Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Closed Adoption is Trauma


While there are birth mothers, adoptive parents, and adoption professionals that still think that closed adoption is the best option to provide anonymity to birth mothers and parental security to adoptive parents, to many adoptees, closed adoption is trauma and abuse.

Imagine growing up not looking like any of your family members. You have no one to identify with while little Suzy is prancing around telling her friends she got her eyes from her mom and her height from her dad; meanwhile, you are left in an awkward position wondering where you got your features from. You hope and pray that no one points the finger at you as if it were your turn and asks you where you got this or that from because we all know once an adoptee utters the words, "I-I-I....I am adopted; I don't know what my mom or dad look like" it will create an awkward silence followed by an, "I am so sorry" and you begin to feel like the size of an ant. People instantly make you feel like you should be pitied because your own mother gave you away. A 2 minute harmless conversation develops into a 24 hour cycle of trauma triggering depression, severe fear, and anxiety.

These are the effects of closed adoption.

If you do not by now, adoptees are the only population on Earth that do not have access to their original birth certificate. If that doesn't trigger anything in you, look at it like this: the parents names that are written on adoptees birth certificates leads adoptees to believe that their adoptive parents are the ones that gave birth to their adopted child. That is a lie. That is fraud. How is it that the world is comfortable with feeling like they can do that to people? Before I was told I was adopted (I always had speculation I was because I look different), I remember looking at my birth certificate. I remember seeing that my adoptive mom's name was the woman's name that was on the birth certificate as my mom. It lead me to believe that my mind was playing tricks on me because I knew I looked different, but this piece of paper was telling me that I came out of my adoptive mother's womb. I was so confused. I remember as a child feeling like there is was something completely wrong about me, but I never said anything to my adoptive mom. I always kept a smile on my face and never questioned anything out of fear of hurting my adoptive mom. It was amazing at such a young age that I felt like if I asked about being adopted that I could hurt her feelings. I did not want to hurt my mom's feelings. Yet, I allowed myself to be hurt over and over again as I tried to figure out why I looked so different and why everyone else felt they had to let me know I look nothing like my family. I never let my adoptive family know any of this.

To all adoptive parents that have yet to tell your child that he or she is adopted, they probably know already. You need to tell them. And to adoptive parents that feel that your adopted child isn't struggling with being adopted because they are all smiles and never come to you about it, think again. My adoptive mom would have never had a clue EVER that I struggled with being adopted. It was a battle I fought on my own.

These are the effects of closed adoption.

Don't you dare go to the doctors office when you are having a bad day when you are an adoptee. They can make a bad day go to a level that feels like there is no way back up. Can you believe that feeling can be triggered by just one question?! Here is the question, "what is your medical history?" I don't believe there is one adoptee on the earth that doesn't stop for at least one second and think about the loss inside of them because adoptees cannot even answer one stupid little question that everyone can seem to breeze through at the doctors office. And god forbid you leave that answer blank because the minute you are called to the back, Dr. So and So is going to ask you why you left it blank. Then when you go on to explain you are adopted, the awkward silence sets in as Dr. So and So gives you a blank stare and clears his throats, and he might even be stupid enough to say, "so you don't know anything about your medical history". I remember one day leaving the doctors office when that happened to me because I was on the verge of snapping. Ever since then, I associate the doctors office with trauma. I am okay now because I have learned to deal with it, but I would be lying if I sad that not even for a second I don't feel pain when I have to answer that question at the doctors office because I am reminded that I don't know who I am.

These are the effects of closed adoption.


I remember when I was college in my apartment staring at myself in the mirror in my bathroom pulling my hair as I looked at myself and sobbing and screaming screaming at the top of my lungs, "why didn't you want me?! How could you do this to me?! How could you let them lie to me and leave no trace of you?!" I wanted to end my life in that very moment. I will never forget it. That was one of the worst "episodes" I ever experienced. Amazingly people deny the statistics that adoptees are 4x more likely to commit suicide. There I laid on the ground in a ball crying myself to sleep on the bathroom floor. No one would have known if something happened to me. No one would have suspected anything because I was such a vivacious high-spirited college cheerleader always making people smile and laugh and carrying them through their storms.

These are the effects of closed adoption.


