The letter found in the old suitcase

Little did he realize the discoveries that would unfold and the stories that lay hidden for so many years in the old, dented suitcase. As his eyes scanned its contents, they fell upon several envelopes partially hidden under other folders. While selecting one of the envelopes, he noticed the address written on it; it was addressed to Holy Family Orphans’ Home, located in Marquette, Mich. As the letter inside was slowly unfolded, he began to read it and the contents revealed some startling information that was never known by him before.

The letter was dated “1950” and was written by his mother informing the orphanage that she and her husband were now more financially secure with employment and also had a stable living arrangement in that they owned a building capable of accommodating additional children. The background to the above paragraph was that a few years prior to this request, the same couple had adopted a boy and girl who were brother and sister from a family of six children.

The letter continued on where the request was made for an additional two children from the same family from which they had previously adopted. Sadly, the request was denied, but what was revealed in the letter was the tremendous loving and caring home for the adopted children that they wanted to provide for other members of that family as well.

A few years later, the couple conceived a child. The child grew up knowing that his brother and sister were adopted, but never knowing that his parents wanted to adopt additional children. Adopted was but a word, because they were his brother and sister.

For those who are considering adopting a child or children, please keep in mind these suggestions.

1. If there is more than one child in the same family, if you can, try to adopt some of the other children. (Make sure that you are financially and emotionally prepared for these changes).

2. Financial/Housing – As the above adoptive couple stated, parents must be financially stable and able to provide ample room for additional children.

3. Love/Emotional Support – One must be willing and open to provide true love and support for these children. Prospective parents should be prepared and have an understanding that there will be ups and downs in the process.

4. Counselor/Support Group – Before you begin the process of adoption, one might consult with the adoption agency to see if there are any ongoing counseling/support groups that are accessible for the transition process and after.

5. Agencies – There are a number of church agencies, along with public and private agencies, that handle adoption. Research their legitimacy and when you have a meeting with them, come with a list of prepared questions and ask for a list of references.

These adoptive children come from various backgrounds and may have had experiences (negative or positive) from their previous life. Some have a wounded and deflated soul, scarred by life’s experiences. On the other hand, others carry no baggage, but still bear the emptiness of the soul. The only things that can mend them is a mountain of love and understanding, smothered with caring and acceptance from their adoptive parent/parents. What nobler thing to do but make a positive difference in a child’s life by providing a family, love, and home for them. You see, blood makes no difference when the binding fibers of love are involved.

This article is dedicated to my mother and father, Arnold and Alice, who opened up their arms, heart, and home for two needy children — and to my brother, Gary, and sister, Narissa, whose parents chose the other option: adoption. Even though they all are in heaven, still to this day, they all impact my life in such a positive way. I am grateful for them all.

This article is also dedicated to my classmate Linda, and also Janet from Ironwood, whose personal experiences and insight inspired me to write this article.


Daniel J. Paul is a retired school administrator. His columns focus on education, old-fashioned family values, relationships, and other topics. To submit comments or find archived columns, go to ­