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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Adoption...

I read the tragic story today of the family in Florida who adopted the twins and ended up abusing them with the father murdering the daughter and trying to kill the son. This is the second, sad story in two weeks about adopted children. Stories of adoptions, adoptees and their families hit me hard. I am an adoptee. When I hear stories of adoptees being abused it breaks my heart. A story of any child being abused is heartbreaking but stories of adoptees suffering strikes me at my core.

I can't think of any bigger to gift to receive than my adoption. My story is the opposite tale of the children in the news these past two weeks. While my story has ups and downs, happiness and sadness it is ultimately a story of hope. My adoption story is still not finished, I don't think it ever will be finished. It will be my ongoing story forever. I would like to share with you part of my story. I wrote this years ago for our parish newspaper. This story is based on faith and steeped in hope. It is the opposite of the news stories, I think. This is a direct reprint of my story from 2005.

"My husband and I recently joined a small faith sharing group. We just started a new book on the Acts of the Apostles. In our last meeting we talked about the writings in the Acts of the Apostles being inclusive of people and working to spread the word of Jesus. The conversation turned into a discussion about how difficult it is to break from what is comfortable for us and bring new people into our own inner circles. This got me thinking about our Church and our Parish and how this relates to all of us.

As I was sitting listening to everyone talk about wanting to get out there and spread the words and deeds of the Bilble something inside of me started churning. I couldn't put my finger on it until we left. As Stan and I were driving home I started talking about my story and how it relates to this topic. As a newcomer to this group, I chose to sit back and watch the interaction between all of those who were together for a long time. I was hesitant to jump in and share my opinion. But the more I thought about my story, the more I understood why.

I am an adoptee. I was as adopted when I was 21 days old. All my life I have searched for something; a place to fit in, some place to truly call my own. Recently I have was blessed with the answers to my search. I found my biological family.

After many months of communication with my biological mother through letters and a few phone calls we decided it was time to meet. We decided to meet over the next holiday weekend. Labor Day weekend loomed out there like a tropical storm waiting to come ashore. My anxiety level was at an all time high. Stan drove me to the airport and walked me in. I have never felt so sick in all my life. I wanted to throw up. I wanted to run home and hide in my closet. I didn't want to go. I kept Stan's hand locked in a death grip and asked him to come with me. I cried as he left me at the security gate. I wanted this all of my life but I was leaving the comfort and security of of something I had and was going out into the unknown to meet the woman who gave birth to me but gave me up so I could have a better life.

There were so many unknowns. Would I like her? Would she like me? Would we get along? Would we have anything in common? Most importantly, to me, by putting myself out there would I get hurt? Right then, I didn't want to know the answers to these questions. I wanted to stay safe and secure in my little world. But Stan had other plans. He left me at the security gate telling me he loved me and everything would be OK.

I landed early at the Atlanta Airport and started to make my way to baggage claim. I walked from my terminal to baggage claim trying to buy a little more time before my complete immersion in the unknown ~ for those of you have been to the Atlanta Airport you know it is a LONG walk. I found my bag and waited for the call. Finally, my phone rang. It was the moment of truth. My biological mother was on the other end asking "Where are you?" She made her way to baggage claim and found me. We hugged and she cried a little. She told me she thought I was beautiful and I had her eye color. She also said when she called and asked where I was it was the same question she had asked over and over again for 35 years and it was finally answered. I was there with her.

We ended up having a wonderful weekend. Sure, there were times of awkwardness. There were differences in our lives and backgrounds. But there was also a familiarity and similarity between us. We talked, asked questions and were open and honest with each other. It was a meeting of strangers joined by the bond of biology. By the end of the weekend we were friends.

I realized so many things during the weekend. I realized how powerful it is to have a strong foundation but just as powerful is the addition of a new friend. I realized I was always right where I belonged. I realized how lucky I am. I realized I missed my parents so much at some points it hurt. And I realized I stepped out of my comfort zone and not only survived but came out on top of the world. I made a new friend. I found many additions to my family. And I survived. Was it hard? It was the most difficult thing I have ever done. Was it worth it? You bet. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat.

Just think of the impact we could have on our parish community if each one of us reached out to just one person outside of our circle. The ripple effect would be amazing. We would be doing and following in the footsteps of those who walked before us and gave of themselves to build the foundation of our Church. What a tremendous impact we could have on that one soul who is searching for a place to call home.

The weekend of meeting my biological mother had a tremedous impact on me. It made realize the good things can come when you reach out and do something you you don't really want to do. It brought me a new found peace and it brought me many new friends and family members I never would have it I hadn't been forced out of my comfort zone. Just think what a huge difference we could all make if we stepped outside of our comfort zones and gave of ourselves to someone we never would have met by staying in our safe and secure little worlds. Where would we all be if Jesus and the Disciples kept to themselves? Would we all be here worshipping together? I doubt it. I would like my story to be a gift to you all. We feel so safe among those who know us and love us best but who among us couldn't use more friends? Jesus could. How about you?"

I will continue to tell my story so I can spread the hope and promise of adoption. Hope is for the love of my children...

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing your story Jennifer. You know throughout our MOMs experience, you never shared this in depth about meeting your biological mother. I feel like I learned so much more about you from reading this. I knew what a special person you were, and from reading this I feel so happy. You reminded me to continue to reach out of my own comfort zone to share and to give of ourselves. Thanks for the tap on the shoulder...I do believe that I can always use more friends, and I sure am glad that I met you!

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