What if you had never been born?

*This post is an excerpt from a speech I shared at the Life Choice Banquet on October 15th. I cut this down to fit a rather long post. Please don’t shy away because it is long. It has value. I began the speech with telling our adoption story, you can find our story here.

“Many are familiar with the 1946 Film Classic, It’s a Wonderful Life, wherein the character played by Jimmy Stewart gets a chance to see what life would be like had he never been born.” That is the springboard for this speech. The main point of the film is that each person’s life has an impact on everybody’s else’s life. Had they never been born, there would be gaping holes left by their absence. EVERY UNBORN LIFE IS A SEED OF POTENTIAL PURPOSE.

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Ancient Cultures didn’t value life, but Jesus does.

Jesus stepped out of heaven and into humanity. Word became flesh incarnate into the midst of the Roman Empire where human life was considered cheap. Ancient Romans commonly let newborns die. It was a legal and even applauded avenue for dealing with unwanted children.

In this same culture, Jesus gathered the little children unto himself saying, “Let the little children come unto Me, and do not forbid them.: Matthew 19:14a

“Abortion disappeared in the early Church. Infanticide and abandonment disappeared. The cry went out to bring the children to Church. Foundling homes, orphanages, and nursery homes were started to house the children. These new practices based on this higher view of life, helped to create a foundation in Western civilization for an ethic of human life that persists to this day- although it is currently under severe attack. And it all goes back to Jesus Christ. If He had never been born, we would never have seen this change in the value of human life.”- What if Jesus Had Never Been Born?

Jesus was an unplanned pregnancy .We tend to over romanticize the events around Jesus’ birth as if May were floating in the clouds and everything was perfect. Jesus is perfect, the circumstances of his birth were not. I don’t want to tread on anyone’s theology or doctrine, I just want you to think. Do you think Mary sat around writing in her diary that she wished an angel named Gabriel would appear to her and she would become pregnant by the Holy Spirit? Or  do you think she sang her day dream of being overshadowed by the Most High? I don’t think so. What happened after angel Gabriel visited her? Her betrothed was ready to divorce her. How could she explain the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit? How do you think her family and community responded to her pregnancy. Although we know, the birth of Jesus was foreordained, it was an interruption in Mary’s life plan. It shifted her whole world on its axis propelling her into a purpose that none other has ever or will ever fulfill. Jesus is the interruption that changed all of our lives.

There are over 300 prophecies fulfilled through the birth of Jesus. Could we put a dollar amount on his birth? What if he had never been born? We would not be here promoting life. We would not have salvation or the promise of heaven.

None of us would have a true purpose. We would be like those humanists say, a mass of cells who randomly act according to chemical reactions, not the heart. Jesus Christ had more impact on the life on our planet, or should I say his planet, more than anyone in history. It is because of His impact that we can have impact. It is because He foreordained, before the foundation of the world that each us of be born and adopted as his sons because of His kind intent. Jesus fulfilled a multitude of prophecies and his purposed to rescue humanity from death, hell and the grave and restore us to relationship with the heavenly Father. Because of the life of Jesus, we can choose life and trust that every life has a purpose.

just as [in His love] He chose us in Christ [actually selected us for Himself as His own] before the foundation of the world, so that we would be holy [that is, consecrated, set apart for Him, purpose-driven] and blameless in His sight. In love 5 He predestined and lovingly planned for us to be adopted to Himself as [His own] children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the kind intention and good pleasure of His will— 6 to the praise of His glorious grace and favor, which He so freely bestowed on us in the Beloved [His Son, Jesus Christ].

Here’s a story of another life interrupted.

“You’re pregnant, Sally. Just get up and walk around. Your cervix isn’t closed all the way. You will lose this one, but you can have another one later” Sally had a three year old and an almost newborn at home. Sally was adamant pro-lifer. She was determined not to lose the baby and went home and put her feet up.  The baby was born a month early at a whopping 5 pounds. That baby was me.

