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I got a telephone call with “Tampa” showing on the caller ID. I thought about ignoring the call, but instinct said, “Answer.” Susan identified herself. Then she asked, “Are you kin to Ruth Cacchio?” I answered, “Yes, that was my Aunt Bootsie.” Bootsie was her nickname. More than 50 years ago, Bootsie’s son had a brief love affair. The couple split up before the girl revealed her pregnancy. The baby girl was adopted by a family in Florida. Her adoptive parents named her Susan.

Coincidentally, Susan and I had sent our samples to companies for DNA analysis. Susan was seeking knowledge of her birth family. DNA reveals that Susan is my first cousin, once removed. Susan began seeking members of her birth family. That’s why I got that call. We have had wonderful conversations about family, our common interests in music and the Christian spiritual journey. Susan has journeyed to New Jersey where her birth parents grew up, meeting our Cacchio cousins and her siblings.

Susan and I share a musical bond. I played clarinet from grade school through college and in church orchestra for 19 years before becoming a pastor. Susan played in churches in Tampa and overseas with Global Missions Project, an interdenominational group of Christian musicians sharing Jesus Christ with the world through music.

Susan and I have a family kinship, friendship and similar dedication to sharing Christ. The science of DNA analysis brought us together. DNA analysis opened a whole new branch on the Sorrell family tree and bonded Susan and me.

I was anxious to help my newly found cousin in her quest for her birth identity because my own children are adopted. I thank God for the ministry of Holston Methodist Home in Greeneville that enabled me to adopt two children in infancy and raise them to adulthood. Pray for birth and adoptive parents, and for agencies who assist in adoption.

In the Bible, Moses was adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter (Exodus 2:1-10). Paul’s epistles are the only New Testament mentions of adoption. The Greek word translated as adoption means, “placed as a son,” powerful in the secular and theological sense. Galatians tells us that “…When the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, ‘Abba, Father.’” (Galatians 4:4-7) Loosely translated from Aramaic, “Abba” is “Daddy.”

I wish everyone had a close relationship to their earthly parents. I know this: I do not need to have DNA analysis to know who is my “eternal Daddy.”

D. Lynn Sorrell is a certified lay minister and pastor at Cross United Methodist in Blountville. He shared today’s column as part of our Words of Comfort series which appears on the front page of the Times News and at TimesNews.Net daily. Extended columns, such as these, appear here in Sunday Stories. Any clergy interested in sharing a 350-400 word devotion for Words of Comfort or a longer column for Faith in Action should contact Sunday Stories Editor Carmen Musick at (423) 723-1435 or email her at