For the next year, you can receive a prayer calendar for your adopted child right here!
There is a prayer for every day, accompanied by a graphic that will be on my author page on FB–SherrieEldridge.AdoptionAuthor.
I hope this will be a blessing to you, your child, and family.
Here’s my gift for you!
You don’t want it?
Tough life lessons.
We all get them.
More than likely, they come in the midst of suffering.
Suffering is the catalyst that brings forth the gold.
“But he knows the way that I take, when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. (Job 23:10 NIV)
The last life lesson came for me when one of my grandchildren had a serious health condition. It shook me to the core, for who can be more dear to a grandma than one of her grands?
Grandchildren are a special blessing. Yes, we love being parents, but when one becomes a grandparent, there is absolutely nothing to compare. It is one of the highest privileges of my life. I adore all six of them.
When suffering hits, the over-giving part of me frantically searches for possible solutions for their pain. Dazed and walking the mall, I wonder if I bought such and such if it would ease the pain of my loved ones.
I want to DO something. Just BEING is not enough. And, apparently, in my heart of hearts, God was not enough either.
Giving in abundance has been my style. Bob doesn’t call me “over the top Sherrie” for nothing. I always over-give. “You don’t have to do all that,” he relentlessly repeats year after year.
Little did I know that my over-giving not only complicated the lives of those that were hurting, but had the potential of actually hurting. All I knew was that over-giving made me feel good, never suspecting that it could be an addiction.
I was like the late Doris Roberts who played the mom of Ray Romano on Everybody Loves Raymond TV show, who barged through the door with goodies incessantly…goodies that weren’t asked for.
My motive? I over-did out of the goodness of my heart, right?
No, it was out of unbelief that God could take care of them…pie and all. Basically, it was me trying to take His place. Some call it the Messiah complex.
Jesus is the only Need-Meeter. He is God Almighty, Abba Daddy.
Over-giving was also proof of lack of boundaries…by golly, I would do this good thing no matter what.
Now, I’m learning to pray, sit back, give when called upon, and watch God show off in unexpected places and ways, especially in the fires of affliction.
What do you associate with the words “the best is yet to be?”
Is this what we’re to remember when we breathe our last?
Does the best mean heaven?
Is it what we say sarcastically as we age?
Do you say it to someone who has just lost a loved one?
There are few that understand this phrase, including me, until I met a rare woman a few years ago.
The first time I saw her, she was speaking at a women’s retreat. Everyone was dressed to the nines and gave polished presentations. Radiant-faced, she approached the podium, apologizing for her simple clothing and granny shoes.
She shared deep truths about living with her husband who had been stricken with Alzheimers years ago. The world as she knew it had been turned upside down.
Weeks passed, and I happened to see her at Target. Now was my chance to “get the skinny” on what she was really going through. It must be hell.
Nervously, I asked about her husband. He was no longer able to recognize any family member.
How awful! (I didn’t say this to her).
Then, she said, “You know, the best is yet to be.”
How could that be?
How could she actually believe this?
How could her face be radiant and her voice drenched in
Jesus must have been her role model. Let me share why.
John 2:10 says…“but you have saved the best ‘til now.”
Are you familiar with the story about the wedding at Cana?
The host of the wedding served the best of wines, but his supply ran out half way through the event. How embarrassing.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, ran to him like any good mom and asked him to do something about it.
Jesus asked the servants to fill the jars with water and then pour for the master of the party.
Why did he ask for water?
Can you imagine how amazed those servants were when the the water turned into wine–108-190 gallons of the most excellent wine ever tasted—much more than was needed.
That’s Jesus for you.
And so, the phrase “the best to be” is not a death bed wish, but deep assurance that Jesus always shows up and shows off in the midst of crises and suffering, giving us more than we could ever imagine.
I want to be like the lady who knew she didn’t need glitz and glamour–she had Jesus. He is the best and she had His presence now and for all eternity.
The large photos of five Jewish girls lost in the Holocaust are forever emblazoned on my heart. I’ll tell you why in a moment.
Let’s remember the back story.