Can you put a dollar amount on my life? Has what I accomplished made a difference? Does my life have value? Like George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life,  I sometimes doubt my value. During my lowest points, when I have had a bad day, yelled at the kids, cannot accomplish anything on my “to-do’ list, lost everything, I’m sick, fill in the blank, I wonder, would it be better if I had never been born?

I was an unplanned pregnancy. What if I had Never Been Born?

If I apply  It’s a Wonderful Life  philosophy to my existence, I could  list a few things that would not have occurred had my mother walked around and miscarried me. I wouldn’t be standing here promoting life. Three children: Audrey, Amerey and Hunter would not have been born. Four children Damian, Gregory, Ania and Rafal would not have been adopted.  Six grandchildren. I wouldn’t have written a book promoting adoption. We tend to measure life based on accomplishments-curing the common cold, winning Olympic medals, starting a non profit that rescues woman from sex slavery. These are noble endeavors, but let us not miss the many purposes.

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What we often consider interruptions or a derailing of our plan are actually fulfilling a purpose on our path. Interruptions are God’s way of getting our attention. These events that seem to be sidetracks, met with the proper attitude, bring the most reward.

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We often ask God, what is my purpose and if truth be told, he would pull out a bulky book full of your purposes. We may each have unique gifts and talents, but we have an encyclopedia full of purposes. Our lives intersect with others on a daily basis and that one small act that you do in a moment can change someone’s life forever.

Theory of Six Degrees

Six degrees of separation is the theory that everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world, so that a chain of “a friend of a friend” statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps.

What if a person in the chain is lost, not born, don’t you think it throws everything out of whack?

I met Ettica when I was beginning my homeschooling journey and the process of adopting. She and Doug prayed for us and gave us prayer cloths for each child. I hung onto those cloths as if they were life itself. Ettica understood the power of adoption, having an adopted sibling herself. What if Ettica had never been born? Who would have ministered to me at the time? One of the millions of purposes that was given to Ettica was to be in my life at that time. For such a time of this, we often call them interruptions. We have many of those every day.

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Daughter Audrey and I were at IKEA in Pittsburgh with three year old twins, Sam and Theo and baby Lucy ordering our lunch when the alarm sounded and we were told to evacuate the building. We abandoned the stroller and high tailed it out to the van, promising whiny children who expected chicken tenders and fries that we had snacks. We made it to the van and put a few kids in when Audrey shoved a twin in my hand and ran towards the IKEA doors. I looked up to see a mother running with two shoeless children, one slipping out of her arms. Audrey reached her just in time to catch the slipping child. She helped her the distressed mommy to her car and then joined me. That is purpose, people. It’s not always HUGE and it doesn’t make us famous. It means we are connected, we are paying attention, we reach out because we believe in our worth through Christ and because of that, we believe that others matter. Life matters. Every life matters. Every life has potential purpose. EVERYONE.  Life is not measured as one giant achievement, instead it is a great quantity of purposeful moments. It’s the loving friend who supports us in our journey, or the one we meet in the parking lot of IKEA for five minutes.

In Him also we have [d]received an inheritance [a destiny—we were claimed by God as His own], having been predestined (chosen, appointed beforehand) according to the purpose of Him who works everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ [who first put our confidence in Him as our Lord and Savior] would exist to the praise of His glory.  Ephesians 1:11,12

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He works everything in agreement with the counsel and design of HIS WILL. What we deem mistakes, He deems material to work with. Do you think he thought my children being raised in an orphanage across the ocean in Poland where of no purpose or didn’t have value, or didn’t fit into the design of His WILL. Of course not. He had a plan for them. We have to stop listening to the culture of our day that says life is not valuable or that only certain people matter.

