The Bible is full of parables of lost things and people getting found. It is one of the beautiful truths of Kingdom life that though we feel all alone, lost, and afraid at times, that we are ‘found’ by God and loved right where we are. Those parables often end in celebration.
The shepherd celebrates finding the lost sheep, the woman celebrates finding her lost coin, and a father celebrates finding his prodigal son. Likewise, an 81-year-old Irish woman celebrates finding her biological mother after a six-decades-long search.
Eileen Macken grew up in an orphanage in Dublin, and for years wondered who her mother was. She began her search as a teen, but since she was misidentified by the wrong birth certificate, she’d searched in vain since she was 16.
"I think I am Ireland's oldest orphan" says 80-year-old Eileen Macken. Born in the Bethany Home and moved to Kirwan House at 2. Given someone else's birth cert at 16 and lived under that identity for 60 years. Found out, after DNA, the family she thought was hers was not. #Shame pic.twitter.com/ZInfqvaYMe
— Stay With Me Exhibition (@mynamesisbridge) June 30, 2018
In a last-ditch effort, Eileen reached out to Ireland’s national public broadcasting service, Raidió Teilifís Éireann. If her mother was alive, then she just wanted to find her, and she asked the public to help.
As an octogenarian, Eileen was blessed to be on this earth, but the question everyone wondered, was her mother?
A genealogist came forward to help and within a year, using a DNA sample from Eileen, he found her mother, still alive at the ripe ol’ age of 103.
Many questioned Eileen’s search. Why continue looking after more than 60 years, but the unanswered questions she had, coupled with the loneliness she felt, compelled her to persevere.
Eileen learned she has two half-brothers close to her age and she’s attempted to speak to her mom on the phone, but the woman’s hearing is failing, so it was unsuccessful.
As soon as Eileen’s eyes heal from recent surgery and she is cleared by her doctors to fly, she will visit her biological mother.
“I’d love to go and scream it from a mountain, ‘I’m not an orphan anymore!’” said Eileen. Well, old girl, we are cheering with you and love your determination.