Finding My 'Connection' as an Adopted Child
Today, we're bringing you a Miracle Monday that connects to last week's testimony, a story that Sister KarenJo Pandone related to very personally. This is her story of how the Lord answered her question, "Who am I in this world?" Since Christmas is a family-focused time of year, we think this theme is quite appropriate.
I was adopted as a 6-week-old infant and became the daughter of two loving parents who couldn't have children. Brother Joe and Sister Rose Milantoni raised me in a loving home where I never wanted for anything. I knew from the moment I could understand that I was adopted. They always associated it with a positive twist: "They chose me," "God gave me to them," "I was their adopted sweetheart," all of which made me feel very special — so much so that I would go up to perfect strangers and proudly announce, "I'm adopted!"
My life was full in every respect. Dad was an evangelist in The Church and extremely active in the Native American work as well as the GMBA. I lived in Muncey, Ontario and San Carlos, Arizona, where my parents sought to bring the Gospel to God's chosen people. I witnessed many miracles while in the mission field. I saw how my Dad was instrumental in the start of the Inner City Mission in Detroit, Michigan. The Lord called me into His Church at the young age of 14, and my parents made sure I was at every conference, campout, and church event that we could possibly travel to. My life was full.
At the age of 37, thinking I would never get married, I began to plan for a life alone. I was blessed with a good job and had the love of the saints. I decided that was enough for me. Once again, the Lord took charge of my life, and I met my husband, Michael, at a GMBA Campout. After we got engaged, we found out that the brother who initially introduced us was prompted by the Lord to do so, and another brother, while praying for the young people at the upcoming campout, had a dream where he saw Michael and me getting married.
Growing up, I heard people talk about feeling a "connection" to their heritage. This was an aspect of my life that I felt was missing. I knew from adoption papers that I was half Scottish, a quarter English, and a quarter Irish, although I was raised by 100 percent Italian parents. I didn't feel a "connection" to any nationality.
Early in our marriage, Michael and I visited Canterbury Village in Michigan with my husband's parents. It is an area dedicated to all things Christmas, and it has several small buildings that sell things associated with various nationalities. One of those buildings housed all things Scottish. I entered thinking, "This is where I'll find my connection!" I walked around hearing the music, seeing the many themed items, and looking at all the Clan symbols, waiting to feel that "connection." Michael could see that something was troubling me and kept asking if I was OK. I just nodded my head and kept waiting for that "connection." Unfortunately, it never came, and I left feeling empty and unsettled.
That night, as I was preparing for bed, I asked the Lord why I didn't feel a connection to my heritage. For some reason, this was very important to me. As I got into bed, a very soft voice spoke to my mind, "You are my child." Immediately, I felt enveloped in warmth and love. Everything fell into place, and I had my "connection." I was a Child of God. He met every need throughout my life — gave me loving parents who raised me in His Church and provided a husband who loved the Lord as much as I did.
My "connection" was and is complete. I am the Lord's child. Yes, I love all the Scottish plaids. I have red hair like a true Irish. I say sorry a lot, as I'm told the English tend to do. I love my pasta like a true Italian — but my "connection" is with the Lord. And that's enough for me.
Share Your Christmas Blessings With Us
We know it's a busy time of year, but if you have a spare moment, we'd love to hear about a favorite Christmas memory or an impactful experience that happened during the Christmas season. Click here to share your story.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.