One Solitary Life

He was born in an obscure village

The child of a peasant woman

He grew up in another obscure village

Where he worked in a carpenter shop

Until he was thirty when public opinion turned against him

He never wrote a book

He never held an office

He never went to college

He never visited a big city

He never travelled more than two hundred miles

From the place where he was born

He did none of the things

Usually associated with greatness

He had no credentials but himself

He was only thirty three

His friends ran away

One of them denied him

He was turned over to his enemies

And went through the mockery of a trial

He was nailed to a cross between two thieves

While dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing

The only property he had on earth

When he was dead

He was laid in a borrowed grave

Through the pity of a friend

Nineteen centuries have come and gone

And today Jesus is the central figure of the human race

And the leader of mankind’s progress

All the armies that have ever marched

All the navies that have ever sailed

All the parliaments that have ever sat

All the kings that ever reigned put together

Have not affected the life of mankind on earth

As powerfully as that one solitary life

Dr. James Allan Francis © 1926.

How about you? What if You Had Never Been Born?

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Take a minute. Right now. You have a card on your table. Look at it. He who would achieve great things must first be born. That is a powerful statement. You have achieved part one of that statement. You were born. Pat yourself on the back or give your mama a hug.What is your story? What would Dr. James Allan write about you? Take some time, write down a few things that wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t been born.Teaching a class? Helping your dying mother? Grieving with someone. Can you put a dollar amount on that? Choosing life for your unborn child?

How do you measure the value of life? How do you know the potential of a newly formed life in the womb? We don’t. God does.

4Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

5“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,

and before you were born I consecrated you;

I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”– Jeremiah 1:4,5

God knows our potential before we are born. Before we are formed in the womb, He knows us. Nobody is a mistake.

Each of you were knit together with unique gifts, talents and abilities. When you walk in them, you are part of the body of Christ. Some are hands, some are toes, some of you are the brains of the body.

When an unborn baby is being knit together, we don’t know his/her potential. He/she is a gift, a blessing to us, to the world, either to the birth mother who chooses life or the the adoptive family when life is chosen at the great sacrifice and courage of the birth mother.

Although we can’t put a dollar amount on a life, we can value life enough to put our money into helping a woman to choose life. When a woman sees the positive lines on the pregnancy test and she is unprepared, she feels afraid and alone. Shame will keep these women in all kinds of prison if we let it. Her life has been interrupted. At this point,  we, the body of Christ, should value her life enough to invest in her. We should feel compelled to play Father to the fatherless like our heavenly Father. We should walk in His footsteps and bless what He blesses. He says that life is a blessing. Life is valuable. The world was started with One Holy Family, Adam and Eve. God said, “Be fruitful and multiply”. The fruit of the womb is a blessing. Let us acknowledge that by providing support and education.  Let’s reach into our pockets and support those who can acknowledge that everyone deserves a chance to be born. Everyone has value. Each life has a purpose. We don’t want to one day be asking ourselves, why was the person who needed to fulfill a purpose, write a novel, be a missionary to unreached people, teach the special needs children, run the orphanage, be the social worker or take over Life Choice never born? Where was the friend to support us in our time of need or in the IKEA parking lot?  What if the children who need to accomplish these purposes are never born. Let’s do everything we can here, right now to make it possible for Moms to choose life. We must see the potential in the life in utero and the life of the mother. We should invest our capital in those lives.  Every unborn life is a seed of potential purpose.

 

Ten Things This Adoptive Mom Wants Her Kids to Know

“Why did my mom give me up?” That is the question all adoptive parents fear. But here it was coming out of my nearly thirteen-year-old daughter’s mouth. We were sitting in the car in the parking lot, getting ready to go buy card making supplies for her upcoming birthday party.  She asked question after question. It wasn’t that her adoption was a secret. She was four. She remembers living in an orphanage. She remembers her new Mama and Tata living in the orphanage for a month. She flew on the ten-hour flight to Chicago. We spoke of it openly.

 

I didn’t fear the question because I didn’t want to tell her what I knew of her story, but, because I didn’t want to hurt her again. When we adopted her, the caregiver told us that she hadn’t spoken a word for six months after she entered the orphanage with her brothers. She suffered from extreme anxiety when she came to our home. Her new home.

