by Janet MacFadyen

I have a friend who adopted twin newborns in 1980.  Almost a month after the baby girl and baby boy had settled into their new home, their birth mother decided to have the children with her.  It was a heartbreaking time for my friend and her husband. However, they understood and wished the family all good things in life. 

Not a day went by, though, that my friend didn’t wonder about the happiness of those babies.  When they were five years old, she found out that they had been placed into foster care as toddlers and subsequently adopted into two separate families.

 As adults in their twenties, the twins began the search for their birth mother and facts about their early childhood.  My friend also began a search – with a private investigator – to locate the babies that had lived in her home for twenty-nine days.  She and her husband had felt a love for those twins that never faltered.

 At the age of thirty-five, the twins were reunited with my friend.  Their personalities and life styles were quite different from each other but both are now in daily communication with a woman who was days away from being their adoptive mother.  As she chose them, they are now choosing to have a relationship with her.

 My friend refused to be limited by any obstacles that prevented her from reuniting with children that she felt needed her.  She took stock of her resources – personal and property – and used both to achieve her goal.

 Recently, my friend sent out this parable for her “email family” to consider.  I think that it’s worth sharing. 

One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do.

Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; 
it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbours to come over and help him.
They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. The donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement he quieted down.

A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what
he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing.
He would shake it off and take a step up.

As the farmer’s neighbours continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it
off and take a step up.

Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and
happily trotted off!

Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well
is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.

 For reflection:

 As a leader, have you ever been in a “no way out” place – maybe even by your own fault – and all you got was hurtful messages?  What resources did you discover that you could build on? What was the benefit in that for you?