I spent eight to ten years searching for my birth family. Not that there was anything wrong with my adoptive family if that is what you are thinking. For some reason when you tell people you want to search of your birth family the first thing that comes out of their mouth is, "well what about your adoptive family?" Listen, this has nothing to do with my adoptive family; this is about me. I need to know who I am just as you know who you are. I don't know why those that are not affected by adoption jump right into thinking about the adoptive parents before they think about the adopted child. I went to my local court house to petition my adoption records for medical purposes only to be denied. It drove me mad to think that I couldn't have access to my medical history after spending half of my life with medical issues. It wasn't enough for Florida, the state that finalized my adoption. I deserve to know if I was predisposed to any medical conditions. What is wrong with this world?

These are the effects of closed adoption.

Not having access to my adoption records has permanently left me in a state of trauma. There isn't a therapist in the world that can help me with this. God has been the best therapist for me, but there are days that it just isn't enough. There is nothing worse than having to have a reunion at a siblings bed side in ICU and months later at a grave site. If I could have just found my family just a few months earlier everything could have changed for me and for my two little brothers, but now one is in the grave after being murdered. We only had one phone call. We both told she each other how much we loved each other and couldn't wait to see each other. That day never came. He was killed. My life will never be the same.


What few people seem to realize especially birth mothers is that when you make the decision to place your child for adoption and you have other children, everyone suffers. To an adoptee, adoption isn't just about our birth mothers. It is about our brothers and sisters, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. We deserve to know them even if birth mothers don't want to be identified or found.

We deserve to know who it is we are staring back in the mirror. We deserve to know our medical history. Our adoptive family doesn't replace our birth family. They are not our "new" family. Being adopted means you should have two families. More love to receive. Not one family to grieve.

Closed adoption is trauma. It is abuse. Down right abuse! The ONLY time closed adoption should be enabled is when a child's life is in danger to protect the child. No adoptee deserves to have their history erased as if the our ancestors and family members don't matter. Our lives matter as adoptees. It is time adoption be about us, the child.

Adoptees: how has closed adoption affected your life?

Birth mothers & adoptive parents: after reading just a few effects on closed adoptions, what are your thoughts?




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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

If Adoption Was About the Child


Everyday over at I Am Adopted I read about the experiences and narratives of adoptees, and the overall conclusion I have made is that adoption is about birth parents and adoptive parents. When will we be real about it and admit that?

Every now and then, adoption is about the child and you will come across good-hearted adoptive parents that genuinely adopt because they see the need and want to make a difference in a child's life, not because they desire to have a child of their own and expand their family. There is a difference. The attitudes that follow post adoption between the two differ.

If adoption was about the child as birth mothers, adoptive parents, adoption professionals and agencies make it seem, this is what it would look like:

  • All adoptions would be open adoption.
  • Adoptees would be allowed to have consistent contact with their birth family (if it is safe) without adoptive parents being fearful of being replaced. 
  • Adoptees would have their original birth certificate.
  • Birth mothers would not deny contact (that is what I call selfish not selfless)
  • Adoptive parents would stop getting so emotional and making it about them when their child wants to search for his or her birth family.
  • Adoptee narratives and experiences would be validated. (You know how there are some adoptive parents don't want to hear or believe the negative aspects "dark side" of adoption. Instead adoptees get scolded, blocked, banned, deleted, etc.). 
  • Adoptees wouldn't be labeled "angry" or "bitter", instead, adoptive parents and birth parents would recognize that an adoptee has experienced a form of trauma and loss and have every right to feel the way they do.  
  • There wouldn't be any lies told or secrets hidden from the adopted child. 
  • Adoptees wouldn't be forced to feel grateful for being adopted. 
  • There wouldn't be an exorbitant amount of money exchanged between adoption agencies and adoptive parents. (When will birth mothers and prospective adoptive parents learn that they are being duped by the multi billion dollar adoption industry). You can change that by demanding lower to no-cost adoption. Adoptive parents hold the power.
  • We would understand that race matters! We will stop having the mindset that love conquers all, and we are all the same in God's eyes attitudes. If you are going to adopted transracially be prepared and don't make excuses for not being able to move or how far you must travel to the nearest city that is more diverse after choosing to spend thousands of dollars on your adoption. Put it in the budget.
  • You would help adoptees find their birth family and demand that legislation change to provide adoptees with their original birth certificates. 

