FROM THE HEART OF AN ADOPTED CHILD
Each time we receive a real invitation in the mail, it brings a feeling of being included. You know the feeling. Whether it’s a wedding, a birthday party, or even a graduation open house – it lets us know that we matter enough to be invited. And we want to matter.
So, when we don’t receive an invite, it matters. Our mind understands that not everyone can be invited, there is a reality of cost and space for events, it’s just that feeling uninvited is such a deep, heart challenge. (I’m aware that someone reading this may have not invited me to something, no worries, I’m not secretly writing this to get more invites.) In our world of social media, it’s so easy to feel left out. FOMO is real for many, many people. We see pictures of our friends together and immediately think, why didn’t they invite me? We hear of a friend meeting with another friend, and it becomes a personal slap that we didn’t get to be in on their conversation.
Why is that?
We fear rejection and we are created for connection. We want to belong. Satan would like nothing better than to keep us on the outside, feeling uninvited and rejected when God’s table actually has a place card with our name on it just waiting for us to take the place set uniquely for us. I know this, I teach this, yet I still found myself fighting the fear of rejection.
I recently read in Lysa Terkust’s book Uninvited, there are “two core fears that feed a person’s sensitivity to rejection: the fear of being abandoned, the fear of losing one’s identity.” It made me wonder if my fear of rejection was tied to abandonment. Then, a teaching by the speaker at our last women’s retreat, Ps. Connie, came to mind. She told us of the research being done on babies still in the womb and the effect of the mother’s emotions on the little life inside.
As an adopted child, the words of Lysa and Ps. Connie came together in a flash of understanding. At the root of the insecurities and fear of rejection, was I really dealing with something that every adopted kid has to face at some point?
I have known I was adopted since I could even begin to grasp it. I knew I was chosen, loved, and wanted. I have been given the gift of God-fearing parents, siblings, and extended family. It has never really been in issue for me, honest. I feel incredibly blessed. Yes, there are definite differences between my siblings and I, and yes, when we are with extended family there are DNA moments that we don’t share. But, in all of that, I have always known I had a family that loved Jesus and me. So, why with all this love did I deal with the insecurities and the feelings of rejection that I had?
Studies show that babies connect to a mother’s emotions in the womb. If a momma is worried and anxiety-filled while pregnant, the baby knows it. If a mommy is laid back, the baby is aware. If a mom is struggling with a decision of adoption, a baby can feel that as well. These emotions can be manifested in children as they grow up. A helicopter parent can lead to a child that is stressed and worried. A laid back or overbearing parent can lead to a child that is apathetic or controlling as a response. And an adopted child, at some point, has to come to terms with the abandonment or rejection wounds brought on simply because of the emotions adoption brings.
No matter how loved she is by her birth mom, there is the reality that a separation occurs and the baby is given away. Though given out of love, the emotion of abandonment and even rejection is felt at a core level.
I’m one that didn’t need to know my biological parents, but I do need to understand my heart so that I can live into truth. I think most people have had to deal with a fear of rejection, we want to be liked and accepted. Yet, the origin of that fear is as different as each story is unique and for an adopted child this is a shared root.
Satan wants me to hear, she gave you up! You must not have worth. You don’t belong, you don’t fit. If Satan can keep me feeling abandoned and rejected, he keeps me from living fully into what God has for me. I need to recognize this lie and where it comes from, and live into the truth of Jesus.
If every adopted kid deals with this, what do we do? Stop adopting? Absolutely not, adoption saves lives, creates families, and futures. If anything, knowing an unborn child feels should help us see life. So, we prepare. We speak truth. We don’t avoid the conversations that speak truth and life. We love. No one needs to live in the lie of unwanted and the sooner we speak truth, the more it will be heard.
Jeremiah tells me that God loves me with an everlasting love. Paul reminds us that we are all adopted in God’s family. Jesus tells me I am chosen, saved, free. I am His. He is my identity because I am his child above all else.
I am forever grateful to my birth mother for the life she has given me at great sacrifice to herself. I am grateful to have come to understand where some of my wounds began and the incredible gift of healing from Jesus.
Adoption isn’t an excuse for behaviors, it’s an amazing and wonderful gift. Yet, as an adopted child, it’s helpful to understand some why’s behind my own insecurities. It’s not the end all, but it does help bring truth. I realize that some adoptions become hurtful, broken, and abusive and I know the One who heals.
I am chosen.
I am loved.
Every adopted child needs these truths.
If you are an adopted parent, thank you. Thank you for taking on a life. Thank you for loving so unconditionally that you would welcome a child into your life with all their issues and wonders. I know many are blessed beyond compare by the wonder of adoption. I am one of them.
If you have chosen adoption, I can’t imagine the heartache that comes from this sacrifice but I do know the feeling from receiving that gift. Thank you for loving so unconditionally that you would give life when you had the alternative available. Life is worth it.
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10b (NIV)