First, I am one of those crazy Christians who believes that God speaks to me personally in various ways–through the Word, through circumstances, through His indwelling Spirit, and through people.
I call them “God Sightings.”
Before this post, God gave two clear God Sightings about my Jewish roots.
The first was the evening of the first day in Israel when tour guide Tito told me I was Jewish. How did he know? He said my skin, eyes, and behavior. Go figure! My behavior?! He later said that I am high strung and impulsive.
The next God Sighting happened on a detour. Because of a celebration in downtown Jerusalem, we were taken to the graves of David Ben Hurion, the first Prime Minister and first Defense Minister of Israel.
This was the first time in his 30-year career that Tito took a tour group to this site. (God Sighting)
On a hill overlooking the city, he taught about common Jewish names. One prefix cinched it for me–“Green…” My maternal grandmother’s name was Myrtle Daisy Greenlees. (God Sighting)
So, I ran to Tito like a two-year-old child., my heart beating like a drum.
“Is it on the maternal side?” he asked.
“Yes!” I answered
“Welcome to the family!” he said, swooping his arms around me.
Those were the first two God Sightings.
Now on to the third.
On this particular day, our group was visiting the Museum of the Righteous–Vad Vashem, The Museum of Remembrance.
Established in 1953, Yad Vashem was on the western slope of Mount Herzl on the Mount of Remembrance in Jerusalem, 804 meters (2,638 ft) above sea level and adjacent to the Jerusalem Forest. The memorial consists of a 180-dunam (18.0 ha; 44.5-acre) complex containing the Holocaust History Museum, memorial sites such as the Children’s Memorial and the Hall of Remembrance, The Museum of Holocaust Art, sculptures, outdoor commemorative sites such as the Valley of the Communities, a synagogue, a research institute with archives, a library, a publishing house, and an educational center, The International School/Institute for Holocaust Studies.
After the Western Wall, Yad Vashem is the second-most-visited Israeli tourist site. Its curators charge no fee for admission and welcome approximately one million visitors a year.
An invisible dark cloud descended and tears embarrassed. Then, someone gently placed hands on my shoulders. It was dear friend, Margaret Woods.
Upon entering, I remember the museum being circular, with many levels. There were thousands of tiny lights ascending the huge cone-shaped edifice and were surrounded by thin black netting.
A core goal of Yad Vashem’s founders was to recognize gentiles who, at personal risk and without a financial or evangelistic motive, chose to save their Jewish brethren from the ongoing genocide during the Holocaust. Those recognized by Israel as Righteous Among the Nations are honored in a section of Yad Vashem known as the Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations. One of them is Corrie Ten Boom.
After finishing the last level, we came to the children’s museum where there were photos of Holocaust children. I couldn’t stop staring at the little girls with dark, shiny bangs and brown eyes.
Here is a wonderful YOUTUBE where you can see them: https://youtu.be/kU-siyNDp18
“Margaret,” I said. ‘Those little girls look just like me as a child.”
“You are one of them,” she said. Then, she put her arms around me and gave thanks that God made it so clear, once again, that I am Jewish. “You are one of the chosen,” she said.
With all that transpired before this moment, I believe this was another God Sighting.
I discovered my Jewish face.
Please know that I’m not a Jewish wannabe. You could call me a Messianic Christian.
I’m simply a curious adoptee who wants to know the truth about my beginnings.
Neither do I intend to stereotype Jewish people by suggesting all Jewish faces look alike. Of course, they don’t.
This is simply my journey and my truth.
The destination…Jerusalem…..you know…the Holy City….the place where Jesus entered on a donkey with children waving palm branches. The place that in the new order of things, will be my home…the New Jerusalem.
The song, Jerusalem, by the Hoppers was blasting through the airwaves of our bus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2j5uq0rYXA
Some say that visiting Israel is the fifth gospel…everything in the gospels in the Bible come to life. I still remember the stones beneath my feet, the gushing spring where the Tribe of Dan once lived, and kissing a camel.
I’m rather homesick! Can you tell?
