Posts tagged china
so this is my heart...adoption : part iii

part one |  part two | part three

China is something dear to my heart and although I may not mention it much, I reflect on and ponder the thought of adoption often times. Adoption is why I cry whenever I watch

Kung Fu Panda 2

. Because friends, adoption is a real, real thing; even if it is just in a cartoon movie, it has the impact to touch the roughest of hearts, like mine.

I know that few understand the theory of adoption or the affect it has. Some view it as a “good for you” type of deal. Some even pity me and say, “Oh wow, I’m sorry.” I wonder what they are sorry for and why. There are thousands of children around the world who have been abandoned and who continue taking every day, step by step. I’m not special or lucky. I have just been blessed. I have just been given so much grace and so much love that I never had nor deserved. Adopting me did not change the world, but for me, friends, my world changed entirely.

I had nothing to offer. Nothing to give. Nothing to call my own. Nothing to hope for. No parents. No home. No name. No birth date. Absolutely nothing. Yet, God chose me and worked in the hearts of a husband and wife living in America. God placed the desire in their hearts for a girl living on the other side of the world that they could call their own. They cherished me before they knew me. They loved me unconditionally. They wanted and chose me. And they called me theirs—the same way the God loved me before I knew Him, and the same way that He calls me His. God is so very kind. My heart is full of gratitude for this life that I do not deserve in the midst of so much grace that abounds from each and every day.

In an interview to adopt me, the Chinese asked what my parents would name me. My Dad said, “We want to name her Hannah. It means grace…an undeserved gift…because that is what she is to us.

--- Friend, thank you for taking the time to read this piece. From the bottom of my heart. It’s not my best writing, I’m sure of that, but your taking the time to read makes my heart swell. Writing this made me realize that really, I’m just living a life of grace. So much undeserved, wonderful, sweet, grace. It is why I talk about it so much on this blog.

My adoption is just a part of my story that is being written. I believe that everyone has a story to tell. Maybe they’re open about it, or perhaps it’s hidden underneath the introductions and the smiles. Maybe it’s a story that can change the world or cause you to realize how small of a world we really live in, and in the midst of cracked, dirty hands and tear-filled eyes, there is so much joy and so much beauty at the very same time. All you need to do is ask for it to be told. Sit down with a cup of hot chocolate and a heart of understanding and ears that are willing to listen. Read between the words and look into the eyes of the one saying the words, because, I promise you, it will mean a world of difference to the one sharing their heart; and maybe, just maybe you’ll see that we’re all so very different, but all so very much the same.

---

After talking to my dad about life, the conversation quickly lead to adoption. My dad faithfully pointed me to the Cross, like he always does. His eyes lit up as they always do as he recounted adopting me as if it were yesterday. Afterwards, he took me in his arms with tears in his eyes and said, “I can’t believe they let me come and take you home. I know that sometimes, you think about the woman who gave birth to you or the man who conceived you, but I cannot really think about that now. It does not really matter to me. All that matters is that I have you.” It is the smallest of sentences that can make the most impact and mean the most to you. It is the few words, which can inspire you to write a post like this.

Amazing how he and my mom went back to China three more times to adopt my other sister and brothers. Amazing how I was given the opportunity to go back to China during the adoption of my brother. Amazing how my parents who, for years, were known as “The couple with no kids” are now gawked at and receive the “How do you do it?!” types of phrases when they say how they have five. Amazing that we, as a family, are able to use adoption as an example of God’s adopting us, through the work of Christ. My God is so very kind indeed, and I am so thankful for that.

So this is my heart...adoption part iii. Hannah Forsberg Photography
So this is my heart...adoption part iii. Hannah Forsberg Photography

Cheers to you, Hannah

so this is my heart...adoption : part ii

 

part one | part two | part three

As I lived the first few months of my life in an orphanage on the other side of the world, God had a plan for me. He planned to change my name from “Orphan” to “Hannah”…that I would be adopted and brought across the waters to another land. God planned that I would have a family; one that loved Him and that would teach me about His love through loving me. God planned that I would have parents who had a heart for the fatherless and who had the desire to take an orphan in under their wing. God planned that two, married Americans would save my life.

 

These two Americans wanted children, badly. They had prayed and prayed and prayed for years. Up until 1995, God decided not answer that prayer for a child. Instead, God placed the desire in their hearts to adopt a from another country…to adopt a child who needed it most. My Dad remembers praying for me at about the same time as I would have been conceived, in the very place I sit as I write this piece. Through CCAI, an adoption agency, my parents were matched with me. My parents saw, and chose me. They wanted me. They had compassion on me. And they waited for me.

