By Jourdan Reynolds
“When the child grew, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, who adopted him as her son and called him Moses; for she said, ‘I drew him out of the water.’” (Exodus 2:10)
I may not have been carried down the Nile in a basket, but I have always felt a close connection with Moses. I, like Moses, was adopted by a family outside my country of ethnicity. He was a Hebrew, raised in Egypt, and I am of Korean descent, raised in the United States. (Not to mention, Moses’ birth parents came from the Tribe of Levi, and my middle name is Levi, spelled with a “y” at the end.) Coincidence? Maybe, but I would like to say that God’s doing was a part of it all.
Growing up, one of my favorite movies was the DreamWorks production, “The Prince of Egypt.” Not only did I enjoy watching the film, but I felt a strong sensation within myself that there was something more to it. It wasn’t until my college years when I began to seriously develop my self-identity that I discovered what I felt all those years before.
During my sophomore year of college, I attended a monthly discernment group at the University of Kansas. The sessions were taught by the Apostles of the Interior Life, a Catholic community of priests and sisters that focus on spiritual discernment. During our first meeting, we focused on our past life, and looked for “patterns” that God might have put into place. After looking at my timeline, my attention immediately focused on my adoption in South Korea, causing me to develop many questions and insecurities, which previously I had never thought of.
Throughout our sessions, I brought these issues up with my spiritual director, and with God in adoration. I desperately wanted to know why my birth parents placed me in adoption, and why I was here in the United States. During these times of self-discovery, I looked to the Book of Exodus and the life of Moses. The similarities we shared brought me comfort, knowing that there existed adoptees like Moses in the Bible.
Along the way, God would even place other students who were adoptees in my path, many of whom I met while simply attending class. Over time, with prayer and determination, I was able to change what I could, accept what I couldn’t, and look forward to the future.
Gradually, I began to understand that everything happens for a reason and that my circumstances were no different. The life that I have come to live has made my parents in the United States very proud, and I’m sure my parents in Korea would feel just the same. I feel that my story has the power to inspire others. I believe that Millennials like me are constantly looking for “inspiring stories” to aid them on their way. I hope to do more writing in the future, in English, Spanish and even French, God-willing, and to think that all of this came about because I was “drawn out of the water.”
(Jourdan Reynolds is the secretary and bookkeeper at St. Mary of the Visitation Parish in Ottumwa.)