This post is authored by my friend and brother in Christ, Marquis Godfrey. He takes us on a journey through his personal experience being adopted, to wrestle with an identity crisis, and bring clarity and perspective to understanding our own identity and adoption in Christ. Although everyone might not identify with this specific experience, we all can relate to wrestling with internal struggles of understanding who we are, where and who do we come from, what defines us, our identity. One of the most in depth and complex personal questions to answer is this: Who Are You? Truthfully, we will not have a proper understanding of our identity until we have a proper embracing of our adoption in Jesus Christ.
As I sit on my couch with tears rolling down my cheeks, I can’t wrap my mind around the life altering news that I had received. I feel like I just stepped off a roller coaster, my stomach is still caught in my throat. My heart feels like it was ripped out of my chest, I struggle to catch my breath. At this moment, I’m feeling heartbroken, full of rage, and betrayed. It seems as if my whole life up to this point was a lie. Who am I?
Christmas break, my freshman year in college, will always be a time in my life that I remember vividly.
As I’m getting ready to go watch my high school basketball team play, my mother tells me that my father and her need to talk to me. In my mind, I’m thinking, “What could you possibly need to tell me right now? I’m ready to go to the game.” I go upstairs into my parents’ room and I instantly know that this conversation is going to be completely different compared to any other conversation we have ever had before.
As my parents begin to talk, I can hear the seriousness in their voices. The conversation progresses, I start worrying. In my mind I’m thinking, “Are they about to say what I think they’re trying to say? No, that can’t possibly be the news..” Then I hear my mother utter these words,
“You are adopted.”
I storm out of the room, run down the stairs, and fall onto the couch to cry. Now my mind begins to think, “How could you wait until I’m 19 years old to tell me this? I’m exactly like my other two brothers who were adopted. I don’t know who my parents are like some of the kids my parents have fostered my entire life. You are not my real mother or father?”
After all the tears, hugs, and I love yous, I finally head to the basketball game. As I’m sitting in the gym, I see my dad in the foyer, and it hits me as I stare at him…he isn’t my father! In a gym full of people, I feel completely alone. My world, the one that I thought I knew, ceased to exist. My life up to this point was like a Carnival cruise ship with occasional rough waters but the moment my parents dropped this torpedo on me, I was instantly thrown overboard. It was as if I was left alone in deep and dark waters to figure out who I am, where I came from, where am I going?
No matter your background or upbringing, we all at some point struggle with who we are and where we come from. The depths and type of struggle will vary from person to person, but that struggle is real.
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge…” [Hosea 4:6] Our answer to our identity crises is found in the One who created us and formed us in our mother’s womb.
After Christmas break ended I went back to school and went to a church service that put my adoption into a wonderful perspective. This night was intended for me to hear. A guy shared his testimony about how he was born with no ears and he had a surgery as a kid that gave him ears. The doctors told his family he would not be able to talk because he could not hear. However, now he is an amazing singer. I remember the pastor asking the guy if he could change his life would he want to be born “normal”. His answer caught me by surprise, he said no.
He said God created him specifically the way he was for a reason. He was created to give God glory. Even though this moment gave me peace about being adopted, I was not completely healed from the situation.
As time progressed throughout my undergrad career, I struggled with self-identity and with loneliness. I wanted to feel valued, needed to be needed and longed to be affirmed. My outlet for finding the answer to these struggles was women. If I had a girlfriend or not, my phone was always busy. I needed to have someone to talk to and be in my life. This need also led to me indulging in sexual relationships for affirmation and value.
This false affirmation only showed a lack of me knowing who I truly am in Christ.
“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.” [Psalm 139:14] God is my source of affirmation and validation not women, but there is a huge difference in having a head knowledge of the word versus having experiences with the word of God that has transformed your thinking and view of yourself in relation to who God is.
While in undergrad I had no desire to find my biological parents because I was focused on school and my grades. A year after I graduated, I finally decided to search for my biological parents. It was as if this puzzle piece of who I am was missing and I needed to find the piece to complete myself. My desire in wanting to find them initially was to merely get questions answered like: What did they look like? Do I have siblings? Medical history? The biggest question I wanted to be answered, obviously, why did they give me up?
