My Journey Along the Narrow Way

Posts tagged ‘adoption’

Sin and Security…

I am going to be really transparent in this post. If you don’t like transparency, or emotional outbursts, this is probably not the post for you.

I have been taking a class at church going through a book called, “The Peace Maker” by Ken Sande. I have to confess that at first I was drawn to this class because at times my marriage has needed some peacemaking. But when two sinners get married, what do you expect?

The first few chapters were good, but then I hit Chapter 5 – Conflict Starts in the Heart. Wow…I will have to say that is when God really opened my eyes. I started reading this chapter and all of a sudden everything was applying to me…not to my husband. And let me tell you something, it was heartbreaking.

God has really used this book, and another study I am doing in my quiet time about Prayer, to break me. He has shown me that I have made an idol out of the need for security. I have seen clearly for the first time how I will do anything, including putting a huge burden on my husband, to get the security I crave and think that I deserve.

Let me back up a bit. Most of you know that I was adopted as a baby. I had fantastic, wonderful parents who always told me how much I was loved and wanted, but there was always this deep seated insecurity inside of me. I always felt like I was different and somehow not good enough because my birth mother obviously did not want me and just gave me up. Of course, as I got older and (a little) wiser, I realized that this was not true at all. She did love me, enough to give me up to someone who could better care for me. But knowing that intellectually and living it emotionally are always two very different things.

So, little by little, I placed a huge burden on my husband of making me feel secure. And when he failed, and he did, because he is a human sinner, as am I, I blamed him for my insecurity. This caused me to build a wall in my heart to avoid the pain. Sin, sin, sin…

I have never seen this so clearly as I did today. Let me share a little of what I journalled for my homework in class:

What do I seek and desire? Love of my spouse and security in our relationship. This is my idol. When I do not feel the security I desire in our relationship, I punish him by becoming distant (justification = protect myself) or angry (threaten or blame shift), instead of finding the security I crave from the one True God.

Another entry says:
As you look back on how you have handled this conflict do you see a need to repent and for confession? Yes! I was placing my needs and expectations on Bud. I believe that most of this (a recent argument) stems back to placing my desire for security on his shoulders as a burden that he can not possibly fulfill or carry. Again, repentance is necessary on my part as I have placed this on him rather than on God who is the only one who can and will give me the security and love I desire. I have continually taken the desire for love of God He has placed in me and put it as a burden on my husband. This has brought about a lot of conflict in our marriage which I have then blamed on him. I now realize there is no way my husband could ever meet these needs because he was never meant to…only God was.

As you can see, this has been rather eye-opening for me. And wildly freeing to my heart.

I can see God’s goodness and mercy so clearly and how I was the one backing away not God.

Why am I sharing this in a public forum such as my blog? I think transparency is a good thing. I think it is a public confession. I also think when God shows you something this good and freeing, you need to share it so others can learn from it as well. But most of all, I wanted to share how GREAT our God is! How loving and merciful and tender. I want to praise Him for being so longsuffering with me when I do not deserve it, worm that I am.

Thank you for letting me be transparent and free with you, as well.

All About Clouds…

I was looking at my tag cloud on my blog last night and I found that my top tags are as follows (in no particular order):

This makes me feel like at least I have my blog posting’s priorities in line.  I want to strive to make sure my life is in line and focusing on the MOST important things, not the mundane.

With Bud being gone for an extended period and changing jobs and training someone to replace me, I feel like my priorities are all skewed.

I have started using something called the Read Through the Bible Program for Shirkers and Slackers which seems to work well for me.   It is a reading plan but it’s not as structured so I don’t feel so freaked out if I miss a day or only read half of what I was supposed to that day.  I have been much more consistent with my daily Bible reading since starting this.  http://www.ransomfellowship.org/publications/notes_biblereadingprogram.pdf

I am still struggling with praying like I should.  I’m being really transparent here…I am truthfully praying around 4-5 times a week instead of every day.  This is something I am working on, though.  I am hoping once I change jobs and have an extra hour in the morning, I can institute a real consistent quiet time with praying every morning.  I am keeping a prayer list and am doing much better than in the past.  Prayer is really something I struggle with the most.

