Should I Search for My Birth Family?


Friends, this is the last chapter of the Under His Wings workbook. You can always come back and draw chapters for study and discussion from the archives here. I hope you’ve enjoyed the summer doing this together. You can share, but please give credit.

The Story of Moses 

Numbers 11, 27, Deuteronomy 33-34 

The time of Moses’ death was fast approaching. He was at the ripe old age of 120. 

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Go up to this mountain of Abarim, and see the land which I have given the sons of Israel. When you have seen it, you too will be gathered to your people” (Numbers 27: 12-13). 

Moses must have wept as he stood with the people on the banks of the Jordan River, looking across to the Promised Land. How dear they had become to him! He had carried them “as a nurse carries a nursing infant” right up to the border of the land which they had spent a lifetime searching for (Numbers 11:12). Standing together on the riverbank, he gave his final blessing. Adoption themes are woven throughout. One sentence in particular revealed his perception of adoption. “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33: 27). 

As he said these words, it was as if his life passed before him. Looking all the way back to his birth, he saw the arms of Jochebed, his birth mother, holding and nursing him. He saw the arms of his adoptive mother, Hatshepsut, rescuing him from death, caring for him and loving him. But beneath all those arms, he saw another set of arms holding him securely—the everlasting arms of God. 

Even though his heart was breaking, he took every opportunity to minister to the needs of God’s people. 

First he reminded them of their position with God. He said, “Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders” (Deuteronomy 33:12). 

Secondly, he reiterated God’s opinion of them. “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession. The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands” (Deuteronomy 7: 6-9). 

Afterwards, he climbed to the highest part of the mountain where he could see a spectacular view of the Promised Land. The faithfulness and goodness of God were the last things he saw before he took his last breath. 

Afterwards, the same arms that carried him throughout life became the arms that carried his body to the grave. God was taking such intimate care of his own, for “no man knows his burial place to this day” (Deuteronomy 34: 6)

Moses, the adoptee, had been the object of God’s special care from birth until death. He had now received the ultimate healing—death. He was finally at home, face to face with the Lord he adored. 

  1. Do you think Moses was afraid of death? Why or why not? 


How Moses Saw God 

Moses now was coming to the end of his walk with God here on earth and he saw Him as Abba, which means “father.” He realized that his heavenly Father had carried him from the womb to the tomb. 

Take a close look at how Moses’ concept of God enlarged and changed during his life time: 

  • Jehovah, the Being who is absolutely Self-Existent, the One who in himself possesses essential life and permanent existence. 
  • El-Shaddai, the Mighty One and Source of satisfaction 
  • Jehoval-rophe, the Healer of life’s sicknesses and sorrows
  • Jehovah-shammah, the God who makes his presence real 
  • Jehovah-jireh, the One who will provide the sacrificial lamb (Jesus) for my redemption 
  • El Roi, the God who sees 
  • Jehovah-tsidkenu, the God of righteousness and the only one who gives acceptance 
  • Jehovah-rohi, the Shepherd 
  • Jehovah-M Kaddesh, the God who sets me apart for his peculiar possession and to his holy service 
  • Jehovah-shalom, the God of all peace 
  • Jehovah-nissi, the God who is my Standard of victory in life’s conflicts 
  • Emmanuel, God with us 
  • Adonai, the Sovereign Lord and Master of my life and service 
  • Abba, my Heavenly Father 

Now look back over the last 12 chapters and chart how your concept of God has changed. It is not necessary to use the Hebrew terms. Just put it in your own words. 

How Other Adoptees Feel 

Check the statements with which you agree and explain why you checked them on the lines that follow: 

  • It’s awesome to know that God’s arms were the arms supporting my birth and adoptive mothers’ arms. 
  • I need to know that when I die, I will not see death, but only the face of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. 
  • I feel overwhelmed as I look back at God’s care for me throughout my life. 
  • It’s really true! God does keep his promise to never leave me or forsake me. 
  • I don’t feel alone anymore. 
  • I now know I was adopted for a purpose—his purpose. 

