Sharing stories and messages of hope through the #ChosenandWorthy series has given me the opportunity to share the deeper meaning behind being a beloved child of God. Our identity effects every relationship we currently or will ever have. It effects our purpose and how we pursue each day. Without knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt who we are and how valuable we are, we cannot live in the wholeness of victory. Through stories of parenthood, racial discrimination, achievement, marriage, divorce, miscarriage, singleness, past mistakes, and anxiety – we find over and over again that at the core of every chapter in our lives, we must know who we are. We must live in the reflection of Christ rather than in the reflection of an often angry and unpredictable world.
Today, Melissa Gendreau of Humble Faith Family Wellness shares a post that reflects the heart of identity and the adopted child. The effects of adoption are never simple. Because, as I often say, even though adoption is a beautiful and wonderful miracle, it is filled with layers of grief and often trauma. Our story affirms that truth.
Melissa is a Christian Mental Health Therapist and works often with children who come from hard places. She sees first hand the effects of adoption on identity. And she sees the importance of an identity in Christ.
Even if you aren’t an adoptive parent, I urge you to read this. There are adoptive children in your world somewhere and they have a family that would treasure a friend who understands …
“But they didn’t want me. Why didn’t they want me?”
That question never gets easy to hear and answers are even harder.How do you answer the heart-wrenching questions of a child removed from their biological home?… Click To Tweet
As a Christian mental health therapist, I’ve worked with children, teens, and adults for eight years. Of all the clients, however, God has created a special place in my heart for children who have endured trauma. I often work with children who have been removed from their biological home due to abuse and/or neglect and now are navigating a new foster placement or have been adopted.
My role for these children is to be a safe person and environment to ask these tough questions and to help them work on understanding who they are outside of the life they’ve known.
As I write this, I can’t help but be bombarded with face after face of little ones who have cried in my office over the loss of their biological parent. The same parent who harmed them.
When I first started as a therapist, this was the hardest part for me to understand.
These children are often abandoned and rejected by their biological parents and yet remain loyal and protective of them. They may have been adopted into a home that is loving and safe but many would willingly leave to go back to what they know and love in their old life.
So often, most traumatized children don’t believe a loving and safe home really exists. Or at the very least, they believe they don’t deserve one.Most traumatized children don't believe a loving & safe home exists #identity #adoption… Click To Tweet
The majority of my work with these children is helping them to replace the false truths they’ve been duped to believe.
Their worth is not based upon their behaviors.
They did not deserve the abuse they endured.
They are not unloveable.
I worked with a beautiful little girl who flashed the deepest dimple every time I got her to smile. But she didn’t even know she had it. She was nine years old and no one had ever complimented her on her dimple. I showed her a mirror and asked her to smile and then I told her how lovely it was. She told me to think anything good about herself was self-centered.
We are slowly working to break that false truth.
I’m not sure I can adequately describe the leap of joy that happens in my heart when I see the tiniest flicker of light come into these children’s eyes as they start to understand the lies they’ve been told.
It is not until I see that little flicker I am able to start helping the child understand their identity and worth. We complete projects to explore their talents, interests, and strengths.
In so many ways the child has to start over because the world they have known has twisted and distorted truth. We discuss basic emotions and when a person would appropriately experience each one. We focus on behaviors and how a bad choice doesn’t make him/her a bad person.The world they have known has twisted and distorted truth #adoption #identity #chosenandworthy… Click To Tweet
I work with both believers and nonbelievers so sometimes I’m not able to bring God into my sessions.
However, I’ve often found that children who have endured trauma, but also believe in God, have an inaccurate view of our Lord as well.
The focus of their understanding has been about our wickedness and our potential for damnation if we don’t repent. Rarely is their understanding of God about His unconditional love for us.
I remember a boy burst into tears as I read him Psalm 27:10:
Even if my father and Mother reject me, the Lord will hold me close.
He had believed God had turned his back on him because his biological parents told him he was a mistake.
We then turned to Psalm 139:13 (NLT):
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
This was the first time that this boy was given the truth that God created him! He was purposefully planned by our Creator!
I would love to say all of his doubts melted away in that instant but we know that’s not true. It takes time to reverse the pain others have inflicted.It takes time to reverse the pain others have inflicted #adoption #identity #chosenandworthy… Click To Tweet
In working with adoptive parents, I remind them of that every time we meet. It’s going to take time. The best advice I can give them is to provide consistency and love for these wounded children. And to seek their own support as this is a continuous process.
Now, let me take the time to broaden this to all of us. You see, we are all adopted.
God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. -Ephesians 1:5-6 (NLT)
Are there things in your past life that you are loyal to even if they are harmful or speaking false truths to you?
Do you still believe your worth is based upon your behaviors?
Are there times you believe you are unworthy and unlovable?
Dear friends, you are loved without measure!
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! -1 John 3:1 (NIV)
Finally, I pray that you immerse yourselves in these truths today. We all have past pain and wounds but we are adopted by a Heavenly Father who wants us to know our worth because He created us and loves us.
Melissa is a Christian mental health therapist, a wife of ten years, and a mommy of two pretty neat kids. She enjoys the privilege of working with others to grow in their relationship with God and find healing from their past wounds. When Melissa is not working or writing, she enjoys movie nights with her family and homemade popcorn. You can connect with Melissa on her blog, Humble Faith Family Wellness HERE or on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
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