Family, It’s More Than Just Blood

Recently I was reading within the comments section at a post at the Conservative Treehouse site (see link below) when I found a post referencing adoption & was inspired to reply.  Since it takes a lot of effort for me to compose certain types of writing on occasion I’ll copy them here to the Special Connections blog & perhaps use them as inspiration for further thoughts shared.  This is one such occasion.  See immediately below the link for the original conversation…

Leaks Begin – FBI Contacts Accuser Deborah Ramirez…

  • dwhitehurst says:

    For what it’s worth, I was adopted at 2 weeks old in 1970. Though abortion wasn’t legal yet, it still was possible. Adopted by wonderful Christian parents. Grew up to be a Lutheran minister, married with four beautiful children. I really have never had a big urge to find and contact my birth mother, maybe for fear that my sudden appearance would shake her life up too much. But if I did, I simply would tell her, “Thank you for your sacrifice of carrying me to term and not aborting me.”

    Liked by you and 1 other person

    • My mom was adopted in 1940 right after birth. Her adoption was kept secret because her parents had adopted my grandpa’s sister’s son & he was called a bastard to his face by the small Finnish community they were living in in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. My mom’s adoption was kept secret by her parents until she went to marry. My parents kept her adoption secret from my brothers & I until our other (blood relative) grandmother died, they told us on the way home from the funeral.

      I became obsessed as a teenager to learn about my mom’s birth parents, but she was never interested. It wasn’t until 2000, when Mom was 60 & her mom was dead & her dad incapacitated by a stroke that she became willing to allow me to really search & supported this endeavor by obtaining her original birth certificate.

      Although it was never my intent to intrude on the birth families, for like you we didn’t want to upset their lives, a series of events lead unexpectedly to a phone call to me by one of my mom’s birth cousins (her birth mother’s sister’s daughter). This lead to many interactions online and several in person, with both the birth parents’ surviving family members. We actually had lunch with this cousin & her sister again a couple weeks ago!

      My mom has 2 half sisters on her birth-father’s side & through our interactions over the years she had a significant impact on re-establishing her younger sister’s relationship with Christ. I guess the bottom line point of my reply is that you might consider bathing your decision to search or not in prayer. It’s possible that the Lord might want to use your blood connections to various people to “heal the breech” in their hearts.

      My husband only learned that he had a birth sister at his mother’s funeral. He was devastated to learn that she’d had another child & never told him about her. As an adult we discussed the topic on a visit with his older half brothers. They were both convinced that there wasn’t a day that went by that their mom didn’t think about the daughter she was coerced to give away & that she likely grieved that loss every day for the rest of her life.

      Just a couple of years ago on a visit with his mom’s sister my husband heard from her directly about how she also was forced by her family to adopt out her own baby in very similar circumstances to what happened to his mother. This woman in her 70’s still carries deep scars related to the loss of her child…

      It sounds like your life has been very blessed, as has my mom’s! & we all have perhaps a deeper grasp of what it might mean to be grafted into the Vine or adopted into the Family of God because of the unique journeys we’ve experienced in relation to Family.

      God Bless You Richly!

       

      (after initially publishing this post there was this further exchange at CTH)

      dwhitehurst says:

      Thanks. Point is: Unlike so many of the aborted (whom I expect to meet in Heaven), I was given a chance at life, a productive life by Grace alone. Life is held to be a “natural right” like liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and it is because it is a gift from God. No one should play God, taking away from another what the true God has given them. But Government since 1973 has sanctioned this very thing. Tremble.

      God bless and keep you too!

      Liked by you and 1 other person

      • Amen! Abortion is an Abomination & the blood of the innocent surely cries out to the Lord continuously…I’m so thankful that both you & my mom were spared to give Life to others. Blessings

       

How I closed my reply to the original comment got me thinking about how God has created a clear path for us to be made His Children, to adopt us as His own!  Well I didn’t originally intend to do a lengthy sharing of scripture but this seems to be the direction this post is now heading.  God’s plan to adopt us for Himself was foundational in creation!  The scriptures below come from BibleGateway.com & images from various Bing.com image searches…the highlights or emphasis (italics &/or bolding) are mine…

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Romans 8 New International Version (NIV)

Life Through the Spirit

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death.

