Growing up I remember being called so many names. Not the good kind of names like Darling or Honey or Sweet Pea, but names like Vulture, Red, Coppertop (like the battery) and Orange Crush (like the soda). My hair was the color of a bright terra-cotta pot. It was so striking, before anyone asked my mom my name, they would comment on the color of my hair.
It was very annoying and hurtful, but it didn’t affect my whole life. My mom would say, “Look around. No one else has hair the color of yours. You are unique.” I was unique in school until my senior year. That freshman class had four natural red-headed kids and I was actually a little jealous because I was not the only one any more.
I constantly remember hearing how unique I was because I was the only one in school, in town for that matter, that had hair the color of the orange sun setting in the west. My mom encouraged me to not look like everyone else. Basically, it boiled down to this: how I responded.
Some of these words often confused in the adoption arena are heritage, ancestor, nationality and legacy. Here are the true definitions:
Heritage: This encompasses all the traditions, achievements, beliefs and memories that are part of your history since birth. You were immersed in these growing up. Some you may continue as your own, some you may have discontinued.
Ancestors: These are known people in your past that you can trace through information and stories. They can be biological or adoptive parents or both just on different branches.
Nationality: This is a group of people you may not even know. This is your race and ethnicity. You cannot change this no matter who raises you.
Legacy: It is something received from the past that you can choose to use, carry forward or discard. You will be a living legacy that creates good or bad qualities to pass to others.
What had to happen in your family tree just right for you to be where you are now? What heritage and legacy are you passing on to your family? If you don’t like what is in your past and handed down, use it as a teaching tool to educate your family and friends on better ways. My story was filled with murder, adultery, bad character, drinking, abuse and bad cooking. All I can do is do better and be better so when stories are told about me, there is an element of redemption, hope, perseverance and forgiveness others down the line want to emulate.
It all goes back to finding what you want to be faithful to and sticking with it. Be you! Find you. Don’t waste time on what you lost. Start creating memories based on what you found. Decide what that means. I decided to choose my adoptive parents' heritage and ancestry. I chose them back because my bio was unknown. Even now that I know my biological mother, I still chose the heritage I grew up knowing. I believe as adoptees we have something biological kids don’t: we can choose what we identify with. I chose to adopt all the good, bad and ugly of my adoptive family and I didn’t change my choice when I met my birth mother. I just added to my knowledge and it has made my life richer and fuller. I am still working on my legacy and how I want to be remembered.
What is Detrimental to Faithfulness? Deception.
What is detrimental to faithfulness? Deception. Being unsure, fickle and impressionable causes you to be deceived more easily. How can you ward off deception? Take a stance. What is stance? What does it mean to take a stand? It means you know what you stand for, you know what you value and you do it unapologetically.
I can't wait to share more as I get each chapter complete. I would like your feedback. This is only an excerpt. The chapter is 29 pages. If you want to read it all, you'll have to wait for the release. Much, much more to come.