In 2009, only a few months after my move, I noticed it was harder than I thought it would be acclimating to the climate and cultural shock that greeted me in central Minnesota. I was enjoying my new job as an intern but I was finding it difficult to find things to do on my off time, especially because I had moved there in the dead of winter, which meant many snowy days when any activity other than staying inside was completely out of the question. With nothing else to do with my time I became a blogger, and I started telling little stories about my life and thoughts to the cyber world. In my writings I saw a theme start to emerge: I was 25 years old and I was still curious about my birthfather.
There had been times when I was younger when I wanted to ask my mom questions about where he was or why he left, but I feared I would hurt her feelings or make her think I thought her love wasn’t enough for me. I guess I just wasn’t curious enough to risk hurting her, because up until this point I had never brought it up. I decided though, now that I was an adult, I could have a conversation with my mom and kind of clear up some of my childhood assumptions. One of my assumptions, for example, was that my father had been looking for me all these years, wanting to apologize for leaving me, but just couldn’t find me. My mom and I moved around a few times before she remarried, perhaps my father lost track of where she was and couldn’t find us even if he wanted to. Another assumption was that my being sick totally ruined my mom’s life. I mean maybe if I wasn’t sick my father wouldn’t have left in the first place and they would still be happily married.
I needed to resolve these questions, I needed to move on with my adult life and not have these thoughts lingering in the background forever. So I mustered up my courage and hunkered down for a long phone conversation with my mom. Thankfully my mom didn’t seem offended by my inquiring, and she gave me the straight up truth, even though it wasn’t pleasant.
What I learned was pretty disappointing. Not only did he leave my mom weeks after I was diagnosed with CF, but my father didn’t try to contact me even one time. He never asked to spend time with me, never sent me a birthday card, even his parents found it best to stay out of my life. My mom said every time we relocated she made sure my father and grandparents had our information just in case they wanted to see me…but they didn’t. The real kicker though, was hearing that a year after they got divorced, my father showed up at my mom’s work and said he wanted to get back together with her. When she said no he just turned and walked away. Never asked about me, never asked how I was doing, never acknowledged my existence. Just walked away.
Surprisingly I wasn’t angry. I felt bad for him. He has to feel guilt on some level (either that or my father is a total narcissist with no conscience whatsoever). In a moment when I should have been livid and brokenhearted I felt relief and thankfulness along with my pity. I was hurt, yes, but I was so thankful that the Lord saw fit to spare me from a father who didn’t care about me at all. Instead He gave me a dad who would adopt me and treat me like his own. It was a glorious picture of what Christ does for His children by adopting them into His family, whether sick, or wounded, or tossed aside, He loves them as His own. How humbling that is…and how beautiful!
Affects on Counseling
Just like most of my other experiences in life, I think this one builds up my empathy for other people. Whether I’m in the counseling room or just meeting someone at church for the first time, I can have a proper perspective of Christ’s love for them. Even if I am counseling someone who is an unbeliever I can pray that they will be adopted later on in their life. All our stories are so different. Some of us are adopted in our youth and some may be adopted moments before our death. Knowing these things will cause me to pray for each and every one of my clients.