The Story of Moses
Like many adoptees, Moses probably experienced a tremendous amount of anxiety prior to his reunion with his birth brother, Aaron. “What will I say?” “How will I act?” “Will I laugh or cry?” he may have wondered.
As with all adoption reunions, there is joy as well as pain, blessing as well as a sense of loss. Moses’ reunion with Aaron was probably no exception.
As he crossed the desert and neared the mountain of God, how his heart must have skipped! Flashbacks of his traumatic adoption day may have occurred or warm memories of his big brother taking care of him when he was a small child.
As he neared the mountain of God, a tall, slim figure gradually came into view.
“Moses!” Aaron shouted, running toward him, arms outstretched.
“It’s so wonderful to see you!” they echoed, kissing one another, first on one cheek and then the other.
“Do you remember when we used to play together when you were little?” Aaron might have asked as they sat by the fireside that evening. “How are mother and father?” Moses probably said. “Are they still living?”
As they talked, Moses experienced feelings he had never known before. Feelings of completeness. Of peace. Of connection.
“Then Moses told Aaron everything the Lord had sent him to say, and also about the miraculous signs he had commanded him to perform” (v. 27-28).
Following this sweet time of fellowship with his long-lost brother, Moses returned to his father-in-law, Jethro, expressing his desire to return to Egypt to see if his people, the Israelites (which included his birth family) were still alive.
One can’t help but wonder if a dual-theme began at this point in Moses’ life, where his life calling became intricately woven together with his adoption experiences. Not only was he to fulfill the divine command by demanding that Pharaoh release the Israelites, but in a personal, adoption-related way, he was about to face his cruel adoptive grandfather, Pharaoh.
What terror must have filled his heart! He was being stretched reluctantly into a leadership role that would require that he face his greatest fears—rejection by Pharaoh and rejection by the people he would be leading,
God warned that when Aaron demanded release of the Israelites, Pharaoh would refuse to listen ten times. The result would be specific plagues upon the Egyptians. Water would change into blood. Frogs. Gnats. Flies. The livestock would be plagued. Boils. Hail. Locusts. Darkness. The Passover. The death of the firstborn.
Moses watched as Aaron spoke to Pharaoh eight times, but on the ninth confrontation, during the plague of darkness, Moses spoke alone before Pharaoh.
How interesting. It is often in our darkest hours that we embrace God’s strength and grace. Moses was proving that those with the deepest fears have the greatest capacity for faith. Finally, he was living out his life calling!
- Do you think the initial conversation between Aaron and Moses was spontaneous, or did it feel a little awkward? Explain.
- How do you think Moses turned his fears into faith?
- How do you think it felt for Moses to hold his own flesh-and-blood relative in his arms and to see someone who probably resembled him physically?
How Moses Saw God
Moses was getting to know God as Jehovah-Rohi, his Shepherd. Like a shepherd, God would feed and lead Moses as he led the people of Israel. “I will be with you,” God said earlier. What music that must have been to Moses’ ears! He took this promise by faith and thus was able to step confidently into his life purpose. “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young” (Isaiah 40: 11).
How You See God
Please refer to the list of Names for Jesus in Scripture in Appendix B and list three to five names for God that stand out to you. It will be encouraging to look back when finished with the workbook and see how your perception has grown!
You can record your words here:
How Other Adoptees Feel
Check the statements with which you most agree and explain why on the lines that follow:
- When I found out my birth mother’s name and phone number, I was terrified.
- I need a break from adoption stuff. I am overwhelmed.
- I often wonder if my birth parents are alive.
- I am afraid to tell my adoptive parents about my desire to search.
- I am afraid that I might seem disloyal to my adoptive parents and I don’t want to hurt them.
- I know my adoptive parents would be so upset by my desire to search that I would have to “protect” them…. take care of them emotionally.
- The closer I get to the feelings surrounding my past, the faster I run from them.
- I don’t know what I would do if I were rejected at my reunion. I am afraid it would destroy me.
- I need someone to “hold my feet to the fire” so that I won’t avoid my past.
- I need to prepare myself for possible opposition and rejection at reunion.
- I need to be reminded often that no matter what the outcome of my search, I will grow.
- How do you feel when you realize that other adoptees have feelings similar to yours?
- How have significant people in your life reacted when you expressed the desire to search for your birth family?
- If you haven’t expressed a desire to reunite, how do you imagine they would respond? Check whatever applies from the following:
- Why open THAT can of worms?
- That is such an important piece of your life. I understand why you would want to search for your birth family.
- I always thought there would be a time for this. Go for it!
- Let by-gones be by-gones.
- You’re asking for trouble.
- You know who you are in Christ…that is all you need to know.
- A quivering lip.
- I will support you in every way possible.
Learning about Adoption
Jayne Schooler writes in Searching for A Past: The Adopted Adult’s Unique Process of Finding Identity, “Denial or rejection stands as the greatest fear for any adopted person who makes the decision to search. Rejection is an opposing response to a shaky, uncertain extended hand. Rejection is the dashing of hope to embrace and be embraced, to love and to be loved by the one person who has existed only within the deep recesses of the heart.”
- Have you forced yourself not to think about your birth family (denial) as well as a possible reunion with them? If so, how?
- How would you deal with the pain if your birth relative rejected you? Have you counted the cost?
- What are some practical ways in which you could prepare yourself for a possible search?
Putting my Feelings and Needs into Words
- How do you think it would feel to hear your birth mother’s voice for the first time?
- With your left hand, draw the faces of your birth mother and you. (On your day of birth as well as now).
- Have you learned the art of being gentle with yourself while contemplating reunion—to rest when you feel overwhelmed? What do you do to calm yourself? If you don’t know how to take care of yourself, what are some first steps?
- Do you ever feel guilt when contemplating a reunion, fearing God may not approve? If so, explain.
- What are your needs as you contemplate reunion or facing repressed thoughts and emotions about your birth family?
- What do you believe a reunion with birth relatives would do for you? What would you hope to have, if anything, after the reunion that you don’t have now?
- How do you feel when you realize that other adoptees have similar feelings?
Writing Letters TO and FROM My Birth Mother,
My Adoptive Mother, and God
- Write a letter TO your birth mother, telling her your feelings about meeting her.
- Write a letter FROM your birth mother, expressing how she would respond to your letter.
- Write a letter TO your adoptive mother, expressing your desires (if you have them) about reunion with your birth relatives. If you have no desire to meet them, tell her why.
- Write a letter FROM your adoptive mother, expressing how you imagine her feelings would be about a possible reunion. Then write what you believe she would tell you after you disclose your desire.
- Write a letter TO God, telling him how you feel about facing your greatest fear.
- Write a letter FROM God, expressing his thoughts toward you at this time.