I called my parents and asked them to send me everything they had on my adoption. Since my adoption was closed, the information my parents had on my biological parents was extremely limited. The information I had was my biological mother’s first name, her birth date, and medical history regarding her pregnancy and delivery. For my biological father, I had absolutely no information except that he played football in college. I remember driving on 249 in Houston on a Saturday when my sister called me to let me know she had talked to him, my biological father. My heart instantly sank.
Going into the process I felt like I would never find them because my adoption was closed since we had such little information. The search began fall of 2016 and my first text to my biological father was at the beginning of 2017 (I think February). The amount of anxiety I had in sending this man the first text was insane because of the feeling of him ultimately rejecting me, again.
I didn’t want him to think that I wanted anything from him or that he owed me anything. We texted back and forth, on and off, for about a month. I finally met him in March 2017. We went to Chili’s on a Sunday and as my fiancé, my daughter and I drove up, my fiancé was asking me a million and one questions about my emotions and feelings. Me being the super cool guy I am, I continuously deflected her questions however on the inside I was freaking out!
He was standing by the door, I could see him as I parked. Tall guy, a shade darker than me, with a hideous Cowboys hat. As we approached him, I thought to myself, “do I hug him or shake his hand?” We shook hands then had a pretty good lunch. We decided to continue to get to know each other.
I wish finding my biological mother was as “easy” as finding my biological father. After a year of searching for her via google and social media, I decided to use a private investigator. I was able to get her phone numbers so one night, I decided to reach out to her via text. The PI informed me to send a text specifically stating my name, birthdate, where I was born, and that I was given up for adoption. I did not receive a text back. I called the same number, no answer.
I continued down the list of numbers I had and I ended up talking to my “grandfather.” I remember freaking out on the phone in front of my fiancé turned wife like a little boy calling a girl for the first time. He relayed my message to my birth mother then in a matter of minutes she called me! We talked that night for what felt like forever. The amount of relief and joy I felt in the moment was intense because I did not know if I would ever find or talk to her. For the next few months, we texted and talked all the time.
Our relationship grew and I was so grateful for her being willing to talk to me. Even though she is not in the same city as me, she does live in the same state, but we have not met in person, and if I’m being real with you, I don’t see that happening at least not anytime soon. She decided to stop talking to me. We were “moving too fast” according to her. Truthfully, I believe that she stopped talking to me because she thought she would never have to face who and what is right in front of her now.
She went her entire pregnancy with only her pastor (at the time), sister, and college roommate knowing. She is viewed in her family as the golden child and getting pregnant outside of marriage was not going to fly with her parents. I honestly believe that I’m a reminder for her that her “golden child” view of herself is not true. She messed up. And it is perfectly okay. However, through all of this, I was able to connect with my aunt. We talk, text, and facetime all the time. I cherish this relationship!
My hope is to continue to grow my relationship with my biological father, to ultimately meet my siblings, and meet my extended family. For my biological mother, I hope that we can resume talking and one day facetime or even meet in person. I hope that she can release the guilt and shame she has been carrying for almost 27 years and finally tell her family. Regardless if none of this ever happens, I’m grateful that I was able to meet and get to know them both.
Being adopted is a beautiful display of love. Simply put, my parents chose me. Not knowing anything that I would do or become. Being motivated out of pure love, they wanted to have and raise a son.
I have not been adopted once but twice.
“For He [God the Father] chose us in Him [God the Son] before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love, He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will.” – Ephesians 1:4-5
God chose and adopted me through the life, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and mediation of His Only One and Unique Son, Jesus Christ. He did all that for me knowing exactly what I would do, not do, and become. This message, the gospel, has changed and is changing my view of myself and adoption.
I serve the Sovereign God who knew before the world was created, that my birth mother would give me up for adoption. Yet out of God’s supernatural grace and divine wisdom, for His glory and my good, He allowed my parents to adopt me, to raise me in the church, knowing that these circumstances would lead to faith in His Son Jesus, my Lord, my Savior, my Brother.
I was able to see my dad be a man who loves God, his wife, and family. I have a mother who loves me more than anything. The life I have is a blessing and I am so grateful to God for all the grace and mercy He showed to me even when I did not know I needed it.
To all my fellow adopted brothers and sisters, please know you are valued and loved by the Creator of the universe. He wrote out your story in a very special and unique way to bring glory to Himself. “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” – Ephesians 2:10
We are His masterpiece!