• Erin E. McEndree

Updated: Feb 2

To the FB adoption 'support' groups I am a part of; there are four: I thought I would like reading about different perspectives of adoption than my own and sharing my perspective. However, I have learned to stay in the shadows. I shrink back from posting my feelings because so many negative reactions follow. I feel so alone. I though people would be supportive even if they didn’t agree because we have the same thing in common: adoption.

My perspective is defiantly in the minority. I wonder if people want me to validate THEIR story by not sharing MY story. Isn't that being hypocritical? They want validation and tell their experience, but can’t validate others seeking the same unless their stories match. Well, my story does not match 90% of the stories in the group, but it comes from the same adoption root. I feel like people want me to feel something I don’t and accuse me of being in denial or living in a fog. I won't be fake just to fit in. I feel rejected from the very people who hate feeling rejected and should understand the most, but because my story is different, they can’t even show empathy or see a different perspective from their own. Many of the negative feelings people are weighted down with from their adoption are the feelings hoisted on me with every negative comment. You make me feel like something is wrong because I don’t feel your negativity. Shame on you. I feel abandoned by other adoptees not my birth mother. I feel alone in this journey while surrounded by other adoptees. I don’t feel supported or encouraged. I am led to believe that my story is worthless.

Why is this? Is it because I don’t have adoption trauma? Is it because I feel chosen and God has a purpose for my life and the life of my parents and birth mother? Is it because I feel special and that adoption makes me stronger, interesting and it gives me hope? I never knew telling facts about how I came to live with my family and how I was raised… MY STORY… would cause such negativity against me. Oh, the outrage if I started telling those who would post their opposing view that they didn’t have to feel that way if they would just choose positive thinking. Well, I’m getting told I’m in denial and in a fog. I’m getting told I should feel one way because all adoptees do, even when I don’t. People would get pissed if I told them adoption trauma wasn’t real and they just made it up, but its okay for them to tell me I’ve got it and just don’t know it.

The only trauma I’ve ever had was being in these groups and not being able to share my feelings or my story or what has helped me because, and I quote, “You are too positive.” I can’t be me. I have to say half truths to not get jumped. I have to stay in the shadows and shrink back from offering something that has helped me tremendously because I will get pounced on because people can’t let the words help who it will and scroll past if it doesn’t apply to them. The saddest part to me is that I know others feel the same way, but stay in the shadows as well when someone is getting pummeled and bloody with words. People won’t jump in even on a post because words really do hurt. I feel no support from people who are in my corner, because speaking up makes them a target also. This community of like minded folks has created in me what the same issues they run from. I have no community in my community. I have no family in my family. I feel abandoned. I feel rejected. I feel alone. I never did before I got here. But the constant barrage of telling me how I should feel (trauma) or how I shouldn’t feel (blessed and special and chosen) has almost created someone just like 90% of the people in the group.

I am so glad I have been in the Word every day and read what God says about me.

I am so glad I have unshakeable HOPE. I am so glad I understand that my beginning (birth mother and birth father) do not define me in any way…God does. I have been blessed with parents who gave me the best coping skills that have been around since Adam and Eve and continue to stand the test of time. I am so glad that I do not have to know my birth father to fill in missing pieces…God has already filled them. I am so glad He gave me my birth mother to know, but I was okay not knowing because I have faith in the One who made me.

So for those of you who have difficult stories of your beginning, abusive stories with your adoptive parents, rejection from your biological OR just the feeling of being alone, depressed, anxious or worthless, I understand many of those feelings even though I did not experience them in my body or mind. I experience them everyday in these ‘support’ groups for adoptees. I will always be positive even in struggle. I will always look at the bright side. This does not mean I don’t validate your feelings. I know they are real. I never say ‘you should’ but I do give examples of what has helped me. If my life story, my examples, my Truth, my coping skills triggers you, then let’s just agree to disagree and scroll on by or better yet, say, “That is nice even though I can’t relate to that,” or "Interesting," or "I never thought of it that way." Because saying, “Every adoptee has trauma,” or “Every adoptee has abandonment issues, feels like they don’t fit in and feels out of place,” or "You are in denial," is not helpful to those of us who do not have trauma, who don’t feel abandoned, who fit in perfectly with their family and bio family simultaneously (like I do) and who feels like they are in the perfect place in their life.