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For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,[b] God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.[c]And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

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Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

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You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.

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10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life[d] because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of[e] his Spirit who lives in you.

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12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

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14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.[f] And by him we cry, “Abba,[g] Father.”

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16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

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Present Suffering and Future Glory

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope21 that[h] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

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More Than Conquerors

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us,who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns?  No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

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“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[j]

 

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37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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Footnotes:

a Romans 8:2 The Greek is singular; some manuscripts me

b Romans 8:3 In contexts like this, the Greek word for flesh (sarx) refers to the sinful state of human beings, often presented as a power in opposition to the Spirit; also in verses 4-13.

c Romans 8:3 Or flesh, for sin

d Romans 8:10 Or you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive

e Romans 8:11 Some manuscripts bodies through

f Romans 8:15 The Greek word for adoption to sonship is a term referring to the full legal standing of an adopted male heir in Roman culture; also in verse 23.

g Romans 8:15 Aramaic for father

h Romans 8:21 Or subjected it in hope. 21 For

i Romans 8:28 Or that all things work together for good to those who love God, who; or that in all things God works together with those who love him to bring about what is good—with those who

j Romans 8:36 Psalm 44:22

k Romans 8:38 Or nor heavenly rulers

New International Version (NIV)Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

 

Romans 9 New International Version (NIV)

Paul’s Anguish Over Israel

I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised![a] Amen.

God’s Sovereign Choice

It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”[b] In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. For this was how the promise was stated: “At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.”[c]

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10 Not only that, but Rebekah’s children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac. 11 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: 12 not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.”[d] 13 Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”[e]

14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses,

“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
    and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”[f]

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16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17 For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”[g] 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

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19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’”[h] 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?

22 What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory—24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? 25 As he says in Hosea:

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“I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people;
    and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,”[i]

26 and,

“In the very place where it was said to them,
    ‘You are not my people,’
    there they will be called ‘children of the living God.’[j]

27 Isaiah cries out concerning Israel:

“Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea,
    only the remnant will be saved.
28 For the Lord will carry out
    his sentence on earth with speed and finality.”[k]

29 It is just as Isaiah said previously:

“Unless the Lord Almighty
    had left us descendants,
we would have become like Sodom,
    we would have been like Gomorrah.”[l]

Israel’s Unbelief

30 What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness,have not attained their goal. 32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone.33 As it is written:

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“See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble
    and a rock that makes them fall,
    and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.”[m]

Footnotes:

a Romans 9:5 Or Messiah, who is over all. God be forever praised! Or Messiah. God who is over all be forever praised!

b Romans 9:7 Gen. 21:12

c Romans 9:9 Gen. 18:10,14

d Romans 9:12 Gen. 25:23

e Romans 9:13 Mal. 1:2,3

f Romans 9:15 Exodus 33:19

g Romans 9:17 Exodus 9:16

h Romans 9:20 Isaiah 29:16; 45:9

i Romans 9:25 Hosea 2:23

j Romans 9:26 Hosea 1:10

k Romans 9:28 Isaiah 10:22,23 (see Septuagint)

l Romans 9:29 Isaiah 1:9

m Romans 9:33 Isaiah 8:14; 28:16

New International Version (NIV)Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

 

Romans 10 New International Version (NIV)

10 Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

Moses writes this about the righteousness that is by the law: “The person who does these things will live by them.”[a] But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’”[b] (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’”[c] (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).

