A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words

A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words

From my earliest memory, I’ve known I was adopted. My mom and dad always talked about it, openly and freely. Yet, the unfolding of my adoption story could only happen, as my husband says, in a rural Southern town. Or else a work of fiction. But I promise this isn’t fiction. It’s real life, my life!

I was born in 1974 and my adoption was closed: no names of birth parents, no information, no nothing. Many years later, a mistake made by a worker at the lawyer’s office in this small, Southern town changed everything. That ‘oops‘ provided my parents with information that I should have never had: the name of my biological mother.

At dinner one evening, during my senior year of college (’96), they shared the information with me. My head was spinning. With that bit of information, I realized that all of my life, I had lived less than twenty minutes from my biological family. Through some investigation, I found out my biological mother was in her late 40s when I was born, and that I had many siblings. But I was the only one put up for adoption.

Would you believe that I even attended high school with one of my biological sisters?! She was a few years older than me, but we were in class together. Care to guess which one? Child Development and Family Studies.  Talk about crazy!

In 1997, after one of my concerts, I was able to meet my biological family. The meeting was filled with mixed emotions. No doubt, I was extremely excited to meet them. But I was nervous, too. Not to mention, I loved my mom and dad, and I didn’t want them to ever think they would be replaced. Over the years,  I have kept in touch with some of my biological siblings. Living in different parts of the country makes it difficult, but I am thankful for cell phones and social media!

IFebruary 2000, my biological mother passed away. A few months ago, one of my biological sisters sent me a picture of her when she was in her mid-20s. Since there are only a handful of pictures of her, this one is a treasure, especially to me. When I met her in 1997,  I really couldn’t see any resemblance between the two of us. Yet, in looking at this picture, there is absolutely no doubt that I am her daughter. After years of staring into the mirror wondering who I looked like, I finally had answers…at least some of them.

While I met my maternal side of my biological family, the only thing I know about my biological dad is his name (which I will keep confidential). After a very random sort of events and an investigation on Facebook, I found a picture of him. It totally blew me away, especially after all these years. More than likely, he has no idea who I am. And, ya know, that’s okay.

Even though I haven’t found all the missing pieces of my life’s puzzle,  I have discovered enough to provide me with some clarity of who I am. No, I mean, who I REALLY am. I’m a child of the Most High God. And His hand has been upon my life guiding me and directing me every step of the way.

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, I know God has always been with me in the many circumstances of my life. All of them. The happy times and celebrations, but especially those that have been really difficult and painful. The ones that could have easily turned me far from God. Instead, they caused me to run more fiercely towards Him, even though I had to navigate some rocky terrain along the way.

As I have processed all of this, I have realized this journey has shown me the sovereignty of God, and the reality that He has always had a plan and purpose for my life. You see, I was given the gift of life. But I also received a far greater gift: REAL LIFE, eternal life through Christ. And now, I have the amazing privilege of sharing His Story with others.

“I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born,” says the Lord. (Isaiah 66:9)

This verse has proven true in my life, then and now. I’ve discovered that in order to move forward, I have to look back to see where I’ve been. Not to dwell on the past, but to learn from it. Discovering the handprint of God in every area, aspect and season of my life. Tracing His involvement, even if I missed it in a particular moment. These insights and discoveries have propelled me forward to experience freedom and wholeness.

On my journey, there have been wounds. Some way down deep not visible on the surface. This picture revealed a few. But no matter how my life began, even if it wasn’t under ideal circumstances or if I never have all my questions answered, God will always be there. And I am so thankful for a Savior, the Great Physician, who has healed many of my hurts, but left behind a few scars. Yep! These glorious scars serve as a gentle, but constant reminder of what God has done (and will continue to do) in and through me. Because He does make all things new.

5 responses to “A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words

  1. Thanks for sharing your story Jada. Obviously, I see this from the point of the adoptive mum. I love reading the other side of the story.

  2. Very touching, Jada. Love this.

    And even more, I love how you have seen God’s hand in your life, even in the midst of pain and confusion.

    Such an awesome testimony.

  3. Sweet that you have that picture to add to the richness of your history! So true that the biggest and best piece of our identity is how Jesus sees us–CHOSEN and LOVED!

  4. Pingback: Thirty Days of Thanksgiving: Day 4- My Daughter | Jada Swanson

  5. I read this when you posted it, and again just now, and am savoring the grace & beauty of your story… past, present & future.

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