My Adoption: Feeling Unwanted

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Earlier this week, I watched a YouTube video where people had to try not to cry while watching a handful of videos. One of the videos in the challenge stuck with me tremendously.

One of the videos was a scene from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. In this scene, Will’s father leaves. Although I have never seen the show, it is evident that Will’s father left him as a child.

But, in this particular scene that is part of the challenge, Will is in his teens and his father walks out on him again. This time, he is bailing on a trip the two had planned.

When Will discovers this, he ends up going on an angry rant that essentially said if he had made it this far in life without his dad, he could continue to do so for the rest of his life. He could continue to accomplish other great feats without his father.

Poignantly, at the end of his rant, Will asks his uncle, “How come he don’t want me, man?”

For most of the people participating in the challenge, the video itself did not make them too emotional. However, it made me extremely emotional. In fact, I broke down as I watched the scene.

My tears just would not stop flowing.

Because even though I have never had a parent walk out on in me in the way that Will’s character did on the show, I am extremely familiar with the feeling of being unwanted. For, I was adopted at the age of five.

My biological mother gave me up for adoption at my birth.

And to this day, I still ask what Will’s character asked, “How come she didn’t want me?”

That scene and those words specifically were another one of those moments that clearly depicts exactly how it feels to be adopted. And it assured me I am not alone in my thoughts.

I would love to tell you I no longer live in fear of rejection. I would love to tell you I do not heavily struggle with abandonment issues. I would love to tell you that I no longer have the idea in the back of mind that those close to me will give up on me and walk out on me.

I would love to tell you I do not constantly wonder what I did wrong to make my mom not want me.

I would love to tell you I do not constantly wonder what mistake I’ll make that is the last straw for someone. For, I have had a physical therapist tell my mom he simply could not see me anymore, that he could not deal with me, that I was too much for him.

I would love to tell you I have healed.

But, I have not.

Honestly, I don’t know if I will ever fully heal. I think with time and counseling, I can reach a point in my life where I can manage the feelings. But, I don’t know if I will ever fully heal.

For, if my experiences of adoption have taught me anything, it is that once someone is an orphan, a small part of them will always believe they are an orphan—no matter how many people in their lives try to suggest otherwise.

Fears of rejection and abandonment are real and fierce. They can be crippling and debilitating. They are a lifelong battle with adoption.

It is extremely difficult to let go of the fact that someone gave you up.

Truthfully, it is only within the past few months that I have begun to open myself up to the possibility that my biological mother gave me up for good reasons—that she did it out of immense love for me, that she did so because she could not care for me—not because I was unlovable or unwanted.

I am nearly a quarter century old. And I am only just now beginning to invite that possibility.

For, I will probably never really know why she gave me up. And I am going to have to be okay with that one of these days.

But, until then, I tell you once more on this platform, adoption is not easy. It is not easy on those who adopt and especially not on those who are adopted. Take it from someone who knows all too well.

My call to you is this: If you know someone who is adopted, please be mindful of what I have shared today. Please be mindful of their potential thoughts and feelings.

And if you feel led, watch the scene I am referencing here to get a better sense of just how difficult it can be. I will say, there is a curse word in this scene, which I do not personally condone. But, it does poignantly visualize just how difficult it can be on a person.

It describes a far too common experience in today’s society—i.e. parental abandonment of their children.

It is my hope and prayer that this post will give you all even an inkling of just how difficult that can be for a person, regardless of how old he or she was when their parent(s) abandoned him or her.

And if you are someone who has been adopted, please feel free to reach out to me at coffee.soothes.the.soul@gmail.com. I am here if you need someone to listen or simply confide in. You are not alone, dear brothers and sisters.

You are not alone.

Blessings,

Renata

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 coffee.soothes.the.soul@gmail.com.

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).

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My Adoption: 18 Years in America

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Today, December 21, marks 18 beautifully sweet, yet challenging years in the United States of America. Eighteen years ago, I was adopted. For, those of you who may not know, I was born in Russia.

As always, I am amazed another year has gone by. I don’t plan on doing anything special. Honestly, more than anything else, I am humbled.

As a blogger, I would much rather tell you my “Welcome to America” anniversary date than my anniversary with my husband. It is another example of me choosing to be private, yet open.

So, you find me here celebrating a unique anniversary that is hard to explain. It is like a birthday, but it is not. As I shared in last year’s post regarding this anniversary, some days, I am joyous about it. Other days, I experience much sadness about it.

This year was different.

This year, I found myself genuinely curious about my adoption and my biological parents. This year, I am conflicted. I want to be upset that my biological mom left me at the hospital. But, I also want to know even a little something new.

When I was in junior college, my mom gave me a single sheet of double-sided paper that had basic information about my biological parents. I know their names. I know their height, eye color, hair color, age, etc. I have never seen pictures of them, though.

I simply know my biological mother signed away her rights because she could not care for me without my father.

So, with that information, a few weeks ago, my husband and I did some Google searching. I simply wanted to see if the information I had could get me anywhere.

I will say this now: No, I do not plan on meeting them or going there. Like I said, I acted on a small dose of curiosity.

Ultimately, the search showed me how run-down the village I was born in is. Also, the search began to plant this notion in me that my mom may have given me up because she loved me too much to give me a bad life. It gave me this notion that, perhaps, my mom did not want to give me up, but she knew she had to.

To say coming to that realization was not difficult or challenging would be a lie. I have spent much of my life, especially before I knew Jesus, angry at my biological parents. I thought being angry would give them what they deserved. After all, they did give me up, right?