Learning about Adoption 

The Missing Face 

-Sherrie Eldridge 

An adoptee searches for a face in a crowd that resembles her own, believing that if she could only see the face of her lost birth mother, the hurt would magically disappear. The grief would be resolved. The life-long repercussions of losing our birth mother would evaporate. 

Though we may search, reunite and even rejoice together with our birth relatives, there is still another missing face. It is the face of the one in whose image we were created. The face of the one who loved us so much that he died for us. The face of Jesus Christ. The moment we see him face to face in heaven, every need will be satisfied and every tear wiped away. The healing will be complete and the validation unimaginable. 

Perhaps David was referring to this when he penned the words of Psalm 17:15: ‘And I—in righteousness I will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.” 

A single thread in a tapestry 

Though its color brightly shine 

Can never see its purpose 

In the pattern of the grand design. 

And the stone that sits on the very top 

Of the mountain’s mighty face, 

Does it think it’s more important 

Than the stones that form the base? 

So how can you see what your life is worth? 

Or where your value lies? 

You can never see through the eyes of man. 

You must look at your life, 

Look at your life through heaven’s eyes.♦ 

(Printed with permission from Destiny and Deliverance: Spiritual Insights from the Life of Moses) 

The Awesome Legacy of the Orphan

-Sherrie Eldridge

Perhaps when all is said and done, beneath the anger of many adoptees is the primal fear of being forgotten. Forgotten by the one who gave them birth. Forgotten by the biological father whose name they may not even know. But most of all, forgotten by God. 

Through searching the scriptures, 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 (Jeremiah 49: 11). 
  • He gladdens the orphan’s heart with the bounty of providence (Deuteronomy 24:19). 
  • He feeds them from the ‘sacred portion’ (Deuteronomy 24: 19-21). 
  • He defends the cause of the fatherless, giving food and clothing (Deuteronomy 10: 18; Isaiah 1:17). 
  • He hears even the faintest of cries from the orphan. (Exodus 22:22-24) 
  • He becomes a father to them (Psalm 68:5). 
  • He considers helping orphans an unblemished act of worship (James 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 (Deuteronomy 14:29). 
  • He has a unique plan for the orphan in history (Esther 2: 15). 
  • He strongly warns judges who issue unrighteous decrees and the magistrates who cause oppressive decisions against the orphan (Isaiah 10: 2; Malachi 3: 5). 
  • He is pleased when nations and people treat the orphan justly (Jeremiah 5: 28). 
  • He will draw nigh and be a swift witness against oppressors of the fatherless (Isaiah 10:2). 
  • He commands others not to remove the ancient boundary stone or encroach on the fields of the fatherless (Proverbs 23:10). 

Which of the bulleted statements is most significant to you? Why?

Putting My Feelings and Needs into Words 

  1. When and where do you look for “the missing face?” 

  1. How do you feel when God says he is holding you right now in his everlasting arms and has been even before you were born? 

Have you felt forgotten by God or others, such as your birth family, in the past? Explain. 

  1. What do you need the most from God right now?

Writing Letters TO and FROM My Birth Mother and My Adoptive Parents 

  • Write a letter TO your birth mother. Imagine that she is on her death bed and you are writing her one last time. What would you say? 
  • Write one last letter FROM your birth mother. How would she respond to your parting thoughts and what would she want you to know? 
  • Write a letter TO your adoptive parents, expressing your feelings toward them after working through this book. 
  • What do you think they would say to you, after learning what you have often What do you think they would say to you, after learning what you have often silently struggled with? Write a letter FROM them. 

 Letters TO and FROM My Birth Mother

 Letters TO and FROM My Adoptive Parents

Digging Deep for Answers to My Adoption Questions 

  1. Your birth mother gave you the gift of birth, but who gave you the gift of life? See I John 5: 11-12.


  1. What is the secret of coming to terms with unanswered adoption questions? See Philippians 4: 11-12. 

  1. Where are the answers of all your adoption questions? See Deuteronomy 29: 29

  1. How has your life changed as a result of this study? 

Thoughts, Insights, Goals and Prayers 

The Hebrew concept of time is like a person rowing a boat. We see where we have been, we back into the future. I can clearly see that God has been there with me all along. I am not stuck in the past, I am rowing into the future, moving forward, proactive, with my focus, my mindset, on God, who is sovereign. He sees the past, the present, and the future all-at-once. Morning after morning in my quiet time, I bring myself back to the Cross of Christ…as I bow before Him, I experience anew His forgiveness, redemption, mercy, and grace, as I sense His blood dripping over the Crown of Thorns pressed into His brow, onto my heart, covering my sin, and I get up from my knees wearing His Robe of righteousness as I face the day ahead…rowing into the future.

