Although the sermon at the Federated Methodist-Presbyterian Church began normally, a twist took part at the end of the ceremony. Pastor Eun-Joo Myung passed the microphone to Richard Cardenas as Ted Herrera and their eldest adoptive daughter, Treasure, 9, stepped up to the front of the congregation.
In honor of Treasure’s birthday on March 13, Cardenas wanted to read a poem Treasure had wrote detailing her hardships as an adoptive child, including her aspirations, fears and attributions. Treasure’s talent poured fourth, causing many audience members eyes’ to brim with tears and empathy. Many family members were in attendance to celebrate Treasure’s birthday, but an unsuspected arrival was also present, waiting for her time to come forward.
Treasure’s second piece, however, was written as a Christmas wish—a wish to meet her unfamiliar sister. Treasure read aloud in a somewhat shaky voice, going so far as to illustrate her sister’s age, name and adoptive family as she would imagine her to be.
In Treasure’s imagination, her sister’s name was Sheniqua, she was 17 years old and she had brothers.
After her poem, Cardenas met his daughter’s eye and said into the microphone calmly, “Well, first of all, you’re wrong. Her name is not Sheniqua, it’s Sequoia and her brothers play football. And she is not 17, she is 22, and we could not get her for Christmas,” he said. “But we got her for your birthday…” Cardenas motioned to the back of the hall. “Sequoia?” he called out.
In a leap of faith and love, Treasure’s sister Sequoia Battiest, 22 of Lemoore, stood up out of her seat in the very back of the church and made her way to the middle of the walkway. While everyone’s eyes locked on Battiest, Cardenas and Herrera’s eyes were on their daughter, Treasure.
“That’s your sister,” Cardenas whispered to Treasure, who stood stunned at the front of the church.
Pastor Myung rang out in joy, “It’s her sister,” to the rest of the chapel, which exploded in applause as Treasure tore from her doting fathers towards her unknown sister.
Treasure locked her arms around her sister’s waist, only letting go so that Battiest could kneel before her, hugging and smiling with one another, the happy tears flowing incessantly.
Treasure, who was adopted at age 5 along with her three younger brothers, had always wanted a sister. Finally, after years of wondering and months of pining, her wish was granted. It was some time before either sister could speak. They stood together, clutching one another closely.
Cardenas said the reunion was thanks in part to the family’s biological grandmother who resides in Modesto. Without her knowledge, Cardenas said they wouldn’t have had any idea that Treasure had a sister.
“I’m just happy that I could fulfill her wish,” said Cardenas. “It was important to Treasure, and I wanted her to be happy. I wanted to give her her sister.”
Although Battiest was nervous and conflicted about meeting her unknown family members, she decided to take the plunge after hearing positive feedback about Herrera and Cardenas’ character.
“This was fun,” Battiest confessed. “It is exciting to have blood ties.”
Contact Brooke Borba at 892-6187, ext. 24, or firstname.lastname@example.org.