I tell you this to say I am still processing how God is working in my heart. I am still processing my adoption. I do every single day in some way, shape, or form.

I tell you this to show you as wonderful as it is to be adopted and to have a family in America, my past is still my past. My life story did not begin in America. It began in Russia. It comes with its challenges. It comes with tears, questions, hurts, trust issues, and more.

I honestly believe if an adopted person does not think their adoption has affected them in any way, he or she is hurting the most. For, no matter how wonderful an adoptive family may be, I firmly believe it is human nature to wonder why we were unwanted. I believe it is human nature to question what we, as sinful humans, do to make others not love us.

Therefore, I personally cannot neglect my adoption. If I neglect my adoption to its fullest capacity, I choose to let go of a piece of God’s plan for me.

Additionally, if I neglect my adoption, I choose to let go of a large part of my identity. Perhaps, that is why God is working in my heart. My last college course deeply challenged who and what I find my identity in, including how and where my adoption fits in.

Perhaps, God believes it is time for me to see a small part of why my life story began in Russia. Perhaps, He is not. I don’t know.

All I do know is, with each passing year, I choose to face it more and more, one small step at a time. In the process, I continuously learn, it is a beautiful picture of God’s never-ending, undeserved grace in my life.

So, here’s to 18 years in the United States of America. I praise God the 18 years have led me to this wonderful platform. Thank you for joining me on an incredibly heartfelt journey of humility and deep reflection.

Blessings,

Renata

 

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 coffee.soothes.the.soul@gmail.com.

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).

My Valley of Envy: Relationships

James 1-17I have a confession: I am a jealous and envious person. But, what I am envious of may surprise you.

I say don’t give me things, give me people. Give me connections. Give me relationships.

This week’s reading in my current course helped shed light on this part of my heart. Although I don’t agree with everything the author said, it did get me thinking. It did get me to deeply mull over why I value people so much.

I say time and time again I am a deeply relational person. Believe me, I am. But, it also comes with its setbacks.

The biggest being I often feel lonely because I so deeply yearn this connection. Even though, in reality, I have a plentiful amount of connections. In a way, I find myself discontent with the connections I do have. Instead, I long for someone else. I long for what I think will be something better.

I often look at others’ relationships and connections and wish I could be a part of it, too. The moment I feel I have something in common with someone, I catch myself envisioning what could or would lie ahead if the connection flourished into a special friendship.

Honestly, it’s easy for me to view every possible encounter as a new possible connection to be made.

So, it’s hard for me to walk away from most anything with a sense of neutrality. It’s hard for me to walk away indifferent from the person I spent time with or even just met.

But, then, here comes my constant tension.

The former orphan and adopted person in me wants nothing to do with people. I don’t want closeness. I want distance. I want time to myself. 

I let my mind wander. It is then I question why God made me such a softie towards others and, truthfully, just a softie in general. I long to understand why I care so deeply about others, especially strangers.

The former orphan and adopted person in me vividly recalls relationships are emotionally taxing and force us to be vulnerable. They invite the possibility of rejection and judgment with open arms. They keep us accountable to the yucky parts of our lives. They encourage us to uncover the sin of our lives. They show us on a heart level like none other.

I can recall numerous times in my life when I have not appreciated the time it takes to grow deep, meaningful relationships. I don’t know many other highly relational people like myself, so sometimes it can feel like I am the only one making an effort. The effort that I long to go through can be the exact thing that makes me not want to be relational.

That lingering time makes me want to fast forward to the, “Yeah, we are heartfelt friends” stage. I don’t want the work that comes with it. I don’t want the journey. I want the destination. I want the declaration.

Ultimately, then, I don’t want the people, nor I do want to get to know them on a heart level. For, as much as I’d like to deny it, relationships and people take work and time. They take humility. They take forgiveness. They take patience. They take never-ending grace.

I spent much of time shutting people out before accepting Jesus Christ into my life and allowing Him to change my heart. I spent a great deal of my time hating people. I spent much of my time being anything but loving.

However, if you ask my husband, he’d say he thinks the softie in me was always there. It just hadn’t found its light—Jesus.

So, it’s been quite the shift since knowing Jesus to long for people until my heart can’t handle the angst. Because it’s quite a transition, I find myself in this valley of envy. I find myself with an imbalance. I find myself discontent. I find myself questioning God’s handiwork in my life and in my heart attitude.

I am here to tell you this to keep myself accountable to this newfound idol in my heart. Please forgive me if this sounds choppy, as this is only the beginning of me trying to make sense of it all. I hope from this point forward I can begin to find a balance between this tension in my heart.

If you identify with any of the tendencies, I am certain you are not alone. Loving people and loving them well can be difficult, especially if you are doing it for the wrong reasons.

But, even though it is difficult and can be emotionally exhausting, it is completely, utterly, and wholeheartedly worth it.

So, if you’ve had a longing to introduce yourself and get to know someone on a heart level, please do. All it takes is simply inviting the individual out for a cup of coffee. How do I know this? Because I’ve done it. One of my good friendships began simply because I answered God’s call to meet with her.

I tell you: Meet each other in this valley of life. Love well. Love hard. And never forget to look at the reflection of your own heart along the way. You may soon realize that what once began as a good thing morphed into something greater and out of your control.

It is then we must once again meet with Jesus. It is then we must remind ourselves that every good and perfect gift comes from above. None of it is ours for keeps.

Blessings,

Renata