At last we have learned to see our adoption experience through God’s eyes. How refreshing! You and I have been like the baby eaglet that learns to fly by flying first on the mighty wings of the mother eagle. Looking down upon your adoption experience as you fly, you can see that you truly were adopted for a purpose—his purpose!

Parting Thoughts 

Fill your name in the blanks: 

“For the Lord’s portion is _______, ________his allotted inheritance. In a desert he found _______, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded _______ and cared for _______and guarded __________ as the apple of his eye, like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them on its pinions” (Deuteronomy 32:11). 

God bless you, dear friend for walking through this journey with me. 

May you soar on!



August 30, 2020

“I Can Now Take Rejection In Stride” Online Adoptee Bible Study

The Story of Moses 

Exodus 15 

An incredible victory had just occurred! The sea had parted, the Israelites had gone through on dry land and Pharaoh’s army had been hurled into the sea. What celebrating must have occurred in the camp!

Miriam could hardly contain herself. She picked up her tambourine and joyously began leading the women in song and dance. The crowd went wild! 

You would think such victory would be accompanied by a continuous and overwhelming gratefulness to God for his guidance through Moses, but that wasn’t the case. There was gratefulness, but only for a few days.

Gratefulness transformed into grumbling when Moses led them into the Desert of Shur where there was no good drinking water. “For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter” (v. 22-24). 

As a seasoned leader, Moses knew that blessing always follows battle. Thus, he prayed, threw a piece of wood into the bitter waters as God commanded and then watched, as the water became miraculously sweet. 

The Lord told the people that the bitter water episode was a test. A test in which they failed to trust and obey him. “If you will begin listening carefully to my voice and do what is right in my sight, I won’t bring any of the Egyptian plagues on you, for I am the Lord who heals you” (v. 26). 

Following close on the heels of the miraculous provision of sweet water was a second test—this time in another desert, the Desert of Sin.

What an appropriate name, for the people committed the same sin—they grumbled against Moses. “If only we could die. Why are you leading us in such a round-about way to the Promised Land? Egypt was better. At least we had all the food we wanted. But here we are literally starving to death,” they probably said. 

Moses rebuked the people, saying that their grumbling was not against him, but against the Lord. 

What a giant step in growth for this adoptee! He didn’t take the rejection personally! What boldness and what a contrast to the Moses who once had said, “I don’t have anything to say.” Moses had changed from a people pleaser into a God pleaser. 

Meanwhile, the gracious God, instead of giving the grumblers what they deserved, gave instead another miracle. It happened one morning when they came out of their tents and noticed a dewy-like substance on the ground. Moses explained that it was manna—bread from heaven, which was to be gathered each day according to each person’s need. “I will see whether they follow my instructions to gather only enough for one day,” God may have said. “This will be their test.” 

The people failed the test again. They didn’t obey God’s command to only gather manna for six days and keep the Sabbath day holy. 

In spite of God’s goodness in the years that followed, the people continued grumbling, even going so far as to question whether the Lord was really among them. In the midst of the grumbling, their enemies, the Amalekites, attacked. Moses backed off from active leadership at this juncture and gave his “son in the faith,” Joshua, an opportunity to grow. Joshua would take the troops into battle while Moses prayed for them. 

Thus, with the staff of God in hand, Moses ascended the hill to pray. As long as he held up his staff, the Israelites won. However, as the battle raged on, Moses grew weary and asked Aaron and Hur to hold up his hands. This was another triumph for Moses! He threw off his former I-can-handle-anything exterior and asked for help from others. 

