My Adoption Story
I was born when my mother was in prison for drug and alcohol abuse. I do not know where my father was; he wasn’t really involved in my life. My parents were not married but lived together off and on. My mom asked my grandmother if she would be willing to take care of another child while she finished her prison sentence, but my grandmother was already taking care of Colin, my older brother, at the time and while trying to work as well. It made her upset to hear that her daughter was pregnant again! So, she asked her coworker if they would take me in and be like my foster family. They agreed. They took me home at two days old from the hospital. As they couldn’t have children of their own, they were overjoyed to take me in. I stayed with them for six months and they had high hopes of adopting me. However, my mom wanted me back and the couple handed me back to her care.
Soon, my mom had another drug relapse and was taken back to prison. This time I was put in the foster care system. I wasn’t in foster care long and was quickly sent back to my mom again. My mom was trying really hard to get her life back together so she could keep me. She loved me and wanted me, but drugs and alcohol had two much control over her and I was again put into foster care. This time I was placed in a home that would later adopt me.
Nadene Hostetler was a single Mennonite lady who had a huge heart for others and for children. She had me for several years as a foster child before I became her daughter. During this time, I had several visits with my birth mom. Because of her lifestyle of drugs and alcohol, she agreed to release parental rights if Nadene would adopt me. She saw how well I had bonded and wanted the best for me.
My mom did the hardest thing ever – she released her parental rights. On November 20, 2003, I became Nadene’s daughter. Several days before my adoption they were not sure if momma Nadene was going to be able to go to the courthouse to adopt me. She had stage 4 cancer of the lymphoma. Many people prayed and she was able to go on that beautiful day!
On April 2, 2004, Jesus called her home to heaven. Finally, she was free from pain.
Struggle and Freedom
It wasn’t till I was older that I really struggled with my adoption, who I was, and where I belonged. I felt so alone. I fell into deep depression and spent many hours alone in my room. Many of those times were spent remembering the little memories I had of my mommas. The pain was too great.
“Why did they have to go?” I cried out to God, “What is your plan? Do I even have a purpose?”
Many times it felt like God wasn’t there. I turned my back on him. I couldn’t even pray. I began to build walls around my heart, letting no one in. I trusted no one.
My parents tried to sit down and talk to me. Those conversations would end with me in tears running to my room to be alone. They felt deeply burdened for me and wished that I could find freedom! I longed for the things they talked about.
But, could I open my heart?
It was too messy in there.
Would I be rejected? Do they actually care?
I pushed my family even further away and built even higher walls around my heart.
I couldn’t go on like this. I remember sitting on the floor that night once again crying begging God to take it away. Exhausted and emotionally drained, I fell on the floor sobbing and asking God to show Himself to me, asking if He cared.
Friends, God wasn’t done… He doesn’t leave things ashy and broken instead he comes and meets us there.
I was listening to a song I listened to many times before. Out of nowhere I heard God’s voice speaking these lyrics – “Don’t give up. I have amazing plans for you”.
The load on my shoulders suddenly lifted… I realized that I wasn’t carrying it alone. He was carrying me.
It was then that my journey of healing began. It takes time and I’m still grieving the losses in my life today…but this time I’m not carrying it alone. I experienced Jesus, and he changed my life.
Friends the pain is so real but so is the healer. The losses are just as hard as before and the pain just as deep, but He’s there.
“Adoption is Beautiful”
Have you ever heard these words as an adoptee and cringed, and deep inside felt almost hurt – as if these words bypassed the pain and loss you feel?
I remember hearing those words in the middle of wrestling with all the hurt, pain and loss. I felt shattered like a beautiful piece of pottery. I lay on the floor thinking, “How could this be beautiful? My parents didn’t want me. I feel disconnected inside trying to find where I belong. If I was given up for adoption I apparently wasn’t wanted or good enough, was I?”.
Inside, I told myself that they have no idea what they are talking about.
“They have never been adopted.”
If adoption was really beautiful, that probably means I shouldn’t be over here wrestling with questions, crying about never really knowing my birth parents or even the fact they didn’t want me, or even struggling with that I don’t belong.
Dear friends, if that’s where you’re at or if this is how you feel, please know this: Feeling these things is normal. These feelings should should be felt. Taking the time to grieve and heal is vital and is so, so important. You will never just get over them and they will come up again and again. It’s a life journey.
I’ve been there and still am. And in those moments – trust me – it doesn’t feel beautiful at all. And it’s incredibly painful.
But, friends, this is where the beauty comes in and fills my heart with so much joy. The One who died to know me wants me, loves me, chose me, and fights for me. He gave everything to make me His. He adopted me into His bigger family worldwide.
Being adopted is incredibly beautiful because it shows God’s heart for his people and for adoption. I wouldn’t change being paperwork-adopted for anything, even considering the deep brokenness that comes with it. Adoption is a daily reminder of my Heavenly Father who chose me as His own even when I was still a mess.