“No matter what our circumstances, we can find a reason to be thankful.” – Dr. David Jeremiah
I didn’t grow up with a faith in God. I was exposed to religion, but it took years into my adult life before I was able to embrace a belief in Him. I had a lot of childhood issues to overcome before I was able to even begin believing that there was a Higher Power who loved me. With my faith as small as a mustard seed to start, I walked out my journey with Him, and my belief grew into a real faith in Him. No matter what I go through, I will always have my faith. I had my faith when I made my adoption decision. I struggled a lot in my belief at that time, but nevertheless I was able to pull through and commence a journey of healing. No matter what it is that you believe in, you can always use your faith to walk you through during an adoption decision, the adoption process, and coping with life after placement.
What Is “Faith,” and Why Is It Important in Adoption?
Faith is not a complicated concept; however, as humans, we tend to find ways to complicate. I was taught that all I had to do was turn the door handle to a belief in a Higher Power, and that cracking that door would be enough to begin growing what would eventually turn into a faith in God. Not everyone believes what I believe. I am a born-again Christian. Regardless of whether you subscribe to the belief that Jesus died for our sins or not, you still have values that you hold true to in life. It is in those values that we can find a faith to guide us on our life path and carry us through the hard times. It is even possible, through faith, to embrace the pain and be grateful for how that pain will ultimately mold us to become better versions of ourselves.
My Faith Through Choosing Adoption
In my experience, having a belief in something is a great start, but a belief itself will not sustain life. We have to see the evidence of that belief backed up in our lives. Once we begin to choose to see the little miracles that take place in our lives, that is when our faith will begin to take root and grow. Sometimes, we have to face old belief systems that were instilled in us as children before we can move into our own personal faith.
For example, I have struggled with feelings of unworthiness since I was a child, and those feelings came up after I chose adoption. I felt shame regarding adoption that I couldn’t make sense of. It wasn’t until I began walking a path of healing that I realized my feelings of unworthiness as a child were expressing themselves while I was going through the adoption process.
I have had to face childhood issues as I become aware of them on my path of healing as a birth mother. It turns out the shame I felt while going through the adoption process had more to do with me feeling unlovable as a little girl rather than reflecting that I felt I ashamed for choosing adoption. Until we can face the root cause of our pain, we will be blinded to the real reason for it.
Gratitude for Faith Is Important, No Matter the Size
The reason that I am grateful for my faith when it comes to having chosen adoption is that faith is what got me through. I believed, and still believe, that adoption was the best decision for myself and for my child. There were so many signs of confirmation that I have received over the years to back that up. During the adoption process, I experienced a wide variety of emotions. The only way I could cope with it at the time was to rely on my faith. That little mustard seed that I planted years prior would come to be the bit of belief that I needed to rely on while going through the adoption process.
Even after going through the entire adoption process through finalization, I still had a lot of emotions and grief to process. I ended up diving even deeper into my faith. I wanted to know more about God, why He loved me, and how he could ever allow me to experience pain. I have asked the tough questions that we all have about our faith. While I don’t have the answers, I do have a sense of peace in not needing the answers. Spirituality holds many mysteries that the human brain cannot even begin to unravel. For the most part, faith simply means accepting that the unknown is unknown, and not giving up as a result of not knowing.
If you are a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy and considering adoption, or if you are a woman going through the adoption process, or if you are already a birth mother, remember: Faith starts with a belief the size of a tiny mustard seed. As long as you start somewhere, your belief can grow into a faith. While I know that religion is a hot button topic for some, I want to be clear that I am not trying to push my faith on anyone. No matter what you believe in, and no matter what your faith is in, remain true to it. Our faith is not tested in times of rest and contentment, it is truly revealed to us during the hard times. Take heart, birth mother, for with your faith you are never alone!
This is the ninth post in a 12-part series on gratitude in adoption. Stay tuned for more.
Lindsay is a guest blogger for Considering Adoption. She placed her son for adoption seven years ago and hopes to use her experience to support and educate other expectant mothers considering adoption, as well as adoptive families.