Ask yourself right now, "who is adoption about?" Sometimes adoptive parents and birth parents need to do a self-check on this. If you are an adoptive parent or birth parent and you realize that you have made adoption about you and not your child, I pray that you change your heart in this moment and put your child first by thinking about everything on this list and any other thing that nudges your heart. 

Adoptees: What does making adoption about you look like?

Adoptive parents and birth parents: How do you measure up on this list I outlined?


Big hugs from my house to yours. Thanks for reading xo




Thursday, March 5, 2015

I Reunited With My Birth Family, Now What?



I used to think that searching for my birth mother would be the hardest part about my adoption besides dealing with being adopted (I got used to that already). However, I learned that life post reunion has to be the most difficult part about being adopted.

It's complicated. Everything about it is complicated.

I was searching for my birth mother and little brother for about eight years. My story was plastered all over social media. But never in a million years did I think they would find me. After all, I was abandoned, why would my birth mother or anyone come looking for me? Did anyone even know about me? I used to ask myself that often. Someone had to know that my mom was pregnant. You can't miss a big belly. Yet, still, I never imagined my birth family was looking for me. I had it all planned out and I was in control of the situation when I was searching.

The tables turned on me when I was contacted by multiple people claiming to be my family. After a failed match when I thought I found my brother, I gave up hope. I didn't believe it. What was unfolding before my eyes could not be real. I lost control of everything. They weren't supposed to find me; I was supposed to find them. Emotionally I wasn't prepared. That was scariest part of it all. I did not know what I was meant to do next even though everyone would logically say it would be to meet them. You have no clue how nerve-wracking it can be to have been wondering about your family your whole life and now they are here; they have been found. You cannot think straight. It is like your whole world just came crashing down even though this was something you have always dreamed of. It is scary.

It was well over a year, maybe two, that I reunited with my birth family face-to-face. Simply put, I wasn't ready. I learned that I had six siblings - two older and four younger. That in itself added another degree of pain to know that my birth mother had other child and more children. Why was I the one that was abandoned? What was so bad about me? I struggle with it often till this day because I don't have all the answers, but even with them, I am afraid I will always feel this way. I try to give to God daily. Birth mothers should never place children for adoption when they have other children or plan to have more. It hurts everyone. It subjects everyone to an injury that never heals 100 percent.

Today, in my heart and in my mind, I struggle with how to live my life with two mothers even though my adoptive mom is my mom. She is number one and will always be that because she raised me, loved me, and never gave up on me or our family no matter how tough it was. She worked three jobs and did her best as a widow. That is what a mother does. However, be it the loving person I am, deep inside I want to be able to love my birth mother and call her "mom" or something close to that, but I can't. I want to compartmentalize everyone into their spaces. Two mom's just doesn't feel right. It doesn't fit. It is awkward. It is like I have a family over here and a family over there. And I must keep them separated, my moms anyways. I am afraid that one will feel loved more than the other. Not that my adoptive mom ever said anything like that to me before. It's an adoptee thing. But I have no desire to love my birth mom how I love my adoptive mom. I just wish things could be normal? Whatever that is.

Then there's my siblings. In my adoptive family I have two. I only have a relationship with one. The other one could care less about my life, and she has always felt that way. No matter how complicated that has always been, deep in my heart I always wanted a relationship with them. You know, how sisters tell each other secrets, go shopping, talk on the phone, etc. I have none of that. However, on the flip-side,  my biological siblings are dying to be in my life and want to do all that, but I cannot let them in until I figure out things with my adoptive family. Because again, I don't ever want my adoptive family to feel that I am showing more love to my birth family. My mind won't let me rest on this. These are the effects of adoption.

So now what? They found me. I am found. What does all this mean? I didn't receive any closure whatsoever. I only made my life more complicated. There is so much more to this story, but the bottom line is that I still don't feel like I am connected to anyone. I learned that blood or biological ties really doesn't secure a bond like I had imagined. That comes with time. Unfortunately, my siblings are having to pay for the decisions that was beyond their control because I know they love me like crazy, but I won't let them grow close to me. I am traumatized by what has already happened in my reunion that I am afraid to subject myself to more pain that I can easily avoid by closing the door. I wish I wouldn't do this to them, but this is what being abandoned and adoption did to me. I pray like crazy that one day I can let my guard down and be open to love without fear.