As the bus driver approached the city, Tito, our incredible tour guide, informed us that for the first time ever in his 30-year career as a guide, that he was going to take us on a detour. There was too much traffic to enter the city. https://www.britannica.com/event/Six-Day-War
It was the time of the Six Day War commemoration, also called the June War or the Third Arab-Israeli War that took place from June 5-10, 1967. Israel captured the Sinai Peninsula, Gaza Strip, West Bank, Old City of Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights.
Streets were packed. No place for a bus.
We would travel instead to the grave sites of David Ben-Gurion, the first Prime Minister and Minister of Defense of Israel, and his beloved wife.
Tito, the tour guide, stood in front of us, teaching about Jewish names. He used the prefix “green” as an example. Then, he spouted off words like “Greenburg, Greenstein, Green whatever……”
At that moment, my mind whirled back to the genealogy chart dearest birth cousin, Sharon, lovingly made for me years ago.
My grandmother’s name, Myrtle Daisy Greenlees, flashed to memory like neon.
I ran breathlessly to Tito.
“It’s on your mother’s side?”
He wrapped his arms around me and said, “Welcome to the family.”
So faithful and true.
No unexpected detours.
Bends over backwards to bless.
I want to wrap the Israel flag around me and dance for Him.
Finding clues about birth family history sends me on an adrenaline high. I love being a sleuth and solving adoption mysteries.
Just my first name–Baby X–makes me curious!
Clues come in the most unexpected times and ways, oftentimes through the least likely people and circumstances.
As I have turned over every stone possible to find my heritage, I have discovered that being adopted can be a huge adventure, not only for me, but for generations to come.
Here are some of the curiosity-raisers:
Now, can you see, friends, why I have been curious?
This is just the tip of the iceberg.
The Key Person
Now, let me introduce you to Sharon Loessel, my birth cousin from Bay City, Michigan, who contacted me after the unsuccessful reunion with my birth mother. Apparently, word spread in the family that Elizabeth rejected me. She was reaching out in love and one of the first things she said was that my birth mother rejected everyone in the family.
Sharon has been a history and ancestry buff most of her life. After our first conversation, she sent beautifully matted black and white photos of at least five generations, labeled on the back with names and dates.
Ghosts, Heroes, and Heritage in the Closet
During the weeks to come, she revealed new information as I eagerly scratched it on paper. I have the papers to this day. She told me:
In retrospect, it’s evident that the good stuff, like lighthouses, thrilled me. I felt proud, yet also like child on a winter’s eve, with nose pushed against a window to watch the family inside that I never knew.
And, even though an avid Bible student, the information about the Lost Tribe and Tribe of Dan didn’t faze me.
The painful parts didn’t register either. I was numb…for years.
How I wish I would have been more attuned to everything Sharon shared. Realistically, one needs to gobble up every bit of information given, yet at the same time take care of the wounded child within that is unable to tolerate more.
Honoring the Pain
Just think though, in a perfect world, how different my search might have been if I would have:
Author and pioneer open adoption therapist, James L. Gritter, Ph.D., describes adoption-related pain in his book The Spirit of Open Adoption (http://preview.tinyurl.com/j82o9tw):
“The pain associated with adoption is miserable stuff. It’s the birth father in the hospital corridor curled up in a fetal ball of self-blame. It’s the doctor saying you’re pregnant. It’s the eighty-year old birth mother rocking and mumbling, ‘They shouldn’t have….’ It’s the dazed birth mother standing alone on the sidewalk as the adoptive family drives away with her two-day old daughter. It’s the twenty-one year old being told he has no right to his original name. It’s finding out for the first time from falling down drunk Uncle Charlie at the family reunion that you’re adopted. The permutations of adoption pain are endless.
We must be careful not to sanitize, sentimentalize, or even glamorize the pain of adoption; it really is miserable stuff, and it is intensely personal. It is the interior. The pain of adoption is not something that happens to a person; it is the person. Because the pain is so primal, it is virtually impossible to describe.”
Gritter lists common reactions to pain:
Trip to Israel
Five years ago, Bob and I traveled to Israel with Friends of Israel Ministry. Our teachers were Pastor Gary Stump and Dr. Deanne Woods.
Prior to the trip, cousin Sharon and I chatted.