I am familiar with that anxiety. It follows me. Taunts me. After my dad left when I was four, it became my bosom frenemy. I didn’t want to hurt my daughter. I didn’t want to trigger something on this happy birthday shopping day.  I answered. She listened. After the conversation, she seemed happier, lighter. “Thanks, Mom for adopting me.”

There are many blog posts/articles/books about what adopted children would like their parents to know. Those are good. Read them. Today, I thought I’d turn the tables a bit and share ten things adoptive parents would like their kids to know. Maybe we don’t say these things often enough, I don’t.

Ten Things This Adoptive Mom Wants Her Kids to Know

1. I love you. Period. 

I know you hear things like, “How can you love him, he is not your real child?” Don’t listen. They don’t know what they are talking about. Drop the real. You are my child. The world likes to speak in terms of blood. Parenting doesn’t birth only through blood but through the heart. Through commitment. Through sacrifice.  The world views sonship through DNA and genetics. That is not the true definition.

Before I saw your picture, I loved you. I prayed for you. I journaled to you.

2.  Don’t discount your value. You are “chosen.”

Some adoptees struggle with the word “chosen'” because they think it means that they were chosen by adoptive parents to leave their birth family. Some think it is as if adoptive parents are searching for you, find you and take you. Let’s look at the word in a different way. You were chosen to live. You are a survivor. You may have come from traumatic circumstances that could have ended your life (war, drugs, famine, etc.) or you may have been born to a mother who was unable to parent you and chose adoption. You were chosen to live because you are valuable, no matter how much your mind tells you the opposite. It is your choice to believe it. You are valuable. You have a purpose. Your story is unique. Write the rest of your story with this new thinking. I am chosen. I am valuable. God put me in a new family. He has a purpose.

3.  I want to help you with your story.

Many of us spend years of our lives focusing on a few chapters of our life and don’t seem to make sense of it. It’s like reading the same chapters of a textbook over and over and failing the multiple choice questions at the end. It wasn’t until I started writing my memoir alongside our adoption memoir that things started to really make sense. I had grasped bits and pieces of info over the years and had conversations with parents and siblings that made some sense, but when I asked intentionally for the purpose of accuracy that it came together. I found it wasn’t the actual events being historically correct on paper that helped me. It was the pre-suppositions they created. That event is where that feeling started. Hiding under a desk in my dad’s university office invited claustrophobia into my life.  Knowing this helps me discern when claustrophobia will attack and I can be prepared. I put the event in its place.

I see your triggers as well as I see mine. I can help you write your story. You have to trust me. I won’t feel bad if you talk about your birth parents or past events. I can handle it. If I cry, it is not for me. It is for your pain because I love you.

4. My past and your past may tussle sometimes.

It’s normal. Don’t worry. We will make it. Each of us comes into the world in the middle of someone else’s story. Our chapters of origin may be different. There also may be some common denominators. When this occurs, things can get dicey.  We may be hanging onto to each and kicking each other at the same time. When you kiddos had been part of our family for about six months, we took a vacation to the beach. We headed down into the Cheasepeake tunnel.  I gripped the hands of the two youngest (you were crying) while trying to hold on to my sanity (remember- claustrophobia).  Eldest son began a tale of lament, a chapter of his past brought on by the darkness. I tried to listen. Tears trickled down my cheeks. It was a blessing and a curse. I had a bit more of picture puzzle of his story and he had one of mine.

I have spoken with many, many pre-adoptive and foster families through the years. There seems to be a re-occurring theme- one of the parents had a difficult childhood. That difficult childhood gave that parent a heart for hurt children. Therein lies the common denominator. Take two humans who experienced rejection and they may tussle sometimes. It cannot be avoided. No parent can perfectly heal from their past before adopting/fostering. On the other hand, would you want them to? Those who have experienced loss and rejection have something special-empathy. A powerful gift.