I am trying to be reading a good non-fiction Christian book at all times.  Sometimes I am reading fun reads (mostly Christian fiction) as well, but I’m trying to consistently read something meaty too.  Right now I am in the Holiness MIT class so my meaty Christian book is “Holiness” by JC Ryles.  This book has helped me greatly in this endeavor, as JC Ryles is an excellent read and has totally smashed my misconceptions about non-contemporary Christian writers.  This is good stuff and it’s making me want to branch out to more classic Christian writers.  I was, however, always a fan of CS Lewis.

Oh, and just a quick mention about adoption.  I saw Third Day’s new video for the song, “Children of God” and can I say that I’m amazed.  The song is already fantastic but the video blew me away.  Check it out if you haven’t seen it.

Third Day, Children of God

As an adopted child myself, by earthly parents as well as God my father, this is a subject near and dear to my heart.


Potpourri of Thoughts, Part 2…

So, we got Joey moved out and I did better than expected.  Aside from the fact that I was carrying stuff to the truck and crying, that is.  I think I hid it pretty well from the other guys.  The actual move out was pretty hard for me, but once they pulled off I felt much better.

He has gotten settled into his new place.  I did have a really hard time when I visited his new place and saw his furniture in a new room.  This is the furniture we bought Joey when he was two years old.  It has always been in MY house.  It just doesn’t look good in someone else’s.

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Bella had a GREAT party for her 23rd birthday.  It was a Nintendo Themed Costume Party.  She spent days decorating the house (some of which is still up).

She had a PacMan room in our Living Room:

A Donkey Kong Country Room in our Den:

Mario in our Kitchen:

Rainbow Road in our Hall:

And Star Fox in Joey’s old room:

Prizes were awarded to Alaura Cook (3rd place), Andrew Eastwold (2nd place), and Caleb Quave (1st place).

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College football kicked off tonight…WOOOOO HOOOOO…just saying.

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We are planning for a visit to California to visit my Dad and my stepmom Louava for Thanksgiving.  It will be just us two girls since the boys will both be working that week.  I’m really excited and can’t wait to see them.  I don’t get to see my Daddy and Louava near enough.  The last time we got to see them in the flesh was when Bella graduated from high school.  In case you don’t know when Bella graduated…that was back in 2005.  They were going to come and visit again when Joey graduated high school, but due to some health problems were unable to fly.  I absolutely cannot wait to put my arms around my Daddy and give him a great big hug!

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I forget between times that I write on my blog how much I enjoy it.  I definitely need to take time to do this more often.  I don’t know if anyone else really enjoys reading what I write, but it is great to get it out of my head.

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Mullets…I still don’t get them.  Business in the front, party in the back – what’s that about???  And why are people still wearing them?  What brought that up?  Just saw Billy Ray Cyrus’s video for “Acky Breaky Heart.”  Wow…

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It’s September – WHY are your Christmas lights still up?  You are either way late in taking them down or way early in putting them up.  STOP IT.

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I’m still on the South Beach Diet.  I’ve lost 16 lbs. and 18 inches.  The inches have gone down the last couple of weeks but the pounds not so much.  I know this is normal but I’m ready for some pounds to get moving.  I keep having to tell myself that I didn’t gain all this weight overnight.  It took closer to 15 years actually.  Therefore, it might take awhile to take off.  I do feel like I’ve finally gained some control in this aspect of my life.

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“For You formed my inward parts:  You knitted me together inmy mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:13).

As someone who could have been aborted but was instead born and put up for adoption – I just don’t get it.  How much clearer do some people need it to be.  I’m NOT a mistake, I was NOT an unplanned pregnancy – God planned me.  God formed me and planned for the parents I was to have.

