My husband and I recently finished watching a season of a show that I didn’t think I’d ever watch. We just finished watching Season 17 of The Bachelor. In this season, the bachelor, Sean Lowe, ultimately picks Catherine Giudici.
Before I continue, I will say, I am not a huge fan of the television show. It is not a tradition of mine to watch this. In fact, I don’t quite understand why it is America’s guilty pleasure. I’ve seen bits and pieces of the show here and there. But, never a full season from start to finish.
Honestly, more than anything the show makes me sad and uncomfortable. There’s just something about one man or woman pursuing 25 (or more, depending on the season) others for love that seems a bit overwhelming and makes me skeptical.
Nevertheless, I did have my reasons for specifically watching season 17 of The Bachelor. I chose to watch that season because Sean Lowe is a professing, devout Christian. So, even though, I knew who he picked, I wanted to see if that particular season was different than all the others. I wanted to see how a Christian’s man journey to find love was different—if at all.
After watching the season, I firmly believe God led me to watch that season for a reason. Unbeknownst to me, I found encouragement and healing by watching it. I get tears in my eyes just thinking about how God can use anything—even a worldly, reality television show—to bring healing and restoration.
One of the contestants on the show, AshLee, was adopted. At the time of filming, she was 32. She was eliminated after the fantasy suite week. Needless to say, she made it far in the competition. Therefore, audiences got to watch her grow and share more of her life story along the way.
For those of you who may not know, I, too, was adopted. I was intrigued to see how an adopted person would handle the emotional rollercoaster journey that is The Bachelor. Before starting the season, I did not know an adopted person was one of the contenders vying for Sean’s heart. Simply put, I wasn’t prepared for what her story would do for me.
Throughout the season, she kept coming back to what it was like to be abandoned by her parents. She often struggled with letting go of control. She struggled with trusting someone fully and completely. She struggled to tear down her walls and look past her years of rejection. She struggled to fully let someone in.
Yet, she did not once struggle to love.
For, even though it may have scared the living daylights out of her to open her heart to the possibility of loving Sean, when she made the decision to take the risk, to take the plunge—AshLee gave it her all.
Guys, that floored me. That moved me in a way I never thought possible.
For the longest time, I thought I was alone in my feelings of abandonment, trust issues, difficulty to lose control, years of rejection, and building up walls. And even though I know my fair share of adopted people, I have yet to find anyone I could confide in with all those thoughts, feelings, and fears.
Don’t get me wrong, I have my husband. But, it’s a different story to find someone who knows exactly where you are coming from and who can understand your thoughts because this person, too, has gone through what you’ve gone through.
I guess, in a way, AshLee was that person for me. She was a source of affirmation. Even though I am in my 20s, AshLee’s age did not make a difference to me. In fact, if anything, it only encouraged me more. For, it showed me, even in my 30s, this will be a struggle and battle of mine.
Granted, I watched the show as a married woman. And at this time AshLee was single. Nevertheless, I did discover she is married now! Praise God! Regardless, I think the shared thoughts and feelings still make a difference.
For, I think with or without a husband, I will struggle with my feelings of abandonment, trust issues, difficulty to lose control, years of rejection, and building up walls. I think it is just a cross that adopted people carry until God calls them home.
But, I don’t think that goes without a purpose. As I mentioned, AshLee did not once struggle to love Sean. In fact, she professed her love more than anyone else. She poured her heart out to him. She immersed herself in loving him.
Watching that helped me better understand why I love the way I do. As an adopted person, I’ve realized, like AshLee, even though it may take time to let someone in, when I do, I love hard and I love deep. It’s the very reason why my heart aches for depth in relationships. I strive to build roots and remain loyal. I strive to go below the surface, even if it further increases the possibility of getting hurt.
I think when adopted people give love, we give it with all we’ve got because we know what it is like to not receive it. We know what it is like to feel abandoned by it. And because we know what that is like, we wholeheartedly and passionately strive to make sure no one else ever has to experience it.
Yet, all of that goes away when we are rejected.
When Sean sent AshLee home, she looked visibly angry. Nevertheless, during the Women Tell All portion of the season, she told the host, Chris Harrison, that she was not angry. He proceeds to say, regardless, she definitely came off that way, which she understood. Mainly, she did not know what to say to Sean, which is why she reacted the way she did.
Whether or not she was angry, she did not say a word to Sean before leaving. And the two remaining girls commented that she did not even say goodbye to them either.
To the regular viewer, AshLee may have come off cold and ruthless. But, to me, as a fellow adopted person, I understood completely. Truthfully, I probably would have done the same thing if I was in her shoes.
In my eyes, what came across to viewers as anger was a defense mechanism. For, in those moments of perceived anger, I could see it in her eyes, she was building up her wall again—just like that.
It can take years to tear down the wall but mere milliseconds to put it back up. Except, each time we have to rebuild it, the wall is stronger, making it that much harder to tear down again.
Therefore, from my perspective, I don’t think AshLee was angry that she was sent home. I think, if anything, she was upset that she let Sean in. For, she said it hurts because she let him in. Then, she proceeds to hide her face away from the camera to cry. Quite frankly, once she was sent home, it seemed as if she was completely over the production and show.
I don’t blame her.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what season 17 of The Bachelor taught me. Yes, it was wonderful to see Sean and Catherine fall in love. This past January, they celebrated their fourth anniversary and Catherine is pregnant with their second child.
I think their relationship has lasted and will last because God is at the center. So, yes, a devout, Christian man’s journey to find love on a reality television show can be different than all the others—even when the production is the same—because God is and always was at the center of the journey.
But, in the end, AshLee Frazier’s (now Williams) journey meant the most to me. It made a lasting impact on my life. For, even though she did not receive the final rose, in God’s perfect plan and timing, it served a purpose. It helped me heal. It encouraged me on a level deeper than that of finding love. More importantly, it reminded me I am not alone in my struggles as an adopted person.
Thank you, AshLee. Thank you. Praise be to God!
In case my words leave you unsure of where to go from here, my call to you is this. If you know an adopted person, please encourage them to read this. Encourage them to know they are not alone in the emotional rollercoaster that is adoption.
And if you hear an adopted person express the above thoughts, listen to them and don’t shut them down. Instead, take what they say to heart. I urge you to love them well through the difficult journey. For, they probably love you more than you will ever know, and more than words could ever express.
More importantly, may they be reminded that, regardless of all the issues and struggles that can come with being adopted, God has a plan and purpose for it. As Deuteronomy 31:8 states, “He will never leave you nor forsake you.” And as the above verse Psalm 27:10 states, “For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me up.”
God did not promise a pain-free life. But, He did promise to use all circumstances for our good and His glory. Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, do not be dismayed. No, God’s everlasting promise does not make the pain caused by fallible humans go away completely. But, it brings sweet reassurance and wonderful peace.
Thank you dearly for taking time out of your lives to read my blog! Your support means the world to me. I praise God you found this blog, whether you stumbled upon it accidentally or sought it out intentionally.
I’d LOVE to hear from you all! Feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I pray God would bless you and be with you always, no matter where you find yourselves in life.
He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. – Romans 4:25 (NIV).