“You know we’re from the Tribe of Dan, don’t you?”
My mind raced back to the first time she shared that.
Could it be true? It seemed like a long shot, but I would certainly keep it in mind.
Our tour guide, Tito, a Jewish man who knows the entire Bible (but not Jesus), was magnificent in giving Israel’s history.
That evening after group dinner, my friend Natalie Hart and I pulled Tito aside. This is how it went: “Can I ask you a question?”
Tito: “What kind of a question…personal or historical?”
Before I could say anything else, he said, “You’re Jewish.”
I gasped. Where in the heck did he get THAT? Maybe he said that to anyone or everyone? Maybe he thought I was a “Jewish Wannabe?”
“How do you know?” I asked.
He said, “I knew you were Jewish the first time I saw you. Your eyes, your facial features, and your skin.”
I can’t remember much after that.
I asked God to show me the truth, which He did in the seven days that followed. I will share two other circumstances that confirmed what Tito said.
Our adult kids and grands were mildly interested in this after our trip. They, like me, were selective hearers. It’s interesting, though, that one of grandsons is very interested in Hebrew and is studying it in university.
Just a few days ago, our youngest daughter shared how she’d been reading about a certain blood type that is rare and found mostly in Jewish people.
It is B+.
I am B+ and so are both our daughters.
Her research showed that it is indicative of Jewish people who fled Israel, lived in middle European countries, and then migrated to Ireland.
This is exactly the history that cousin Sharon claimed.
Who knows what the truth is….but it is fun digging for clues.
So, the curiosity has spread and there’s at least one daughter who is beginning to look like a sleuth, searching for clues.
And, Baby X keeps searching.
23 and Me DNA Testing: http://tinyurl.com/jz98atu
Contact me if I can help you in any way to find your heritage.
Love to all!
As I put on my camel-tan sweater vest and embroidered cowboy boots, I said to my husband, “I am beginning to look at lot like Elizabeth, aren’t I?
He smiled, shaking his head affirmatively.
Elizabeth is my late birth mother and this letter is dedicated to her memory.
When I first reunited with her at Ketchum, Idaho’s airport, my conservative, all- white stretch pants and sweater were quite the contrast to her fringed-leather jacket and cowboy boots.
Whoa! What I was getting myself into?
Little did I know that my perceptions would change in a most unexpected way in the years to come.
First, some back story about reuniting with my birth mother, Marjorie Elizabeth Perry.
The Back Story about My Birth Mother
Two days after returning from our reunion, she abruptly announced she wanted no more contact. Needless to say, it was excruciating.
What a contrast to weeks prior when she received my photo and said, “When I look at your sweet face, I just know that you’re mine.” It was like a mother who’d just given birth.
And, why was she abusing me verbally in her dismissal, saying she wished she would have aborted me, when earlier she had sacrificially gifted me with a priceless gold and diamond Paloma Picasso pin from Tiffany’s?
She did an about face because she is from the generation that stuffed everything painful. As the daughter of a lighthouse keeper, life was tough and she was taught to keep an upper lip, even as a child.
So, she was raped and didn’t say a word.
She became pregnant and no one knew…until she received a call from me one August evening in 1999….47 years later. At first, she declined conversation, but later changed her mind. I felt a completeness never known before.
Within two weeks, Bob and I were on a plane to reunite with her in Idaho. Years of counseling made me ready, right? How funny is that? I’m not sure birth mothers or adoptees can be prepared. Some say it’s like a million simultaneous emotions, or like returning to the moment of birth.
Elizabeth defended herself by keeping me at arm’s length through arranged meals with her friends. She repeatedly said, “You are so happy, but this is terribly difficult for me.”
Perhaps seeing me face to face triggered memories of her rapist? Or, perhaps it was remembering the two miscarriages and death of her second child at only six months?
But, the similarities of our lives kept delighting me:
Over the years since then, I have learned much about myself. I was so green and terrified that I am sure I didn’t respond in the way I would have liked.
But, we adoptees need to take responsibility, forgiving. letting go of bitterness and blame, so that we can move on. Really, I think she did much better with all of it than me. And, that’s okay.
