It was one of those days that went just like any other, animals were tended to, chores were in the process, and I was lying in the grass. I loved watching the clouds move and take shape, I loved to talk to the man in the moon. It was all I could do to keep my imagination occupied.
This is exactly what I was doing on a cool day in February 1997, when a large van and several Mexican police cruisers invaded my thoughts as they drove onto the farm lot. I was slightly confused, our regular visitor came on horse and buggy, or on horse back. This was unusual. My first instinct was to go get my older siblings and parents from the barn where they were milking the cows.
Soon the visitors and my family were gathered in a circle in front of the barn. There was a tension in the air that even I at the age of seven recognized. As the conversation continued I began to realize they were talking about me. I heard one of the visitors, a woman, say to my family “I want my baby back, you can’t keep her. She’s my baby.”
Slowly I began to understand what was really happening. These visitors were from Canada, they wanted to take me to my real family. I discovered I was not who I thought I was. I was not the daughter of a Mennonite preacher, whom I loved so dearly. I was the daughter of a poor Mennonite family with thirteen children.
Tears began to blur my vision, all I wanted to do was hide. Next thing I knew I was running to the playhouse leaving the adults in complete silence. Once I got into the playhouse I picked up my favorite doll, pressed it to my face, and cried in the middle of the room. I cried for all the years I had lived on the farm believing I belonged, only to discover the opposite.
I sat crying in the middle of the playroom for what seemed like hours when the woman I had believed to be my mother came into the room. Without saying a single word she packed my favorite toys, some handkerchiefs, and my best dress into a bag. She moved slowly, with quivering lips and tears in her eyes. She pulled me up from the floor, handed me the bag, and showed me the door without so much as a hug goodbye.
My world as I knew it was shattered.
The drive to Canada was long and we stopped many times along the way. On the second day I was introduced to my younger sister Helena, I saw her first while we were sitting in a police station, waiting for papers to be signed. The journey was made somewhat happier knowing I was not alone in my situation.