I have always loved to dance. As an adult adoptee, a bio mom, and an adoptive mom, I dance between love and loss regularly. I dance with joy over small victories and small signs of acceptance. I dance to escape pain and to avoid obvious rejection from my family(ies). Let me continue to dance with the pain, the understanding, the surrender, His plan, and not faint.

Posts tagged ‘adoptee healing’

. . . don’t tell secrets

I was conceived in secret, born in secret, and kept a secret.  Shhhh . . .  

We teach our children, “don’t tell secrets.” 

What do we mean when we say that?  What I mean with my own children is don’t tell secrets about other people.  Don’t hurt other people by telling secrets about them.  Don’t make up secrets about others.  Don’t put your hands up over your mouth, around someone else’s ear, and whisper something about someone else–something that might be hurtful.  Don’t tell secrets.

Why?  Well, would you like it if someone were whispering behind your back about something you said, something you did, something you wore to school, something about your hair or your shoes?  No.  We don’t like discovering others have been telling secrets about us–whether the stories are true or untrue.

You know what else, children?  Don’t keep secrets.  Why? 

Most people have said or done things they regret and wish they could hide or undo–myself included.  But keeping secrets can hurt you; they hurt and change you–inside and out.  This little nugget is maybe more for your own benefit little ones.  The very important secrets you try to keep–the ones you think No One can handle (a bad grade, a lost ipod, a misplaced phone, money thrown away, property you stole, a chore you didn’t complete)–turn into imaginary monsters that control your life.  Before you even realize it, you are spending an exorbitant amount of energy, thoughts, and concentration on keeping your secrets in the dark.  You might bury your secret successfully for a while, and then “Ahhh!”–something happens in your day that reminds you of what you must vigilantly hide.   Secrets keep you in fear of anyone ever finding out about . . . ?.

While I was in the womb, a decision was made–a decision to keep me a secret.  I can only imagine the feelings my birth parents experienced as they watched my birth mom’s tummy growing, struggled to keep life at status quo, explained why my birth mom was dropping out of college in her senior year, talked of returning to “normal” plans to marry once I was born and placed for adoption, tried to hide my presence in her body.  The stress of it.  I cannot imagine.  And then, once I was born and gone from their lives (so to speak), they were the only two (supposedly) who knew what had just happened.

I had happened.  The baby in me wants to say, “I’m sorry.  I’m so sorry for the trouble and pain I caused.”  The adult in me knows . . . I have no ownership in my conception, my birth, nor the effect my birth had on my birth parents.

Today, like them, I make my own decisions regarding my life.  I make some good ones, and I make some bad ones.
I make some decisions that seem like good ones at the time, . . . and then sadly hurt others around me.

One decision I have made is to not be a secret.  My adoption search and reunion journey kind of goes like this:  being a secret, choosing not to be a secret, being asked/threatened to retreat again as a secret (like a monster–no less).  This has damaged my heart and my soul.

As a child, my parents didn’t keep my story as a secret from me.  Thank God–they told me my story every day, whispering it into my ear; therefore, there was never a big scary secret monster revealed to me.  I simply assimilated the truth day by day.

My life and existence is well-known by my Creator, my extended family, and my friends.  My story, which began with my conception–not my adoption–is not a secret I keep, nor does anyone else in my family (including birth relatives who share their lives with me as just that–a birth/biological relative).

I am not a secret.  I am me–alive and well.  I went on  . . . to live . . . my life.






I can see the wreckage, and by grace I can help rebuild

Yesterday’s sermon got me thinking . . .

Nehemiah got down and dirty and observed how bad things in Jerusalem really were.  He inspected the walls of the city and they were broken down.  Its gates were destroyed by fire.  Well, oh my goodness, the walls of my city have been broken down, and the gates to my heart and to our family have been destroyed by fire.  Strong language, I know.  But I’m not exaggerating.