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But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,”[d] that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim:If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”[e] 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”[f]

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14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”[g]

16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?”[h] 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. 18 But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did:

“Their voice has gone out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.”[i]

19 Again I ask: Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says,

“I will make you envious by those who are not a nation;
    I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.”[j]

20 And Isaiah boldly says,

“I was found by those who did not seek me;
    I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.”[k]

21 But concerning Israel he says,

“All day long I have held out my hands
    to a disobedient and obstinate people.”[l]

Footnotes:

a Romans 10:5 Lev. 18:5

b Romans 10:6 Deut. 30:12

c Romans 10:7 Deut. 30:13

d Romans 10:8 Deut. 30:14

e Romans 10:11 Isaiah 28:16 (see Septuagint)

f Romans 10:13 Joel 2:32

g Romans 10:15 Isaiah 52:7

h Romans 10:16 Isaiah 53:1

i Romans 10:18 Psalm 19:4

j Romans 10:19 Deut. 32:21

k Romans 10:20 Isaiah 65:1

l Romans 10:21 Isaiah 65:2

New International Version (NIV)Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Romans 11 New International Version (NIV)

The Remnant of Israel

11 I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me”[a]?And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”[b] So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

What then? What the people of Israel sought so earnestly they did not obtain. The elect among them did, but the others were hardened, as it is written:

“God gave them a spirit of stupor,
eyes that could not see
and ears that could not hear,
to this very day.”[c]

And David says:

“May their table become a snare and a trap,
a stumbling block and a retribution for them.
10 May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see,
and their backs be bent forever.”[d]

Ingrafted Branches

11 Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all!  Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. 12 But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring!

13 I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry 14 in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. 15 For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16 If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.

17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root,18 do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you.19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.

22 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.24 After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!

All Israel Will Be Saved

25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, 26 and in this way[e] all Israel will be saved. As it is written:

“The deliverer will come from Zion;
he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.
27 And this is[f] my covenant with them
when I take away their sins.”[g]

28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, 29 for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. 30 Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now[h] receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. 32 For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.

Doxology

33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and[i] knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?”[j]
35 “Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay them?”[k]
36 For from him and through him and for him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.

Footnotes:

a Romans 11:3 1 Kings 19:10,14

b Romans 11:4 1 Kings 19:18

c Romans 11:8 Deut. 29:4; Isaiah 29:10

d Romans 11:10 Psalm 69:22,23

e Romans 11:26 Or and so

f Romans 11:27 Or will be

g Romans 11:27 Isaiah 59:20,21; 27:9 (see Septuagint); Jer. 31:33,34

h Romans 11:31 Some manuscripts do not have now.

i Romans 11:33 Or riches and the wisdom and the

j Romans 11:34 Isaiah 40:13

k Romans 11:35 Job 41:11

New International Version (NIV)Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Wow, I don’t think that I ever really contemplated the process of how God adopted us (Gentiles) as His children by grafting us into the olive tree but that He also can cut off & also adopt & re-graft in His Chosen People, Israel.  So in a very real sense all of us can only become the True Children of God through faith, that is through faith in Jesus!

I’ve written previously on Christians & Jews being One in the Lord here (& didn’t review that work prior to this post, so please excuse any repeats of thoughts here or there):

 

https://specialconnections.wordpress.com/2016/10/12/christianity-judaism-one-in-the-olive-tree/

Going back to the concept of family being more than blood a particular incident comes to mind.  Years ago, when my twins were young & before my daughter was born (like in 1996 or 1997) I attended a Stoddard Family Reunion hosted by my Taggart cousins in honor of their mother Jane Jones Taggart, whose mother Ruth Stoddard Jones was my grandpa Elzine Munger Stoddard’s sister.

At this reunion there was a family history book shared called “The Generations of William Ellsworth Stoddard and Hattie Annabelle Cardinal, Before and After” that was given to each family in attendance.  This book was a significant springboard in my own genealogical pursuits in later years!