So how can people really believe that abortion is okay?  How can they say that these babies are mistakes and unplanned?  Again, I just don’t get it.

[getting down off of my soapbox now]

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Mom, Momma, Mommy…

I have been blessed with four Mothers in my life. Most people get one but any of you who know me well know that I am “special” and seem to always be different from everyone else. So, I get four of them. The good thing of it is they have all four meant different things to me and played different roles in my life. This is a little late for Mother’s Day but here it goes, in the order that I met them:

Ruth

Ruth

1. Ruth ~ Ruth was my very first mother. She was the one who gave me life. I’ve known Ruth pretty much since I was conceived. Being as I was put up for adoption right after birth, I didn’t know Ruth again until I was an adult…around 30 years old. That was the point in my life that I decided to find my birth mother and get to know her again. I have really enjoyed getting to know her and am so grateful that she decided to have me and that she decided to let me go. It was the most sacrificial thing anyone has done for me.  I also get my LOVE for books from Ruth and she and I have fun discussing them.

My family in 1965

My family in 1965

2. Fran ~ Fran was my second mother. She was the one who adopted me. I knew my mom from the time I was adopted at about two months old until she died when I was nineteen. It was way too short of a time. She was the one who slept in my bed with me when I got my wisdom teeth out and got dry socket. She was the one who woke up every few hours to give me pain medicine or hold my hair back when I got sick. She changed my diapers and explained to me all about that “time of the month” stuff. We laughed together a lot and cried some too. She is also the one mother of the four that I never got to know as an adult and I regret that tremendously. She is also the one that I still miss every day of my life. She definitely had the kind and gentle spirit that I keep trying to locate within me.

Mike and Buddy-2007

Mike and Buddy-2007

3. Margaret “Mike” ~ Mike is my third mother. She is also my mother-in-law. I have known Mike since I was 15 years old. We had a rough time right after Bud and I got married, but we got along much better once the grandchildren came. Mike is hilarious and at 78 can still tell dirty jokes that make me blush. We laugh a lot when we are together. Mike and I have had some fun adventures together. Especially when she had quintuple bypass in 2007…but I won’t divulge those stories at this time. Mike has three daughters already but she has always counted me as her fourth daughter. No matter what, I’m one of hers.

Louava with my Dad and Grandmother

Louava with my Dad and Grandmother

4. Louava ~ Louava is my fourth mother. She is also my step-mother, although I don’t really like that term. Step-mothers get a really bad rap most of the time but mine is fantastic. My dad and Louava have been married for 24 years (they got married a year after my mom died). Louava is one of the sweetest, kindest people I have ever met. We get along great and she has always been wonderful to me. My dad was just pining away after my mom died and when he and Louava started dating, he just seemed to start living again. Louava is one of those rare people that treats everyone in her family alike. Her biological children and her step-children are the same, as are all her grandchildren. She is also one of those rare people I know that no matter how long between seeing each other or talking to each other, it’s like we just talked the day before. I am truly blessed to know her.

Legacy of an Adopted Child…

This is a poem that someone once shared with me. It sums it up well.

Once there were two women
Who never knew each other
One you do not remember
The other you call mother
Two different lives
Shaped to make yours one
One becoming your guiding star
The other became your sun.
The first gave you life
The second one taught you to live in it
The first gave you a need for love
The second was there to give it.
One gave you a nationality
The other gave you a name
One gave you the seed of talent
The other gave you an aim.
One gave you emotions
The other calmed your fears
One saw your first sweet smile
The other dried your tears.
One gave you up –
It was all she could do
The other prayed for a child,
And God led her straight to you.
And now you ask me through your tears
The age-old questions
Through the years;
Heredity or environment
Which you are the product of?
Neither, my darling – neither
Just two different kinds of love.

My Adoption, Part VI…

The day after the funeral Ruth and I had set up a lunch meeting. The day of the meeting, my brother was so nervous for me (worse than I was) that he insisted on going with me. I think he was really worried that I was going to be hurt. When we got to the restaurant he didn’t want to intrude, so he sat at a table a few tables away from mine and Ruth’s table.

