“It’s okay to not be okay. It’s not okay to stay that way.”
I saw this slogan on a church sign many years ago as I drove by. This has all the elements of a good support group: validation, assistance, change.
Support groups are a great place to find people in similar situations who really understand what you are going through. However, you have to be committed to the end result (change), because only wanting approval will keep you stuck marinating in the circumstance that got you there in the first place.
If you opened this book, you validate that you or someone you know has adoption issues that you want to know more about. The range and severity of issues is tremendous. Knowledge about adoption issues is the first step to understand how to be supportive and/or seek help for the deep rooted issues adoption can cause.
Support is more than validation that something causes you hurt and pain. Support takes another step: the offer. To offer someone strategies, coping skills and new perspectives can mend wounds and restore to a healthy productive life emotionally and mentally.
The stories and experiences within this book reveal that you are not alone and at the same time, your story is unique. There are many perspectives, different choices and various feelings about adoption. Guess what? None of them are wrong, just different. It's okay to feel that way, but if it harms you or separates you, it’s better to take action to change than to stay that way. Comparison will do no good and judgement is cruel and only separates. Change is up to the one holding the issues.
Adoption. I am a huge proponent of using actual and original definitions of words and not what culture has twisted words and meanings into based on their experiences and agenda. Adoption, by definition, is to take by choice or voluntarily, a child of other parents legally into a relationship as their own child. What was intended as a good solution to an unplanned pregnancy or hopeless situation to benefit couples who could not have children, has often turned into a complicated web of trauma, hurt, anxiety and loss for adoptees, birth mothers and adoptive parents. Why? Sadly, this world is made up of people who hurt people. Just look at your local news. Look in your churches. Look at the incidents of riots and murders. Look at greedy corporations. People hold onto bitterness. People make decisions in the shadows of shame and guilt. People get angry and fight. People lie and are self-seeking. People are not patient. People are not kind. People compare and envy. People are arrogant. People put others down. People hold grudges. People prefer what happens in the dark more rather than the light. People don’t try to protect or trust. People have lost hope and have no purpose to aim for other than their own interests. (1) People struggle to treat others with kindness in disagreement, compassion when not understood or respect among different perspectives.
Putting confidence in the flesh (2) is naive and emotionally dangerous because rules change like shifting sand. Feelings are based on current cultural trends that shift and have no rhyme or reason. It's like a ride on the rapids in an inflated boat. The ride is tumultuous, but with air in the boat, you can survive. The boat keeps you above water and acts as a barrier between you and the rocks. But what happens when the air in the boat escapes? You are suddenly dashed against the rocks and taken under the current. Bloodied and gasping for air, fear and anger take over. You are tempted to steal someone else's boat; and you do so willingly because the alternative is to be pummeled on the crags and suffocated under the whitecaps. This leaves hurt, wounds and even death in your wake. No amount of air can be put in the boat unless you give it up to be filled, but you have to want the air.
The purpose of this book is to help you aim higher than feelings. Those feelings easily entangle and confuse you and hinder you from stepping into mental, emotional and spiritual healing. The goal is to reframe your circumstances and make a mindset and lifestyle shift that allows you to take your thoughts captive instead of allowing your thoughts to keep you captive. Mistaken thinking plunges you deeper and deeper under the water where rocks bludgeon your body and stifle your motivation. How can you aim higher? By setting your heart on things above… set your minds on things above, not on earthly things (3)
The heart is where feelings are said to live. However, I want to help you place your feelings higher than your bleeding heart and teach you how to examine your feelings so you choose the ones you keep and discard. I believe feelings are used by Satan to offend you so you act and respond in unloving ways towards family, friends and even strangers. The heart is deceitful above all else and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (4) Training to guard the door of your heart is a good practice. Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (5)
Since your heart is the wellspring of life, aim higher. Set your thoughts on things that are out of this world (6). Since the world is in a perpetual state of brokenness and the values of the world change and follow current whims of the culture, training to put confidence in something that is the same yesterday, today and forever (7) will help settle many questions about your beginning, your purpose now and your future.
The plan set forth in these pages is to apply Biblical concepts to your adoption situations. Actually, these values are good for anyone to add to their repertoire. Learning to filter everything through God’s Word breaks down guilt, loneliness, low self-worth, and confusion. It does not change what has happened in the past, it helps you change how you deal with it in the future. One is out of your control, the other is not. One is how the world dealt with you, the other is how you deal with the world. Suit up with armor using Supernatural strategies and watch the stress and concern crumble.
The benefits to following this plan are many. The guilt and shame you have will turn to innocence. Hope and assurance will replace uncertainty. Peace that has eluded you for years can find a futile place to rest and grow. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (8)
Standing firm on solid values is another good result. Do you feel wishy-washy at best with your boundaries? Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. (9) Does being confident to stand for what you believe in sound good?
I want to guide you as you mature to a higher plane of self awareness. Maturity comes when you have completed the growth process mentally and emotionally so you can proceed to suitable future challenges. Finding your purpose with adoption woven throughout can be a powerful testimony and encouragement for others. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (10)
Each chapter will press into higher level thinking that is counter-culture that will become a soothing balm for your adoption struggles. Maybe you have tried living life by the flesh: demand your rights, finding validation using people or DNA or birth certificates; stuffing guilt down below the surface; thinking if you don’t acknowledge it, it will go away. I implore you to try a new tactic. A radical tactic. Decide to take a different path. A path that has looked illogical in the past. The fork in the road is before you. Don’t look back a week or month or year and wish you would have said YES to this new mindset. I know it’s easier to put this book down. It is easier to say you’ve tried before. It’s easier to deny the power of the Supernatural Holy Spirit. Stop accepting the easy flesh way that leads you back to your unhealed wounds and begin a new method of cutting out the middleman (flesh) and going right to the Source of peace, healing and freedom.
I want to help you live by faith and not by flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. (11)
(1) Eph 4:31; Col 3:8-9; 1 Cor 13:4-7
(2) Phil 3:3
(3) Col 3:1-2
(4) Jer 17:9
(5) Proverbs 4:23
(6) Col 3:2
(7) Heb 13:8
(8) Philippians 4:7
(10) Hebrews 5:14
(11) Gal 5:17