I'm told the best place to begin every journey is at the beginning. Well, my beginning is one of sorrow, prayer, joy, and redemption.
Before we get to that though, let me tell you a little about myself, as I am now. I am relying on God daily, He is helping me see His plan in my life. That is a phrase you will hear many times, His plan. I didn't always trust God's plan, actually, I still don't... but I'm working on it. He is showing Himself to me in so many ways, I'm loving it!
Okay, in the beginning God created man and woman, they were given the task to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:28). And they did! But what happens when God doesn't allow a man and woman to be fruitful and multiply? Today this is a common situation, the CDC wrote in March 2017, that 6% of married women ages 15-44 have trouble conceiving after one year of trying. So how does a couple start a family?
Well there are different options, including but not limited to, in vitro fertilization, surrogacy, and adoption. My personal favorite is the last one. Yes, I am a little biased being adopted myself, but also I have seen the beautiful picture of the Gospel through adoption. Keep in mind, I am not in any way saying the other options are wrong! I just have a passion for adoption and the benefits it has!
Back to my story though.
As I said, I am adopted. I was adopted as in infant (two days old to be more specific). So I have only known one family as mine. It was a semi-open adoption, meaning there was no personal information given (last names, address, etc.), and contact was made through the agency.
I have always known I was adopted. And I remember looking at my "file" when I was seven. This was literally a file in the filing cabinet that contained everything we had about my adoption. There were a few Christmas cards from my biological family (from this point on referred to as the bios), some old pictures, and information sheets about where they were from. I don't know why this is the first memory I have of being adopted, when my mom has stories of things I had said when I was much younger. But this point obviously made an impact.
Over the next few years, I would proudly boast about my adoption. I was never ashamed or hurt by it, it was the fun fact I would pull out whenever I needed an icebreaker or wanted to surprise someone with new information about myself. I also knew that I was chosen and wanted. My parents loved me just as much as they loved my younger sisters (one also being adopted and one biologically theirs). There was never a doubt in my mind about their love for me.
Middle school came around, and as if these years aren't hard enough, I started to struggle with my adoption. I struggled with the unknown. I remember sitting in doctors offices for my yearly checkups and they would ask about family medical history, and I would say I was adopted and didn't know (which turns out I just hadn't read that part of the file). I was starting to mature, and would get asked why I didn't look like my parents. None of these questions were new, I had heard them growing up. But now they had a different meaning to me. When I heard these questions, I though it was bad to be different.
Also during this time, I found a letter in my file that I had never seen before. If you are reading this and you're a parent, you know that you make choices for your kids with only their best interest in mind. If you're an adoptee (or child in any way) and you struggle with decisions your parents have made for you, I am letting you know now, as someone who went through this already, trust them. Do not lash out at them for the decisions they made for you. They are doing the best they can, each person/child is different. You will get treated differently than your siblings, because you. are. unique. NOT because they love you any differently or less! I hope you hear that right now. While I was angry and blamed my parents for hiding things from me at the time. I now realize they were doing it to protect me, they knew I wasn't mature enough to handle what I thought I wanted. I was only 13, and no 13 year old knows what they really want. But I fought with them and blamed them for keeping secrets and not caring about how I felt. It was a long couple of months, and it was only the beginning.
With my parents permission and guidance, I wrote a letter to the adoption agency asking about meeting my biological family. I waited for a year for a response. What I didn't know was happening during this year, is major proof of my mother's love for me. While she was still struggling to raise a rebellious teenage daughter (i.e. me), and working through the fact that I wanted to meet my bios, she was looking for them. It turns out there had been a problem at the agency and they couldn't find my bios. My beautiful, deep loving mother researched and looked for them. When she found them, she sent all of the information to the agency, so we could meet through them.
