a story of faithfulness
My story begins in a Benoni Orphanage in Johannesburg, where I was taken to after being rescued from my alcoholic parents, George and Theresa de Goede.
My biological father, George de Goede, who has now passed away, was first married to a lady by the name of Lorna and they had 4 daughters: Debbie, Elaine, Michelle and Vania. Vania was only 8 years old when her mother Lorna passed away due to cancer, so she went to stay with her Aunt Joyce in Cape Town, since her other sisters, who were much older, were married.
Two years after Lorna’s passing, George married Theresa, my biological mother. They had two more children including me and my younger brother Kyle. We didn’t last long as a family before Kyle and I were brought into the adoption system, where, sadly, the two of us were separated.
As an 18-month old baby, I was welcomed into the Pearson family, joining a British-South African couple and their two sons, Colin and Gareth. I grew up with them on a farm in the North West region in South Africa until we relocated to Port Elizabeth 13 years ago.
Even though I had been adopted, I was still in contact with my sister Vania and our aunt and uncle. To my knowledge, Vania was my only sister, and every December we would go visit her, Aunt Joyce and Uncle Dale. When I was about 6-years old, my inquisitive mind began questioning the situation: Why is Vania my “half-sister”? Why doesn’t she stay with Colin and Gareth and me? My mother didn’t want our life to be shrouded in secrecy, so she slowly began telling me my story. But at such a young age, I could hardly fathom it all, and it took a while to process. At 8-years old I wanted to find my brother Kyle. I didn’t know him, but I knew he was my family, and I wanted to meet him and get to know him. We spent weeks and sent countless calls and emails back and forth to the Benoni Orphanage, but to no avail. The social workers who had dealt with our cases no longer worked there, and, therefore, they weren’t able to provide us with any further details. Saddened and frustrated that neither my mom, my Aunt Joyce nor I could do anything about the situation, I decided to let go and leave it until I was older. But of course, as much as I tried to wait, it was always one of my greatest desires to find him. I wanted to know if we looked alike, if he’d been brought up well, if he even had any idea at all that I existed… The questions never stopped.
Moving to Dubai has led me to a much closer relationship with Christ, and, although it’s still a journey, I can confidently say this is the best decision I have ever made. In 2013 I went to the Hillsong Conference in Sydney and during the first night of the conference I had a dream. In this dream I believe God said to me, Reconciliation, but, unsure of the meaning, I assumed it must have meant within my adoptive family.
At the beginning of 2014, I resumed my search for Kyle by looking for him on facebook, but I couldn’t find anything. In August 2014, my friend Mustapha came to visit me. We talked about my adoption story, and he urged me to continue my search and to look on Facebook once more. I was hesitant to do so because of the previous disappointment at the beginning of the year, but I ended up doing it. I found someone who had the same name as Kyle and looked very similar to me. His profile matched the only bit of information I had for him. In my excitement, I sent him a personal message to see if this could be him, but to my disappointment weeks passed without hearing anything back. I kept making excuses on his behalf as to why he hadn’t messaged me as a way of coping with the disappointment and hurt once again.
In November 2014 my Aunt Joyce forwarded me an email she had received from a woman named Debbie. In Debbie’s email she asked Joyce about me, saying that Kyle was looking to get in touch with me and wanted to know where I was. I was so excited to get in touch with Kyle and reconcile with him that I emailed back immediately. I didn’t realize until later that this “Debbie” was actually my other half-sister. Once I had found out about my older half-sisters, I had assumed that they didn’t want to have contact with me since they had never tried to reach out, though they surely would have known that I was in close contact with Vania. Through this email, I ended up finding Debbie and Elaine as they reached out to me personally. I was in complete disbelief and shaking and utterly flabbergasted at what was unfolding before me.
Finally, the moment came when Kyle sent me a Facebook request. I can’t even explain the intensity of the emotions that rushed through me when I saw that notification. There was excitement, curiosity, nervousness, anxiousness—you name it! But what really touched my heart and affected me the most was the moment when Kyle sent me a message which said, simply, “I always knew I wasn’t alone.” I almost couldn’t contain my tears.
In March 2015 I had a friend’s wedding to attend, and I asked Kyle to join me. It would be our first in-person meeting. Flying home to SA from Dubai held so much more excitement and anticipation than it ever had before. The 26th of March, the day I met Kyle, was one of the greatest days in my life. I could never forget, nor would I ever want to, as this was the day that God reunited my brother and me. There are not words enough to even begin to express the gratitude that I felt towards our Heavenly Father.
The moment my brother got off the bus in Port Elizabeth, my legs turned to jelly. I saw him first, and ran up behind him to give him a big hug. He turned around and embraced me, and I tell you, my world stood still. The whole way home we both expressed our disbelief. We were finally together. How could this be real?
As it unfortunately turned out, Kyle didn’t have the best upbringing. He had grown up as one of 17 foster kids. He even lived on the streets for 4 years. I’m heart broken that I couldn’t have protected him from that sad situation, but I know that God was there to protect him and carry him through that period. God brought someone into his life who gave him a job and put him on the right path. .
Our reunion weekend ended all too quickly. We had the wedding celebrations on the Saturday and then on Sunday Kyle and I went to church together. During our time of worship, I felt God say, This is the reconciliation I meant for you. With tears streaming down my face, I leaned over to Kyle told him, “Our Heavenly Father has brought us together.” I felt God shift something in Kyle’s heart when I told him that. As God continues to do His work in and through us, I hope this story, His story, has encouraged you to know that God is a Father who loves to give you the desires of your heart. And, best of all, He will neither leave you nor forsake you.