When Our Hearts Shook
Last Saturday night about 60 of us sat in the LivingWaters sanctuary and listened while a panel of adult adoptees shared their stories. They opened up their hearts and poured out their reality in raw honesty.
The pain, the grief, the rejection, the hope, the love.
Their stories were all different. International adoption, infant adoption, foster care, domestic adoption, adult adoption, abandoned as a teen, abandoned on the street, placed from one set of loving arms to the next.
One of the things that struck me, even though I knew it, that night I saw it was this: the themes are the same. They all related to these themes no matter how different their story was from the others. They all felt these words and phrases that were spoken.
One person would say “rejection” and they would all nod.
Another would say “don’t belong” and they would all nod.
Not good enough… nods
Not loved… nods
Can’t trust anyone… nods
What was wrong with me… nods
Why couldn’t they love me… nods
It was amazing. Like I said I knew it, but that night I saw it.
Breaks your heart doesn’t it? Broken hearts, something else they share.
As an adoptive parent it was almost too much to bear – hearing all that pain and grief from the people you would do anything for and love with a love so deep it hurts.
The thing about adult adoptees is they know they have to figure out who they are. Their identity got lost in the shuffle of life. As a kid it can come out sideways and backwards, but as an adult they face the reality of having to make a decision on where they will base their identity. Every person on the panel also grew up in a transracial family. They don’t look like their parents, their parents don’t look like them, more identity confusion.
Saturday night we listened as they wrestled with trying to explain who they are, what they struggle with and how they have come to terms with the lives they are living.
It was powerful as their hearts shook loose and they trusted enough to share their deepest pain. It was powerful as our hearts shook loose and we listened with total acceptance. It was powerful to watch the processing and healing begin as the hurt was uncovered and the grief was spoken out loud.
After many tears and some laughter at shared awkward life experiences, we laid our hands on them and prayed for them, and all other adoptees in the room. We prayed for God’s love to sink so deep that all pain would be gone.
We prayed a blessing on that gut wrenching – heart shaking – breath taking night.
Then we sang. We sang and the words of this song went deep into our souls. For we know that God is the one that heals. His love calls us. He gives us our identity. He brought us in. We belong with Him.
He knows who we are. He tells us who we are.
Who You Say I Am
Oh His love for me, oh His love for me. Who the Son sets free, oh is free indeed
I’m a child of God, Yes I am
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am
There’s a place for me, I’m a child of God, Yes I am