By the Grace of God

What many people don’t understand is that when you are adopted, you're taken away from your family/previous family. Then you are put in a situation where people say that you are supposed to be grateful. You’ll hear this all the time, “aren’t you grateful,” and “you are so lucky, your parents are so great!”I’m not saying that adoption isn’t a gift, but from the point of view of the adoptee, they aren’t sure how welcome they are or how bad the situation will be. With that uncertainty comes the feeling of resentment and anger. Anger at being adopted, and anger with your parents for giving you up. It can lead you down a dark path. The feeling of self-disgust and rejection can be a side effect of being angry.

My name is Nardos Smart. I was adopted from Ethiopia about 12 years ago. My hometown is Awassa which is about 200 miles away from the capital Addis Ababa. My life has been filled with highs and lows, but it’s been a true blessing!

When I was first adopted, things were fine for the first couple of weeks but after that, I was seriously lonely. I just wanted people who understood who I was and what I needed. It was super hard to communicate because of language barriers. A sense of sadness comes from being adopted, and you are always looking around not sure if you fit in. Not because you are antisocial but because there is a permanent feeling of abandonment left behind. This feeling is triggered every time that you feel angry and as an adoptee, I would test the boundaries. My thought process is that if they don’t love then they will leave too. So, when I got angry, I would say every hateful thing just to see if my new family would leave me too. My family was beyond generous with their love for me. They not only stayed but they reassured me that no matter what I did I would be still a part of the family. I still have a hard time accepting love and feel like I deserve being loved. That’s because you have this underlying feeling that if you were already given up once, which is the chance it would happen again. This is always in the back of your mind and affects the relationships you end up having.


One thing that really helped me was a story I heard about all of humanity being familyless and that God adopted them. With that, we all became a family, a family who is broken and dysfunctional at times but a family. This helped me feel like I wasn’t the only one who was going through this but that there was whole humanity that was going through it too. This dramatically changed my outlook on life. Although I still struggle with abandonment issues, I know at the heart, the issue that all adoptees face is lack of love. When you don’t feel loved by the people who brought you into this world or even by the family you were placed into, it makes you less likely to value life. You don’t care about others and become more internally focused. That is why when someone is adopted they should know they are unconditionally loved. Oftentimes, adoptees will show their need for love in many ways one of them being anger.


I was super unhappy and resentful but by the Grace of God and my family's love, I have grown to see how beautiful my adoption is and how it can be compared to being welcomed into God's family. I have known for a long time that God was the reason behind my new outlook on life. For a while, I wanted nothing to do with God or family. I thought I was independent and original without the need for anything in life including relationships, but God had a better plan for me. He showed me that the way we participate in other people’s lives resembles how we partake in communion with him. God helped me get out of the night of my soul by the love he showed for me through my family and friends. I am a proud adoptee of her nationality, indigent (while totally dependent on God), and most of all in a relationship with God.

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