Growing Up Adopted

Our guest blogger today is my delightful, Deborah Anne. I cannot begin to describe how grateful I am for God’s wonderful purposes in giving us this daughter of ours through adoption. Because of Deborah we know God in ways we never would. Because of Deborah we understand love and grace and joy and hope and peace that passes understanding. Because of Deborah we have had the privilege of watching God work wonders of His resurrection power in the hearts of all eight of us.

My sweet daughter has a gift for writing. She is also wise in many ways beyond her years which is a tribute to God’s faithfulness to her in some dark days. For years I’ve longed for her to tell her story, for us to tell our story, and so today we begin, tentatively and cautiously opening the door of our hearts that the light of God’s glory might shine for all to see.

The tiniest thing, swallowed up by a baby pink blanket with the soft smell of a newborn.

Carried in the arms of a family attorney, each step closer to the car was another step further away from a biological claim on her life. Secrets were made that day. Promises were written in invisible ink to suppress knowledge, bury sorrow. The stage was set for guilt, bitterness and unanswered questions to rule.  

Three days later baby in the pink blanket’s new adoptive parents arrived home from a work trip in New York riding on a cloud of excitement over God’s provision of this new addition to their family. Unknown to them and hidden away was the anguish of a birth mother, suffering alone. Also alone, the birth father resolved to search for this lost child of his because he was never told the birth date or if the baby was a boy or girl. He too was lost in his own sorrow.

Most adoptions are like this; unsuspecting loving parents welcome tiny babies or children of all ages into their families with little understanding of the real complexities of a child uprooted from his or her genetic soil. God never intended for children not to be with their biological parents, but in this broken sin sick world where death of all kinds infects every soul, we who are called the redeemed are also called by God to do His work of redemption at home.

So my parents followed God’s leading in their hearts and brought me home to love and raise as their own. With their other four biological children who cheered at my arrival, we settled into a family of 7, crunched into the quaintest of houses in a beautiful area in Arkansas. So began the lifelong journey into adoption for all of us.

Now that I’m an adult with kids of my own I can look with clearer eyes on my life experience and so I offer that to you.

One thing is sure. It is not always going to be about doing it right or wrong. Errors will happen. I’ve seen that first hand with my own daughters. And grace will take over in the doubt because the little seeds you start planting now, will be nourished along the way. Any relationship requires care. And your adopted child’s heart requires extra grace.

As parents, how do we guard our words while protecting our adopted child’s heart and ears? Your words will become the strength from which the solid root of grace will begin to form. What you do now from this very moment on will plant the seeds of identity that God has created for not only you, but your adopted child.

Chosen. The word behind adoption. The word God uses when He talks about us His beloved children, “Just as He chose us before the foundation of the world…He predestined us to adoption…through Jesus Christ to Himself,” (Ephesians 1:4,5). Adoption is a commitment to the relationships impacted by a single choice to choose life. My birth mother chose to give me life. My adoptive parents chose to give me life. Simply choose life and redemption and hope.

My father always said, “I’d choose you a thousand times out of a thousand.” I couldn’t possibly understand why I would be chosen. Me? I felt like a flawed little girl with a broken heart. It has taken me well into adulthood to allow these words to be genuine and accept them like a compliment. I didn’t realize the words were offered then like a blessing. Words of affirmation. A planted seed of truth, encouragement and hope.

Plant the seed of truth.

Plant the seed of encouragement.

Plant the seed of hope even if your child doesn’t believe you or respond to your words. And keep repeating them over and over like my dad did to me.

There are so many positive steps that can be taken to open up those communication lines with healthy opportunities to share and grow together as a family. My parents planted seeds along the way, but one thing that was lacking was my own inability to feel like I belonged. I had so many questions. My parents had no answers for me because the truth was hidden. Adoptive parents have an incredibly hard task in navigating emotions, thoughts, doubts. And the enemy, satan, thrives in this environment.

Today there are so many more resources available to families and adoptees, along with support groups. Growing up, I had a group of fellow adoptees who became my friends and my parents had friends who were also adoptive parents. We all banded together for support. My mother met weekly with other adoptive moms to pray for us adopted children.

The challenge when you don’t know what your adopted child needs or how you can help them grow in their identity as not only as a child of God, but as your child, is to pray and ask God for wisdom. He knows every detail of your adopted child’s life and will reveal what you and she need when the time is right. You can trust Him with your child even when you can’t fix or soothe every wound or problem. Be steady. Be present. Be confident that God is able.

Adoption is a composition of beautifully unwarranted and often unwanted beginnings with a journey unimaginably bittersweet. God weaves the fibers of our hearts to connect in the most mysterious ways.

Where would I be and who would I be without adoption? Undoubtedly and for me without question, because of my adoption I truly believe I was gifted something most precious: an identity in Christ.  


Watch for another post soon from Deborah with three tips she believes are most important for all adopted children.

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13 thoughts on “Growing Up Adopted”

    1. Barbara Rainey

      Hi Lucy,

      This is the only blog post written by Deborah thus far. Hopefully more in the future. :)


  1. Absolutely beautiful!
    Great reminders that we are all chosen!
    Just some of us are chosen differently.
    You are a blessed lady and now you get to bless your children and even their friends!
    Love to you, your family & your extended family.

  2. Oh, Deborah. Beautiful. I look forward to the rest. I remember when you and our Josh spent time together at CSU. I have prayed for you and your journey even as I have prayed for Josh’s journey. Your writing is lovely. May God surprise you with His goodness day by day.

  3. Deborah, Thank you for your willingness to share your story as an adopted child. I am so grateful to hear what you shared. We have an adopted daughter who is really struggling, so any thing we can learn to help us understand what she is going through is very very appreciated. God is so faithful to give us your honest story & the journey your family has been on to help us & many many other families on this beautiful journey. Thank you again!

  4. I look forward with anticipation the next installment. I adopted my son at birth and while we met his mother, she has chosen not to be a part of his life. He has known he was adopted from as early as he could understand and knows that he is loved unconditionally. But the break up of our marriage has impacted him in ways I could never dream of. Cory (my son) and I are diligently treading thru the uncharted waters of our “family” now – and all glimpses of insight are helpful!

  5. Thanks for sharing! I have three adopted children and two birth children and I well know the challenges and blessings of adoption. I thought your line of “unsuspecting adoptive parents” rung so true. We were clueless 22 years ago. And I thought your willingness to admit that adoptive children do suffer, along with the birthmother and birthfather, as their genetic roots have been uprooted. I didn’t realize all those years ago when we began adopting that this was a calling. That adoptive parents must be prepared to love through HARD and to not give up. I think your willingness to speak from the adopted child’s perspective is hugely valuable for contemplative adoptive parents, current adoptive parents, and especially adopted children who don’t want to say out loud that it’s hard to find their identity. I’m sure this article was hard to write, but you did it well. Thank you!

  6. This gives me hope, and I look forward to Deborah’s future posts. We are navigating our way through this very thing with our adopted daughter. We pray that someday she will grow in Christ as Deborah has. Thank you!

  7. Our daughter was adopted into our home finally on February 3, 2011 at the age of 5. She has been in our home and grown in our hearts like in any mother’s womb. I thank God everyday for our miracle. She was brought to us at 10 weeks old and placed in our care. We journeyed through those first 5 years completely by the grace of God. I want to thank you for sharing these personal insights. My prayer is that my daughter while knowing her roots, still keeps following God’s plan for her life.

  8. How do I read the previous comments from this article?
    They were posted when the article was written a few days, but now I can’t see them.
    I’m very interested to read the comments from adoptees.
    I look forward to reading Deborah’s next posts.

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