Reunions don't guarantee fulfillment of that missing space in our heart that most adoptees feel. Neither does it always provide us with the answers we need for closure. Sometimes I wish there was a book that teaches us step-by-step how to process everything, but there isn't. What is important is that as complicated as adoption and reunions are, that us adoptees take care of ourselves. It is important that we give ourselves the time we need to process and heal. Declare boundaries for your life with both sides of your family if you need to. Finally, just because you find your birth family doesn't mean that you have to force it work if it is not working. Don't subject yourself to more pain that you don't deserve. If your birth family doesn't want you in their life for whatever reason, cling to those that love you and let them love you. Family is who you call family.

How has your reunion been? Did you have a positive or negative experience? What were some of your struggles post reunion?



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Monday, December 15, 2014

I Am Adopted | No More Tears This Christmas

Creative Commons Playing With the Lights by Alper Orus is licensed under CC 2.0

At some point we all experience the holiday blues no matter who we are, whether it was a break up, a divorce, or a death in the family. But specifically for adopted children, the holiday blues are about missing a child's birth family, rejection, and celebrating a day that is not always so "merry" for everyone. There is nothing worse than being forced to jingle bells when you have the weight of Santa's sleigh on your shoulders.

Every year around Christmas time I would cry myself to sleep every night praying to God that He would reunite me with my birth family for Christmas. I was unlike every other child that asked for clothes, shoes, and electronics for Christmas. I asked for my birth family. It was all I would think about during the holidays. Seeing Christmas decorations or hearing Christmas carols used to send me in a downward spiral of depression at an instant. I refrained from going to stores as much as possible in fear that I would have a meltdown and people would think I was crazy. I remember working the 1st shift at a retail store years ago, and I was in charge of designing the holiday layout that consisted of Christmas trees, animated reindeers and snowmen, and of course an entire section of nativity sets. I felt as if I was being tortured! All I could think of was what did I do to deserve this. I was good all year. Why was I of all people being forced to carry out this job? If only they knew what Christmas did to me or the effects that the holidays has on some adoptees. 

It was 4am, the store was closed, and I was alone looking at the nativity sets and staring at baby Jesus in the manger surrounded by Mary, Joseph, angels, and shepherds. What a glorious moment it must have been when Jesus was born. Every year at church they make a huge deal about this little baby Jesus. His birth was EVERYTHING. How important He was. In that moment in between the aisles, I began to cry in the store and ask myself why wasn't it such a glorious day when I was born? Why wasn't I important enough to my birth mother to keep me? Where were the angels and people in the community to tell my mom how blessed she was that I was born?  

There were no silent nights or sleeping in peace during the holidays. I wanted and needed the holidays to pass on quickly. I didn't want to be the Grinch every year. It hurt me that I couldn't bring myself to celebrate the holidays. I wanted so badly to be happy and celebrate with my adoptive family and friends. I had no control over my feelings. The loss of ones birth family or rejection are feelings that are almost impossible to shake. I concluded that I would not celebrate Christmas ever again until I found my birth family. I thought then I would have found the joy in my own world again. I was wrong though. 

I reunited with my birth family two years ago, and I kept my promise to myself that I would begin to celebrate Christmas. I bought everyone I knew Christmas gifts. I tried to create the perfect Christmas story. However, what I found was that it was even more painful. Those same Christmas songs that made me cry years ago would still trigger childhood memories of rejection and loss. I would open gifts on Christmas day and I was still sad. I would go back into my room and cry myself to sleep. I thought to myself I was going to have to live with this pain forever. I will never feel that Christmas spirit that I know many people feel when they get excited that Starbucks has the Peppermint Lattes back in stock for the holidays, or when people become excited to finally put up Christmas decorations at home and at work. I wanted to be that person badly. I did not want to be the Grinch anymore. I did not want to put on that fake smile for everyone like I was okay. I simply wanted to be jolly. 

Earlier this week I was at Starbucks sipping on my Cranberry Bliss White Mocha latte, a holidays flavor in Japan. You should try it if it is at your Starbucks! I caught myself jamming out to the Christmas songs they were playing. I mean, I was going all in -  bobbing my head, singing, and before I knew it, I threw my arms up as I got into the song. I could not believe not a tear fell out of my eye!