Because of these groups, I have become very passionate about writing my story to give hope to adoptive parents, healing to adoptees and peace to birth mothers. I am writing a book and will share excerpts here and I will start some video posts as well soon! I pray that my perspective will resonate with you, help you shift your thinking away from negativity, help you alter your negative thinking and, most of all, help you connect to the One who can make change possible even when you don’t feel it now. I want to share the harmony I have with the Spirit with others as I walk in what God says about me. I hope you join me on this journey. A book is the best avenue I have decided because I can write my story without being told my story is wrong…until it is published. :) After that, I am sure the floodgates will open with people trying to infuse their story into my story and saying mine is wrong based on theirs.

Take away:

1. If you are in a support group of any kind, make sure they do not marinate in negativity. 2.Make sure they are moving themselves and you towards healing and coping skills.

3. It is your responsibility to do things that move you towards healing.

4. I've learned I am not alone, but realized I am very alone on my journey at the same time.

5. Implementing strategies for healing is my responsibility.

  • Erin E. McEndree

To be overwhelmed is to have to many things to deal with all at the same time. Women are said to be good at multitasking, but honestly it makes our brain and body tired. Our brains are like a network of wires all connected to one another and they all affect each other. We can simultaneously think about what to wear, tomorrows dinner, clothes to put in the dryer (OH! just a moment. I’ll be right back.), our kids lunch, the volleyball game, our husband’s clothes at the cleaners and 5 other things.

Here are some strategies to help you cope with Overwhelm… only if you apply them and intentionally put them in your schedule.

1. Live in the moment. Turn your brain off! Focus on just the task you are doing. Take your brain out of overdrive and intentionally live in the slow lane. You can only drive in one lane at a time. I’ve been in taxi caps in New York. When they wanted to get in the other lane, they would just drive in both so no one would swerve around them and cut them off. AND, they got honked at all the time. Driving in two lanes makes people upset around you and takes more energy than if you just stay focused in one. Don’t let your mind run away from you. Take every thought captive, 2 Corinthians 10:5. Live in the moment, not in the moment that will happen in 30 minutes or two hours from the moment. Doesn’t everyone deserve your undivided attention?

Take every thought captive. 2 Corinthians 10:5

2. Look back. Looking forward, as stated in #1, causes an almost panic attack thinking about all the things you have to get done in the next few minutes, hours or days. Right now, I have to get clothes to cleaners, pay bills, buy stamps to mail bills (yes, I still use snail mail), grade homework for my Life Coach students, make an appointment for my daughter, send back my diamond anniversary band because it broke after six days, go to grocery store, make a list for grocery store………WAIT! I’m panicked now! I’m doing the exact opposite of my own advice. Let me try again. Yesterday, I gave two presentations to the high school about the local benevolence center where I work. I finished the end of the month report. I put gas in my jeep. I picked up my son from school on time. I made dinner. I located all the bills and put them on the table. I got an excellent latte after my speeches made with pecan roasted coffee beans. I made cinnamon scones because they were on a Hallmark movie I finally finished. See, this list is making me feel accomplished already. Looking back helps me say, “I can get so many things done! I did it yesterday and I can do it today!” When I look back at my accomplishments instead of panicking about all the things I have to do, I calm my mind and my body follows.

3. Walk in slow motion. Load the dish washer in slow motion. Talk to your kids in slow motion (they will love that). Have you ever tried this? It’s hard, but so soothing. It resets your body rhythm like downshifting a standard. Focus on your soul’s health and slow down or burnout is sure to follow. Seriously try this and please let me know how it makes you feel.

