..
As we prepared for the visit I was concerned that Tyler might struggle with mixed feeling about seeing the siblings that he hasn’t seen in 3-4 years but he responded with enthusiasm, eagerly joining in with the party planning and helping to decide what we should serve for lunch. (He wanted to roast hot dogs on the fire and drink root beer) The night before the visit we were talking about how special it was that he would have all 3 brothers and his sister here at once. He corrected me, “No, I will have 4 brothers and 3 sisters,” as he included Grace, Molly and Rusty in the count. Yes, Tyler…you are right. 🙂
At 1:00 on Saturday we gathered around the fire and said a prayer. We prayed that God’s hand might continue to be on the day, that He might be present at this special event, and that He would heal that which was broken. A few minutes later our first guests arrived. It was Brandon. His foster mom had driven him and his two foster brothers two and a half hours to get to our home. For the last 10 minutes of the trip Brandon’s eyes were covered. He didn’t know where he was going, he only knew it was a birthday surprise. You can imagine the emotion when he opened his eyes and saw Tyler. He was then told that all his sibling were going to be there, some of whom he hadn’t seen in 3 1/2 years. He fought back tears trying not to cry.
Brandon about to see his birthday surprise..
Tyler and Brandon ran off to jump on the trampoline and about 15 minutes later Sean’s mom pulled in. The two boys ran to greet Sean. You could tell everyone was a little nervous as they greeted each other but within minutes they were playing like they had never been separated.
Brandon, Sean and Tyler
The next family to arrive was Michael’s family. Micheal is the oldest brother and was the first to be adopted. We didn’t think Michael was going to be able to make it. We had received a call the night before telling us that a friend of theirs had died and they wouldn’t be able to make it, but God provided a way and at noon we received a call saying that they would be coming after all. It was so neat watching Michael with his younger brothers as he took on the role of nurturer and protector when someone got hurt. When Michael arrived the boys began playing football together as the parents sat around the fire and visited. It was wonderful visiting with everyone and we gained a lot of insight as we discussed the kids and their struggles/behaviors/strengths. I feel like I gained a new perspective as well as a lot of pertinent information on Tyler’s history as a result of talking to the other parents. As I visited with each Mom I felt such assuredness that each of these kids are exactly where they are meant to be and it wasn’t by chance that we each were brought to the child that we adopted. Each of their stories were amazing and a testimony of God’s love for these children.
Brothers playing football.
Cheyanne was the last to arrive. Her poor mom jumped on the turnpike going the wrong direction and drove for a while before discovering her mistake. Luckily she made it before anyone left.
The brothers running to greet Cheyanne.
One of my primary goals for this visit, in addition to having everyone exchange contact information was to get photos of the kids together. None of the kids have pictures of each other. Tyler’s only picture of his siblings is one that his social worker had taken from a visit at her office years ago. It is black and white and printed on computer paper. It isn’t a good picture but since it is the only one Tyler has of his siblings it sits framed in our livingroom. My goal was to get a lot of pictures of the kids, print out copies, and put them in photo books to send to each sibling so they all have pictures of each other.
Tyler’s only picture of his siblings.
These are some of the pictures that were taken..
Michael and Cheyanne
Tyler and Cheyanne
Sean watching Tyler and Cheyanne hug..
Brandon and Sean
I wish I had the words to adequately describe the emotions, feelings and spirit of the day but words like “incredible” and “amazing” cease to do it justice. It was… holy. The emotions I felt were comparable to Tyler’s adoption day. I was humbled as I watched God work. I saw him take the broken hope, the broken hearts, and broken relationships of these children and mend them. You can’t tell me there is no such thing as miracles because I witnessed one, as real as the parting of the Red Sea, in my own yard today.
“Our God is still a God of Miracles! There is NOTHING that is impossible for Him. Whatever your need is, come lay it at His feet…reach out in faith and touch the hem of His garment.”