I walked up to the table and there they were…Ruth, my half-sister Shannon, and my biological grandfather – Grandpa Bill. Ruth got up and hugged me. To me it seemed a little like coming home. She told me that I felt exactly how she remembered me feeling when she held me that one time in the hospital. Everyone was really nice but you could tell that we were all very nervous.

Looking at Ruth I could see where a lot of my looks had come from. To put it as a former boss of mine put it….I had her same “squinty eyes, pointy nose, and thin lips”…hahaha! Really, there was a lot of me that did look just like her. It was very strange for me because I had never been able to say “oh I have my momma’s eyes, or my daddy’s nose” like my friends could. Now I could say that too. From the picture of himself that Jurgen had sent me, I could see where some features came from him as well. Especially my prematurely graying hair! He has this long mane of salt and pepper hair.
Another thing I could immediately see was that there were some features that Shannon and I shared too.

We spent a couple of hours just sitting there talking. It was a big relief for Ruth to be talking too. There was this complete void of years where in Ruth’s life I never even existed except for her. Ruth’s mother, my biological grandmother, had died of breast cancer the year before I found Ruth. Ruth and her mother had never talked about the fact that Ruth had had a baby in the 30 years since I was born. It was like it had never occurred. Ruth even went so far as to say that if her mother had still been alive when she had been contacted by Betty, she would never have agreed to even writing letters.

After Betty contacted Ruth and Ruth had decided to go forward with writing letters, she had talked to her father. He was very willing to discuss my existence and was very excited to meet me. Grandpa Bill had even written an “autobiography” after his wife’s death and ended up copying it and sending me one. It was so much information about where I came from and who these people were that were my physical relatives but whom I didn’t know.

The meeting was everything that I could have hoped for. I know some people who haven’t been through this probably were expecting me to say that we saw each other and it was just like a fairy tale. However, this is real life and there were a lot of considerations on both parts.

First, I still had a mother and a father. Ruth was never going to take their place, nor did she want to. Second, Ruth and I are very different people. I can so clearly see the grace of God in His putting me with the parents he did. I’m a very free-spirited person and my parents were the perfect mix of nurturing and strict. They kept me in line and my feet on the ground. Ruth is very permissive. She grew up in the 60’s and definitely has that type of values and beliefs. She allowed Shannon to go to school or not as she wanted to and even eventually allowed her to drop out. I do not see any way that I would have ended up a decent, hardworking individual, much less a believer, staying in the environment I would have been raised in. I do not say this to criticize Ruth; I say this to give God the glory in His perfect plans and ways.

I think the biggest thing I got from finding Ruth and Jurgen was a profound sense of gratefulness to my parents for the way they loved and raised me as their own and gratefulness to God for His lovingkindness in my life.

I look back at my life and can see that I would have never met my husband, had my children, became a Christian had I not been given up for adoption. So the second thing I got from finding Ruth and Jurgen was a profound respect for the decisions they made concerning me. There were other decisions they could have made: abortion or keeping me and raising me….but they choose to make the ultimate sacrifice and give me to a couple who couldn’t have children of their own. And for that I will always be grateful and love them for it.

In the years since this time, I have kept in touch with Ruth. We email back and forth some and I have tried to talk to her some about her beliefs but she isn’t interested in that subject at all. I enjoy talking to her and we both share a love of reading and books and that fuels a lot of our discussions.

Grandpa Bill died several years after our meeting. We corresponded until his death and I really enjoyed getting to know him. I do wish I could have known him better. He was an interesting and sweet man.

Shannon ended up dropping out of high school, getting a job, and finally ended up getting married. We had a pretty good relationship started for awhile but it has kind of just faded away. She knows I’m here if she needs me but I’m sure it’s as hard for her as it is for me.

