The Tie That Binds

Adoption is the embracing of another parent’s child as your own with all due rights and privileges as if they were born to you. Yet this child has a life that proceeded you whether it was the nine months in utero or years in the care of birth-family. There are invisible ties to those voices, those faces, those inner impressions that can never be removed. And when taken from their birth-mother the ties may be stretched but they never break. The issue is how will the child and their subsequent adoptive family handle these wounds, memories, and feelings.

Children respond to all stimuli externally or internally from a sinful selfish perspective. They may even make vows in their hearts to do or not to do a thing though they know no words or formal language yet. Impressions and selfishness will drive their motives and state of being even when they are in utero.

Younger children or infants may seem perfectly content with their life in the adoptive family until around age 10-12. Then as the hormones begin to intensify and the child becomes more aware of who they are in the world questions arise such as, “Where did I came from?” and, “Why did my birth-mom give me up?” This especially intensifies if they are rebelling in their hearts against the Lord’s command to ‘honor thy father and mother’.

Older children, however, come with deep wounds, questions, and/or strong emotions towards birth-mother already in place. They have more than likely been cared for by birth-mom to an age of understanding but due to neglect, disease, or death are placed in an orphanage or foster care home by well meaning officials. Due to this, the child will often times personify contempt towards self and others. “If only I were different I would not have been ‘taken’ away from my mom.” Or “You people are terrible and I will never like you because I will love only my ‘real’ mom.”

Anger, confusion, betrayal flood the child’s heart. Vows will be made. Walls will be build. Doors will be bolted shut. Their heart will become an impregnable fortress and their actions will declare their feelings loud and clear; “You cannot get in here!!” This invisible tie to the birth-family binds the child’s capacity to receive and give love. It binds their ability to trust and be trustworthy. The motivating factor for all of these reactions is just good old-fashion sin. It develops from the child’s desire to preserve self and exalt their desires over what is best for them. The matter is never truly resolved in the children’s heart until they get to the point where they want to face truth.

Truth alone is what loosens the ties that bind and creates ribbons of strength that will stay unfurl in the calm or storms of life with the adoptive family. And that truth which will set them free is only found in Jesus. He is “the Way and the Truth and the Life.” It is all about Christ. He is the key to unlocking the doors, taking down the bricks one by one, and confessed vows breaking their hold. His truth will rush in like a flood releasing the captives to love and be loved, to trust and be trusted. For “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:36

Copyright 2006 Robert Sanford, revised 2010

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