Dear Life 96.5
I am the person who called in this morning thinking that you were giving away concert tickets, only to find that it was Praise Day.
I would like to share more of my story about finding my adopted brother because to me it proved just how God works through people.
To start with let me say that when my brother was born, I was only two years old. My mother was sick and in the hospital. My father was also sick from a heart attack and only a few doors down from my mother.
I grew up knowing I had a brother, wishing I could find him and knowing that my parents dearly missed him.
It was 6 years ago that I began listening to your radio station. It was also 6 years ago I began to seriously try to locate my brother.
Finding an adopted child from the parents side is hard to do. It is much easier to do it from the adopted child’s side.
Along the way I documented every call, and every car ride. I drove thousands of miles, went in front of 39 Judges and made 1139 phone calls. Each time a new lead would develop, new energy was needed as each time that lead would dwindle it was an emotional setback. Many tears were shed along the way but what I found that surprises me the most is the number of people struggling with similar situations.
My journey began in South Dakota but soon ran out. A lead took me to the State of Iowa where I petitioned every County only to find that my brother had never been adopted into Iowa to start with.
Disappointed I made a call to Pierre where I met the first person who was obviously guided by God to help me. I explained to a young lady how all I needed was one small lead. How I had already been to 38 court houses and how if I only knew what County to petition I would at least know where to start. This woman began to cry on the other end of the phone. It was 11:30 am and she asked me for my cell phone number. At noon, I received a phone call from her. All she told me was to go to Pennington County and to record her number should that not work for me.
Within minutes of calling Pennington County they confirmed to me that the adoption had taken place.
I prepared the paper work as I had 38 times prior asking that the judge allow me to bring a request in front of the court. Before mailing the paper work I made one last call to the courthouse just to make sure everything was in order as I was told that if even the smallest mistake was made that I would be denied and may not be able to ask again. The clerk sat the phone down with me and while he went through the paper work on his end, I overheard him say that my brother may have been one of the casualties of the great Rapid City flood. That was a very sad day for me. I remember going out to my car and turning on the radio. The song Praise you in this Storm came on the radio.
It took months to be able to get to Rapid City to get in front of the judge. Once I did, she granted my wish, and with tears in her eyes she prayed with me that I would find my brother.
In the car I opened the file that I had been given from Pennington County, but to my surprise, there was hardly anything in it. All I had was a name of the adopting parents and a letter stating that they requested to move out of State before the 30 day requirement, which was granted.
Disappointed, on my way home I made a call to the young lady in Pierre. I told her that I had been given permission to open his file but that it was basically useless. That’s when she asked me if I was going through Pierre on my way home. I told her that I could and she asked me to call her when I got to Pierre. I made that call when I got into the parking lot and she asked me to meet her by a water fountain. I walked up to a woman I had never seen before who turned to me with tears in her eyes and handed me the complete adoption file, said God Bless you and turned and walked away.
In the file I found every correspondence, including ones from the health nurse and family friend who petitioned the court to keep my brother from being able to leave the state. That request was denied to her, but she managed to have the State make the adopting parents check in with the State in which they were moving to. Now I had a name and an address which made things much easier. I also knew that my brother had survived the flood.
For the first time in a long time I had renewed energy and hope in finding him. From there it was just a matter of hundreds of calls. It was heart breaking to make so many calls and not get any closer, but along the way several calls stand out. There was the one where I called someone I had tracked down who had the same name as my brothers adopted mother. She was so sorry she couldn’t help me. She went on to tell me she too was adopted and couldn’t find her parents. We talked for a few minutes and said our goodbyes. An hour later, she called me back. She told me she couldn’t just let our conversation end like that. She insisted that we pray together and she called me back once a week until I finally found my brother.
It was call number 1138 that got me to where I needed to be. By this time I had found out that my brother was on an air force base. I had made nearly 30 calls on that base trying to locate him. But, call number 1138 was to an old man on base. I asked for my brother by name and he nearly gave me the number but stopped. He asked me what was really going on and I asked him if he really wanted to know, he confirmed that he did, so I told him my story. He began to cry and told me that he had been adopted as well. He told me that he was going to give me a phone number. That I couldn’t tell anyone where I had got the number from and that I could only call the number one time. I made that promise and together we prayed on the phone.
I made that next call, number 1139 and my brother answered the phone. I was blown away. The first thing I asked was if he was sitting down. Then I went on to tell him that I was his brother. I told him adopted father and mothers name, his birth date and where he was from. He exchanged his cell number with me and told me he needed to go and walk around.
Later that night he called me back. He told me how he had been praying for healing as he had just lost his adopted father and his mother was in a financial crisis. That same day I called his mother had received a check from the Air Force due to his father’s orange exposure and she was able to pay off her home, and he now had his brother.
He went on to tell me how before his father died he had given him my name and phone number. How he wanted him to call me but how he didn’t know how to start. He continued in saying how he and his adopted had planned a bear hunt in Maine but how his father couldn’t go and how he had wanted him to ask me to take his place. Just a few weeks earlier my brother had booked that hunt. On the phone that night he asked me if I would consider going. The next morning I booked the hunt and I met my brother for the first time at the air port where he took me to his home and the next morning we drove an additional 720 miles to Maine for a bear hunt.
We just finished our 3rd annual bear hunt. The second hunt both of my uncles came along and this year one of my uncles came along again. We have shared a dozen trips including one where our mothers were able to meet each other. With the help of God and so many people along the way, my brother and I will grow old making memories…
Thank you so very much for your ministry. We have no idea how our lives impact others. How a simple phone call can impact another person.
Sincerely Harvey Donley
PS Today my brother and I both have two mothers…