I got pretty sidetracked trying to find the online version, or at least info on, this book (I’d seen it before years ago but couldn’t remember exactly where) but so far had no success.  My own previous post below came up on a search of DuckDuckGo.com for that material though, hmm…

https://specialconnections.wordpress.com/2018/06/21/family-find/

Well, I got thinking about when I’d seen something of that book previously & decided to check out my family trees on FamilySearch.org & Ancestry.com…so I found a source for the “Stoddard Blue Book”, as I like to call the “Generations” book mentioned above.  This link was found at Ancestry.com on my sources of info on William Ellsworth Stoddard.

https://books.google.com/books/about/Generations_of_William_Ellsworth_Stoddar.html?id=bHWFGwAACAAJ

The Generations of William E. Stoddard and Hattie Annabelle Cardinal

Front Cover
H. Himes, 1996 – 154 pages

Bibliographic information

Checking WorldCat for a possible library location yields this:

http://www.worldcat.org/title/generations-of-william-e-stoddard-and-hattie-annabelle-cardinal/oclc/62073476

The generations of William E. Stoddard and Hattie Annabelle Cardinal

Author: Harold Himes
Publisher: Marquette, Mich. : H. Himes, 1996.
Edition/Format:   Print book : English
Rating:

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Subjects
Library Held formats Distance
1.

Newberry Library

Chicago, IL 60610 United States

Details

Named Person: Stoddard family.; William E Stoddard; Stoddard family.
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Harold Himes

OCLC Number: 62073476
Notes: Accompanied by 10 laid in pages of family reminiscences and naming practices.
P. 11 is bound up side down.
Description: 154 pages : illustrations, facsimiles, maps, portraits ; 28 cm
Other Titles: Generations of William Ellsworth Stoddard and Hattie Annabelle Cardinal :
Responsibility: written and produced by Harold Himes.

I think this copy of the book was placed in the Newberry Library by my Aunt Pat (Patricia Kay Stoddard Armstrong Ziemba) for this is the genealogy library she uses as it’s closest to her suburban Chicago home…

Here is the info on that citation I included at Ancestry, fyi…

Source Citation for “The Generations of William Ellsworth Stoddard and Hattie Annabelle Cardinal–Before & After”

Citation DetailsAssociated FactsMedia

 

Facts Associated with Citation

In glancing over the citations above it becomes somewhat obvious (besides that this book is quite obscure) why it was so hard to find.  In the Newberry Library worldcat listing they have the title as “William E. Stoddard…” but the actual book title is “William Ellsworth Stoddard…” as I indicated in the Ancestry citation.  Perhaps that’s one reason I was having such a hard time finding it?  Hmm…Who would have thought that I would be more “precise” in aspects of citation than would a genealogical/archival library!  & I have Zero formal training in these things!

OK, back to that late 90’s reunion…there were various questions put forth to find some of the common traits shared by many of the descendants of William Ellsworth Stoddard & Hattie Annabelle Cardinal, like artistic, writing, poetry, or musical skills.  One discussion lead to an understanding of people who considered themselves to be part of the family of Stoddards even though they were not related by blood, marriage, or adoption.  These people were family of the heart.

There was one elderly gentleman who spoke very highly of my great grandfather, William Ellsworth Stoddard.  Apparently this man was a recent immigrant to the United States back in the earlier part of the 20th century & had befriended one of WES’s grandsons (probably Harold Himes, the author of the above mentioned “Stoddard Blue Book”) who lived in his grandpa’s house at that time.  This immigrant friend was in danger of being deported & needed an American citizen to speak up for him & sign some documents & get involved.  WES listened to his grandson’s recounting of his friend’s situation & offered to step up & stand in the gap, as it were, on behalf of this recent immigrant.  In the 1990’s this aged man spoke with great emotion of how this act of kindness to a stranger from my great grandfather made all the difference in his life, allowing him to continue to pursue his studies, career, & life here in this country rather than to have been returned to his less than desirable homeland in the Middle East, I believe.  This man looked on my great grandfather with a reverent near hero worship demeanor & was so considered a part of the Stoddard clan as to have been included in the invitation to that extended family reunion!

