“Star Dad and I have done some digging, we think your daughter may be alive.” Hope said as we talked one morning. I had no idea she had been looking, and as she explained to me that she did not want to say anything for fear of getting my hopes up. She was sure I had seen enough heart break in my life and did not want me to see anymore.
“Really?” I managed. “Is she really alive? Is she okay?” I knew I was talking faster than I normally did, because I was excited and frightened to be honest.
“Yes, we believe she really is alive, it turns out your daughter was adopted by an aunt, one of your Mother’s sisters. They had kept in touch even after your Father had demanded her not to, she could have died, but she checked on your daughter often. She died protecting that secret, but as she lay dying, she told the soldiers, and they found this to be true . She’s eight now, and your aunt and uncle have provided a good home for her. Your Father did not approve of the adoption because they did not hold with the Muslim beliefs he did, but he couldn’t well leave your daughter there. He couldn’t well let everyone know that he got his nine year old daughter pregnant.”
I was having trouble absorbing all of this. I knew I had a daughter, but at barely eighteen I had an eight year old daughter who would soon be nine. I was relieved to hear she was alive, and I appreciated that Hope and Dad had gone through all of this trouble, but more than anything I wanted to see for myself that my daughter was okay.
“Dad and I contacted your birth aunt, she says she would be more than glad to have you see your daughter. She knows she is adopted, and knows some of the bad things that were done to you, knows that her Father was a bad man, but she knows you did not wish to have her taken away, but she is happy and healthy. They are raising her in the Christian faith, which can be dangerous, but your daughter is doing well, and they have plans to one day move to America.”
My sister was going on and on and I was having trouble comprehending all of this, but I was having even more trouble comprehending how she could spend so much time and energy doing something for me. Even after seven years of being part of this family I did not always understand how they could be so full of love, even after giving my heart to Jesus myself. I did not understand how one family could be so filled with love, especially when mine was so full of hate.
“I didn’t even know my Mom had a sister who was a Christian.” I managed. “My uncle he doesn’t hurt her does he?”
“No and after he found out what your Father did to you, he wanted to hurt him.”
“Are you sure my daughter is okay?”
“From everything I have heard yes, I have even talked to your Aunt Delbar, and your Uncle Azar, they named your daughter Fereshteh, meaning Angel.”
“Thank you Hope, but I know what it means.”
“I’m sorry, I sometimes forget that you haven’t always been in America.”
“It’s okay, I am just having a really hard time swallowing all of this. I can’t believe you and Father went through all of this effort for me.”
“You needed to know Star, we understood that. Your daughter is safe and well, and your Aunt and Uncle are making plans to move to America, they may even move close to us, so you could see your daughter, get to know her.”
“I want to get to know her Hope, but I am afraid. What if she doesn’t want to know me? I have missed so much of her life.”
“Star she knows that none of it was your choice, and from what your Aunt has said she wants to know you. She speaks English well as does Feresheteh, and they want to make a life for themselves in America, get away from the persecution.”
I could understand that, being a Christian in Afghanistan could be a dangerous thing, especially if you crossed the path of a Jihadist, like my birth Father had been. There were real monsters in all of Afghanistan, even in Kabul where my Aunt and Uncle lived. I silently prayed they would get to come to America before they ended up paying the ultimate price for daring to go against the Islam ways! I wanted my daughter out of that kind of danger and in America, but I knew it would not be easy to get the only family I had in Afghanistan left here, and I wondered if the bad memories would come with them. I had tried so hard to let go of the past, would seeing these people bring everything back to me, and set me back to where I was when I was that scared little girl.
Lord I want to see them, I want to be reunited with my family, but I have so many questions. Why didn’t they come and rescue me? Why did this have to happen to me?
“Star they tried to help you, they tried to get you, but your Father nearly killed your Uncle. He threatened to kill Feresheteh too and they could not risk it, they had no choice, but to stay away. Your Father would have surely killed them.”
I knew that was true , as sure as I knew my name was Star.