5. Your past is my present.

You may not think so based on our busy schedules that we even think about your past and your pain. We do. It is my constant companion. I want to erase it for you, but I cannot. It is part of you. I may not say it often. I may not say it at all because I do not want to be the trigger.

I used to cry while making dinner-a lot. The thought of all the times you kids had gone hungry made me well up from somewhere deep in my gut. I hid my tears because I wanted you to eat regularly and enjoy it. I wanted your new supposition to be – I eat regular meals that mom prepares.

I read this last bit to my daughter. She has been my cheerleader this past week as I have dug deep and come up with these ten things. When I read about the meals, my crying, her being hungry, we both lost it. Faces red. Blubbering. “I’m trying to go to work, mom!” she laughed.  That is why I can’t walk around sharing how much I carry your past. We can’t walk around blubbering all day. Oh, that we could cry one big cry and get it out. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.

My two eldest daughters shared with me that they had the same “past is our present” experience when each of them gave birth. They had flashbacks for their younger siblings, “Mom, they were alone.”  When eldest daughter’s twins had to get some blood work done, she broke down in tears for them and wept for her younger brother who had no one in the hospital with him for the four or five months he fought to live after his premature birth. Your family carries your pain, oh that we could bear it all.

6. Consequences are not rejection- they are parenting.

If I had a dollar for every time a child said I didn’t love him because I gave him a consequence then I would have enough money for a shopping spree. Child, I know you are more sensitive to control. You only like that word if you are wielding it. I know. Me too. I  like to be in control, to know what is next. I don’t like schedule changes (my past and your past tussling). What I do like is character change. I have had to work hard on mine. I don’t like giving you consequences, but I would be doing you a disservice if  I didn’t.

I talked to a Foster Mom the other day at a Thanksgiving gathering for our children. One thing about fostering that shocked her was how much control was given to young foster children. “I understand that they need to feel they are in control, but they are letting them make decisions about their lives that they don’t have the maturity to make.”

I understand. The system is not perfect. In order to make kids feel secure, we give them too much control. It is not good parenting. Kids need boundaries. Staying up all night gaming and not being able to get up for school the next morning is a choice that demands a consequence to lay a better foundation for a stronger character in the future. Which of you adults could tell your boss you cannot make it to work because you stayed up all night gaming and he should be okay with it?

Stealing from siblings cannot be rewarded with ignorance. It must be rewarded with a consequence (working to pay for an item is a great consequence) because I don’t want you to grow up and end up in jail.

7.  We are your family, not a fairy tale.

As an older teen, when I got angry at my mom, I used to imagine going to live with my dad and how perfect it would be. I would be able to do anything I wanted. He lived in Washington D.C. at the time. I imagined myself jetting around the capital on the metro, waltzing in and out of museums and shopping. It was a fairy tale. The truth was -he lived in a tiny one-room apartment (nothing like the spacious ones you see on tv) and he had a grueling, time-consuming job.

We all daydream. We all like to think in terms of our life, what could be, what was, what’s next. We glorify our past or our future. You, child, have a little bit more fodder for that. My kids had been told when they were adopted that they were going to live in Chicago because that is where all Polish people lived in the U.S.. While staying in Poland, I was asked multiple times about my maid (don’t have one) and once charged a million dollars for a dozen rolls at a village bakery because I was a rich American.

We would all love to live in a fairy tale, the ones with happy endings. Wait. Don’t those have witches who bake children for dinner? Or children get locked in towers until their hair grows to the ground. Or step-mothers who send daughters poisonous apples? Who wants to live in a fairy tale? I prefer boring family life anytime. How about sitting in front of a fireplace reading aloud, sipping hot chocolate on a snowy day? Or dinner around the table? How about renting a cabin in the mountains and escaping the scorching heat of summer? Or Christmas, toned down on gift-giving, but full of celebration, family, games, puzzles, movies?

