This is a story: one of pain,
confusion, and love.
A story of how--- through Christ
---all things are
Sharlene Ann Snider
*was changed too*
Sharlene Marie Krahl (Luing)
Some know me as "Charlie"
For you see, my brother Kim (6yrs. old) and myself age 5 1/2, were
in 1959 to Robert and Eileen Krahl of Babbitt, Minnesota. Our adopted
parents were unable to have children.
I remember very little. But what I do recall isn't always pleasant. We
taken away at a young age and placed in a foster home. It was a couple
lived in a very small mobile home in Hill Top Court in Columbia
Minnesota. In the 50's, foster homes were not regulated as they are
Meaning, I believe the couple only wanted to take us for the monthly
they received from the state. I recalled that they really didn't like
or wanted us around. To this day, I will not throw up,because the women
took care of me, made me eat my own vomit one day after she had swept
a dust pan. Sounds unbelieveable, but it is a true fact. My bed was a
built over the bath tub. I don't remember where my brother Kim slept.
did go to school, but went right to 1st grade. There wasn't a
then. I would walk to the street to meet him after school. I was very
dependent on him. We would play together all the time. I recall him
me a joke that a bomb had fallen next to the trailer, and that is why there
big hole there. It turned out to be only a ditch.
Our bio-logicial parents were abusive to us and are alcoholics.
The day that we either met, or it was the day that we were being
remember going to a park. Kim and I would roll down the hill while mom
dad (our new adoptive parents),I believe were talking to a social
The next thing I knew we were arriving in Babbitt. How all the streets
really looked skinny and small compared to the streets in Minneapolis.
I had a normal up bringing, but always had a void in my life. Never
knowing why. Being adopted always bothered me. When younger and even
my teenage years. I never quite adjusted to being taken away. Thought I
wasn't loved and was insecure. Would be sick to my stomach, and was a
wetter. Did grow out of that, but something was still wrong. Being
I was always curious about the past. But it (adoption) was NEVER talked
about between my parents, brother, or even relatives that I grew up
Very taboo in those days. The one time I did ask, I think I was about
yrs. old, I was told that my biological parents had died.
Not much thought about my adoption came up again until I was about 16
old. You know, the wonderful days of being a teenager. We thought we
it all (just ask my teenagers). One night I had a terrible fight with
dad. I said I didn't have to listen to him because he wasn't my real
The moment I said it, I knew I had hurt him. But at the time I didn't
I ran away that night, but not as bad as you might think. It was only
pastor's house across town. When now, as an adult and parent, I think
treated my parents...well, if it wasn't for the fact that they have
in their lives and knew of the unconditional love He gives and how in
return they showed that same love for me...I wouldn't be telling this
Years have come and gone and I'm off to college. My second year at
is when I met my future husband. Only until we started a family of our
did I really start to wonder about my biological parents. I didn't have
records of my medical background. This is really what got me interested
finding facts out.
I remembered that my final adoption proceedings took place in Duluth,
Minnesota. So there is where my husband went for me. I was too nervous
go myself. He was able to obtain permission from a judge to look at my
file. It's crazy, but he could look at the file, yet he wasn't
write anything down. He was able to remember my biological parents real
name and where they were from. From these papers we found out that they
I got brave one day and looked in the Minneapolis phone book, there I
my dad's name. It wasn't a common first name, so I knew it must be him.
even called the number, but hung up as soon as I heard a man's voice. I
living in Duluth at this time. It would be another five years before I
anything more. We moved to Big Lake, Minnesota one year later. Already
one son and pregnant , we settled down in our new town. Funny thing
I had told my husband I never wanted to live in another trailer because
the foster home, but that is what the Lord provided for us; a mobile
where we lived for 15 years.
After the birth of our second child, I started asking questions. Once
I looked up my father's address. Being we lived so close the city now,
took it upon myself to go look him up. Without notice, I found myself
knocking on his door. He lived in a very small, run down house in South
Much to my surprise, when he came to the door and I introduced myself
him, he greeted me with open arms.........
After sitting down and talking with my biological father for a few
knew right then and there that I didn't really want to have anything to
with him. In the mean time, I did try to get his side of the story. In
fact, at that moment; his story was really the only story I had, being
one would talk about adoption or anything concerning that while growing
Of course he was very surprised to see me after all these years. He had
remarried, but his present wife was ill and in a wheelchair, unable to
speak clearly. I was scared and excited at the same time. I do recall a
dog, who just kept barking the whole time I was there, making the
even more uncomfortable as if it wasn't already.