When the battle was won, Moses built an altar and called it “The Lord is my Banner.” 

  1. What inner struggles do you think Moses experienced when the people grumbled and rejected his leadership? 

  1. Why didn’t the rejection disturb him?

How Moses Saw God 

Moses perceived God as Jehovah-nissi; “The Lord Is My Banner.” A banner was a standard of victory carried at the head of a military band to indicate the line of march, or rallying point. God was the rallying point for Moses and the troops. Exodus 17:15 records his words: “The Lord is my banner…For hands were lifted up to the throne of the Lord. The Lord will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.”

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 

See if you identify with any of these statements, check the ones with which you most agree:

  • I am tired of trying to please people. 
  • I sometimes feel like I can’t throw off my “I-can-handle-anything” exterior and ask for help from others. 
  • I need to learn to ask for and receive help from others. 
  • When I go to the Lord in prayer, my battles don’t seem so bad. 
  • Lately I am surprised by my resilience when others reject me. 
  • I don’t “read” rejection into every situation like I used to. 

A Banner Like None Other 

–Sherrie Eldridge 

“He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love” (Song of Solomon 2: 4). 

Suppose for a moment that you are a university coed on your way to a Saturday afternoon football game with your sweetheart. (This might be difficult for male readers, but do the best you can)!   

Autumn leaves paint a glorious palette of color around the path toward the stadium and the sound of the gathering crowd fills the air. The smell of fresh caramel corn wafts through the air and vendors sell mums with pipe-cleaner letters. 

As you enter the stadium, your sweetheart takes your hand and leads you to your seats for a great afternoon of entertainment. 

“Life doesn’t get much better than this,” you say to yourself. 

As the marching band lines up for the pre-game show, small planes with advertising banners buzz overhead. One particular banner catches your attention immediately, for it spells out a familiar word—your first name! 

After your name are three simple words: I LOVE YOU! 

“Somebody really wanted to get their message across,” you figure. When you glance at your sweetheart to see if he saw the same plane, you notice a twinkle in his eyes and a smile on his face. 

“Do you know something about that banner that I don’t know?” you ask. 

When the band conductor signals the crowd to stand for the fight song, everyone rises, except the two of you. As the crowd sings, your sweetheart pulls you close and pulls out a small gift box. 

“Go ahead! Open it up,” he says. 

Your eyes well with tears and your heart thumps. Inside the gift box is another box, hinged and covered with silk. Again, he invites you to open it up. As you do, you discover a golden engagement ring, which he removes from the box and places on your finger. 

“Honey, will you marry me?” he says. “I want to spend the rest of my life with you.” 

What a story! “That only happens in fairy tales,” you may be muttering under your breath. 

Let me share how that fairy tale comes alive day after day in the lives of those who love and follow Jesus. 

How like the sweetheart is Jesus, the Lover of our souls, who courts us daily. How like the couple on the stadium bench, oblivious to everyone around them are you and I as we enjoy intimacy with Jesus in the midst of this crazy world. How like the sweetheart who went to extraordinary lengths to demonstrate his love by having his message of love unfurling behind a plane, did the heavenly Father in sending his only Son to die for us at Calvary. How like the words of proposal spoken to the coed are the words of Jesus…“I want to spend eternity with you.” 

The analogies are endless. But perhaps in the midst of our hectic days, we should take a look at his banner flying over us. And as we do, we will delight in its message once again: (Put your name here)…I LOVE YOU! 

Learning about Adoption 

Perhaps one of the greatest battles for an adoptee is giving up people pleasing and not taking rejection personally.

Ronald Nydam, Ph.D., in an article entitled “Doing Rejection” appearing in Jewel Among Jewels Adoption News said, “The task of all adoptees is to finally relinquish their relinquishment; that is, to really accept the decision of the birth parents to carry out their plan for adoption. If the original relinquishment is not relinquished, the adoptee may chronically hang on to the primal connection in such a way that she is never free to be fully adult. Doing rejection successfully means opening the door to a full life as an adult who can do self-acceptance and intimacy in spite of a birth parent’s negative opinion.” 

