November is Adoption Month. I’m sure that this isn’t the first year, but it is the first year that I have been aware of it. I’ve never really spoken much about adoption unless someone has directly asked me about it.
When I was 15, I found out that I was adopted. The context for learning the news wasn’t ideal—but that happens. Initially, I was in total shock…numb. I knew very few people who could identify with me, or even sympathize. Over time, I realized that it was more common than I was aware of. At the time, I felt nothing but rejection—a cast away, a mistake. I often make jokes—as is my tendency in those situations—that I was bought behind the hospital.
Not knowing the full situation, I was trying to rationalize. And then I began searching—any female I knew who fit even one characteristic of the limited details that I knew, made me wonder, “is it her?”
It wasn’t long afterwards that I became a Christian. I was at a youth retreat and there was a lot of talking about life, and God, and us. Someone made reference to God choosing each of us. I found Jeremiah 1:5—“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you…” WOW! That was another bombshell. But at the time, I had no idea what it meant.
It took a few years, but I slowly began to grasp a firmer understanding. This adoption thing, being chosen, isn’t a bad or shameless thing—it is cause for celebration!
Don’t get me wrong, I have struggled. And that’s being generous. One of my constant battles has been with rejection. And at my weakest points, that is when the lies and the internal fight start taking over. Is my fight over, nope—how I wish it were so.
What I need to be reminded of—especially in those hard times—before I burst forth, is that I was chosen. God, who is gracious with me, chose me. Life has been challenging and with each challenge I have been refined and made better for its survival. But I’m not on my own. I have been blessed with incredible people who, often without knowing it, have been an encouragement. And I have been blessed with some who have struggled it out with me. I am grateful for them.
The gift of Christ’s love is a reminder that God chooses each of us. I have been chosen. You have been chosen. For those who are adopted, whether you struggle or not, we have been created and chosen. Rejection, unworthiness—that’s not from the Father. Love, acceptance, sonship/daughtership—that’s what He provides.
By The Rev. Jesse Dymond November 25, 2014 - 3:34 pm
These are powerful words. Thank you, my brother.
By Shawn C. Branch November 25, 2014 - 6:36 pm
Thanks Jesse. First time I felt to share in such a context.
By Carolyn Westin January 15, 2015 - 2:44 pm
Thanks for sharing yourself
By Catherine Morris January 15, 2015 - 2:44 pm
Thanks for sharing Shawn. God is good.
By Michelle Simons January 15, 2015 - 2:44 pm
Well done. Thank you for comforting others with the comfort you were given.
By Reade Branch January 15, 2015 - 2:44 pm
“VERY PROUD” you are my adopted son!!
By John Cathcart January 15, 2015 - 2:44 pm
Thanks Shawn for risking and being vulnerable. I always knew there was something “super” about you!
By Donna Watkins January 15, 2015 - 2:44 pm
I was adopted too and consider it a wonderful gift from God. You are blessed Shawn
By Sharon Lynn Sparks January 15, 2015 - 2:44 pm
Shawn, you are blessed, and Bill and I were also blessed to have Bryan as a chosen child, but I do not think any differently of him than I do of Jeff, who was not adopted.
By Michelle Schyf January 15, 2015 - 2:44 pm
I’d love to adopt. But the system is too long and complicated.
By Shawn C. Branch January 15, 2015 - 2:44 pm
Thanks for the very kind words.