Well, I’m not going to belabor the point of family being more than just from blood; though the Blood of Christ is what makes all of us (who are willing to receive) members of the greatest family there is–the Family of God!  Many of us have likely known friends who are so dear as to be practically family.  They are often honored with “titles” like cousin, aunt, or uncle to reflect the closeness of those basically family-like relationships.  Some of us have experienced in this life the full-blown adoption into another family experience & know that family can be based on so much more than blood.

In our experiences with my mother’s adoption, at least for Mom & I, it seems that Family is still based more on relationships than it necessarily is to blood, at least as far as Mom’s birth family is concerned.  No matter how close Mom might get to her half sisters it is unlikely that she will ever consider them family in the same way that she perceives her brother Maynard, someone with whom she shares no blood but grew up alongside.

Family is a gift from God, both in our natural, earthly experiences & in our eternal, heavenly ones yet to come.  Won’t you join us for that greatest of all family reunions yet to come?  The Marriage Supper of the Lamb!

Blessings to all & really hope to see you there…in Christ…

Following are many mostly scriptural images that relate to adoption & being part of the Family of God or even to the walk of faith.  They are in no particular order & just shared as an encouragement to walk out our faith in this life.  God Bless You All!!!

 

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6 thoughts on “Family, It’s More Than Just Blood

  1. Greetings! Quite a bit of work must have been involved in assembling so many icons with specific Scripture quotations!

    Many thanks for the invitation! Keep up the good work! 🙂 I shall return!

    Best Wishes!

    “Ausonius” *

    As a classicist (Latin and Ancient Greek, I Also have taught German and all kinds of History) I chose the name of a Roman who died in 390 A.D., and who lived during- and tried to prevent – the decline of the Roman state. He had been a tutor to a future Roman emperor, a politician, a successful general, a less successful poet, and many other things. When his former student became emperor, and was assassinated, Ausonius threw up his hands in disgust and retired to an estate in France. Twenty years after his death, Rome was captured by Goths in 410 A.D.

    Rome was run by Christians during its decline and fall: expecting Divine Intervention, I point out to my students, in politics or on the battlefield, is not always prudent. For Divinity is subtle, does not interfere in politics or war directly. The Roman Christians discovered too late that the City-State of God, as Saint Augustine pointed out, after absorbing the lesson of 410 A.D., is not of this world. God’s empire, the Civitas Dei, is not here.

    Best Wishes again!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing that fascinating info on the historical person you’ve chosen to represent you online. I just had to share your Ausonius paragraphs with my husband for there is a lot of meat to absorb there.

      I’m so sorry to say that I do Not have a classical education & am therefore at a distinct disadvantage. Latin was taught in my high school (in the ’80’s) but I chose to take French for at that time there was a possibility that my family was to head to Haiti on the mission field, where French Creole was the main language…Having interfaced with medical arenas a lot since my special needs son was born having minimal Latin-based awareness of the layperson’s version of the word when seeing the medical term (like Cardiac for heart) or the fact that French is a Latin-based language enriches my understanding (& translation) of that world. What a blessing to know Latin & Ancient Greek! Would you also be a bit of a biblical scholar, at least as far as the New Testament goes?

      One of my college roommates was a theology major, & she taught me enough about the Greek alphabet that I could pronounce the Greek words by translating the letters in my head…but that “skill” has fallen by the wayside. Being able to read & understand scripture in its original language would be a tremendous gift & blessing!

      If I may indulge in a bit of extrapolation here it seems that you may have chosen Ausonius because you are a person of faith who recognizes the importance of good people to not “do nothing” in the face of advancing tyranny. Seeing clearly that God is more concerned with His Heavenly Kingdom & bringing it to fruition in our hearts & lives, that it is up to us to act in this world while we continue to pray for God’s intervention.

      I have been guilty of the perspective of trying to avoid a decision because I’m waiting for the Lord to reveal to me which way I should go. Since hearing God’s voice it not my forte I find great comfort in this particular scripture.