Putting my Feelings and Needs into Words 

  1. Are you driven to please others? If so, what are some of the ways you have tried to win the love and acceptance of others? 

  1. What is the most painful opposition or rejection you have experienced?

  1. When you are faced with rejection, what are your options and needs?

  1. Have you “relinquished your relinquishment?” How? When? 

A Drawing for My Birth Mother

Draw a picture of yourself atop a mountain, plunging a banner of victory into the ground. Why not make this the day that you relinquish your relinquishment and see the Lord as your banner? 

Draw a picture of yourself and your birth mother after you relinquish your relinquishment. 

  1. “He has taken me to the banquet hall, and his banner over me is love” (Song of Solomon 2: 4). Meditate on this verse and then ask yourself: 

• What would the banquet hall look like? 

• What would Jesus look like? (Just think…he is the one who will meet ALL your needs). 

• What would he say to you? 

• What would you say to him? 

• What color is the banner? 

• What does the banner say? (What words does he use to convey his personal love?) 

  1. Read Isaiah 54:17. If you think about rejection as a weapon that is formed by Satan to destroy you, what does God promise and what does that mean to you? 

  1. Joseph of the Bible was rejected by his brothers and sold into slavery in Egypt. Joseph walked so closely with God that he found favor in the eyes of the Pharaoh and was put in a high position of authority. When a famine came in the land where his rejecting brothers lived, they came to him, asking for food. Joseph’s response in Genesis 50: 20 says a lot about how he viewed rejection. What did he say to his brothers? How can you apply this to your life?

  1. What is the “take away” for you from this chapter? 

Thoughts, Insights, Goals and Prayers 

Rejection can roll off you like water off a duck’s back! Like Joseph, you will be able to trust in the fact that any rejection life can throw at you will always be turned for your good if you belong to God.

The need for approval from people will be replaced with a deep desire to have an intimate relationship with God. We are then able to come full circle with our adoption experience and learn to see it through God’s eyes. We begin to see that indeed, we were adopted for a purpose. This will be our topic for the last chapter. 

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Learning to Appreciate Tough Times

Since the nation is cooped up inside with COVID, it may be a great time for some introspection about how this tough time is teaching us profound lessons in our faith walk with Jesus.

As children of God, we are all in the process of being healed by the Great Physician, Jesus. His healing can be evidenced in newfound appreciation, as we learn to enjoy him and the life he has given us.

Webster’s defines “appreciation” as, “To be grateful for; to value highly; to place a high estimate on; to be fully aware of; to prize; to exercise wise judgment; delicate perception and keen insight into the worth of something.”

As I took time to look back over the last few years and identify the most hurtful experiences, there came a new desire to praise God for the trials. See if you identify with any of these statements, check the ones with which you most agree:

  • I didn’t appreciate the acceptance of Christ until I had been utterly rejected.
  • I didn’t appreciate his strength until I allowed myself to become weak.
  • I didn’t appreciate his loyalty until another betrayed me.
  • I didn’t appreciate his grace until I fell flat on my face.
  • I didn’t appreciate family living close by until they moved far away.
  • I didn’t appreciate the Lord’s trust in me until I knew the sting of persecution.
  • I didn’t appreciate the light of the Lord’s countenance until I sat in darkness.
  • I didn’t appreciate the healing balm of Gilead until I had been deeply wounded.
  • I didn’t appreciate the comforting shoulder of a friend until my heart was broken.
  • I didn’t appreciate the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit until I felt totally abandoned.
  • I didn’t appreciate intimacy with God until I spent time in the desert.
  • I didn’t appreciate the hope of heaven until I buried a loved one.
  • I didn’t appreciate Jesus as Lord until my life became unmanageable.
  • I didn’t appreciate Jesus as my Life until I came to the absolute end of my own resources.
  • I didn’t appreciate his omnipresence until everything familiar disappeared.
  • I didn’t appreciate his promise to come again until life around me became terrifying.

Friends, I am sure you can make your own list, which I’d sure encourage you to do.

I pray all is well with you and that you’re healthy and safe during this difficult time.


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