Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Vulnerability


The thought of being vulnerable scares me. Whenever I feel vulnerable, I feel exposed. In fact, writing this blog is a new step. I'm being vulnerable on here, sharing feelings that I'm scared to tell anyone. Being vulnerable is a fear of mine because I know that standing defenseless gives people a chance to reject me, make fun of me, or even judge me. So, I try to not be vulnerable.

But I realized that healing comes through being vulnerable. It occurred to me that I was hurting myself more by hiding my feelings. The people who wear "their heart on their sleeve" are the bravest, most loving, and honest people out there. Yet, we do not want to do this: avoidance is easier. 

Being brave could mean getting hurt by the people you love; being honest with people is like standing on a battlefield--unarmed.

Still, I admire people who find it easy to be this vulnerable. They know they could be rejected or scoffed at, but they still do it.

"They haven't gone through what I have," you might say. No, they haven't. People will probably never fully understand the pain you've experienced, but they've been through other pain, their pain.

Just think: they're probably just as scared of being vulnerable as you.  But if you never let yourself be vulnerable, you will never grow.

Let's define being vulnerable. It does not mean that you are not expected to be a social butterfly and become friends with every person you meet or be expected to be someone you're not.

Vulnerability is
  • Expressing the emotions you always try to hide. 
  • Letting people know that you have fears. 
  • "Being you" even if you know others might leave you
And  . . . it's . . . hard . . .

It has taken me over a week to come up with an example of when I was vulnerable, but yesterday, when I was riding in the car with my mom and little sister, we started to talk about how we felt about our big brother Jake leaving for college. My mom started to cry because, well, Jake is such a crucial part of our family: each of us have a close relationship with him.  Inside, I had been afraid of how much I should contact him while he's in college. I thought he would think of me as clingy. You see, when I was in sixth grade, a close friend decided I was clingy and then, she dismissed our relationship, after being friends for over two yearsBecause of this, the fear of being clingy with others now scared me, even though I now understand why I have a tendency to do this with people I'm close to. When I finally got the words out to my mom and sister, I cried, which I hate to do because it makes me feel even more vulnerable. However, by telling my mom how I felt, it set me free, and I felt like a burden had been lifted off my shoulders. 

So, I challenge you to be vulnerable around the people you love. Eventually, it will get easier, but in the long run, it will be worth it. I'm going to be praying for you who read this that you are given the courage to be vulnerable with others. Please feel free to comment about what happens! God bless you! 


Monday, July 2, 2018

Birthdays

Picture this: You're sitting with all of your friends at lunch. All of you are talking, and someone mentions birthdays.

"I was born at 11:46 at night." 

"I was born the same day as my cousin, but I'm six hours older than her."

These are just some examples of things people talk about. I just made these up, but I have experienced this first hand. When I went to school, I was sitting in art class, and someone asked me what time I was born. Most people seemed to know I was adopted, yet they still asked me this question. In the moment, it had irritated me, but as I look back, I realized they didn't even know the impact that this question had.

So, how do you answer? It depends on how open you want to be. It's okay to say, "That is personal, and I would rather not say." But, I do know for a fact that it's embarrassing to say to someone, "Well, you know, I have no idea when I was born, or who my mom is." That would be humiliating.

You may also notice that even when you tell people, they don't understand your feelings; they have never experienced the pain you have been through. 

Even if you're completely honest, it can be upsetting and embarrassing.  I've even been jealous of people who know their exact birthdays and times. Sometimes, you feel like the people around you don't realize how blessed they are to know these little facts.  While some of you may know your birthparents and the time you were born, you still may feel an unfilled void because your birth family is part of who you are, and you have no connection with them.

Birthdays are meant to celebrate you. Every person deserves to have a day honoring them. But these days can make us feel empty, even if we think we shouldn't. We have people around us that care and love us. My emptiness may be different from yours, but mine is because on my birthday, I wish for the parents that I never got to know. And I realize that no matter how much I love my family, the longing to know my biological family is still there. Birthdays can make this longing stronger because your birth parents were the people that gave you life.

Just like you want the people you are close with to be there on your birthday, you also want the people that gave you life to be there, too. It's a natural feeling, and all adoptees must feel or struggle with this at some point.

Your special day can also make you feel like a misfit to your family and friends, no matter how much you love them. And part of you doesn't want to tell anyone because it makes you seem unthankful, but you're not. You instinctively know that your adoptive family can't answer your questions or ease the pain of not being with your birth family.

I felt compelled to write this because as I get older, I feel like more questions seem to arise, and I don't have the answers. And, as I think about turning the big age of thirteen, my heart wishes that my birth family would be able to celebrate the day with me. If you've ever felt this way, I encourage you to tell us in the comments! Have a good day and God bless!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

The Tangle of Knots


Being adopted is like having a tangle of knots. Little by little, these knots will start to unravel, but certain knots seem impossible to untangle. In fact, it seems like as you are trying to fix the old ones, you end up creating new knots! At times, you may even want to give up! While untangling a ball of knots may seem unimportant or time-consuming, it is the lessons we learn while unraveling these knots that are important. Through these journeys, we learn how to avoid making more knots while gaining patience and perseverance.
Adoption can teach you many lessons. While your "knots" may never all be unraveled, it is the journey that makes us a better person. Everyone has a ball of knots to untangle in their own lives, but some of our knots, as adoptees, are because of the past, pain, and trauma we have endured. Knots are not something to be scared of or dread.  Instead, we need to face these challenges head-on because, in the end, you will learn more about the way you think and process your feelings.

What are these knots? 
  • Not knowing our biological parents, or wishing we would never see them again
  • Wrestling with the loss and abandonment or struggling with the fear of being taken away
  • There are certain things we hate, and others that we love, but we have no idea why
  • Some people are scared of getting hurt more, while others second guess their self-worth. 
  • We have a hard time trusting and are afraid of being vulnerable to anyone. 
If any of these examples are what you are struggling with, you're not alone! Each tangle is unique and has to be untangled carefully, or more knots may be created, but the process is a time of growth and maturing emotionally. Some knots are never meant to be completely untangled, while others are easier to undo.  You just have to trust the process and take it one "knot" at a time.

Really, these knots are a blessing in disguise, and you may not see that yet. Unfortunately, you can't just wish these knots away, because they are a part of who you are; they are part of "your story". Sometimes, the pains seem unbearable, and that is why we push them away. It hurts too much to face the pain that they bring, but without pain, you can never get healing.

I'm still working through my own pains. Are you wrestling with pain, too?  If so, you're not alone! Everyone who is adopted feels pain from their past, all differently.

My goal in the next few posts is to share my knots that I am struggling with and hope that you will be able to share your stories, your pain, and your growth with all of us.  Let's do this journey together!

In the comments, please share how you feel about this post and what knots you are untangling right now. Don't feel embarrassed to share, there will be no judgment.  I pray that God will bless you today as you embark on the challenge of untangling your knots with me.