This is a story: one of pain, confusion, and love.

A story of how--- through Christ ---all things are possible!

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 adopted 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 were taken away at a young age and placed in a foster home. It was a couple who lived in a very small mobile home in Hill Top Court in Columbia Heights, Minnesota. In the 50's, foster homes were not regulated as they are now. Meaning, I believe the couple only wanted to take us for the monthly check they received from the state. I recalled that they really didn't like us, or wanted us around. To this day, I will not throw up,because the women who took care of me, made me eat my own vomit one day after she had swept into a dust pan. Sounds unbelieveable, but it is a true fact. My bed was a bunk, built over the bath tub. I don't remember where my brother Kim slept. Kim did go to school, but went right to 1st grade. There wasn't a kindergarten 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 telling me a joke that a bomb had fallen next to the trailer, and that is why there was a 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 adopted, I remember going to a park. Kim and I would roll down the hill while mom and dad (our new adoptive parents),I believe were talking to a social worker. 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 really knowing why. Being adopted always bothered me. When younger and even into 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 bed wetter. Did grow out of that, but something was still wrong. Being adopted, 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 with. Very taboo in those days. The one time I did ask, I think I was about 10 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 years old. You know, the wonderful days of being a teenager. We thought we knew it all (just ask my teenagers). One night I had a terrible fight with my dad. I said I didn't have to listen to him because he wasn't my real dad. The moment I said it, I knew I had hurt him. But at the time I didn't care. I ran away that night, but not as bad as you might think. It was only to my pastor's house across town. When now, as an adult and parent, I think how I treated my parents...well, if it wasn't for the fact that they have Christ 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 story.

Years have come and gone and I'm off to college. My second year at college is when I met my future husband. Only until we started a family of our own, did I really start to wonder about my biological parents. I didn't have any records of my medical background. This is really what got me interested in 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 to 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 permitted to 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 had been divorced.

I got brave one day and looked in the Minneapolis phone book, there I found my dad's name. It wasn't a common first name, so I knew it must be him. I even called the number, but hung up as soon as I heard a man's voice. I was living in Duluth at this time. It would be another five years before I did anything more. We moved to Big Lake, Minnesota one year later. Already with one son and pregnant , we settled down in our new town. Funny thing though, I had told my husband I never wanted to live in another trailer because of the foster home, but that is what the Lord provided for us; a mobile home, where we lived for 15 years.

After the birth of our second child, I started asking questions. Once again I looked up my father's address. Being we lived so close the city now, I 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 Minneapolis. Much to my surprise, when he came to the door and I introduced myself to him, he greeted me with open arms.........

After sitting down and talking with my biological father for a few hours, I knew right then and there that I didn't really want to have anything to do 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 no one would talk about adoption or anything concerning that while growing up. 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 matter 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 knew, and also a girl named Debbie. He seemed quite surprised when I asked him who they all were.

"Why, they are your brothers and sisters, of course!"

All these years, I NEVER knew!!

I tried as hard as I could to pump all the information I could out of him as to the where abouts of all of them. I didn't let on that I grew up with 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 idea where the others were......

It was very difficult to obtain the phone number for Ron. A few days after I had left my real dad's home,I called back to see if he had found Ron's number. He wasn't home, but his wife was. I was able to figure out from her that they had found a phone number. I did this by asking many questions, and she was only able to respond with a sound over the phone for yes or no questions. I had to count slowly, 0 through 9, and do this 10 times to get 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. It seemed like it would take all day to get this done. That was the last time 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 after 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 on 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 must 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, and too many questions still remained.

