Has God Forgotten the Fatherless?

 

Perhaps when all is said and done, beneath the anger of many adoptees and foster kids is the primal fear being forgotten. Forgotten by the one who gave them birth. Forgotten by the biological father whose name they may not even know. Forgotten by the blood relatives whose lives went on without them.

But most of all, forgotten by God.

As I became aware of this issue personally and shared it with fellow- adoptees in our support group, eyes welled.

Searching for wisdom, I learned that far from being forgotten, the orphan is the object of God’s special care and protection.
• He does what is necessary to preserve the orphan’s life (Jer. 49:11)
• He gladdens the orphans’ heart with the bounty of Providence (Dt. 24:19-farmers were to only glean fields once & leave rest)
• He feeds them from the “sacred portion” (Deut. 24: 19-21) • He defends the cause of the fatherless, giving food & clothing (Dt. 10: 18; Is. 1:17)
• He hears even the faintest of cries from the orphan (Ex. 22: 22-24) • He becomes a Father to them (Psalm 68: 5)
• He rescues when the orphan cries for help (Job 29: 12)
• He considers helping orphans an unblemished act of worship (Jas. 1: 27)
• He provides what the orphan is searching for – love, pity, and mercy (Hosea 14: 3)
• He blesses those who provide for the orphan (Dt. 14: 29)
• He has a unique plan for the orphan in history (Esther 2: 15)
• He strongly warns judges who issue unrighteous decrees & the magistrates who cause oppressive decisions against the orphan (Is. 10: 2; Mal. 3: 5)
• He is pleased when nations and people treat the orphan justly (Jer. 5: 28)

•He will draw nigh and be a swift witness against oppressors of the fatherless (Is. 10: 2)

• He commands others not to remove “the ancient boundary stone” (could this be their biological history?) or encroach on the fields of the fatherless (Prov. 23: 10)

 

While studying the subject of feeling forgotten, I saw a poster-sized reproduction of a
U.S. commemorative stamp. Two words grabbed my attention —”NEVER FORGOTTEN.”
The poster illustrated an army dog-tag on a chain, inscribed with the words MIA & POW— NEVER FOR- GOTTEN.

 

“That’s what I, and possibly many others adoptees and fostered need,” I zealously concluded. “A tangible reminder that we will never be forgotten!”

Then, fantasizing as only an adoptee can, I envisioned commissioning a talented jeweler to design a golden dog-tag (diamond-studded, of course), inscribed with the words ADOPTEE — NEVER FORGOTTEN! It could be worn daily as a reminder. A symbol.

However, the purest of gold, the brightest of diamonds, and the boldest of letters will not erase an adoptee’s primal feelings of being forgotten.

Not that the feelings necessarily dominate or paralyze. Rather, they lay dormant, triggered into consciousness only by specific present-day events.

  1. An unanswered letter
  2. A geographical move
  3. The death adoptive parents.
  4. “Behold, I have indelibly imprinted (tattooed) a picture of you on the palm of each of My hands.” (Isaiah 49: 16)
  5. The rejection of a friend.

    6. The remarriage of a former spouse.

    7. The empty nest.

    8. The death of a spouse.

    Because adoption is a life-long journey, filled with pleasure as well as pain, this writer has learned that by acknowledging, accepting, and verbalizing these feelings of orphanhood, my spirit is open to embrace and enjoy the words of another inscription. Not an inscription written on a dog- tag or a U.S. commemorative stamp, but one that is eternally imprinted on the living, nail-scarred palms of Jesus Christ — LORD of Lords and KING of Kings. ■

     

    Recommended Resources

    The Gilbert Adoption Video
    Home Sweet Home Educational Media Company Box 544444
    Dallas, TX 75254

    The Children of the King, by Max Lucado Crossway Books, 1994

     

The Double-Whammy of One Adoptee

This photo of two mittens can be illustrative of two areas of life that run parallel and that hurt. What can one do to find comfort? Sherrie shares what she learned from a teen in a wheelchair that was life changing.

There’s  a nine-year old double-whammy inside me that I’ve kept secret.

By double-whammy, I think of boxing terms, of a hard-hitting, one-two upper cuts. Both hits with the same intensity but landing on different places of the body. Perhaps, one hard hit under the chin and the other in the gut.

Double-Whammy Brings New Limitations

At the beginning of my double-whammy, there was extreme eye sensitivity. I couldn’t even watch TV without wearing clunky dark glasses that we old people wear after eye surgery.

One Saturday morning when I entered a sunlit playground with our young grandsons, it felt like someone dosed in my eyes with poison.

Explaining why I couldn’t play in a way they could understand, I quickly went to the shade of surrounding oak trees.

Promptly, my fav people came for a pity party–me, myself, and I.

Double-Whammy Is Out of My Control

There was a young man sitting in a wheel-chair behind me that I felt like punching. He was incredibly annoying, like fingers over the blackboard. Rocking back and forth, he kept singing, “God good, God good.”