Sweet baby Jesus! Was I possessed? This couldn't possibly be me. Normally I would run out of any place that was playing Christmas songs in tears. I sat there for a little while longer sipping my latte and listening to the songs as I looked out the window and stared at families playing around outside. I had the biggest smile on my face. I began to realize many things about myself and both my adoptive and birth family in that moment. Yes, I was abandoned as a baby, but I am still worthy of love and having a family. Yes, I was born on purpose with a purpose no matter my beginnings. I cannot allow the decision of my birth mother or anybody else to dictate or steal my joy. I have spent too many years allowing the Grinch to steal my Christmas.

I allowed the decisions of others to make me a prisoner in my own body for years refusing to celebrate the holidays and even my own birth. This holiday season, I owe it to myself to celebrate family. Family being those that love me, accept me, raised me, and made me the woman I am today. I celebrate my adoptive mom and my sister for they have always loved me. I celebrate being in reunion with my birth family as challenging as it STILL is; I am still grateful for reunion and the gift it is. I celebrate all of you for I am blessed to have your support and love daily. I celebrate the fact that my life will never be perfect. I have suffered loss and trauma from adoption, but it will never define my life. I cannot change the past, however, I can choose my future. I choose to celebrate.

If you are struggling through the holiday season, I understand your pain. I do. I encourage you to read, How to Cope With the Holiday Blues a post I created to remind me that I will get through the holiday season. I believe you will too.

Define your joy this Holiday season. Jingle your bells! You have so much to celebrate this holiday season! Look how far you have come this year. It is not about everyone else. It is about you. Find a reason to celebrate this season and CELEBRATE!

Love you all! Thank you for all for being a gift in my life xoxo






Monday, December 8, 2014

The Ultimate Gift Guide for Adopted Children and Adults


Looking for the perfect gift for an adoptee this holidays season? Check out The Not So Secret Life of An Adoptee gift guide.


The holidays are never easy for adopted children. They can serve as a constant reminder of loss or rejection for adoptees as families reunite during the holidays. This makes gift giving a difficult time especially if all your child's wants is for Santa to bring back his or her birth family. I remember those days. One of the best ways to improve the holiday spirit in your home is to acknowledge the loss your child is feeling and honoring your child's birth family. Give the gift of peace, love, and understanding this holiday season through these gift ideas.

Journal 

Writing has been the best release I have had thus far on my adoption journey. So many thoughts have run through my mind that I had to just get them down on paper to release them from my heart because I felt like I could not talk to anyone. I wish I had a journal to write my thoughts in instead of loose leaf paper that are probably scattered through the earth and landfills. I would love to be able to go back and reflect through my journal on the things I been through to see how much I have overcome, grown, and discovered about myself.

Books by Adoptees

Books written by adoptees or for adoptees make wonderful gifts. Why? Because there is no one that understand an adoptee like an adoptee. There have been books published that help adoptees cope and heal with trauma, identity, self-discovery, memoirs, and so much more. No stocking is complete without a book :)

My favorite book this holiday season is Worthy To Be Found.


Kindle or e-reader

Kindles makes reading more fun, and some how I feel like I finish books much faster on my Kindle than if I read a paperback book. One of the best features about the Kindle is that adoptees can buy books for the low. You can save so much money on buying Kindle books over paperback books. Now that there are many adoptees publishing books these days, a Kindle would make a perfect gift as a way for adoptees to read books by fellow adoptees.

Checkout Amazon's daily deals on Kindles


Camera

Cameras are always an awesome gift, but to an adoptee there is something about looking through a lens. Adoptees can use photography as a form of healing. A few years ago, I participated in an adoption healing workshop that required us to have a camera. We were to go outside and capture images that reflect what adoption meant to us. What started out as a "stupid" workshop I thought at the time, turned into one of the most healing events of my life being able to see my emotions captured without having to put words to them which I always struggled to. My photos spoke for themselves. It helped me to better understand myself and the power of my adoption journey.


Personalized or Symbolic Jewelry

If you have adopted transracially or overseas, a great gift would be a necklace with a charm of your child's country as a reminder of where he or she is from. Acknowledging yours child's roots is important. If you have a daughter,  a locket pendant would be perfect! She can personalize it with the photo she chooses. It would be awesome if she had a photo of her birth mother, or a photo of her adoptive mother and birth mother together. If you have a son, a great jewelry gift could be a personalized watch or military/dog tag commemorating an important time in his life that he is proud of. An idea could be the day he reunited with his birth family.

