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I am a wife, daughter, mother, bilingual teacher, poet, author, women's Bible study teacher, world traveler, orphan advocate, and an adoptive mother.  Our adoption journey has been filled with a lot of hurt and loss, along with even more hope, grace, and healing.  Through it we have experienced more of God than we ever bargained for and have watched Him miraculously redeem our story when we surrendered all the broken pieces to Him.

Surviving the Valley Series

Surviving the Valley Series
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Friday, March 30, 2012

The need to belong

What's in a name? Apparently so much more than most of us will ever have the need to realize. The day we're born, we inherit a first, sometimes middle, and a last name. Our name was carefully chosen, our middle name either had a good ring to it or has some special significance, and our last name comes from one or both of our parents. It means we belong--to that person, to that family. So what if the one (or ones) who you belonged to abandoned you early in life? Then what? Who do you belong to? Where do you belong? Suddenly there's no one laying claim to you, and that last name you carry with you only screams out one thing--I'm abandoned. I belong to no one.

Julian took the initiative and began calling me Mom about a year and a half ago. A half a year later, he started calling Mike his Dad. Though he was already an adult by then and knew we could never officially adopt him, apparently that was an important thing to him. To have someone to call his Mom and Dad was filling a huge void in his life. To be considered a son to someone meant that he belonged. Around the same time, he started calling David his little brother. Soon the relationships grew and deepened, and I became Mami and Mike became Daddy--to a young man who had just become a legal adult! Every term of endearment he's used with us was completely from his own initiative.

Now that he's legally on his own and dependent on us for the time being rather than the government, he surprised me yet again by showing just how desperately he wants to be a forever part of our family. I found him online the other day and suddenly realized that he'd changed his name and unofficially taken on our family name. Yep. Kind of a humbling moment to be reminded of how great an orphan's need is to feel like they belong to someone, to know that someone will claim them.

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