Shelley KGOD at Work Stories


By Liz Knese

It all started when my lovely and precious mother in-law gave me a DNA test kit through this past Christmas. I thought…cool, I’ll find out what my blood line is. I really didn’t think much else would come from it, but God had other plans. Not only did I find out about my blood line, but I also found that I had a first cousin (male).  Ancestry said they were 100% sure of this.

As some of you know, I was adopted from an orphanage in Vietnam. I grew up here in Minnesota with my adoptive family, which I love dearly. Because I feared rejection, it was hard for me to make the decision to contact my new cousin.  I wondered if I would be opening up a can of worms, and I had the fear of, “Am I ready for this?” However, these fears are not from the Lord.

Eventually, God urged me to contact this new cousin of mine. I wrote a brief letter explaining who I was and asked if he would be interested in pursuing a relationship. I left the ball in his court. I felt that my Vietnamese family might be shocked if I contacted them, in more ways than one.

I received a response from my cousin right away stating that he would love to help me!  I am so grateful for all the information he gave me and his determination to help.  In May 2018 his mother sent in her DNA test.  Through this test we learned that my new cousin’s mother and I were a family match. My new cousin is actually my half-nephew and his mother is my half-sister.  On her side of the family there are a total of 12 children!  Adding me to the family makes 12.5!! 

With the Lord’s help, I am proceeding slowly and respectfully as I reach out to my biological family members.  I need to tread lightly as I am dealing with fragile hearts and souls.  I have begun talking & chatting online with my new sister Lily and her son Khoa, my new nephew.  Both live in California.  Both are very gracious and loving towards me and have sent lots of family photos and information.

My father also made other string instruments such as banjos, violins and guitars along with 3 huge chandeliers.  The  chandeliers were given to Qui Nhon City and are hanging in a large Catholic Church.  My father was also a sculptor and a builder. I was told that whenever my father saw something he liked, he would just make it. He passed away in 2008.  I will always treasure this photo of him. The two younger boys in the photo are my half-brothers. Some of my new family members live in California where my sister Cathy lives. 

My birthday is not exact. My adopted dad chose my birthday to be the same as his birthday. They counted my teeth to determine how old I was. My adopted family would say I must have been 2 because I was tiny, according to American standard size.

My adoptive family, the one who raised me, changed me…in the best possible way.  Family doesn’t only happen genetically. I was chosen. I was wanted. I was cherished. I grew in their hearts, and I was dearly loved. I was adopted for life! They did not give me the gift of life, but they gave me the gift of love! The love they gave me is deep and real.  My journey of life gave me the gift of my family.

So this is my new journey, one I never thought possible, that I would get to know my biological family and relatives during my lifetime. I thought I would have to wait until I got to heaven to ask the Lord all my questions and to possibly meet them there.  The Lord has truly blessed me beyond my own imagination!

Life is a precious gift and I am so amazed by God’s incredible goodness. He has blessed me many times over.  Every year that passes is an adventure to cherish and is filled with marvelous things!

God knows the desire of our hearts and He wants to bless us. God’s timing is always perfect and purposeful. I’m so privileged to be a daughter of a Mighty King!

“I am fearfully and wonderfully made, chosen before the foundation of the world, and adopted through Jesus Christ’s love with mercy and grace.” Psalms 139:14, Ephesians 14:4-5

“In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will. That we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of His glory.”  Ephesians 1:11-12

I am adopted!  He planned in His purpose of love, that we should be adopted as His own children, through Jesus Christ.  (Ephesians 1:5)
Nobody is born into this world a child of the family of God. We are born as children of wrath. The only way we enter the family of God is by adoption, and that adoption occurs when we are united to God’s only begotten Son by faith. When by faith we are united with Christ, we are then adopted into that family of whom Christ is the firstborn.”-R.C. Sproul

My prayer request would be that my husband Doug and I would be a light to my new family and bring them to Christ Jesus. May they hunger for His truth and for His Word!

I just LOVE God’s Creation Department!!  I love it because He made every single one of us to be “one of a kind, costume designed and tailor-made.”  I thank God for His special creation of all of my families, meaning you and all who are in my life!

We all have a story!  “May the God of hope fill you all with joy and peace as you trust in Him.  Romans 15:13


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