Movin’ On Down


Steve Carter grew up wondering where he came from.  The adopted son of an Army couple had always found it strange that his birth certificate had not even been created until he was a year old.  His adoptive parents couldn’t answer any of his questions.  They had adopted him from foster care when he was four.


So one day Carter decided to start looking on his own.  He started with missing children reports that matched his age and the location he had been lost.  That’s when he saw a composite image that had been created to approximate what he would look like as an adult.  When he saw it Carter says, “I got chills.”


A few months later, a DNA test confirmed his identity.  His birth name was Marx Panama.  His mother, who suffered from a psychiatric illness, left home with him one day and never returned.  Carter found out that when she was taken into custody by police, she had given a false name for the baby.  So when Carter’s father filed a missing person report, he was never found.


Had it not been for a half-sister who grew up wondering what had become of him, Carter’s identity would never have been discovered.  She continued to press the police department in Hau’ula, Hawaii, to keep the case open.  She was the one who had requested a picture be drawn estimating what her brother might look like.


Since his discovery, Carter and his sister, Jennifer Monnheimer, have spent hours on the phone with one another, discovering that they have a number of things in common.  Now he is taking his time and meeting other members of the family one by one.  He says a reunion is in the works.


Can you imagine finding out that you were a missing child and you had never known it?  And then discovering all that people had done to find you?


In one sense, the Christmas story is the story of a whole bunch of missing children and the God who will go to great lengths to find them again—even if they don’t know they’re lost.  This Sunday we can celebrate and Christmas, the story of a search for missing children that, strangely enough, begins with a baby.