November is Adoption Awareness Month. So I’m featuring here an author who has a book that considers all sides of the adoption triad.
SG: You are a reunited birth-mom—a woman who made an adoption plan for her baby who has met her biological child as an adult. Was the the day you met your birth-daughter a happy one?
Christine: Sadly, no. It was as painful as the day I said goodbye to Sarah as a three-day-old baby in 1979. In fact, more painful. At least on the former day, I was filled with faith that she and I would be reunited one day when she became an adult. For the next twenty years as she grew up as another couple’s child, I prayed for the time when I would see her again. But on that day, Sarah’s mom and dad were extremely upset by my desire to meet the now-adult Sarah. They couldn’t bear the thought of meeting me nor understand why I would want to meet them. In fact her dad was very much against the whole idea of our meeting.
This put a lot of pressure on Sarah, and the day we met again, she came across as very distant to me. This broke my heart, taking away all the faith that I had that she and I could develop a close birth-mother/birth-daughter relationship—one different from what she had with her adoptive parents, but special none the less.
SG: So how did you feel about adoption after you met your birth-daughter?
Christine: For the first twenty years after I said goodbye to Sarah, I considered her and her adoptive parents a package deal—something God had put together. I loved them as much as I loved her, and I wanted a relationship with them as much as I wanted a relationship with Sarah. Discovering that they did not feel the same way about me brought back all the emotional pain of the initial decision.
As a birth-mom, I was already struggling with the losses of that, and the delicate but subversive ways my psyche had been affected by making an adoption plan for my child—even though I’d made that sacrifice in her best interests. Seeing my grown birth-daughter and all that I had lost, I believe I realized for the first time the full extent of my choice.
The emotional pain brought on a clinical depression that lasted two or three years. I began to look at Sarah’s adoption through fractured lenses. All the joy I’d felt about giving my child a better home life than I could have offered her back then dissolved into bitterness. I suddenly felt hood-winked by God, feeling that He had tricked me into giving Sarah up. I thought He obviously gave Sarah to her adoptive parents because He didn’t consider me good enough to raise Sarah. And if I wasn’t good enough to be Sarah’s mother, I must not be good enough for the children I had with my husband.
Naturally this wasn’t the truth, but when we are depressed we don’t see things clearly. At that time, I wished I could turn back the clock and keep my baby.
Jealousy grew inside me at a frightening rate. There always had been a tiny bit of jealousy that someone else was raising my child, but it grew into a monster. As a Christian I was turned inside out, hating myself for this jealousy, and yet unable to pull myself out of my emotional tailspin.
SG: Do you still feel that way?
Christine: No, thank God. Depression and emotional trauma do not heal overnight, and we often need professional help. I had a great counselor who helped me move on from those destructive emotions and began to search for the real me. So often traumatic experiences stop people from reaching emotional maturity. My husband was also an amazing help, and one day he brought me a new journal and pen, and said, “Here honey, write your story.”
Also, through the verse in Isaiah 49:15, 16 I realized that my crazy love for my children (including Sarah) was nothing compared to the immense love God the Father had and has for me. That was the beginning of healing.
It took time, but gradually I began to lighten up on Sarah’s adoptive parents and recognize their right to their private life with Sarah. As I filled up on God’s love for me, I was able to love them again the way I first had when Sarah was a baby.
SG: How do you feel about adoption today?
Christine: I beg pregnant women today to consider adoption as an alternative to abortion. It’s a wonderful choice. But if the pregnant woman is able to keep her baby, I wholeheartedly encourage her to do so. I’ll be honest, making an adoption plan for your baby is one of the hardest sacrifices a woman can make. But I have also found that we can turn to God in our greatest need, and He is there with leagues and leagues of comfort and love, and new joys to replace our sorrows. It wasn’t easy for me, but now I can say, that because I truly love Sarah, I cannot imagine her life without her adoptive parents and brothers.
SG: Will your memoir hurt my feelings as a woman who struggled with infertility?
Christine: Since my book braids the stories of not only birth-moms and birth-families, but also that of adoptive moms and dads, I do not believe anyone will be hurt by this book. All the authors in this memoir tell their own stories in their own words, holding nothing back. So, Sarah’s adoptive mom, Anne, tells it like it was as a woman who could not bear children. She also shares openly that having me in Sarah’s life as her birth-mom is still difficult for her. She adds that if she could, she’d rather that I wasn’t in Sarah’s life at all these day, even admitting that this is selfish.
I too, share honestly that I was jealous, angry with her, and selfishly thinking only of my own emotions during the years just after I met Sarah as an adult.
Sarah, too, shares her journey both as an adoptee and also as a woman hurting over the loss of eight miscarriages. The pain of infertility is well shared in Finding Sarah, Finding Me.
Yet while our honesty is brutal at times, it weaves a bright ribbon of hope throughout for those who might be hurting with the issues of infertility and adoption.
SG: How can your book help the various sides in adoption triads?
Christine: Finding Sarah, Finding Me can help:
- Women who are pregnant, unmarried and afraid, if they want to know the emotional truth about making an adoption plan for their baby—that while it hurts immensely, there can be joy. It is my prayer, that this will encourage more women to consider adoption instead of abortion.
- Infertile people will be encouraged to have their voice recognized.
- Adoptive parents will feel affirmed in their mixed emotions regarding the frightening prospect of adoption reunion. This memoir shows various types of reunions—some that went beautifully well and created unique blended families, and others that did not. People are made up of such different emotional stuff. Not all should go down that road.
SG: You’re a fiction writer; why write this memoir now?
Christine: My desire to tell my birth-mother story got me started writing in the first place. But the timing wasn’t right after I met Sarah as an adult in 1999. It took seventeen years for the Lord to work on everyone’s heart, to heal old emotional pain, so that the memoir could be published and no one be hurt by it. During those years of healing however, the Lord encourage me to tell my story in Christian fiction, which has won numerous awards.
All the spiritual depth of my heartache and depression are in my novels, in the hope of encouraging others. Life is not easy.
Sometimes it is only through giving up our hearts that we learn to trust the Lord.
Adoption. It’s something that touches one in three people today, a word that will conjure different emotions in those people touched by it. A word that might represent the greatest hope…the greatest question…the greatest sacrifice. But most of all, it’s a word that represents God’s immense love for his people.
Join birth mother Christine Lindsay as she shares the heartaches, hopes, and epiphanies of her journey to reunion with the daughter she gave up—and to understanding her true identity in Christ along the way.
Through her story and glimpses into the lives of other families in the adoption triad, readers see the beauty of our broken families, broken hearts, and broken dreams when we entrust them to our loving God.
Read Chapter One of Finding, Sarah Finding Me: Click HERE
Christine Lindsay is the author of multi-award-winning Christian fiction with complex emotional and psychological truth. Tales of her Irish ancestors who served in the British Cavalry in Colonial India inspired her multi-award-winning series Twilight of the British Raj, Book 1 Shadowed in Silk, Book 2 Captured by Moonlight, and explosive finale Veiled at Midnight.
A writer and speaker, Christine, along her husband, lives on the west coast of Canada, and she has just released her non-fiction book Finding Sarah, Finding Me: A Birthmother’s Story.
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