Tue, Feb 5, 2013
It was April 27, 1990, when a small premature baby entered the world in a hospital in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. There at the hospital was a young mother with many thoughts running through her head, trying to decide what was best for her newborn baby. With great heartache and many tears, and with the striking reality of wondering what his future may hold, she decided that adoption was a positive choice to ensure a good future. As a young single mother she thought too much of this child to not let him experience the joy of having two parents to care for him. So she named him Justin and had to let him go. For a month after, her baby was put in foster care just waiting for a loving family to adopt him.
Meanwhile there was a lovely couple who was unable to have any more children and were waiting for many years to adopt a child. With only seven months away from being over the age to adopt, they received a phone call that a baby boy was awaiting their care in Deer Lake. They quickly rushed to the town to pick up their new son.
That premature baby named Justin soon became Norman John Chesley Porter, the one and same person tell this story! I was in God’s hands from the day when I was born; God knew his plans for my life, God knew where I belonged. As I look back at my childhood, I remember a mom and dad who loved me unconditionally, a grandmother who inspired me, and a family who embraced me. It was all that a child could dream of and ask for. This is when I came to the realization of how powerful God really is! As I grew up I heard many stories of not-so-fortunate adoptions, from children remaining in foster care all their lives, to children being adopted on to experience abuse and to be unloved. I thank God each day for my family. They are the ones who wiped my tears, mended my wounds and showed me God’s love.
Even through having all of this I knew there was still something missing in my life, still a question of who my birth parents were and why they decided to release me for adoption. When I was 21 years old, my wife Crystal and I were heading out to do some shopping in Corner Brook, NL (my birth place). As we walked through Walmart I had an overwhelming feeling of wonder and curiosity. I wondered if any of the people I was passing could possibly be my parents. I wanted to know. The next day I decided to search the channels available through public registries. The search to locate my birth parents led to having an original birth certificate with my birth name on it. Days later, after several attempts to make contact with my birth mother, my phone rang. With great uncertainty I answered and to my surprise a man with a very nervous tone assured me that I had indeed found my birth mother. My mom – whose name is Jackie – and I, with many mixed emotions, talked for five hours. I learned so much about my biological family. Since then I have gained a whole new family to add to the one I have! How blessed I felt. Since then I have been blessed to have them as a part of life but I have also realized that if I was not adopted I may not have known The Salvation Army or the sense of God’s call on my life to be a Salvation Army Officer.
My story includes an interesting situation that, to me, is a demonstration of how God worked in my adoption process. When I found my biological mom she asked me why my name had gotten changed. The answer was simple. There were people in the life of my adoptive-parents who made the adoption possible. Therefore I was named Norman John Chesley. My birth mother, in tears, told me that her mom had a brother named John Chesley who died at the age of 21, (which was my age when I found them). She shared that her father has a brother named Norman. This was not a coincidence but a God given moment!
This experience of mine brought me to the scripture in Ephesians 1:4-5 (NLT) which provides some meaningful lessons.
“4 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. 5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.”
God takes great pleasure in adopting us, through Christ, to be his children. He wanted to do it. My parents wanted a baby boy and God placed me in their care not by chance but I believe by divine intervention. Life has had its ups and downs for me and I know for everyone, but even in those ups and downs it was still a pleasure to be adopted and it was a pleasure for them to adopt me. No matter what life throws at us God still takes pleasure in our adoption.
Proverbs 3:5-6 sums up my life’s motto, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths.”
Cadet Norman Porter, along with his lovely wife Crystal, is a part of the Disciples of the Cross session. He has brought the sounds of Newfoundland with him to training college, including his accordian!