Language lessons or language school

If your child is into learning, linguistics, and has mentioned wanting to travel some day to meet his or her birth family in another country, languages lessons will make the PERFECT gift! There is nothing more stressful than not being able to communicate with your birth family. And it doesn't help that things can be lost in translations with a translator. It takes all of the intimacy out of it. Trust me, I know this, and I have met many adoptees overseas with the same issue. If your adopted child ever visits or returns to his or her birth country, it would be a weight off your child's shoulders to be able to communicate with people of his or her culture and birth family. I cannot even begin to explain the feeling of inadequacy and depression not being able to communicate with your birth family due to a language barrier. It makes reunion a billion times harder.


Luggage

All my life I have been searching for the meaning of "home". No matter how hard I tried, there was an emptiness inside of me from my abandonment from my birth mother. I struggled to find peace and that comfort in my adoptive family's home. Don't get me wrong, I love them to death, but the idea of "home" was always difficult to process. I spent several years searching for "home" around the world. I finally found it in Japan. I found myself.

Suitcases and airplanes are incredibly symbolic to me because oftentimes adoptees have a hard time staying in one place. There is always a search for that one permanent spot that you can feel protected, loved, and secure. Sometimes you just have to find your place in the world, and I believe traveling can fulfill that.

So yes, luggage is a great gift for an adoptee!


Airplane ticket

What I would have given to have a plane ticket paid for to either search for my birth family or visit them would be a dream come true whenever I was ready. Did you get that Santa? It would mean the world to me. There are so many adoptees especially adopted internationally that would love to be able to go back to their country to find out where they come from, learn the culture, taste the food, and simply explore their roots. The experience of culture is priceless. There is nothing like arriving in your state or country of birth and breathing that air. There is a sense of belonging in it.

Of course flights can be expensive, but it would a great gift that you can save for and perhaps make it happen for the following year.


Starbucks or coffee shops gift cards

More and more adoptees are sharing their stories in books, blogs, and personal journals than ever before. Most writers need that special place or getaway to release their thoughts and write. Coffee shops seem to be one of the most popular places to escape with your laptop or pad of paper. And if you are anything like me, I am addicted to Starbucks. I frequent Starbucks at least 3-4 times a week to write or just to release, with a latte in my hand of course. I know I am not alone here.

Starbucks and coffee shop gift cards make an awesome gift for an adoptee that enjoys coffee, writing, reading, or people watching to clear their mind.

Cocktails

Bartender! Is it still two for one? Yes, because just about every adoptee needs a drink from time to time whether it is with their friends or even on a date alone having some "me" time. Sometimes being adopted can be a bit overwhelming having to process everything, sometimes a glass of wine or a cocktail can help you chill.

Just please, drink responsibly and always remember that alcohol should never be used as a way to mask your pain or take away or pain.

Wear your seatbelt. Have a designated driver. Okay.

Only for adoptees 21 years of age or older.


Private Investigator 

Wait. I wonder if private investigators have gift cards these days. Hmm. They should. 

Hiring a private investigator for your adopted child to locate his or birth family would be an awesome gift! And imagine if they were able to locate them by Christmas?! Eeeeeeek! 



Original Birth Certificate

Dear Santa, this gift is PRICELESS! This gift is better than any car, handbag, or designer shoes an adoptive parent could ever buy their adopted child. An adoptee receiving their truth and their identity is the best gift in the world.


What would you ask Santa for? Did I miss anything?





Happy Holidays and thanks for reading.











Monday, December 1, 2014

The Dream Clash in Adoption

Creative Commons Contemplation-Moriah by Hayden Beaumont is licensed under CC 2.0 

What’s an adoptee to do when they are pressed on every side to fulfill the dreams of other people or play out the script handed to them?

Who does an adoptee live to serve?

I speak about this in my new book, Worthy To Be Found, released December 1 by Entourage Publishing.

“For the most part, my adoptee job description was unwritten or unspoken, but there were times when some individuals shared my apparent job description. An aunt once scolded me, saying, “Your job is to bring your mother happiness!” It appeared that some believed my mother had needs and desires I was sent by God to fulfill. Evidently I was failing at a job I never signed up for.