They liked the girl who had nothing to offer. They wanted the girl who had nobody. They prayed for the tiny, sick, little girl they were going to adopt. They chose to love and cherish the child living across the ocean who they did not know. They said, “I want her.” While at the same time, I hadn't the slightest clue they existed.

In the midst of moving the household across the country, and all the chaos that comes with that, my Dad left the States with my Grandma to travel to China. He came to hold me. To love me. To feed me. To take me home and redeem me as his very own. This whole adoption thing is kind of how Jesus redeems us. Jesus paid for me despite my helpless and unworthy state, leading me to the Cross and loving me in a way that I never, ever, deserved or could have earned. He made me an heir, and loves me and calls me His very own.

God decided to give me a family…not just any family, but one that lived in the United States. He decided to give me a family who loved Jesus and His Word. He gave me parents who would take joy in raising their new daughter as one of their own, without the distinction of being “the adopted daughter”. I would grow up being simply “Hannah”; one whom they loved and treasured dearly. They made me laugh and learned my quirks. They made the effort to know me in a way in which my birth parents never will. They are the ones who encourage me when I am on edge to cling to Christ, and who hold me when I need it most; something that my birth parents never can do. They love me when I am introverting hard and inspire me to keep on chasing my dreams; something that my birth parents will never understand. They call me out when I have decided to sin and be a jerk and remind me of Christ and His love. They refuse to let me throw in the towel after a bad day, and forgive and love me daily in the same way that God does; only something that can be done through the love of parents who truly care. I am so unworthy and so richly blessed by every little thing I have been given in the life. I certainly do not deserve it. Not one bit.

I sometimes have the brave souls who approach and ask if I want to meet my birth parents. Alternatively, I talk to those who say it must be hard for my parents (and sister - born to my parents) because all they have for kids (or siblings) are adopted people.

I try and not to be offended by the latter—I am sure they don’t know what they’re saying nor mean it in a hurtful way. However, why should anyone look at me differently because I am not blood related to those I live with? They seem to assume through their choice of insensitive words that it would be emotionally challenging for those who wanted to add me into the family, as if I was their only option & last resort…as if they adopted me, but not really wanting to. The decision, on my parents’ part, to adopt and have the heart for it, did not come through haste, but instead through much thought and much prayer and much waiting. They decided to love before they knew and trust before they saw. Perhaps I was their only option at the time, or I was their last resort. But that certainly doesn't make their care for me any less than the care they have for my sister who was born to them.

About finding my birth parents, I have no desire to lay eyes on them, or know them, if they are still living. It would be hard to face the people who gave me life and know that I will never be able to love them in the same way I love my parents now. It would be hard to look the two in the face, the ones who share the same laugh and the same smile, and know that I could have lived with them but do not. For me, if I saw them again, there would be the threat of bitterness, hurt, and resentment in the back of my throat and in my eyes…I am sure of it. But perhaps, maybe, there will be a day where we will cross paths again…and if that be the case, I will choose love them fully, because Christ first loved me fully. And I am His.

(to be continued)

hannahHannahchina, part 2
so this is my heart...adoption : part i

 

part one | part two | part three

Let me begin by stating: I haven’t in the slightest clue of how to start what I want to say. I notice that a lot about myself, lately. I was not entirely sure if this would even make it onto the blog. Perhaps starting off by saying that I cry whenever I watch Kung Fu Panda 2 because it deals with the same topic would be a bit better, but, really, I cannot think of a witty way to begin this piece despite my many attempts.

 

Recently, my heart has been restless; restless on the subject of adoption— finding the words to say and sharing the depths what has kept itself hidden so well underneath all the introductions and countless layers of life. Although I produced a brief piece (here) a little over a year ago, the words were not as rich and heartfelt as I would have hoped. However, I suppose that is the result of a piece written in 10 minutes.

At first, I began by searching out quotes and entries from other adoptees as a prompt; however, I could locate little, let alone anything from the mindset of a teenage adoptee. I notice that most families who are doing the adopting have blogs which record their story, but I find little having to do with one’s stance on being adopted which is written during one’s adolescence. So, here are my words, my thoughts, my struggles, and my heart, out in the light for you to read. *Please, know that I speak for myself only, and that the views and opinions expressed are solely my own with the understanding of, not all others who were adopted see things in the same way as I do.

Writing on this topic will be far from easy; it’s simply one of those cases where you have so much you want to say and where you’ve spent so much thought; yet in the midst of all those, so many feelings and unanswered questions intertwine themselves; and as a result, instead of characters and words and flowing thoughts, you have unfinished sentences and a blinking cursor in the midst of a loud silence. In writing this post, I hope that you will see the rawness and the authenticity in my words. I hope that it will stir your soul as it stirs mine, and I hope that it will give you a glimpse into my heart, while glorifying Jesus all the more.