8.  You may have problems, but you are NOT a problem.

I am not a morning person. I don’t wake up with my hair in place and make-up on like women on tv. I cannot function until I have a cup of coffee in my hands and a few ounces in my belly. Too bad parenting doesn’t wait for morning rituals.

Many mornings when my children woke the sun, I had to make some decisions and say some words before my brain engaged. Not always a good thing. That was my problem. It didn’t make me a problem mom. I could wake up earlier and let my brain engage, or I could repeat the cycle. Burn the pancakes or opt for cold cereal when inside I felt guilty for not arising and preparing. Schedules helped. Menus helped. Alarms helped. I was adult enough to admit I needed to make changes. I know, child, sometimes you are not, but that doesn’t mean I see you as a problem.

My family knows I still struggle with being alert in the morning. It is still my problem. It is not me. It is something I deal with. I could blame it on genetics, disease or a busy schedule. Blaming doesn’t help though, does it? It just passes the buck. Instead of blaming, I accept it. I plan around it as much as possible. I used to pick all my kids’ clothes out the night before (or let them) down to the socks. That was being proactive on my part.

You, child, may have problems that you beat yourself up about. Not understanding math, thanks to the result of FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome). You may have a difficult time reading social cues or maintaining self-control. These are problems or a better word-challenges. You may always have them, but you are NOT them. Instead of thinking- I have a problem, think – I have a challenge. How can I overcome it?

I am here to help. My youngest son likes to know certain foods are in the house. It makes him feel more secure. His problem. He often eats all of the security bounty the day it comes home from the store, then he has a week of, “There is nothing for me to eat!”  meltdowns. I took steps to help him. First, I took some of the food up in my room and hid it in my closet. I shouldn’t say hid, he knows it is there, but won’t touch it. The second step, measuring the orange juice. He often drank his share of juice in two days. So, I made him divide the ounces in the carton by seven for the days of the week. He got nine ounces of juice a day and I got an extra measuring cup to wash, but it was worth it! Now, he knows, he can make the juice last a week.  Problem tackled. No meltdowns about juice. Control is in his corner.

9.  I am not perfect.

Biggest understatement of this whole article. I am not, nor will I ever be PERFECT, not on this earth. Please don’t expect me to be. I won’t always react with grace. I will sometimes be selfish. Don’t worry, I get consequences too. I had one this week. Husband Jerry was home and offered to take youngest son and me to see Mocking Jay. I opted to stay home because I wanted to be alone and get away from certain people. Yes, sometimes I will want to get away from you, just like you want to be away from me for a while. As one of my kids says, “I just need to be alone for a while. It’s how I recharge.” I’m thankful she has the wisdom to know that about herself.

Just know this -my isms, my imperfections were there before you were born and although you may act in ways that trigger them and vice-versa, I don’t need to be perfect to love you perfectly. Perfect love casts out fear. The lack of love brings thoughts of fear, torment, and punishment. If you keep in mind that I love you unconditionally while I am being imperfect, then we can build together on that foundation that every human must. This is the foundation of perfect love in an imperfect world. If I yell at you for leaving all of your dirty clothes on the floor and demand you pick it up before company comes, that is my imperfection shining through, my need to be loved and accepted through a clean-ish perfect-ish home. It is not you. It is me. (Please still pick your clothes up for YOU, it is a great life long habit).

A few weeks ago, my two eldest daughters and families came over. One apologized for being late, to which her hubby added, “She can’t leave the house unless it is perfect, every dish put away, laundry put away, everything perfect! I don’t understand it!” To which other daughter and son-in-law replied in unison, “Me too,” “Her too”.  “We got it from Mom!” both girls shared and laughed. Yep, sometimes, I pass down my imperfections. Not on purpose. It just happens. It’s the way families work.

