Why Do Adoptees Overextend Themselves?
I could just hear Bob saying, “You didn’t have to do that, Sherrie.”
Such a familiar phrase.
He said it when:
- I accompanied a fellow adoptee up the steps of the Indiana Capitol building when I was just 10 days out of knee replacement surgery.
- I invited neighbors in for wine and cheese on the day I got home from my second knee replacement.
You, see, I love to give, give, give.
I give because I want others to feel special or to help lift a heavy burden from their shoulders.
That’s my nature.
I also overextend, go the extra mile, and do what my heart tells me.
Just about every fellow adoptee I know has similar desires. My friend, Jody, and I laughed at ourselves one evening long ago when we gathered for a meeting. We were the only ones that brought a gift and we wondered at the time if that trait is characteristic of many adoptees.
Why is it that we are such givers? Why do we over-extend ourselves? Why do we work like dogs?
No matter what the cost, be it rain or shine, by golly, we will be there. We are as faithful as the day is long.
You Didn’t Have to Do That
Yesterday, I was reminded of Bob’s admonition.
While preparing for a meeting at our home, I baked homemade blueberry muffins, washed and used my mom’s china tea cups, picked fresh flowers from the garden, and served salami, cheese, and crackers because the meeting went longer than expected.
The dear women who attended didn’t care if we sipped coffee out of mom’s china tea cups. They didn’t care if the muffins were homemade. They were simply there to start planning a community outreach.
But, I cared!
Aha! I think we’re getting down to some issues.
First, I get an absolute “high” when I use mom’s tea cups or bake homemade muffins. It is my way of saying, “You are special.”
That can be characteristic of addictive thinking.
Second, why am I exhausted after over giving? Why am I spent? Isn’t that what God calls us to do and be? To love others more than we love ourselves.
No…God says to love others as we love ourselves.
Because I care more about the needs of others than I do my own. I sacrifice my health for others. I would get zero on a quiz about self care.
But, what if others don’t feel special or know that burdens have lifted?
Honestly, in my exhaustion, I get mad. Really mad.
Over the years of being an over-giver, I have discovered that when I am in need, people don’t serve me coffee in their mom’s china tea cups. They don’t accompany me by post-op hobbling up Capitol steps. Nor, do they come bringing wine and cheese when I’m a few days out of knee replacement surgery.
They never meet my expectations.
How could others be so unthoughtful?
I expected tit for tat. I thought if I did it for them, then they would certainly do it for me.
That is stinking thinking.
I believe what our hearts are saying, fellow adoptees, is: ” I want to feel special. I am the one that needs help, not only up Capitol steps, but every step of the way. I am the one who wants to have wine and cheese brought to me.
Someday, that will happen.
Jesus is preparing something phenomenal for those that love Him–a wedding banquet in heaven.
And, in my adoptee heart, I believe He’ll be serving coffee… in exquisite china tea cups.
I’ll feel special, not because of the tea cups, but because of the nail-scarred hands that pour the heavenly coffee.
I can’t wait!