Honor an Evil Father on Father’s Day?

I fought like a dog to find who my birth father was…for many years of my life.

When I constructed my “Grief Box,” a lovely, small book, covered with Forget-Me-Nots and tied with ribbons, represented the image I had of him. When sharing in a presentation, I opened the book and shared the “Letter to My Missing Birth Father.”

Oftentimes when traveling, whenever  a sophisticated older gentleman appeared, I wondered if he could be my birth father.

I never dreamed that real life DNA would show him to be evil man who had married at least six times and was divorced by his last wife for “cruel and inhumane treatment.”

So, I like many on this Father’s Day, ask God how to honor an evil father.

As one of my wise counselors taught me years ago about what it really means to “honor” our fathers, as commanded in Scripture, the answer was simple….just tell the truth.

Military records prove that he was a criminal, who wove lies and fantasy around the six precious children he fathered.

Truth is, the Army wouldn’t have him, yet he constantly insisted that one son salute him when coming into his office, which was decorated with airplane models hanging from the ceiling.

Truth also is that I found the train wreck that he left behind…six siblings. There’s only been contact with two sisters and a brother.  One sister had to go back into therapy just remembering him.

So, I can’t believe this, but I don’t give a rip about my birth father.

Even though his DNA lives within me, I don’t identify with him…either physically or spiritually.

My identity is in Jesus alone.

How grateful I am that He has blessed me in knowing Him in this intimate way that my heart always longed for but never found in an earthly father.

And, let me tell you that I am incredibly grateful that God rescued me from my birth father and mother through adoption.

Finding an evil man only confirms that I am God’s idea, put on this earth for His purposes….to enjoy Him.

For those of you who are struggling with a painful past and a nightmare of a father figure, do as my counselor advised: Tell the truth.

God won’t be mad at you.

He understands.

He knows all.

And, I can say with confidence that He is the Ultimate Father.

 

 

 

Could Kate Spade Have Beaten Depression?

Why Didn't Kate Spade Survive Anxiety and Depression?

As details spill about Kate Spade’s depression and suicide, I am both sad and sickened, for it could have been me.

Since mid-life, I have battled depression.

Our move to Indy from Michigan, where I lost family, friends, and full-time ministry in BSF as a teaching leader, triggered me big time. Coming into unknown territory here was more than I could handle.

At age 40, I lost touch with reality.

My poor family didn’t know what to do to help me.

We started with PCP and immediately to a psychiatrist who recommended hospitalization.

As Bob and our daughter checked me in,  the staff person asked if I were suicidal.

“I feel like it, but I would never do it.”

That was a get-in-free ticket to lock-down.

At age 40, hospitalization in the Stress Center in Indy was the only way of helping me. For ten straight days, I watched a crazed lady run naked through the unit as nurses chased. I screamed bloody murder my first night because I couldn’t go to sleep…the sixth night in a row. I curled up on a sofa in an infant position as I saw Bob and our daughter go through those opening doors…and running after them …the doors didn’t open…the guys in white told me, watching every movement.

The only good part of the day was when my pastor, Russ Blowers, came to see me. Gently, he held my hands and prayed for me.

The second time I was hospitalized was after my birth mother rejected me. Attending the psych unit for only half  days, I was startled to see people on IVs. When I asked why they were in the unit, the explanation was that they were dying.

Oh, my gosh….DYING of depression?

How could that be?

At one point during the last depression, the doc had prescribed meds for me. Going to the drug store, I listened as the pharmacist told me there was way more in the bottle than I needed.

At that very moment, I thought…”I could kill myself.”

I thank God that I was aware enough of the signs of suicide that I immediately called our dear friends. Bob was not home….away on business trip.

They immediately ran to help….and held me until Bob got home.

Today, I am depression free, but since I’ve experienced it, I know that it is possible to return. My doc says it is highly unlikely, as both depressions were caused by painful circumstances.

Thinking back also, I am grateful for the knowledge gained while on the counseling team at our church. Full knowledge of what was happening to me came as a result.

So, could have Kate Spade have beaten depression?

Only God knows.

May her family and friends find comfort.

I am sure they all tried to reach her.

Here are tips…from my experience only…that may help you help others or yourself:

  1. Look for signs of lethargy…inactivity. Bob would kiss me goodbye and I would be sitting in the same seat when he got home.
  2. Slowed speech….I could barely speak when hospitalized.
  3. Find good psychiatrist…yes, psychiatrist! (I couldn’t stand the one I had in the hospital, but switched later. The tipping point for my decision what that Dr. T was respectful of me and my journey.
  4. Eating and sleeping habits change drastically.
  5. Isolation preferred.
  6. No interest in normal activities.
  7. If someone has told you that they feel suicidal, ask if they would make a pact with you not to carry out the plan until they call you first.
  8. Remember that depression can cause death.
  9. Call 911.

Don’t be afraid to ask or say:

  1. You don’t seem like yourself….are you feeling okay?
  2.  Do you feel suicidal? If they are depressed, it is very appropriate to ask if the person feels suicidal. You may be the key to them getting help.
  3. I will not leave you alone.

Remember that depression is no respecter of persons. It can happen to anyone…including Kate Spade, you and me.

 

My View from the Back Seat of Adoption

Hope Is Coming for You as an Adoptee or Foster Kid

I’m sitting alone in the back seat of a van called “Adoption.”

For many years,  I was either driving or in the passenger seat, but now, in my
“golden years,” I’m in the back, listening to front-seat conversations of forty-something adopted and foster kids who are dealing with adoption’s complexities.

They’re discovering what I discovered at their age….that being adopted or surviving foster placements hurts like hell and that there are complexities that must be faced if one wants to come out whole and healthy on the other side.

The primal wound that Nancy Verrier articulately describes is all too familiar, for they live it 24/7. Some are waking from a deep sleep, like the late Betty Jean Lifton described.  Some are flailing around and can’t see anything good about adoption.

Yes, it’s normal fare as an adoptee or foster kid to experience:

  • Having two sets of parents (or more, with multiple placements)
  • Identity–who in heck am I?
  • Reunions–facing someone you’re related to but have no relationship with
  • Numbness–being transferred to home after foster home
  • DNA–learning where your life began here on earth and being shocked and disappointed
  • Rejection–suffering what no adoptee or foster kid should ever have to suffer

My fellow-adopted and foster kids are struggling, like a caterpillar, undergoing a metamorphosis in it’s chyrsalis.

The Beautiful Metamorphosis of an Adoptee and Foster Child
This chrysalis is indicative of an adoptee undergoing a tremendous change. For the caterpillar within, it’s painful and the poor caterpillar can see no end to it. But there is a beautiful ending, which Sherrie points out to struggling fellow adoptees.

As a senior in the adoption arena, I want to communicate this thought that prompted me to write this blog…

IT WON’T ALWAYS HURT THIS BAD.

I promise!

YOU WILL MAKE IT.

Hope for Adoptees and Foster Kids Is Coming After Hard Places
Adoptees and foster kids will emerge from the chyrsalis of suffering as a beautiful butterfly. Even when they can’t hope for a positive outcome, it is there and in time, they will emerge from their hard places and see it.

Take it from this old adoptee!

Just as the caterpillar changes into a beautiful butterfly, so will you.

You really will.

Take heart.

I love you!

See the incredible emergence of the butterfly here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gt-5lS9hJFA.