As many of you know, May is National Foster Care Month. I have dove in headfirst to writing from an adoptee’s perspective, and it has been both healing and hard, exhausting and purpose giving. I have had knots in my stomach thinking about sharing today’s post. It’s an opportunity to be really vulnerable, and that scares the crap out of me. But if my vulnerability can allow a fellow adoptee be able to feel seen, or give a foster mom encouragement to keep trying to pursue a relationship with birth parents, or a future adoptive mom fight for an open adoption, or point someone to the only person who won’t ever let us down, then me being scared and uncomfortable, but sharing anyways, is worth it.
Just a little disclaimer: these are my opinions as one adoptee, with one story. We are all different, and our stories are all vastly different, so I don’t ever want to come across like I am speaking for the adoptee community as a whole.
This picture is the one and only picture I have with my birth mom. My adoptive mom doesn’t even remember this one visit I had with her, but this picture means more than words can express to me. Little did I know, this was my goodbye to her…
My adoptive parents were open and honest about my adoption, and I grew up getting any answers they could give me. This was invaluable to me. Knowing my adoptive parents weren’t hiding anything, or the ones preventing a relationship between me and birth family allowed me to trust them fully and not have any resentment. They didn’t know much, as I only had one or two visits with my birth mom and then she disappeared. So I had this hope in me that I would turn 18, find my birth mom and start this beautiful relationship with her. I hoped to someday be able to learn a little about my medical history from her, maybe know where some of my quirks came from while watching her, and feel connected to really anything that nature determines. Even though I knew she was addicted to drugs for a majority of her life, I still hung onto the hope she would be alive and well when I was ablate reconnect with her. Growing up, I watched my half sister’s birth dad (we have the same mom but different dad) clean up his life and get back in the picture. And I desperately yearned for a birth parent to do that for me too.
At 18, I found some of my half birth brothers on Facebook. And that is when the 18 years of hoping caved in on me; my brother let me know my birth mother had passed away a few years earlier. Every dream I had of at the least getting some basic medical history, to at the most having a healthy relationship with her, was taken from me with a few simple words, “she passed away Oct. 19 2009 from cancer.” I had finally found a blood relative besides the half sister I was adopted with, and I was so close to getting in contact with my birth mom I could feel it, but then whoosh, gone.
I still struggle with not having any closure, not being able to ever know what she was like, but most of all, never knowing her to better understand me. The nature vs. nurture subject fascinates me, and I really was looking forward to seeing it in action. Would she have my sense of humor? Would she laugh similar to me? Would she have any of the same interests as me? Did she love to write like me? I had so many questions that would never be answered.
I remember this being a very dark time for me. I had just turned 18, had no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up, and I had no idea how to handle this blow I was just dealt. I screamed and cried and slept for days. If you are reading this, and that is you, grieve. Please, please allow your body to grieve that loss: the banishment of dreams, the death of a parent, whatever has come up in your life that is rocking you to your core. I wish I had reached out and gotten help then; but I grieved and then swept it under the rug where I thought it could stay safely tucked away. So, after you grieve, please go get help. That help can be professional, it can be a friend, it can be whatever will help you dig in and help you get to the core of what you are struggling with. It will not go away, and it will come back stronger than before.
But at the same time, trauma is not something you can check the box with and have conquered. It is a daily process to give my worth and trust to God. I will be struggling with not feeling like enough for the rest of my life. Is it crazy that there is freedom in that? For so long, I was trying so hard to just make it go away. But once I accepted myself, flaws and all, and realized I will have these battles for the rest of my life, I could stop putting all my energy into fixing them. Jesus has paid the price for me; why would I not trust Him to carry all my hard stuff, day in and day out?
I’m still grappling with the magnitude of my last goodbye with my birth mom, where she turned back to drugs and I never got to see her again…It hits me hardest on holidays, and tears at my self- esteem. The devil tries to use it to convince me of lies about myself and my worth. But to God I am a precious child of God, and that will never change. The closer I draw to Him, the louder His voice becomes and the quieter the devil’s lies become.
So, if you are a foster or adoptive mom, please fight for an open adoption, if of course it is safe. In my case it wasn’t , and I fully understand that. But if it is, and an open adoption allows an adopted child to have answers to their questions, even if they are hard answers, I can’t imagine what that must feel like.
If you are an adoptee and you struggle with the goodbyes you didn’t know were final, please realize the only hope you will ever have is in Jesus. If you put all your hope in a relationship with a birth parent, or in an adoptive parent’s love being able to make you whole again, or even as an adult, hope in your spouse being able to fix every wound, you will always be disappointed.
Jesus will never let you down, He will never turn away, He will never choose anything over you, and He will always be there when you need Him. His love, and only His love, will be able to make you whole again.