All the Dear Children

She was six when he came into this world. He was a sick child, born to an addicted mother.

She was her brother’s protector. She wouldn’t leave him for a millisecond. She’d always been that way. Orphans usually are.

She was six when he came into this world. He was a sick child, born to an addicted mother.

He spent the first months of his life in an incubator. She watched him from behind sterile glass, praying.

When their mother was strong enough to leave the maternity ward, she did. She abandoned them.

Ten years old. She and her brother had already been in a few foster homes.

The new foster parents were good people, but it didn’t matter because she wouldn’t be there for long. She was moving to a new facility in a few weeks.

Her brother would stay behind.

One night, the foster-home parents took the kids to see a holiday church musical. It was the most fun the children could’ve had.

A choir sang, there was a manger scene, real animals on stage, costumes. Then, a potluck social in the fellowship hall.

After the performance, the girl sat in a chapel by herself. She sat, looking at stained glass.

One window bore the image of green hills, with a blue river.

A middle-aged woman with silver hair found her, sitting in a pew. She sat beside the girl, but said nothing.

“What’s that river?” the girl asked.

“That’s the River of Life,” the woman said.

“What’s that?”

“It’s a river of miracles.”


The girl kept staring at the glass.

“Where’re you from, sweetie?” the woman asked.

The girl shrugged. “I don’t really know.”

“Do your parents go to church here?”

“Don’t got parents.”

More silence. It was the heavy kind of quiet that makes shoulders heavy and hearts slow down.

“Can people swim in that river?” said the girl.

The woman blinked. “You must have come with Jason and Maria,” she said. “You live with them?”

“Yessum, but I’m moving next week.”


“They’s sending me somewheres without my brother.”



The girl went on, “If a little kid swims in that river thingy, can it make them find a mom and dad?”

The woman shrugged. “You have to ask God, sweetie. Only he can tell you that.”

So, the girl bowed her head and started whispering. Eyes closed tight. Purer words have seldom been heard.

“What’re you praying for?” asked the woman.

“For my brother to find a family.”

“But, what about you?”

“Me? I’m too old. Kids my age don’t get adopted.”

So the woman let her pray. The girl made whispered requests until she started sniffling.

The woman touched the child. She said, “Yours just went to the top of his list, honey.”

And so it was.

That was the year someone adopted two Georgia orphans.

A woman. Someone who’d never had children of her own. A silver-haired lady, far past her youth, but not past her prime.

A woman who met two child-strangers in a chapel, and decided to make their lives magnificent. Who paid for college tuitions. Who planned one wedding. Who died before she saw this year’s magnificent holiday.

I know bad things happen. Sometimes, too many things to count.

Keep praying.

Because yours just went to the top of the list.


  1. Ted - December 4, 2017 8:36 am

    Heartwarming…reminds me of the love my Sister and I have for each other. She has always been my Protector since 1956, when I came into the world. Thanks.

  2. Perri Geaux Tigers Williamson - December 4, 2017 8:53 am


  3. Frank - December 4, 2017 11:04 am

    So, when does the rest of the country figure out that you are turning into a National Treasure?

  4. Pat Durmon - December 4, 2017 12:39 pm

    Good one!
    from a woman who once lived in Bottoms Baptist Orphanage, now Arkansas Baptist Children’s Home. I took 8 siblings with me. : )

  5. Debora - December 4, 2017 1:33 pm

    My husband and his brother and sister were in the GA Baptist children’s home for awhile. His memories are not pleasant ones.

  6. thoughtsfrommybedroomwindow - December 4, 2017 1:49 pm

    Just what I needed to hear this morning. Coincidences are miracles waiting to be recognized?

  7. Arlene - December 4, 2017 1:56 pm

    Thank you for once again bring my inspiration. Please don’t stop. We need you. I need you. God bless you and your sweet wife and your sweet dog. You just might be a saint. ❤️❤️❤️

  8. Micahlan - December 4, 2017 2:12 pm

    Very touching. I just love the way you highlight everyday heroes. Our culture celebrates the beautiful, the fast, the rich, the haughty, the loud ones, but in your stories we are touched by the humanity of ordinary oddballs, white haired ladies, kindhearted, selfless, beautiful people. Thank you Sean

  9. Jan - December 4, 2017 2:36 pm

    Oh so beautiful! Words cannot express how much the world needs this sort of hope and belief!

  10. Marty from Alabama - December 4, 2017 3:12 pm

    Seems like miracles still happen. Thank you again for a renewal of the good in people.

  11. Connie - December 4, 2017 3:19 pm

    Miracles happen every day. I believe that.

  12. Pat - December 4, 2017 3:49 pm

    Just saw a friend who with several siblings, lived in foster homes and a Children’s Home. She married as a teenager and now has adult children and a husband who still adores her! She is such a joy to be around with her upbeat personality and she is always happy!

  13. Judy - December 4, 2017 3:56 pm

    You did it again … made me cry. And I am in a public waiting room.

  14. Lynda Gayle - December 4, 2017 4:24 pm

    That’ another keeper! Good for the season of giving❣️

  15. Sharron - December 4, 2017 4:54 pm

    I don’t know why I read your posts, I now better than to start one without a box of tissues handy. I’m glad I am not wearing mascara today.

  16. Eileen Gallagher - December 4, 2017 5:40 pm

    Wow, this is powerful! We think we have problems

  17. Susan Hammett Poole - December 4, 2017 8:03 pm

    Sean, your bring such sweet hope to us. Finding the good and kind traits in folks and sharing their life stories is a gift ~ one I am so grateful for daily.

  18. Pat Byers - December 4, 2017 8:48 pm

    every day, every single day, you touch my heart with your words. you find extraordinary people in the common people others never see. thank you.

  19. Jack Darnell - December 4, 2017 9:55 pm

    Yeah, you got me tearing like Judy above, and I’m a tough dude! LOL Very good one. THANKS

  20. Eva Lantrip - December 5, 2017 5:01 am

    Tearing up, no sobbing while smiling.

  21. Lucretia - December 6, 2017 1:39 pm

    Tears of joy and hope. Thank you, Sean.

  22. Katy - January 18, 2018 9:37 pm

    Thank you, Sean. You always have a way of touching my heart.


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