      Isaiah 30:21 ‘Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”’

      One of the perspectives I take from this verse is that it is our choice as to which path to take. No matter which path we choose God is Always there with us “instructing & teaching us in the way we should go”. He will show us how to walk the path we have chosen, but we are the ones that must choose to incline our ears unto Him to hear that “still small voice” & our hearts to follow that leading. This is a lifelong process & one that I will likely never master!

      I don’t know if you’ve seen any of Sundance’s “Cold Anger” posts, but he often includes a quote from St. Crispin’s Day (I believe, my lack of classical education impedes my understanding/knowledge here too) that you may find inspiring & in keeping with your “Ausonius” perspective. Here is a post I did on the cold anger topic with a link to one of Sundance’s posts that inspired it.

      https://specialconnections.wordpress.com/2018/06/21/godly-cold-anger/

      Blessings to you & yours. I’m watching out more for your comments at the Treehouse since you’ve shared more about Ausonius with me & am very much enjoying your shared wisdom & insights. Regards!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Greetings Again!

    Yes, I am something of an amateur theologian, and have been for many decades: like many Catholic boys, I pondered the priesthood, but excised it from my system after a visit to what seemed like the perfect order of priests. After that, the impulse was gone, and I was married in fewer than three years after that. 🙂

    School has been hectic in recent days, and will be more hectic this week, since I will be one of the chaperones for the annual 8th Grade trip to Lake Erie, where Ohio State University has a Field Biology Laboratory, where they also offer programs to enthuse future biologists! 😉

    Many thanks for your kind comments!

    “Ausonius”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank for sharing these tidbits. Hope your activities are enjoyable for all involved.

      I must confess straight up that I am a University of Michigan fan! My dad attended in Ann Arbor & Dearborn & got his MBA there. My oldest son & daughter also attended U of M in Dearborn but neither has graduated thus far. My husband has an ancestor that graduated from U of M in the 1860s & before I’d done some family history research on his background/ancestry neither of us knew he had Michigan roots (he was born in Colorado & grew up in Oklahoma). Oh & my special needs son & I are regularly in Ann Arbor at U of M Hospital, in fact we go again on Tuesday for his first visit in the Adult Liver Transplant clinic. Between my 3 sons they’ve had a combined 2 dozen surgeries there…

      So from my perspective you must be experiencing some form of torture, either as a teacher connected to Junior High age kids, a parent/friend of such ages, or possibly a professor from OSU…Yikes! Our kids are all in their 20’s now, thankfully…I chaperoned a couple similar trips to U of M Dearborn when my kids were in a Christian elementary school to learn about biology, pond life, &/or maple syrup production…

      PS My husband attended OSU (Oklahoma State University) during the Barry Sanders era, so transferring football fandom to the Detroit Lions wasn’t Too big of a stretch!

      Best Regards & Blessings!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Not torture, but it is “interesting” 🙂 ! 12 years ago, after about 4 decades in high schools (mainly Catholic: we lived in Toledo for 25 years, so I know all about Ann Arbor 😉 ) I took a job here in Columbus, where, yes,college football is a mental disorder. 😉

    Best Wishes Again!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, Klinger’s (MASH) home town! Toledo is a way-point on the way to Cedar Point for Michiganders.

      I remember the U of M vs OSU rivalry of my youth. There were rolls of toilet paper up here with Woody Hayes face on them, while we heard that OSU had lots of bumper-stickers with directions to Ann Arbor–“Go North until you smell it & go West until you step in it.”

      Even during yesterday’s Lions game there was an anecdote shared about one of the players who told his dad, an avid Ohio State fan, that he wanted to play football for Michigan. His dad said that was fine but just “don’t ever come home again!”–I think he ended up going to OSU.

      My parents have a cottage in Northern Michigan near Otsego Lake. One of the summer traditions is to go down to the beach to watch the sunset over the lake. A couple streets down the beach is a log people sit on for said sunset viewing. One half is painted Blue & Gold & the other Grey & Red–those ingrained rivalries die hard!

      Liked by 1 person

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