In the course of our conversation, my dad started to talk about these
people whose names were Ron ,Sandy, and Kim which of course I already
and also a girl named Debbie. He seemed quite surprised when I asked
who they all were.
"Why, they are your brothers and sisters, of course!"
I tried as hard as I could to pump all the information I could out of
as to the where abouts of all of them. I didn't let on that I grew up
Kim. He knew Ron was some place in Florida, but didn't have the phone
number at hand. He did keep in touch with him, but not much. He had no
where the others were......
It was very difficult to obtain the phone number for Ron. A few days
I had left my real dad's home,I called back to see if he had found
number. He wasn't home, but his wife was. I was able to figure out from
that they had found a phone number. I did this by asking many
and she was only able to respond with a sound over the phone for yes or
questions. I had to count slowly, 0 through 9, and do this 10 times to
the phone number. When I counted and came to the right number in Ron's
phone number, she would make a sound, meaning that was the right one.
seemed like it would take all day to get this done. That was the last
I ever called there.
I mustard all the courage I could and called my brother in Florida. Of
course, he wasn't home at the time, just my luck. His wife was and
explaining why and who I was, she said she would gladly give Ron my
message. He had been looking for me for many years. We did finally talk
the phone. He told me that my sister Sandy lived in Saudi Arabia. Her
husband was working over there. They had one child, a son, Aaron. We
of talked for a couple of hours. He ended the conversation by giving me
Sandy's address, but didn't know where our younger sister Debbie was. I
told him, that Kim and I were raised together and he (Kim) now lived in
Denver. We promised to somehow get together. Too many years had passed,
too many questions still remained.
How does one write a letter telling someone, "Hi, we've never met, but
your sister"? This is what happened when I tried to write my letter to
Sandy. I don't know how many times I had to start over and would tear
letter up. I finally did finish one, and sent it on it's way. Praying
somehow she would accept me. Later, I learned how much she was shocked
excited to receive such a letter. She also didn't have an idea what had
happened to the rest of the family. Ron and Sandy were put into two
different foster homes. That is where they stayed and were raised.
we found out later also, was adopted. The law stated then, and may
this way now, that adopted siblings may look and get in contact with
siblings if they have not already been adopted out. But they can't find
adopted siblings. When searching for Debbie, I could only leave word in
adoption files that I was looking for her. It would be up to her to
Sandy and I wrote quite often. Learning more and more of the past.
she was over seas, I met her foster mom and foster sister. They would
me up to date as when Sandy and her family would be flying home. But
that time came, Sandy didn't let me know of their plans to come home.
wanted to get settled at home before meeting me. Little did she know
already knew when her flight was coming in. I took my two youngest at
time to the airport with me. I arranged it with her foster sister to
with me to the airport. Sandy thought only her foster sister would be
to greet her. Being I didn't know what Sandy looked like, her foster
had to point her out to me. She (Sandy) saw her foster sister first,
then I stepped up to her. If you have ever seen any of the reunions on
of siblings meeting for the first time, well that was the same picture
taking place at the airport. Not a dry eye in the house. After getting
the luggage taken care of, we proceeded to her foster mom's home. There
were able to catch up on many things.
I realize there are many details being left out in this story, so just
My biological mother lived in Minneapolis also. I got her address from
I tried the same tactics of meeting her as I used with my biological
Boy did that back fire. When I finally parked the car in front of her
after driving back and forth many times in front of it, I knocked on
door. After I mentioned who I was, she blankly said "not now, please go
away". I didn't understand it at the time, but her husband was just
home from work. She didn't want to deal with me just now. At first I
rejected all over again. Feeling not wanted. So I respectfully left.
Crying, but not for her to see.
I called my brother Kim in Denver. I asked him what he thought if I
be able to get information on finding our real parents. I hadn't
that I already did, and also found two members of our family, Ron and
Sandy. He answered. "I could care less about finding them (our
but would like to find out where our brother and sisters were" Remember
now, our adoption was NEVER talked about. So to my surprised, Kim knew
about them. Later on, I found out that the relatives I grew up with,
about them! I must of either been to young to remember them or blanked
out of my life. I went on to tell Kim that I had found them all but
After Sandy had settled down to being back in the U.S.A., we made
arrangements between Ron and Kim, to fly to Minnesota for a long over
My husband Daryl and I went first to the airport to get Kim. On a later
flight Ron flew in....oh my, did the two brothers ever hug when they
encountered each other. Somewhere in all the excitement, I got my hugs
too. We had arranged to meet with Sandy and her husband to come to our
and then all of us would go out for dinner. Never before has my
of being lost, with a big empty hole been filled, but finally they
coming to a end. I couldn't get over the fact that during dinner, at
two guys that have been apart from one another for more than 25 years,
could have so much in common. Their body language and the way they
were so much alike. Now some 16 years after meeting Ron, Kim and Ron
both single, lead the same type of life style and are both now living
Florida. Sandy now resides still in Minneapolis.....but one thing
finished....finding our little sister Deb.