As the years passed, after two years of failed attempts at reconciliation, I penned these romanticized words about what she meant to me:
(Elizabeth is in the woman third from the right in the light blue dress.)
Romanticized Thoughts About My Birth Mother After Reunion
Honest Thoughts about My Birth Mother After Reunion
If I were honest at that time, I may have written the piece like this:
I did all that was humanly possible to forgive her, yet there was a deep, deep sadness about our failed relationship. Everyone needs a mom, right? Something more was needed, but looking back, I wasn’t even aware of the need. And, yes, I loved my adoptive mom.
Unexpected Dream about My Birth Mother
Then, something quite unimaginable happened.
When Bob and I were on vacation in Michigan a few months ago, I dreamed about her. This was rare because I’m not aware of any dreams of her in the past.
In the dream, I was with her in her fancy condo and she was serving tea. Everything about it was lovely. Every detail, right down to the tea cup. In the dream, her hair was long, flowing down her back. I immediately admired her and watched with amazement. Soon, she walked into another room and I saw her golden hair again. I thought, “She is beautiful and I want to be like her….her hair….the way she talks….the way she dresses…the way she is… I love her.”
It was then that I woke up and realized her condo was in heaven.
I remembered one of her early comments that indicated an interest in God. She said, “When we meet, we’ll have to go to church and thank God for giving you such good parents.”
Also, she shared how lost she was after giving birth. While walking in a park one day, she met three nuns, who apparently saw her distress and gave meaningful comfort.
Afterward, she expressed a heart that sought after God by attending Mass. Thinking back it seemed she was obviously relating to God as she understood Him.
Truths That I Would Tell My Birth Mother Today
If I could tell Elizabeth what she means to me today, I would say:
How wonderful it is to be an adopted person. What a rich life God has given me.
There will be another reunion. It won’t be in Ketchum, Idaho, but at the gates of heaven. It won’t be between two broken hearts trying to connect in a fallen world, but two hearts healed by God.
And, Elizabeth… how different I’ll look to you than when you saw me get off that plane.
And, I’ll know you right away….by your fringed-leather jacket and cowboy boots.
I can’t wait.
Fellow adoptee friends….
What is it about us adoptees? We tend to dismiss talking about adoption, or even thinking about it deeply…why?
Could it be that we’re still unconsciously bound by loyally to our adoptive and/or birth parents? No way do we want to hurt them, right? They are the hands that feed us and the hands that brought us into this world.
We put a bubble of romanticism around adoption and deduce that it has nothing to do with the behavior and relationship problems in life. After all, how could something as good as adoption hurt us and cause us to look at life in a way unique to us?
So, if we desire to improve our quality of life, if we want to have healthy relationships, and if we want to heal from adoption-related trauma and wounds, what must we do?
If we were asked to check which of the following is true of us, what would we check?
Many of us could check all of the above. We are buried by them emotionally and spiritually. And, why is that?
We think they are all our fault. We think we are losers and that’s how losers feel and nothing will ever change that.
Friend….that is an outright lie!
And, it is shame-based to the core. “Something is inherently wrong with me.”
The truth is that you and your life are invaluable, priceless, vital, rare and irreplaceable.
You were created by a God who loves you dearly and who in his sovereign wisdom, allowed you to be adopted. It is not a mistake, even though it involves pain, like every other relationship in life.
However, seeing those truths is nearly impossible because of what I call “the adoptee fishbowl.” Our fishbowls are filled with all the painful feelings listed above. The water around us is filled with shame.
Actually, there are three layers in our fishbowl.
In the last blog post, I referred to this complicated perspective as “the triple bind of adoptees.”
The good news is that there is a way to resolve the triple bind, but we must work really hard at it.
Because adoption is a lifelong journey, it will never completely resolve this side of heaven. But we can resolve it to the point of recognizing triggers instead of going under in a major meltdown.
Addictions complicate it further.
We must be willing to let go of the alcohol, pot, meth, and whatever we are choosing to numb the pain. That will happen as we process this.
But first, will you agree with me that adoption traumas are causing the pain in your life relationships and quality of life?
That is the first step…Are you with me?
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