author: Annabelle Tague
It was the eighth anniversary of 9/11-the day I met my little sisters. People had said it was supposed to be one of the most exciting days of my life-something I’ll never forget. It’s true, I’ll never forget it, but I must admit that at the time, I had different emotions mixing in my heart. Only a few days before, my life was perfect-I had a wonderful family and a peaceful, quiet home. Then, before I knew it, my old life began to slip through my fingers.
When we met my two beautiful, black sisters, they were sweet and outgoing, yet their story was painful. Although they were only 3 and 5-years-old, they had endured a lifetime of neglect, abuse, and rejection. Their biological parents lived dark lives, caught in addictions and enslavement to substance abuse. In the womb, my little sisters reaped the negative effects of their mother’s alcohol and drug abuse. When they were born, their mother rarely fed them, changed their diapers, or bathed them. The floor on which they learned to crawl was strewn with open drug baggies and other harmful objects. Their father’s severe, painful abuse was, sadly, a normal occurrence. They constantly lived between pain and hunger. Eventually, after two and a half years of this lifestyle, Child Protective Services removed them from their parents’ care, or lack thereof, and placed them into the foster system.
Despite many foster families’ positive efforts, some of Foster Care is made up of families whose sole purpose in taking in children is for the extra income it provides, a stipend from the state. My little sisters lived in one such home with several other children. They had no father figure in the home, or correct care and attention. Foster Care was simply a holding place until a family came to adopt them.
We were that family. We were the ones who had been appointed, not only to take them into our home as one of us, but to train, nurture, and help them develop into successful young women. In our inquiries leading up that day, no one had told us of the baggage they would bring with them. By baggage, I don’t mean physical luggage, but rather the deep subconscious battles they must fight daily fight a result of their past. We were called upon to help them fight those battles. Because of their background, and by no fault of their own, they were trapped by emotions and thought processes, which were absolutely false. They had been forced into survival mode at a young age, and eventually, it became a way of life.
Retraining minds is no small task, but loving is an even taller order. These little girls had become my younger sisters, and I must love them. Through their emotional struggles, my peaceful, quiet home, easy life, and joy disappeared. Despite my losses, I was to give them my unconditional devotion? No, that was the line. I simply could not love them. I began to put up a false font to give people around me, including my family, the impression that everything was fine. I could not let anyone know the real difficulties I was struggling with-I thought no one would understand.
Over two years went by, I was still bitter. Never in all that time was I selflessly thinking about my family or, more specifically, my sisters. It was all about me and the new, uncomfortable lifestyle I had been given. My whole world had been flipped up-side-down, what else was I to do? I felt like my own home was foreign to me, because every time I walked through my front doors, I was hit in the face with the reality of what my new life was like. I lived in remembrance of the joy I had lost, wishing for peace I thought I could not have.
Then at the height of my pain, I was completely broken of all my bitterness. My hopelessness cracked in one word: Jesus. I was taught through God’s Word that I, in fact, was also lost, I was unlovable and totally undeserving of God’s love. No matter how many times I tried to say I was “good,” I realized that I was just like my sisters. Christ, who loved me despite my sin, was the perfect example of how I should treat my sisters. I thought no one would understand my pain, but really, I was the one who did not understand.
After this realization, my life did not become any easier, but my outlook changed. I was looking at my sisters through a different lens, one of love, not indignation. I began to understand that I was exactly like my sisters. I receive God’s love though I don’t deserve it, therefore I should do the same for my sisters.
Adoption is a beautiful process. It goes beyond the physical realm, and into the deepest parts of the spiritual realm. When we accept Jesus into our lives, we become sons and daughters of the Father-adopted into his kingdom. We are blessed with a love beyond all comprehension. Now that we have Christ’s perfect example, we are called to go and do likewise-to love like Christ has loved us.
My family and I have experienced great amounts of pain through this process, but ever greater is our joy. We have seen Christ literally changing lives. Because of his grace and mercy, we adopted a two year old little boy from the Foster Care system in 2011. He is a blessing and joy to our home. Now, we are in the process of submitting paperwork for yet another fost-adoption.
Because of Christ’s love for me, an undeserving, unlovable sinner, I can now love others with passion beyond my own strength. Although I had to experience pain to realize that fact, I am now more appreciative of my adoptive place into Christ’s family, and am passionate to share it with others.
I encourage you to pray about foster adoption. It is a perfect picture of what the Father has done for us, and a perfect way to carry out his example. Each state has it’s own foster system. Adoption from Foster Care is simple and relatively inexpensive. The United States Department of Health and Human Services stated a few years ago, “On any given day, half a million children are in Foster Care in the United States.” Unfortunately, this large number is rapidly growing. The only way to overcome it is one child at a time. Each one of these children is a human life, waiting to be loved and cared for – waiting for a family. Maybe they are waiting for you.
I am a 14-year-old student, daughter, sister, and friend. It’s through Christ alone that I live, move, and have my being. The Father has blessed me more than I could ask or imagine! (Ephesians 3:20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.)