Reflections on the blessings of being adopted.

Welcome to Adoption + Foster Week at All Things New. Adoption is a picture of the gospel, and the church should be its foremost champion. November is National Adoption Awareness Month, and National Adoption Day is November 18. More than a dozen families between Summitview and our sister church in Greeley have experienced the incredible journey of adoption or fostering. Many of these families shared their stories with us, and we compiled these stories into a full-length publication, Heirs: A Celebration of Adoption and Foster Care, which will be available on Sunday, November 5 during our worship service. This week, we’ll be publishing excerpts from a handful of the stories that you’ll find in Heirs. We are all adopted, and that’s worth celebrating.

“So, tell me about your family.”

Whenever I meet someone new and they ask this question, a smile always spreads across my face.

If I showed you a picture of my family, you probably wouldn’t think twice. We look like we belong together. But we are different. I was adopted at birth, and it is something that I cherish. It makes me feel special. It’s a large part of my identity, and the story is one that I love to share time and time again. My younger brother is also adopted.

Growing up, I never felt different because I was adopted, but I felt very special. When I was about 5, my parents sat me down and explained to me the story of my adoption and what it means. My mom made me a scrapbook with photos from the time they started the process of adoption leading up to my birth. I understood what adoption meant at a young age, but a lot of people didn’t. When I talked about my family to them, they would say things like, “Oh so your real mom and your fake mom…” No. That’s not how it works at all.

Your mom is the woman who raises you. She’s the one who teaches you how to measure flour in a measuring cup. She teaches you how to braid your hair. She teaches you that the stove top is hot, and despite her warning, you put your hand on the burner anyway, but then she’s right there to hold you as you cry and help you feel better. She talks with you about what you want to do with your life and how you can get there. She inspires your passions and encourages you in your dreams. She’s your mom.

I love my mom and dad, but I also love my birth mom equally. My birth mom taught me, even before I was born, what it means to be selfless. When she found out she was pregnant with me, she was working at a pizza shop in Boulder, Colorado. She realized that there was no way she could take care of a child and give them the life they deserved with the life she had. She called my birth dad, but he wanted nothing to do with me. She had a tough choice to make.

I have never resented my birth mother for the choice she made. I highly admire her bravery to allow me to have the best life possible. She knew what she was giving up, but she did it for me. As I have grown up, I have always tried to embrace the selfless love that she possessed. We keep in touch. She is still a very active part of my life, and I am so grateful for that.

My birth dad did not want to be in contact with me. He wasn’t “ready.” People have their reasons for doing things, but most likely it was because he didn’t want to pay child support. My sophomore year of high school, I really began to resent and even hate him. He didn’t want to get to know me. He said I could find him when I turned 18, and all I wanted to do was find him and yell in his face. God has changed my heart since then, and I thank him for that.

I have come a long way since then. Of course, it still hurts sometimes that someone didn’t want me, but I have a wonderful father who has been there for everything in my life. He has taught me so much, and I will always admire my dad’s wisdom, advice and bad jokes.

God has given me a beautiful life. He literally hand-picked my parents for me because he knew that they were the best ones to teach me about him, his love, and all the riches that come from a life with Christ. I feel very special. I could not ask for a better life, a better family, and a better story to share with others.

Grab a copy of Heirs: A Celebration of Adoption and Foster Care on Sunday, November 5 to read more about Abbie’s story.

Abbie Hanawalt

Author Abbie Hanawalt

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