Devotional · Stay Sane

Adopted: Knowing Who We Were, and Who We Are

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.

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.

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.

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.

Your turn…

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.

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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.

Jenna Christina

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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Written by Kelly
Hi. I'm Kelly. I'm a wife and a mom to three, soon to be four, amazing little (and not so little) kiddo's who I also happen to homeschool. I'm a writer and poet, sister and friend. I'm a survivor of childhood trauma, in the middle of a healing journey. Yet more than any of that, I am a daughter of God, who has renamed me "My Delight is in Her" (Isaiah 62:4), and I am learning to live daily in that incredible truth.

12 thoughts on “Adopted: Knowing Who We Were, and Who We Are

  1. What a beautiful arc from what is happening in your life right now, to the salvation and adoption secured by our sweet Jesus! I know you and your family are so eager to wrap your hearts around that sweet little girl! She will not only be your beautiful daughter, she will be a daily reminder to what God has done for you, for us all. <3 Thank you for sharing your heart Kelly. Continued prayers for the weeks to come in the adoption process and the time to come after when she is finally at home!

  2. This is so exciting! My husband adopted his step son’s last fall and it was such a small thing, but such a perfect picture of the gospel to me. Nothing really changed. Just their last name. But legally, they are his. He loves them just like he did before, but now if anything happens, he can step up and step in in a way he couldn’t before. Congratulations on your new little girl.

  3. One couple I know who went through the adoption process revealed how it’s not all smiles and wonderful when you adopt a child. They talked about how hard it is to know their child had a completely different life before them, and that nothing will be able to erase those memories. BUT God is so good in how He heals and comforts during those difficult times. This is a beautiful article highlighting God’s character and our place in His family. 🙂

  4. Such an awesome comparison! As a therapist, I’m so happy that you have a clear understanding that life if still going to be hard for your little girl and for the family. As a Christian, I nod in agreement at all you describe from our own lives prior to Jesus and the transitions and pain that can continue to endure yet with time heal. Congratulations on such a beautiful journey!

  5. Oh yes, “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”.
    I love the post.

  6. What a beautiful testimony of not only adopting and giving a new life to this little girl but of God’s redemption to us.
    My identity is not what happened to me in my past, but what God has done and the future He blesses me with!

  7. Congratulations on this new and wonderful journey! Praise God for people like you who realize the beauty and importance of adoption. Such powerful words you have shared with each one of us as a sweet reminder that we are adopted and made new when we come to know Jesus Christ as our Savior. He is our heavenly father who has adopted us as His children. As we grow that relationship with Him we draw nearer to him and his eternal love. Blessings to you and your family <3

  8. What a beautiful journey! Congratulations on your new little Fox. 🙂 The world loves to tangle up our identity so we can get tripped up believing what God’s truth about us. As God’s children although the world will call us orphans, God never has left us. He has been our Abba, Daddy before we were conceived. Many Blessings to all of you! You are rich in His identity!

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