I haven’t really talked to Jurgen in years. He is a very free-spirited person and it has been hard to keep in touch. Bella went through a time when she was in high school where she and Jurgen wrote to each other a lot. Bella enjoys writing poetry and that is primarily what Jurgen does now. They definitely had a lot to talk about.

The End!

My Adoption, Part IV…

bella-and-debey1

Bella and I around the time of my search

Finally Betty called me. She had found one of my biological parents. I was in for a shock. The first one she found was my biological father. In all the years and years of thinking about doing a search, I never, ever thought about finding my biological father. I don’t know why but it had never even crossed my mind. Betty told me about her conversation with him.

His name was Jurgen. He was 16 years old when I was born. The thing was, when Betty called him and asked him if he had a child that had been adopted out, he asked which year. Apparently, he had had several children that were adopted. He was an ex-convict that had been convicted for armed robbery of a bank several years back. (Bud promptly said, “That explains a whole lot about you honey.”—not funny…) Jurgen was more than happy to talk to me but now I wasn’t so sure.

One thing that I was learning about doing a search for my biological parents was that it was totally a rollercoaster ride.

So I thought and thought about it and talked to Bud and my dad and finally decided to talk to Jurgen. We decided to start by writing letters to each other. It really was much better than I thought it was going to be. But it was just getting information, not much more than that. There wasn’t any emotional connection at all.

After some time, I got another call from Betty. She had now located my biological mother.

She had talked with her but there was a problem. My biological mother, Ruth, now had a 16-year-old daughter and she didn’t know I existed. Ruth decided that she was going to think about it and call Betty back when she made a decision on whether or not she wanted any contact.

After about a week or so, I heard from Betty. Ruth didn’t want any contact! I was saddened by her decision but accepted it. When I had started this process, I had determined that whatever happened I would not be upset or hurt by it. I would be glad that I had gone ahead with the search and that my biological parents would know that I had tried. They could always contact me later if they changed their mind. But I would be lying if I said that it didn’t hurt…because it did.

A few weeks later, Betty called again and Ruth had changed her mind. She did want some contact but in a very limited way. I was thrilled just to be able to ask her a few questions. The way our contact worked was that Ruth would write a letter and send it to Betty. Betty would take it out of the envelope and put it into a new envelope with her own return address instead of Ruth’s and then send it on to me. I would answer it in the same manner. We would only use first names and no identifying information would be exchanged.

It really was a good way to begin. I was able to ask tons of questions and get all the answers I wanted but not worry about the awkward “we should have a relationship but we don’t” feeling I got during my contact with Jurgen. Ruth told me a lot about her life before, during, and after my birth. I questions and she answered them. She told me about her family and I told her about my family. She wanted to know about the two grandchildren she never knew that she had.

After about a month of correspondence, Ruth decided that she wanted to have more contact between us. We started writing letters with no intermediary between us. She also decided to tell her other daughter, Shannon that I existed. The funny thing was that Shannon’s father had told her that Ruth had a daughter that she put up for adoption several years before.

So, we finally got to talk on the phone. I would love to say that it was wonderful but in reality it was more just strange. I realized that in all those years of wondering about searching for and finding my biological parents I had never even thought about anything after the actual first moment. We both were very perplexed as to how to go about this new relationship in our lives. I kept thinking that here was this person who gave me life and I should know her almost as well as I know myself but she is this complete stranger to me.

Another thing that I realized was that we are two totally different people. Whereas I might get my nose and my poor eyesight from Ruth, and my prematurely gray hair from Jurgen, it seems that my personality was pretty much my own (just as it had always been with my family). Apparently, God just made my unique.

There were a couple of funny things however. When I was writing letters back and forth with Jurgen I realized (and so did my intermediary Betty), that our handwriting was eerily similar. Also, as I was growing up I also seemed to name my baby dolls Marie. I just loved that name for some odd reason. When I met Ruth I found out that she had named me Marie Ruth – and that is what my foster parents called me for the first two months of my life. It could be a coincidence but I’m not convinced.