I tried contacting the adoption agency, but they said the only thing
could do is put a note in her files saying I was looking for her and it
up to her to find us. I had no clue where she was.
I still remember the day the phone rang and I answered it. After a brief
silence on the other end, this young lady said that her name was
That she was looking into her adoption while home on leave. She was in
army and was stationed in Germany. She agreed to meet with me and have
lunch.....I drove to a point in
to pick her up. During dinner she admitted she was too young to even
or remember that there was a possibility of having siblings. She was
by an older couple near Willmer, Minnesota. She also had an adopted
brother...she seemed a little hesitant to talk much about anything. I
I was more excited than she was about everything. Our lunch date wasn't
very long so I returned her to Fort Snelling where she was going to
for awhile and then later be transferred to Michigan. Sandy met her at
different date. A few months later Kim flew home again and we were able
get together with Debbie and go to the fire works at the State Fair
grounds. Sandy wasn't with us, because her and her husband had gone
Saudi. I did get a chance to meet Debbie's parents but only briefly.
mom was ill and didn't want company. My parents in fact had spent a
with Sandy, as Aaron and her drove up to Babbitt to meet them. To this
all five of us have met one another, but not once have all of us been
together at the same time. I still hope for that, but over the years we
find that each of us has gone our own way. Finding out because of the
lost, that we were not as close as I had wished we would be. Sandy and
keep in touch once in a while and only live now about 35 miles from
other. Debbie is only about 45 miles. She has been married and divorced
now, and has two young children of her own. Ron has married and
four times, with no children. Kim remains single.
I started out looking for a way to fill a empty hole and part of that
filled. The close relationship of brothers and sisters may not always
there as I wanted, but through it all the good Lord sustained me. I
been able to tell of my faith to my siblings and hopefully they see
in me. Not every reunion will turn out the way one wants, but that is
One has to move on. It is the direction one chooses that make all the
difference. In my case I have had support from my husband and children.
They have seen many tears fall from me when it came to all of this over
years. I admit I am not perfect, no one but Christ is. But just knowing
love that Christ has for us all, then we truly are ONE family.
In the year 1990 my biological dad passed away. I only saw and met him
one time. I did attend his funeral. I was the only living relative that
did. Only 12 people were at his funeral.
In the year 1992 my biological mother's husband stepped off a curb and
killed by a 17 year old drunk driver. My sister Sandy and I attended
funeral. Just before the funeral was to start we were in the lady's
There were other lady's in there so we introduced ourselves to them.
were the daughters of our mother's husband. They had no idea we even
existed. Talk about one awkward moment. My biological mother has since
moved to California. I haven't seen her since.
As of the year 1993, we have six children. Lost two in bad
Have built a small home in Monticello. Have two grand daughters from
son who has been married and divorced. Another grandchild from our
daughter and her husband and also a grandson. Two step-grand children, a grandson and one on the way
our 3rd child. I work at the local school district in the lunch
and at Wal-Mart in town. My husband just changed jobs after
working at a golf coarse for 24 years, he now works at a printing
In the year 1992 (a horrible year), I miscarried, 10 days later was in a bad car accident and laid up for a few months. I moved my adopted parents to the town where I now
they could no longer take care of themselves very well. Had gall bladder surgery. Was pregnant again with #6.
Mom ended up in
local nursing home a few months after living here. Dad followed a
years later. (This all took place within 6 months).
They were able to live together in the same room at the
nursing home. Mom passed away in 1997 and dad died in 1999. I miss them
With the Lord's
help I am able to handle my loneliness. Knowing they are both in a much better home. Worship music has been a big part of my life. Something that my dad had instilled in me. I enjoy listening to it daily. It substains my soul.