10. You are going to make it. We are going to make it.

Stop right now. Look back. What do you see? Days? Years? Months? Birthdays? Christmases? Vacations? Look for the good moments. Forget the meltdown you or your sibling had before the trip to the state park. Look at that photo of you repelling. You did it. You loved it. When we have negative events in our past, we tend to hyper-focus on them and forget to celebrate victories.

Remember your fear of the outdoors? Now, look at you, the photographer with an eye for detail that most don’t see. You spend hours in the woods. Alone. I am not holding your hand anymore. You are doing it. You are amazing. I stand in awe of you.

 

Remember the day you caught a jar of bees? One stung you. You vowed never to catch a bee again. Remember the time you tried to leap from branch to branch, high in the tree. You missed and landed on your ribs, knocking the air out of you in a crackling whoosh. Now, look at you-winter camping at Dolly Sods, kayaking in on the Cheat, saving lives every day on the Squad.

Remember how you struggled to learn a new language? Kids made fun of you because they couldn’t understand you? You had to start the phonics book at the beginning with your younger siblings.  You triumphed. Speaking is the main part of your job. You didn’t give up.

Most importantly, go back to number one. I love you. No matter what some activist speaking against adoption may say. No matter what a scientist may say about genetics and DNA. They don’t know the truth. Love is a thicker bond than the color of eyes or skin. Connection through adoption is real. You are loved. You are chosen. You are part of the family. You have other chapters in your life, I accept that. Let’s live these chapters right here, right now, together.

 

 

 

Part II of Rafal’s Identity book

Part II of Rafal’s Identity Book

The baby was born on September 12, 1998. His was named Rafal Damian. The birth was premature and Rafal had many health problems. (By now you know the baby is YOU! You had a hole in your heart. You had a cleft palate.)
Rafal stayed in the hospital for four months: September, October, November and December.
In January Rafal was moved to an orphanage.

My life dissolves and weeps itself away for heaviness; raise me up and strengthen me according to [the promises of] Your Word. Psalm 119: 29

Rafal was alone. His birth mother did not stay. Doctors and nurses checked on him, fed him and worked on keeping him alive. When he cried, no one picked him up. He was sad.

He was despised and rejected and forsaken by men, a Man of sorrows and pains, and acquainted with grief and sickness; and like One from whom men hide their faces. He was despised, and we did not appreciate His worth or have any esteem for Him. Is. 53:3

Rafal lived in the orphanage after he was released from the hospital. There were lots of other babies in the orphanage, so it was difficult for Rafal to get held there. WAHHHHH!

Oh you afflicted [city], storm tossed and not comforted, behold I will set your stones in fair colors [in antimony to enhance their brilliance] and lay your foundations with sapphires. Is. 54:11

When Rafal was about a year old, his siblings got a visit from a lawyer.
The lawyer told the children that Jerry and Kathleen Guire wanted to adopt them.
Damian remembered that his birth mother was pregnant when he and the others (Gregory and Ania) were taken to the hospital.

“There is a baby!”


…for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in anyway fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless not forsake nor let [you] down. Assuredly not! Heb. 13:5b

In November 1999, Jerry, Kathleen, Audrey, Amerey and Hunter got on a plane and flew to Poland (where baby Rafal and his siblings were).

Learn to do right! Seek justice, relieve the oppressed, and correct the oppressor. Defend the fatherless, plead for the widow. Is. 1:17

Part III coming soon!

Rafal’s identity book

I accidentally erased my last post on Helping a Child With Identity Crisis! Ania and I were playing around with posting Rafal’s Identity book and I got carried away with the delete button. I may try to rewrite it, but not today.

Below are some photos from Rafal’s Identity book. I made it for him about almost two years ago when he was struggling with HIS story and asking me the same questions multiple times a day. I know the photos are hard to see that is why I added the text. The point is simple. The book is rudimentary. You don’t have to be an artist to make your child one. The TRUTH IS IMPORTANT. The WORD is KEY.

