In agriculture it's not uncommon to graft a branch from one tree to another and to have that newly grafted branch grow and flourish, receiving nutrients from the main trunk of the tree, just like all the other branches. Yet the grafted branch does not loose its original identity, it remains a part of the tree that it came from.
That story was told to Edward Dow Bartling by his parents over and over when he was growing up. Soon Edward came to love trees in many ways. He loved to climb them as a young boy, seeing how high he could go. Once at the top of the tree he would enjoy the breeze. He enjoyed making things from the tree like a slingshot or bow and arrow. He enjoyed becoming a Boy Scout and camping under the shade and protection of the trees. When he grew up and got married his house was filled with pictures and sculptures of trees. And all around his home were trees, trees, trees.
You see, Edward's parents told him that story over and over for a particular reason: Edward was adopted and it was his parent's way of explaining how though he was different than their other children, he was loved and nurtured just the same as they were. He had been 'grafted' to this new family, loved like all the other family members, but different just the same. And his adoptive parents always reminded him how he was oh so loved by his original family tree, too, for it takes a special kind of love to give away a part of yourself.
Edward was adopted when he was eight days old by a military family. He was born in Panama City, Panama, his name then was Don Louis Martinez. On that 8th day of his life, his birth mother clothed him in a special gown and entrusted him over to the Bartling family, never to see him again. While he was growing up, Edward knew of this special event and within him grew the seed of yearning. So he hoped and prayed that some day he would visit panama and maybe even find his original 'tree''his birth mother. Now his parents encouraged him not to let the seed die but knew that they only had limited amount of information on his family which they had already shared with Edward.
Edward was nurtured and blessed in many ways growing up in the United States. While his adoptive parents were in the military he was able to live in many parts of the country. He received a college education, got his MBA, married his wonderful high school sweetheart, LaDonna, and together they have beautiful son, Justin. Married now for over thirty-five years they live in a beautiful part of these United States where a 20 minute drive will take them to the wonderful place called Mt. Rushmore.
Edward is a partner in a firm and it was actually at his work that his life would forever change again. His firm hired a young man just out of college and that young man's wife was from Panama. One night after work the young man gave Edward an internet site to look at'it covered retiring in Panama. Now Edward was fifty-three so this site indeed caught his interest. While he was on it, a pop-up advertisement came up. Though those are usually annoying, this one caught Edward's eye. It was a private detective stating that he could help you find someone in Panama. Edward noted the ad and the detective's credentials and did not think any more of it.
Until later that week when he was attending a Boy Scout function and saw a now grown-up scout he had not seen in a while. It was Will, who had since left the Navy and was now a detective. Edward then asked Will if a detective has certain initials behind his name did that mean anything. 'Oh yes,' said Will. Well that was enough of an endorsement for Edward'he contacted the detective he had seen in the pop up ad at once. The first thing the detective wanted was money. Edward paid it and waited and waited and waited for over a year. Then on his day off, his wife LaDonna called him at home and said have you read your email. Edward said no, and she said 'Read it!'
When he did his eyes got big and then they swelled up with tears. The detective said he has found his family. He has two brothers and one sister. And his mother was alive! He went on to say that Edward's brothers and sister did not know of him. And that the detective first went through the sister who set Edward's mother down and asked her the question. She fainted and they took her to the hospital. When she recovered, she told the family that the reason she had fainted was that as a devote Catholic she had been praying and lighting a candle daily, hoping that before she would die, she would receive a message that her son was all okay. Her prayers were answered. The detective also explained that if any member of the family did not want to contact Edward, Edward would have to be told the family was not found. But it was the opposite'they wanted to see him!
So in September, one day after his birth mother, Lillian's, seventy-ninth's birthday, Edward and his son arrived in Panama City. The day of their arrival over 50 family members, uncles, aunts, cousins, were at the airport cheering and waving their hands. They welcomed Edward and his son, Justin, with hugs and kisses. Then all of a sudden the crowd parted much like the Red Sea for Moses and up stepped Edward's birth mother. All 4 foot 6 inches of her; and she showered him with hugs and kisses.
The next day Lillian and her sister Norma took Edward and Justin to a mission and they showed him something very special'more special than they could have ever known. They showed them one of the oldest items left standing at the mission. Lasting over 100 years, a tree. Yes, a tree that they called Panama. Edward looked at his family, looked at the tree and its branches, and remembered the story his adoptive parents told him and he knew at that moment that he was Home.
Submitted by Anonymous
We've all had people in our lives who have made a positive impact on us. A parent or grandparent, a sibling who was there for us, or maybe even just a guy who shines shoes for a living? Whoever they are, tell us their story so they can inspire us even more.Tell Us Your Story All Everyday Hero Stories