Adoption conjures up a variety of images, some of which are fairly negative. Its portrayal in TV soaps, for example, is rarely accurate and often sensational. Admittedly, my own story has had its fair share of ups and downs, but ultimately, my adoption has been a positive thing, and I am very grateful for my adoptive family.
I was adopted as a tiny baby, but even before my birth, important decisions were already being made. My natural mother, knowing she could not look after me, wanted to make sure that I was cared for in a good family. She also wanted it to be a Christian family. As a result, the organisation that she used to put me up for adoption was a Christian one.
Also, regardless of whether I was a boy or girl, my adoptive family had already been decided and they wanted me. I was two months old when I met my family. My adoption has never been hidden from me and the honesty of my parents in telling me about it has been of great benefit to me. I have seen what happens when such information is kept a secret. It can tear families apart.
Knowing the whole story
Adoptive parents’ reasons for secrecy are understandable. They don’t know how to tell the child and dread what might happen when they do. I am grateful that I was told the whole story.
My parents kept a folder about my early life, health documents and even a photo of my natural mother. As I grew up, school records were added. The folder was a huge help to me, because when I started asking questions about where I came from, the information was there for me.
From an early age, whenever I asked to see this folder, my parents always said yes. At other times, I would just ask questions about how they felt and why. Their responses were honest, even when the questions were hard ones. I know this was not easy for them.
My parents had to deal with the fact that, at some point, I might decide to find out about my natural mother and go looking for her. Their honesty has enriched my relationship with them. Now, as an adult, I am reaping the rewards of a very close relationship with them.
A difficult season
I think most people who are adopted go through a season when difficult issues come to a head and need to be dealt with. For me, these were issues of rejection, self esteem, anger and hate.
My time came when I was in my mid-teens. I was 16 and having a hard time at a new school. We’d moved to a different area due to my father’s work. I was struggling with many of these issues on a daily basis and was having a very unhappy time. This lasted until I was in my late teens. I faced the really big issue of rejection when I was 19, after another move, and I embarked on some counselling sessions.
The sticking point for me was my biological father. Why had he done what he had done? I understood my mother’s predicament and was grateful for the care she had taken, not only allowing me to live but also making sure that I was in the best situation possible if I could not be with her.
Ultimately, after facing the anger and the hurt, I made the decision to forgive my biological father, even if it was without understanding. I did have ongoing issues with men and relationships, but as a Christian, I had the best possible basis for working this through.
I believe my faith, even the simple faith I had as a child, held me safe and brought me through. Ultimately, my identity has come through what my heavenly Father thinks of me. Psalm 139, a favourite of mine, confirms that God cares for me and that I am precious to Him. It talks about Him seeing me as I was formed in my natural mother’s womb.
As an adopted child, I feel very blessed. I was chosen by my adoptive parents, who have given me their care and love. My entry into the world is now of little consequence. As I said earlier, my journey has had its ups and downs – but through it all, I have learned that God is the only One who can give us our true identity and value – no matter what start we had in life.
Excerpted from Adoption, June 2004, by Care for the Family. © 2004 Care for the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.