Out of Hiding: Helping Adoptees Arise

I used to hide. As an adoptee, I hid from the world. I was so afraid of being rejected that I left before anyone else could leave me first. I was in hiding.

Innocent, yet accused. Named, yet nameless. I had been an orphaned child, marked by abandonment: a mark that seemed to be my permanent identity. And, so I hid.

Many adoptees do the same. A moment in our lives—a decision made by others—hurts us so deeply that we retreat into the shadows. We often live on the outside looking in. Our new families wonder what is wrong, “Why can’t my child trust?” If they only knew that we’re in hiding, afraid of reaching out our arms and opening ourselves to love.

Trust takes time. A good dose of action is required by parents. An action that chooses to attach to an adopted child, first, so that the child feels safe to trust. An action by parents who choose to leave expectations behind and show pure appreciation for who their child is, right then and there. An action that finds parents making the choice to meet a child in their brokenness and loving them through to wholeness.

When adoptees see this kind of love and acceptance exemplified by their parents, then they are better equipped to show themselves the same kind of love and acceptance. With this as their example, adoptees have a much better chance of taking that first step out of hiding and into living.

Until we, as adoptees, step out of hiding, we cannot heal. Until we step out of hiding, we will not rise. We are, as a community, witnessing the consequences that decades of silence and shadows-of-secrecy have left behind. Generations of adoptees who have felt isolated and alone in their pain.

The first step from darkness into light, no doubt, comes with its challenge. First steps always do… However, I write these words to say that it can be done. I’ve taken the step. Come out of hiding. You’re safe. You do not need to guard the emotions and feelings that I, along with others who have walked this journey, already understand.

Adoptees, you are seen.

We want to hear you.

I want to hear you.

Life is not meant to be lived on lockdown, stuck in a moment that is not a permanent one. The moment that has left you wounded was never meant to be a permanent mark. It’s time to heal.

Loss is not your identity. You have a name, speak it. The decisions that were made by others around you were not of your doing. You are innocent, claim it. You don’t need to live distanced from life—or from love.

Loving and accepting yourself, dear adoptee, cannot occur if you stay in hiding. When we learn how to love, forgive, and accept ourselves for who we are—scars, flaws, and all—we gain great access to what loving, forgiving, and accepting others looks like, as well. We begin to see the power in our stories. We emerge and use our stories to better the lives of others.

It’s why I share, so openly, my own journey as an adoptee. I share my story with a prayer that it might touch another person and guide them out of that solitary place called hiding.

My adoptee community means the world to me. I care so deeply about every adoptee because I know just how lonely this experience can be. I also know how powerful it is when we no longer sit in isolation—frightened of love and of relationship, scared of being vulnerable. I know the transformation found when we knock down the walls of resistance and allow ourselves to be pliable to love, moving closer to a place of real and meaningful connection.

You can rise up! And, I know that when you do, so much will become clear to you.

You’ll see that those broken pieces of your earlier life have been purposed for a beautiful work of art.

What once seemed like an unraveling has become part of a rich and textured tapestry. A tapestry that was woven by you.

You. 

You are a weaver. Acceptance is your quilt.

You are a warrior. Love is your shield.

Come out of hiding, my dear adoptees…

There is so much to gain.

 

 

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Out of Hiding: Helping Adoptees Arise

  1. Beautiful and brave! You have spoken into a situation that so many adoptees are afraid to give energy too—the fear of abandonment that leads one into hiding. I am both an adoptee and a birth mother and have lived both experiences. Thank you so much for your courage to write about this experience.

    1. Jane, thank you. I’m so grateful for your words. And, for your honesty. The fear of abandonment does lead us into hiding. I remind myself every single day that I am not meant nor made to live in the shadows. I so appreciate you sharing your thoughts as both an adoptee and birth mother. Thank you for your beautiful courage, my friend. With love, Michelle

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