Because of comments like this, as well as things sensed but unspoken, I felt pressured at times. It is a tremendous weight to be responsible for the happiness of another person, and furthermore, it is not a God-given assignment, therefore it causes such strain.

Adoptive parents sometimes have unrealistic expectations for a child to fill a void in their lives, or bring healing -- particularly those who cannot conceive or bear children. Even when an infertile couple adopts, they still grieve the infertility, as well they should. Infertility is a traumatic ordeal and one I have great compassion for, as any painful human experience. But an adoptee shouldn’t pay the price for this loss. There’s a difference between possession and love. I do understand why a couple paying upwards of $50,000 in many cases for an infant, would want exclusive rights to him or her. But the reality is that anytime you try to own or possess a human being, rather than love him or her, there’s bound to be trouble.

Was my adoption about finding a home for me? Or was it about finding a child for a needy couple?   

Until I was in my forties, I never dared to ask these questions out loud.

When I did have the courage to ask them, it was painful, yet freeing.”

As a Christian adoptee, I long to follow God’s path for my life but have often felt the pull of the expectations of others, and the guilt trips that follow when I do not follow suit.  How does an adoptee navigate the difficult waters of wanting to follow their heart, when pressed to fulfill the dreams and expectations placed upon them by other people?

This is not an easy road to walk being that many times great numbers of people in society admonish the adoptee that responding with obedience in living out the script they are given is the only proper response. Surely no grateful adoptee would choose otherwise. After all, they have been rescued, saved from the clutches of abortion and more. (Never mind that this wasn’t the story at all for many of us…) We are expected to readily agree to do whatever is asked of us, out of sheer thankfulness if nothing else. Christian adoptees are reminded that our adoptive parents did what Christ did for us – redeeming and adopting us, saving us.  

But wait. Is this true? And is giving up what we desire to follow the expectations of others what God expects?

This yoke of expectations, this script given to adoptees does not come from God. It is not only unreasonable, it’s ungodly. Forcing your own dreams and expectations upon a child or an adult, leaving them no choice but to follow your script or face turmoil is wrong. A child is not a cure for a medical condition.  A child is not the answer for what ails you. A child is a human being, with their own God-given destiny and dreams.    

There are those who say, “But I have a dream to help a child.”

Helping a child means doing what is best for them – keeping their best interest in mind.

A lot of people are clamoring for their dreams to be fulfilled through adoption. Meanwhile there’s a child in the middle of it all, wondering if anybody will go to bat for their dreams. They are the person adoption is supposed to be about, but often gets lost in the shuffle of dream chasers.

People are convinced they are the fulfillment of a child’s dream too, if only they can get the papers signed and take them home.  But what if the dream in a child’s heart looks entirely different? Whose dreams matter in adoption, anyway? 


Order your copy today, I am confident this book will touch your life in many ways.

Get the Kindle edition of Worthy To Be Found here.

Get the paperback edition of Worthy To Be Found here.




Deanna Doss Shrodes is a licensed minister with the Assemblies of God and has served as a pastor for 27 years, along with her pastor-husband, Larry whom she met at Valley Forge Christian College where they were both preparing for pastoral ministry. Currently she serves as Women's Ministries Director of the Pen-Florida District of the Assemblies of God. Deanna and her husband have been married for 27 years, have three children and live in the Tampa Bay area where they serve as lead pastor of  Celebration Church of Tampa. Deanna speaks at churches and conferences internationally and is also an accomplished musician, worship leader, songwriter, and certified coach. An award winning writer, she is also a contributing author to Chocolate For a Woman's Courage, published by Simon & Schuster, a contributing author to  Lost Daughters: Writing Adoption from a Place of Empowerment and Peace published by CQT Media and Publishing, Adoption Reunion in the Social Media Age published by Entourage Publishing, and the author of the book Juggle:Manage Your Time, Change Your Life.  Adopted in 1966 in a closed domestic adoption, she searched and found her original mother, sister and brother and reunited with them in 1993.  Deanna blogs about adoption issues at her personal blog, Adoptee Restoration, and also serves as the spiritual columnist at Lost Daughters. She leads a support group, Adoptee Restoration Tampa Bay, for adoptees in the Tampa Bay area.