I really can’t fix how many responsibilities I have. I mean, I can’t not fix dinner or not put gas in the car or not do laundry. But, if I focus on my tasks in a different way, I can acquire some coping skills that put a smile on my face and some peace into my life.

For more of my Purpose Periodicals, go to www.steepedinpurpose.com and sign up for by blog, upcoming vlog and free Life Puzzle Guide soon to be available.

  • Erin E. McEndree

The only place women can speak from is their own experience. Impeaching other women's viewpoints based on the one you have acquired (whether in person or on social media) is harmful. Maturing into a woman who can see value in different beliefs, attitudes and morals is a rare characteristic these days and difficult to develop from what I've experienced.

All women experience social, financial, emotional, spiritual and physical situations differently. These experiences come because of our good/bad choices and from good/bad choices of others that affect us. Convincing other women to support, change or reject issues because of what you experienced can be difficult. Experiences create emotional responses that tug at our hearts. When another woman does not have that experiences, her need to apply it to her life may not be important. That does not make her wrong and you right? It does not make her right and you wrong?

"One man's logic is another man's crazy," David Rossi (Criminal Minds)

How do you deal with other women who have different values based on their unique experiences? How do you interact with other women when you feel strongly that your position is best and beneficial based on your particular knowledge? Thousands of issues come to mind that are 'hot buttons' in conversation and social media such as vaccinations, homeschooling, church affiliation, politics, essential oils, co-sleeping, elderly parenting and the list goes on and on.

There are hundreds of issues that are not right or wrong, but are personal. Our goal as women should not be to compare or convince other women, but to support, listen, respect and learn. Implying that you are the standard every woman should be measured by causes division, comparison, arguments, belittling, hurt feelings, and relationships that cannot be mended.

The only place we can speak from is our personal experience.

These seven characteristics of a mature woman, wife and mother, when applied, can make your friendships deeper, your family peaceful and your soul tranquil. Even in the midst of restless trials, a mature spirit can find serenity.

  1. Sympathize: "Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble," 1 Peter 3:8. Support and understanding for one another comes with knowledge. Knowledge come by getting information about other plight in life. You can support someone in their circumstances and not join them. Mature women can offer sympathy because they know even the prostitute, the murderer and the Atheist can have a place in the Kingdom.

  2. Unconditional: "You have heard, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you...," Matthew 5:43-44. Not being limited by other's actions, reactions, choices and words can open up a whole new area where you can be used by God. I work with felons. I work with teens sleeping with the houseparent's ex-husband. I work with the mentally ill. I work with homeless. Maturity is treating each like a Child of God when they don't act like it.

  3. Comfort: "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,...,who comforts us in our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves received from God," 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. There is no situation off limits that we are to reject comfort if needed. A group of ladies go to strip clubs here on Friday nights to comfort the women in the sex industry. Their comfort gives some confidence to change. A mature woman can leave all judgement aside and give hope and strength.

  4. Respect: "Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves," Romans 12:10. The highest respect is to value others above yourself according to Philippians 2:3. Mature women can deny themselves to lift someone else up who is in need.

  5. Learn: Jesus said, "But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice,' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners," Matthew 9:13. Mature women don't weigh their decisions bases on popular culture, societal norms or other moms. They use Truth and Truth always goes against what society deems as 'good'.

  6. Teach: You are being watched. You teach whether you try or not. 1 Peter 3:1 basically says that we (women, moms, wives) can win over others without words just by the behaviors that flow out of us. Mature women teach and sometimes they use words.

  7. Confidence: "Do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded," Hebrews 10:35. Even when we are persecuted and bullied and our possessions are stolen or destroyed, we have confidence and a lasting hope in eternity which is better than anything here on earth. Mature women don't allow others to deplete their confidence.

Life is less about trying to persuade other women to believe your beliefs, attitudes and morals and more about your actions, reactions and words towards those who don't agree with you.

Finding common ground, no matter the issue, is a sign of maturity. Allow the cross to bridge the gap between beliefs and compassion.

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Erin E. McEndree

Steeped In Purpose, LLC

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