UP DATE: 10-4-2008
My loving husband of now 34 years is a advid bowler. So whenever he goes to the national bowling tournaments, the family follows. I was so excited knowning that in March of '09 it was going to be in Las Vegas. I didn't care so much about being in the town, but knowning I was only going to be about 5-6 hours from where my 'real' mom lived. San Diego. I had hoped to be able to get a true home address from my brother Ron, because all I had was a P.O. box and no phone #. I had written my mother telling her of my idea of coming to see her while in Las Vegas. No word from her. I let my brother Ron know of my plans and hoped he could tell me more information. I finally received a email from my sister, who just received a phone call from Ron. He had asked her to tell me the sad news. The news that my mother didn't want to see me. I was crushed to say the least. I must of cried for a few days whenever I thought about that answer. She had told Ron (she is 82 now), that she was afraid that if I came out there to see her, that I would ask to many questions and many of those questions she didn't want to hear or talk about. She has blocked out many things in her life and didn't want any bad memories coming up and was afraid of me showing up that those memories would come out. I had already knew she didn't want to talk about those things from the last time I saw her. I only wanted to see how she was, where she lived, have her meet my family of those that were with me. To have been abanded again is how I felt. I still get sad about that. So now I only wish I had an updated photo of her. That is one thing I don't have. Any photos of her. My family doesn't even know what she looks like. I had come to a peace in knowing she doesn't want to see me and I will honor her request. This doesn't mean I understand it all. Being she is getting up in age, I had hoped that she would want to see me; that is not going to happen. Her loss I guess. She will never know that I grew up to be a child of God. How He has taught me to be loving and kind.
Update: My brother Kim passed away 8/28/2014
In May of 2015 my husband and I fly to Los Angeles to help drive our daughter home from there. She was attending college there. We decided to drive to San Diego where I knew my bio-logical mother lived. I had only one address for her and not really knowing if it was the real one or not. So we gave it a shot anyway. We found the Salvation Army for Seniors in San Diego where I thought she lived. It turned out that after all these years, she did live there. I was so scared to pick up the call box to her apartment and ask for her. I let my husband do it. He asked if this was Florence Holman; she said yes. He then said who we were. She said she didn't know us and hung up. (Security building). He called her back and explain about Ron my brother and why we were there and passing through town. Again she hung up and I was crying not knowing what to do. A person came out of the building so we took the chance and went into the building. We found her P.O. Box with her name on it. But that was all we could do, as it was a Sunday and the office was closed, so decided that this was a failed attempt again to see her. Just as we were leaving the elevator doors open and an elderly women came out and saw us. She asked us if we were the ones that called her phone. I had immediately just knew her as my mother. We of coarse told her we were and to my surprise she asked if we wanted to come up to her apartment. We happily said yes. I was expecting her place to be very junky and run down, but it was a very small nice place and she was very happy to show us around. We had a long talk, but we were able to tell she really did not remember much, even me. She did ask if I'm the one who was a Christian and had all those children, so she did remember me a little bit. I was able to get a photo of her. We tried not to stay long as we could tell she was confused and didn't remember my younger sister at all and a just a small moment of my brother Kim - who she did remember some that Ron had told her he had died. As she came down with us as we left, I knew in my heart that this will most likely be the last time I would ever speak to her or see her, so that was a bitter sweet moment as we were leaving. She did give me a huge hug good-bye and I quietly cried inside as I saw her go back to her apartment. I was pretty quiet for quite a few miles as we turned our travels back to driving the many miles home.
Though it was sad to say good-bye, a life long dream/wish did finally come true. God's plan and path for me has been an adventurous one. It's long from being over and daily I ask and talk to Him. Not everyone gets a chance to do what I have. So I have been blessed with two sets of parents. Even thou one of my life was so different than most, I'm gratefull for both.
My brother Ron hasn't talked to me since our brother Kim passed
away. (Long story about that).
I have tried writing our biological mother over the years since last
seeing her, but for some reason she returns and mail I send her. I sometimes think she forgets who I am. I have talked with the manager of where she lived this pass year to see if she is okay. 1st time I called she was but was upset because she learned her sister had died. The last time I called the manager said she had moved but wasn't sure where she went but knew of a gentleman that lived in the building who knew and would ask him.
Again I called about a week later and she told me she had been moved to an assistant living place. I called that place but lady there said no one by that name of my mother was there, but had been two years earlier. She couldn't tell me much if she was alive or not due to privacy laws. But then learned from my sister Sandy that she had just found out she had passed away 9/8/2018. We have no formal records nor do we know where she is buried as I have done 'search' on line but find no death records on her. She was 94 when she died.
UPDATE: My sister Deb died of cancer on 2/6/2020
Update: Sister Sandy died Christmas Day 2021
Debra - Me - Sandy
Visting Deb in hospital
Me - Kim - Sandy
I ask for no pity in my story. Only to let you know how Jesus has been
me everyday so I may tell you my story. God Bless you daily.
update: Received this photo on 4-12-2012
Florence (my mother) - Norma my Aunt - Betty my Aunt
Click here for larger view
Update: Taken 5-3-2015 in San Diego
Florence and me
Click here for larger view
Great-Great-Great Grandma on Meryl's side (bio-logical dad) 1840
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