We all have something that we allow to define us, right? I remember a time when I was “normal,” before the burden of shame and guilt entered my life and took over. And I wish I could write this with the feeling of freedom or peace that I’ve been longing for, but I’m not there yet. However, I am a firm believer in sharing our struggles in order to spread love. One person can change the world, little by little, by empowering more women with each passing day.
Before I was born, my biological father left. Unfortunately, in today’s age, broken families and single parents are not uncommon. What makes my story unique is that God provided a new dad who adopted me before I was old enough to realize the first one left, and just like that, we were a family.
It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I uncovered the truth about what what my family really looked like in those early years. I was given a mom who took on the burden of a baby, alone, without question, and a dad, who stepped in and accepted a responsibility that wasn’t his. However, I didn’t see any of that then, all I could see was the shame, the embarrassment, and the lies that surrounded this topic of my life. And I was at the center of all of it – that must mean I had something to feel ashamed of. Those thoughts started to consume me. Why did he leave? Why didn’t anyone tell me? Is this my fault? What other lies were out there that I would one day be hurt by? And the last, but most powerful one of all: “what will people think of me?”
It’s taken a long time to work through this, and as I mentioned, I still hold tight to some of the hurt that’s attached. I am not a parent. I can’t imagine what a difficult time this must be for anyone facing with a similar situation, but I want to share with those on the other end of this, the perspective of a little girl whose world was crushed and then molded by what started as a well-intended, white lie.
This topic is one that has many different opinions, views, and choices. There are books written, articles published, and scientific data, but nothing will ever take the place of the truth in our hearts, which is what I feel called to share. While every individual and family should absolutely handle these situations through prayer and doing what’s best for their children, I’m here to advocate for that little girl, and so many others like her.
I believe with certainty that had this truth been a part of my story from the beginning, it may not have mattered. Had I been told that no one is perfect, and the choices made had nothing to do with me and everything to do with him, it might not have hurt so badly. If someone would have quoted the over-used but always true phrase “God made you perfectly” or “this is a part of God’s plan,” I may have felt peace. If anyone would have explained to me that my self-worth could never be measured by a man on this earth, or that I was already loved by the only one who matters more than I could ever imagine, it would be have been okay.
If you are the parent of an adopted child, or you’re the one who sits up at night, knowing that the burden of this conversation falls on your shoulders, I urge you to pray without ceasing about this area of your child’s life. Make this conversation the most important one you’ll ever have. Please don’t make this a topic of shame, or lies, or deceit, because your child will look at it that way too. We teach others how to treat us, so I beg you to start teaching your child that they are loved, wanted, special, made for a purpose, important, and nothing short of perfect, right now.
I now know that this is just a small piece of an amazing journey, and that I will one day be a better Christian, mom, wife, and friend because of it, but there’s nothing that the woman I am today, who struggled tremendously as that little broken-hearted girl wants more than to see every child believe how worthy they are of a love they will never fully understand.