The day finally came. May 13, 2008. I was so anxious. We had about a six hour drive to Grapevine, Texas, a little suburb of Fort Worth. You know how you play out a scenario in your head and you prepare for THAT scenario? Well I had five hours to prepare. And when we got there, the scene in my head did NOT happen. It was all so fast! The front door hadn't even shut behind us and the bios walked out of an office. I am 14 years old now, and I literally side stepped behind my mom.
That afternoon was spent in the conference room of the agency. My parents on one side of the table, and me sitting between the bios on the other. I was told to prepare questions I had, and I am so glad I wrote them down. Because I'm pretty sure it took me a good two maybe three hours to actually talk for myself.
I learned a lot that day, about their history, their story, and even that I had two full siblings and some half siblings. Out of everything that happened that day. Finding out I had siblings had the biggest impact.
Fast forward a few months later, school is back in session. I am a freshman. I am also struggling with having two full siblings who are younger than me. I fight with insecurity. I wrestle with rebellion, more than I had the past year. And I work to push back the thought of suicide.
Why was I adopted and not them?
It's because they didn't want you.
You were a mistake.
No one will love you.
All these and more were thoughts I had, and I bet other adoptees can relate. I struggled with these thoughts for a year. I ended up being homeschooled, which helped my relationship with my parents a little. But it only pushed the thoughts back. I didn't struggle to the extreme anymore. But I still had thought of being unloved and unwanted.
The last couple years of high school, I struggled with feeling loved, wanted, cherished. And I looked for that in boys. There are many things in life you wish you could redo, and the last two years of high school are mine.
I had a very strained relationship with both families. I was rebellious, secretive, and ungrateful with my parents; then with the bios, I never felt like I fit in when I was with them and that I owed them something, but I didn't know what it was.
College, the strained relationships continued. Then in the middle of junior year, I broke. I couldn't live this double, triple life anymore. I didn't have the relationships I yearned for with my parents and sisters, I was living a different life with my college "friends," and I couldn't handle the pressure I was feeling from the bios. When I went home for Christmas break, I stayed home until the next fall.
I focused on rebuilding myself. Physically, mentally, and spiritually. I put myself on a really good workout schedule, so physically I was getting where I wanted. Mentally, I was better, but not great. Because spiritually I was just going through the motions. I had cut off all ties with my bios, first via social media, then I contacted them and told them why at this point in my life I felt like I needed space. I also got into a relationship, but I was forcing it. I wasn't actually into this guy. I just didn't want to be alone. I continued living like this while home till I went back to school in the fall.
I broke up with that guy. I tried really hard to stay away from the temptations and friends I had been with the year before. And I refocused on school, I only had three semesters to go. And when that happened, I was leaving Waco, heading to the big city (Dallas), and I was going to live my best life!
This is where I can see God's plan start to unfold what is now my everyday life.
2016 was the beginning of a new life. I'm going to say this as carefully as I can, because I know he was only a tool that God used. But Colin helped me get my life back on track. We joke that if we had meet even three months earlier, we wouldn't still be together. And I believe that! I wasn't ready for what was coming. He is a great leader for me. He helped me start going to church more often, he encouraged me to dig into the Bible through the study we started doing together, and he was constantly showing Christ's love to me when I didn't deserve it. He wasn't a guy I was embarrassed to tell my parents about, so I was able to open and honestly talk to my them about him. Which in turn helped my relationship with my parents.
I'm not saving Colin saved me, because I know Jesus did. But Colin was the leader I needed to help me get my spiritual life back on track. Throughout 2016, my relationship with God grew more than it had in a long time. God opened my eyes and healed the wounds I had pushed aside.
Seriously guys, God is amazing. He healed the pain I had with my adoption, and showed me that it really was the greatest blessing. He provided a way for me to share my journey with those around me, both adoptee and not. He loved me and continued to protect me from so many things throughout my years of darkness. And He sent His Son to save me from the world. Through Him I am free, loved, wanted, cherished, redeemed, chosen, and adopted TWICE!
Jesus lover, wife, momma, teacher, and hopeful writer.