Nehemiah 2: 17 . . . it’s Nehemiah talking: 
17  “Then I said to them, ‘You see the bad situation we are in–how Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates are burned with fire . . . .  “

ruins, burned with fire, disgrace . . . Those words describe what has happened to our family during both adding Naika to our family and seeking out my birth family–in hopes of love, joy, and peace in both situations.

I am naive.  We brought Naika into our home when she was 2 1/2.  In my own ignorance, I parented Naika the same way I parented our other children.  I promptly got no where; in fact, I made myself and those around me crazy.  It took a whole year before my eyes were opened to the fact that parenting a child who spent two years in an orphanage would require different knowledge, skills, and approaches.  And then, . . . when she was 3 1/2, I began to learn.  But from 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 and somewhat beyond/somewhat still, our family/lives were upside down.

Ruins–family time held no joy.  Ruins–she literally ruined things in our home.  Ruins–everything that we thought we were doing that “worked” with our other children . . . ruined.  Ruins–ruined confidence in myself as a mother.

Burned with fire–my insides were burning with fire and pain from this little girl who would not let me be her mommy.  Burned with fire–my husband and I had heated discussions about what to do, what to change, what I was doing wrong (I already felt like a failure so that didn’t help).  Burned with fire–angry at people who told us how “lucky” Naika was to be in our family, or what a “great” thing we had done in adopting her (good intentions, but not reality).  Burned with fire–wanting answers–wanting everything to go back to normal.

Disgrace–ashamed that I was doing such a poor job with her.  Disgrace–ashamed that she would not look at me in the eyes while I fed her a sippy cup or a bottle of milk like the counselors and books suggested.  Disgrace–ashamed that she happily jumped into a strangers’ arms than into mine.  Disgrace–ashamed at her behavior, . . . and mine.  Disgrace–the social worker explaining to me that I was part of the “problem.”  Disgrace–that my husband came home night after night to a fried wife.

Ruins–once I received a threatening letter from my birthdad telling me not to contact anyone him, my siblings, or anyone else anymore (need I say more?).  Ruins–the strain it put on my family of five and husband emotionally, financially as I was insatiably focused on somehow loving/knowing my birthfamily and them loving/knowing me.  Ruins–as I struggled to feel alive and real instead of snuffed out and stuff back into a secret closet.

Burned with fire–I burned to find them and know them.  Burned with fire–I burned from the sting of receiving very small gifts I sent to them for Christmas back.  Burned with fire–I burned with fire before I found any of them when I would look in the mirror and not recognize ANY of my features.  Burned with fire–I got burned, my parents got burned, my pain burned my husband, and even my kids were burned by birth relatives who they were hoping to be able to know and love.  Burned with fire that my need to know my past was stealing my present–and could potentially steal my future.

Disgrace–it is my personal theory that when people are hurting, they seek relief.  My choices which came out of my need for relief = disgrace.  My behaviors, desires, choices, thoughts, . . . all became uncharacteristic of who I really am = disgrace.  Note–I have no disgrace in my choices for searching/how I searched, etc.  The disgrace comes from choices I made to cope with my pain–to self-medicate.

Nehemiah then says, “‘Come, let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a disgrace.'”
Aha!!  I am ready and building up the walls again.  By God’s grace.
Because of the above visions and experiences of Ruin, Walls burnt by fire, and Disgrace, I can uniquely see the wreckage . . . the pain that others cannot:  pain in searching, pain in adoption, pain in reunions, pain in marriages,  pain in parenting.  AND, . . .

I am uniquely made with certain gifts and experiences now to minister to some that others simply can’t.  I cannot minister to my husband regarding his job as a basketball coach.  Haha.  I cannot dribble.  I can, however, support families who are struggling through adjustments to all things adoption!  In fact, could it be that “He planned me to be the way I am because then only I can be the one to help/minister in certain situations?”  That’s what our pastor said on Sunday morning.  And, I’ll tell you what:  that thought increased my self-worth which has suffered Terribly during the above things mentioned.  I can uniquely serve/minister in this area, because . . . Ha!  I’m an expert.

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