Our identity is made up of who we were, and who we are. We have been adopted, and given a new name. Our identity comes from the One to whom we belong.
Identity. We all have one. Often times our identity is multifaceted to encompass the many parts that make us who we are. It is vital that we understand our identity, but that isn’t always easy.
Half way across the world, there is a little girl who, for reasons unknown, cannot grow up in the family she was born to. Where she lives instead, she is identified by her status as an orphan. She has lost so much, experienced trauma no child should, and though she’s too young to understand it all right now, her identity to those who care for her is tied up in the title orphan. It’s a title she never asked for, born out of trauma she never deserved.
Adopted: A New Identity
This little girl, thousands of miles away, is soon to be my daughter. My family is matched with her. We expect to board a plane, fly clear across oceans, and sign the papers to bring this child into our family. We couldn’t be more excited.
In a moment, with the stroke of a pen, this little girl’s identity will change. She will no longer be an orphan. Rather, she will bear the title beloved daughter. She will no longer own the name that identifies her with the orphanage that now cares for her, but she will own the name that identifies her with our family. She will be a Fox.
I know, this sounds so wonderful and beautiful, and it is. However, my husband and I signing a paper will never undo the parts of her story that left her without the family she was born into. We can never remove that part of her story. We wouldn’t want to. It’s part of what makes her, well, her. However, in that moment when the adoption is finalized, she will not be identified by her trauma, her orphan status anymore. Those parts of her story remain, but she will be identified by her family.
When she receives her new identity as daughter, sister, Fox, she won’t understand what that means. She will join our family still living from the vantage point of all she’s ever known…a child without a family. All the coping mechanisms she has developed and uses to get by in an institution she will continue to use in our family. She will join our family scared and untrusting because she has grown up so far only counting on herself.
She will not understand how her new identity changes life for her. We, as her family and parents, will patiently love her and teach her and watch her grow into the identity that will already be hers once the papers are signed. Her identity will be secure, but we will come alongside her and help her learn that and trust that because it won’t be instant. We will stick with her no matter how long it takes as she heals from her trauma in the context of a loving family all the while learning what it means to be a daughter.
We will sit with her, listen to her, cry with her, laugh with her, join her in memories she has from before she joins our family, make new memories with her as part of our family. We will share her pain and her joy, her fears and her courage. It will be full of broken beauty, and we know God will be with her, with us, in all of it.
Adopted: Who We Were
Can you see the gospel yet? Do you see your own adoption into God’s family?
In similar fashion, I am adopted into God’s family. Before, my trauma identified me. Those years of abuse touched and wounded places so deep inside me it became me. The effects showed in every aspect of me. Yet, my identity as beloved daughter was sealed and secured the moment God saved me.
Just like that little girl across the world, when I received my new identity in Christ, I did not understand what it meant, how it changed life for me. The coping mechanisms I developed and used to survive the trauma continued. The effects of my experiences on me did not just disappear. God doesn’t erase the years of trauma. That remains part of my story, but now, in God’s family, that does not define me. It is not my identity any longer.
Adopted: Who We Are
Though I was a victim, I am not A Victim. Now, God calls me My Delight is in Her.
You shall no more be termed Forsaken…but you shall be called My Delight is in Her…
Isaiah 62:4, ESV
Over the years since God brought me into His family, He continues to patiently love me, teach me, grow me into the identity He secured for me on the cross all those years ago. I came to Him scared, unsure how to trust, living still from the identity of my trauma that was so familiar. He came alongside me and still does, teaching me what it means to be Beloved Daughter.
Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows…
Isaiah 53:4, ESV
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty One who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.
Zephaniah 3:17, ESV
This growing into my identity in Him, in His family, is ongoing, yet He is with me daily through it all. He sits with me, listens to me, weeps with me, laughs with me. He meets me in the memories that haunt me, and He joins me in new memories with Him and His family, my family. He shares my pain and my joy, my fears and my courage. It is broken. It is beautiful. It is redemptive. It is adoption.
What identity of your past do you find hard to shake?
Look to your Abba Father who is with you, teaching you, growing you into the identity of His daughter He secured for you long before you knew Him.
His Delight is in You.
If you have found this inspiring, share the encouragement…
I was afraid, and running, and broken; but God loved, pursued, and redeemed me. It is because of this that I am beautiful, and enough.
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