Once upon a time there was a tiny baby being knit together in his birth mother’s belly.
For you did form my inward parts; You did knit me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139: 13

The baby’s birth mother drank alcohol. This hurt the tiny baby’s body. But, God the Father was there.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book all the days [of my life] were written before they took shape, when as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139:16

While this baby was still in his mother’s womb, his siblings- Damian, Gregory and Ania became very ill. Damian was five. Gregory was four. Ania was two.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand will save me. Psalm 138:7

The police came and took Damian, Gregory and Ania because they were not being cared for. The baby’s siblings stayed in the hospital for three months. When they recovered, they were put in an orphanage.

He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger or temporary resident and gives him food and clothing. Deut. 10:18

More of Rafal’s Identity book coming soon!

Where was I born? Who am I?

In the past week, my daughter Audrey gave birth to twins, our school schedule has been upset and we rearranged bedrooms. All of this has put my son, Rafal, into super sensitive, hyperactive and hypersensitive mode.

On the way to the hospital to visit the new twins, Rafal asked several questions about his beginnings. He wanted to know if he had been to the hospital before, if he were born in a hospital, what I knew about his birth. When I answered some of the questions with, “We just talked about that the other day,” he asked the question again. I reminded him of his cleft-palate surgery which was performed in a hospital close to the one Audrey was in.
We pulled into the into the parking lot and he asked, “Did I get my cleft-palate surgery here?”

“No, Rafal, I just said…” and I explained it again. He was unsure of the whole birth of the twins event and this had put him into hypervigilant mode. When he is in this mode, he often doesn’t hear the answer to the question that he asked. Often he just hears a few of the words. He may hear, “blah blah blah hospital, blah blah blah surgery.”

Since he had no foundation of a wonderful birth story, Audrey being in the hospital scared him to death. He had asked me on the way there, “Can Audrey talk?”

“Yes, Rafal, she is fine, she can walk around and eat.” When she had been in the hospital earlier in the pregnancy for pre-term labor, I took Rafal to visit her when her contractions had calmed down. My son-in-law Adam, patiently explained what all of the equipment was and how the staff had been monitoring the babies. Rafal clasped his hands in front of him and rocked back and forth, staring at the remnants of cranberry sauce in a plastic bowl on Audrey’s dinner tray.

“Is that blood!?” he asked.

“No, it is cranberry sauce,” Audrey said. Adam reassured him that hospitals don’t keep blood lying around, they clean it up right away.

The recent birth event has brought many questions to mind for Rafal and even though he doesn’t often remember the answers, I still try my best to give him all the information I have. Unfortunately, I do not have a heartwarming story to tell him, it is a gut wrenching, heart breaking story that no human being, much less a newborn should ever have to endure.

Rafal was born prematurely in a hospital in Poland, where he was left under the care of doctors and nurses for four months at which point he was transferred to an orphanage. He had no Mom there to comfort him, no Dad to pick him up and swaddle him. When he was poked, prodded and tested, he didn’t have parents to comfort him. The first touch he experienced on a regular basis was infused with pain and he is still MAD about it. Because he doesn’t know who he should be ANGRY at, it is usually me or
other family members.

When the twins had to have some tests run after their birth, Audrey told me that she knew that they would be okay, she would be there to comfort them, but she teared up she thinking of Rafal being alone. I tear up every time I think of it. Yes, I am crying now.

At the dinner table this evening, Rafal hammered the questions at us again. He wanted to know how long he was in the hospital when he was born. When I reminded him that we had just talked about the time frame the other day, I asked him to guess. His guess? THREE YEARS. He was adopted at seventeen months.

I wish I could back in time and change his past. I can’t. I told him after everyone had left the dinner table, “God must love you so much. He wanted you to live and he made sure you had a family.” I can’t change his past, but God can heal his broken heart.

As I watched him at the hospital hold his tiny nephew, a new life, a new hope, as he shares in these new lives, I know he will find healing. As he loves these new babies, he will know that is how he should have been loved. He will see that he has a family that loves him that way, right now.