How does one write a letter telling someone, "Hi, we've never met, but I'm 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 the 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 and 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. Debbie we found out later also, was adopted. The law stated then, and may still be this way now, that adopted siblings may look and get in contact with other siblings if they have not already been adopted out. But they can't find the adopted siblings. When searching for Debbie, I could only leave word in her adoption files that I was looking for her. It would be up to her to contact me. Sandy and I wrote quite often. Learning more and more of the past. While she was over seas, I met her foster mom and foster sister. They would keep me up to date as when Sandy and her family would be flying home. But when that time came, Sandy didn't let me know of their plans to come home. She wanted to get settled at home before meeting me. Little did she know that I already knew when her flight was coming in. I took my two youngest at that time to the airport with me. I arranged it with her foster sister to come with me to the airport. Sandy thought only her foster sister would be there to greet her. Being I didn't know what Sandy looked like, her foster sister had to point her out to me. She (Sandy) saw her foster sister first, and then I stepped up to her. If you have ever seen any of the reunions on TV 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 all the luggage taken care of, we proceeded to her foster mom's home. There we were able to catch up on many things.

I realize there are many details being left out in this story, so just bare with me.

My biological mother lived in Minneapolis also. I got her address from Ron. I tried the same tactics of meeting her as I used with my biological dad. Boy did that back fire. When I finally parked the car in front of her door, after driving back and forth many times in front of it, I knocked on her 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 coming home from work. She didn't want to deal with me just now. At first I felt 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 would be able to get information on finding our real parents. I hadn't mentioned 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 parents), 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, knew about them! I must of either been to young to remember them or blanked them out of my life. I went on to tell Kim that I had found them all but Debbie. 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 due reunion............

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 first encountered each other. Somewhere in all the excitement, I got my hugs in too. We had arranged to meet with Sandy and her husband to come to our home and then all of us would go out for dinner. Never before has my feeling's of being lost, with a big empty hole been filled, but finally they were coming to a end. I couldn't get over the fact that during dinner, at how 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 talked were so much alike. Now some 16 years after meeting Ron, Kim and Ron are both single, lead the same type of life style and are both now living in Florida. Sandy now resides still in Minneapolis.....but one thing wasn't finished....finding our little sister Deb.

I tried contacting the adoption agency, but they said the only thing they could do is put a note in her files saying I was looking for her and it was 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 Debbie. That she was looking into her adoption while home on leave. She was in the army and was stationed in Germany. She agreed to meet with me and have lunch.....I drove to a point in Minneapolis to pick her up. During dinner she admitted she was too young to even know or remember that there was a possibility of having siblings. She was raised by an older couple near Willmer, Minnesota. She also had an adopted brother...she seemed a little hesitant to talk much about anything. I guess 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 work for awhile and then later be transferred to Michigan. Sandy met her at a different date. A few months later Kim flew home again and we were able to 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 back to Saudi. I did get a chance to meet Debbie's parents but only briefly. Her mom was ill and didn't want company. My parents in fact had spent a weekend with Sandy, as Aaron and her drove up to Babbitt to meet them. To this day, 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 years lost, that we were not as close as I had wished we would be. Sandy and I keep in touch once in a while and only live now about 35 miles from each 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 divorced four times, with no children. Kim remains single.

I started out looking for a way to fill a empty hole and part of that was filled. The close relationship of brothers and sisters may not always be there as I wanted, but through it all the good Lord sustained me. I have been able to tell of my faith to my siblings and hopefully they see Christ in me. Not every reunion will turn out the way one wants, but that is life. 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 the years. I admit I am not perfect, no one but Christ is. But just knowing the love that Christ has for us all, then we truly are ONE family.

Update: 03/27/01

In the year 1990 my biological dad passed away. I only saw and met him that 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 was killed by a 17 year old drunk driver. My sister Sandy and I attended his funeral. Just before the funeral was to start we were in the lady's room. There were other lady's in there so we introduced ourselves to them. They 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 miscarriages. Have built a small home in Monticello. Have two grand daughters from our son who has been married and divorced. Another grandchild from our eldest daughter and her husband and also a grandson. Two step-grand children, a grandson and one on the way from our 3rd child. I work at the local school district in the lunch programs 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 place.

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 live as they could no longer take care of themselves very well. Had gall bladder surgery. Was pregnant again with #6. Mom ended up in the local nursing home a few months after living here. Dad followed a couple 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 both dearly.

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

Updated 1-10-2016

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 with 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

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Update: Taken 5-3-2015 in San Diego

Florence and me

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Great-Great-Great Grandma on Meryl's side (bio-logical dad) 1840



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