My adoption is a story of questions, hurt, grace, and redemption. Like all stories, there is a beginning, and I believe the beginning is the hardest part.

I was born to two people whom I will never know. There is no sugar coating that. On some days, I wonder if my birth parents truly even wanted me in the first place. In the autumn of 1996, the Chinese police found me. I was left on a bench in a public place somewhere in Guangdong Province, China, located in the southern part near Maoming and Vietnam. I was found having no name, no birthdate, no family, and nobody who wanted to care for me. I had absolutely nothing. I was a nobody. I was abandoned, and I was left on my own.

To abandon means to leave completely and finally. It means to forsake utterly and to desert. It means to cast away and leave. (source) Whenever I try and grasp the meaning, or try to wrap my head around it, the definition hits me ferociously every. single. time. It brings tears to my eyes every. single. time. Not because the meaning is something new to me or something that I have never known, but because the meaning of the word could not be truer. It could not be more honest and blunt. And sometimes, the truth hurts beyond what words can describe.

Sometimes, It hurts to realize that I was left completely and finally. Forsaken utterly. Deserted, and cast away. It’s saddening to realize that I was unwanted before my birth parents got the chance to know me. Not a single year goes by without the days where I find myself wondering “why?” Why was I abandoned? Why was I left? Why didn’t they want me? There are days of grief. Days of heartache. Days of feeling rejected. Days of sadness. Days of just realizing the reality of the truth that can hurt the most, leaving the deepest of wounds and scars.

It is not easy to believe that my birth parents loved me. I find myself often tempted to counter the thought of their love with, “If they loved me, would not they have kept me?” I imagine that perhaps they did love me, or held some sort of affection, but I will never, really, ever, experience that fact for sure. Love is an action, and to comprehend the possibility of “being abandoned in the name of love” is a difficult, upsetting thing. It’s hard to fathom that someone out there who gave me life, loves me, without knowing where I am or what I look like or what my name is; let alone the fact if I am even still alive. Here I am growing up; having the same nose and the same smile and the same laugh of someone I will never, ever know…Of someone who decided to give me away before they knew me…Of two individuals whose names will forever be mysteries and whose faces I will never remember.

When I was younger, I thought about hating my birth parents; but I found that it only caused more hurt the deeper I considered doing so. I cannot know the circumstances of my birth parents, but I do know that my birth mother decided against having an effortless, free, illegal abortion, and instead, left me, intentionally, where she did in order to give me life. As a child, difficulty lingered daily as I tried forgiving and loving someone who did that to me. For many years, I did not want to. I struggled with keeping grudges against them and saying things I should not have about two people I never knew. Throughout my elementary and middle school years, I often wondered if it possible to love a stranger who hurt me so badly.

But, I learned that the Bible commands us to love one another deeply, from the heart (1 Pet 1:22, 1 Pet 4:8). I saw that Christ loved those who hated Him—and how He loves those who do not even know Him (Rom 5:8) while all the more knowing them by name. Even more amazingly, He forgave me when I hated Him.

I had not reached double digits when I first asked my mom about my abandonment. Out of the three adopted others even to this day, I’ve been the only one who has been wondering about the topic. She was preparing supper, and I do not know if the question took her by surprise or not. She paused and thought for a moment, and told my young, wondering heart that God planned that I would be in this family..and I still believe her words as my seventeen year-old self.

Friend, I do not know why things happened the way they did, but I do cling to the truth of all things happening for my good and God’s glory (Rom 8:28). I know that God is faithful and that He is sovereign. I realize that it happened all according to God’s plan at the beginning of time. It brings comfort knowing that Jesus was abandoned on the cross for my sake—because, He must have felt the same way, too. He understood what it was like to be forsaken. Yet, while feeling that way, Jesus stared death in the face; and bore the weight of the world’s sin on His shoulders, defeating death and having compassion and love for those who did not know him and those who hated him. Amazing love, how can it be? I am so thankful for this: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” —Hebrews 4:15

I cannot and will not understand or know the circumstances of my birth parents; whether if it had to do with their marital status, or China’s One Child Policy. However, what I do grasp, is that in 1995 it was a popular option to get an abortion. & instead of taking the easy way out, my birth mother decided to have to me, and risk being caught & sent to jail as she left me intentionally in a safe place in order to preserve my life. I am so very thankful for that.

(to be continued)