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The Full Circle

Updated: Aug 4, 2021

By John Moore -

I remember as a young child, one night in particular, having a very serious

conversation with and about our family. We were gathered together - all nine

siblings and both parents - in a circle of chairs in the kitchen; each one of us

there, or so we thought. And our parents went on to tell us that they don’t want

any empty chairs in heaven- that our journey here on earth was a family pursuit,

and one that they were very serious about.

What we didn’t realize then, was that there was a chair that was missing

from the circle - and a person to accompany that seat.

Our family story changed two years ago, when our Dad told us that he had

fathered a child when he was 19 years old in college (before he met my mother). That baby was put up for adoption by the mother, and she didn’t allow my father to know her name or where she ended up.

Another sister.

A DNA test allowed this “new” sister to track down my Dad and unite with

him, as well as 9 younger siblings that she was not expecting.

My parents showed us pictures, and it was shocking how much she looked

just like the rest of us.

In reality, this story could have gone many different directions. We have

heard horror stories of families who didn’t accept their found relatives, weren’t

very interested, or quite the opposite, where they were welcomed in with open


What we didn’t realize though, was that the outcome of this story had

already been decided in our home, in the decades before we found out we had

another sister.

In our home(s), from Otero Avenue to Dunsford Drive, there was a culture

of meaning – one of belonging, that my parents instilled in us from the


As Emily Esfahani Smith reminded us, “The renowned psychologist Martin

Seligman says ‘meaning comes from belonging to and serving something beyond

yourself and from developing the best within you.’”

You see, it was easy to open our arms and bring her in as another one of

the siblings. It was easy because our parents had already shown us our purpose

and our meaning: to serve each other and to help each other develop; to support

each other so that we know that we are all in this together- that we belong. We

all felt that sense of belonging with one another, and we knew how much it

would mean to our new sister to feel a part of it.

On May 4th, 2019, we sat together in a circle, no seats missing this time.

We had officially met our new sister just minutes before, and we welcomed her

into our circle of chairs- into our culture of meaning.


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