What?

How could he say such a thing when he not only was confined to a wheel chair but also had delayed learning issues?

Finally, I turned around, trying to be nice over my inner growl. “Young man, are you singing ‘God good?'”

He nodded affirmatively, smiling, rocking, and singing.

His uncle, waking up from a nap, spoke up. “Isaac knows that God is good. In fact, he has memorized 20 Psalms. Isaac, tell us what your summer is going to be like.”

“Ride horses…go to camp!”

The roar inside me faded, for from this young man, I learned a deep truth that has fortified me during my double-whammy years.

Double-Whammy Offers Choices

The lesson?

Focus on what you have, not on what you don’t have.

After months of searching Dr. Google for answers, I was sure that I’d nailed the diagnosis.

After visiting a rheumatologist after a few months, she said,  “You have Lupus (SLE). The anti-DNA blood test confirms it.”

Boom…boom, boom.

Upper cut to all of me.

Crisis.

Double-Whammies Shares Similarities

You’re probably wondering what the other wham is that corresponds with the Lupus wham?

With all due respect to God and everyone, it is being adopted.

It would take years for me to see living with Lupus and living life as an adopted person have many similarities..thus, the double-whammy.

Here are a few similarities:

  • Adoption hurts….Lupus hurts
  • Others don’t know you’re adopted (no mark on you!)…Others don’t know I live with a chronic illness
  • As an adoptee, I look fine. As a Lupus patient, I look fine.
  • As an adoptee, when I voice hurts and losses, others often judge me as an angry adoptee. As a Lupus patient, if I voice when I’m not feeling well, I can be judged as a hypochondriac.
  • The subject of adoption is rarely talked about. Lupus, even though life threatening, is still in the beginning of in-depth research.
  • Adoptees often are misunderstood….so are Lupus patients.

So, there you have it!

My double-whammy in a nutshell.

Neither of the whams would be my choice, but I am convinced that they have been allowed in my life for my good…and like Isaac, I choose to think about what I can do, not what I can’t.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Does God Say About Adoption Reunions?

Photo of young man pulling suitcase and walking down country road is symbolic of adoptees and foster kids' desire to search for lost birth relatives. The traveler here is pulling a suitcase full of something that will keep him crippled with fear. Sherrie shows how to let go of the suitcase and run forward.

Nothing like getting a new family when you’re an old lady!

That’s me.

After receiving DNA results from Ancestry.com a few weeks ago and then reaching out to my birth brother, I was terrified that the results were incorrect. What if Ancestry was wrong? Do they make mistakes? What if I reached out to supposed relatives and ultimately I wasn’t related to them. What if this whole thing was a sham?

A dear friend recommended that my brother send a DNA spit sample to Ancestry.com., which he gladly did. This would remove any doubts.

Doubts And False Guilt

But, I still had doubts.

What would God say about me searching like this? Guilt has been a roadblock for me ever since the early days when I was trying to find the maternal side of my birth family. Searching wasn’t common then and I felt guilty for even wanting to do it. I had thoughts like:

  • Why would I search for more family when God has already put me in a family?
  • Would He bless my efforts or would I grieve Him as a rebellious daughter, always wanting more?
  • Would my relatives reject me? (mother did)

It was during this time that I read Ecclesiastes 3, where it says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for activity under heaven…..a time to search and a time to give up. (v.6).

I also studied about fellow-adoptee Moses, who lived in Biblical times.  After the burning bush and giving every excuse conceivable to God about why he couldn’t do what God had created him to do, God did something very unusual…something unusually good, which was true to His nature.

Get this!

He asked Mo about his birth brother, Aaron.

Can you believe it?

God Himself brings up the topic of lost relatives.

Initiator of Reunions

“What about your brother, Aaron, the Levite? I know he can speak well. Aaron will be your spokesman before Pharaoh.” (Exodus 5:14).

“Whew!” Moses must have muttered beneath his breath. But then he thought, “My brother? I hardly remember him. He is just a shadowy figure from my past. I am relieved that somebody else is going to do the job, but why did God reach way back into my past and choose somebody from my birth family to do it? I am terrified that Aaron will reject me.”

And, then God shows His tender, beating heart for adoptees: “He is already on his way to meet you, and his heart will be glad when he sees you,” God said (4:14).

Can you just imagine what it was like when they saw one another across the field? What joy must have filled their hearts.

I see them sitting around the campfire that night, telling one another what had happened since that day that Moses was adopted by Pharoah’s daughter.

Extended Family

Last night, when checking my ancestry tree…ZOOM! There was my brother’s name, along with my sister, both 99% correct. My friends who do DNA say that’s a very high percentage and that most people don’t get such results.

I was elated!

To meet another part of my family after all these years.

Since this is not my first rodeo with searching, I am paced and patient, having already met my late birth mother, birth sister, my late birth brother, and my nephew and wife and now two beautiful children.

And, so this “only kid” looks back on the 70 plus years with gratitude beyond measure.