How my Adopted Daughter Inspires Me

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How my Adopted Daughter Inspires Me - Marty's Musings 

My life changed when I decided in 2008 to have the courage to share our adoption story.

It wasn’t a pretty story all wrapped up with a bow, but a story of heartache and loss, perseverance and God’s faithfulness.

The lows were gut wrenchingly low and the highs were the ultimate sweetness.

A woman standing in a field

As I read back through some old posts recently I came across this one by my youngest daughter who is now 16.

Sweet 16, a gift in a small package.

Stephanie Age 16 - Marty's Musings

(pictures by JLY Designs)

This package is about 90 pounds, has long brown hair and is spunky and compassionate.

My adopted daughter wrote this letter for some amazing moms that have become a part of my life in recent years.

A woman in a blue shirt 

For three years I traveled to Orlando, FL, to meet up with these women who are adoptive and foster moms. Uniquely drawn together through the bond of parenting wounded children, our stories are much the same.

Children with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD, and for many of our kids, just one of their diagnoses) are unlike any other children. Our kids often have a hidden disability, or inability, to connect and develop healthy relationships with anyone. However, the mom is always the one most affected because our kids sense that we are the biggest threat to the wall they’ve built around their hearts.

As I prepared to go to Orlando last year my youngest adopted daughter asked if she could write a letter to the other moms. My sweet daughter Stephanie has made so much progress in healing and is a testament to the love and faith required to parent kids with such tragic scars upon their hearts.

My daughter is a source of hope for many moms where hope may be hard to find. These are her words and her heart.



Dear  Mamas,

It’s been a bad year hasn’t it? People say that it’ll get better, but it doesn’t. You fall to your bed each night, exhausted and broken. You just want to grab your child and shake their shoulders and yell, “ For once just listen to me!” You’ve fallen on your knees, lifted your arms and face to the ceiling and cried “ God, why me?” or “ God take me now!”  But I’ll tell you a secret… sometimes the worst days, are the best days. That worst day of your life could be the starting point of your child’s healing. Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you can get out of that pit.

I might not understand what my Mom went through exactly, but I understand what I went through and what your kid is going through, too. My past might be much easier than your kid, or the other way around, but I still understand. It’s scary to think what I would be like or where I would be if my Mom had given up on my siblings and me. If she had booted us out or put us in a group home. Mom and Daddy were there with me every single backbreaking step. I’ve caused so much pain toward my family. But Mom says she doesn’t regret it, it’s still hard to believe it sometimes though.

Some kids are so damaged they may never heal, but that doesn’t mean your child won’t. And when your child heals you won’t regret any bloody thing your child did (I don’t literally mean bloody). Because you’ll know that the battle is over, there will still be fights, but its over. Your child will be so grateful when he or she realizes, like I did, that their life is so much better.

A field of grass with trees in the background

If gratitude had arms, you would be swept off your feet and you would never touch the ground again. I am SO grateful that my family chose me and didn’t give me up when they found out that I had RAD… tears are falling on my desk as I’m typing this out even now.

God wouldn’t have given you this burden if He thought you weren’t strong enough to handle this. Don’t give up. You’ll gain and lose friends through your life, but God will never abandon you. Don’t give up. I love the verse John says, “ Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let your heart not be troubled, neither let it be afraid”…  Be at peace… don’t give up.

Parenting and Family 

As a soon to be 15 year old, I will confess that I sometimes think that I don’t need my parents and that I can take care of myself. Boy was I dead wrong. Sometime in November, my youth group and me went to a retreat and a diabetic friend got sick. Long story short, she wasn’t taking her medication, so she got sick. Vomiting, shivering, hallucinating, the whole shebang. A friend and me stayed up with her the whole night, sometimes the pain would get so bad she would start screaming.

It was a long night. I wanted and needed my Mommy so bad I would start whimpering when I had time to think. You saved your baby’s life by adopting him or her. They need you, so keep on going. For all we know, God could have made you and gave you life and put you on this earth so you can change lives. That one life, your child, will give other moms hope, like my mom is giving hope to you. They need you.

The other thing that’ll get you through this long journey… is love. “Love is patient, love is kind, love never fails” 1 Corinthians 13:4. Whether the source of love is coming from God, your spouse, your children, other moms, or even pets, you will never go anywhere or do anything without love. With God, other trauma mamas, love and encouragement, you’re Super Mama! Stay strong, don’t give up… stay strong…


A person sitting on a bench 

Lest you think our lives are just unicorns and rainbows, we have fought hard for all three of our adopted children.

Although our oldest of the sibling group is estranged from us, we advocated and fought battles for her to get the help she needed to heal and live in safety.

Our story with her did not have a happy ending as the world sees it, but I know we did everything humanly possible and ultimately it is God who is the divine Healer.

These words from my daughter Stephanie are a huge blessing and don’t come without sacrifice and courage from all of us.

As she said, we are in the midst of the teenage years and are struggling to stay connected while she stretches the boundaries and learns life lessons along the way.  

We constantly battle the lies that Satan wrought in her heart because of her birth story and life of her first two years. However, she is loved, encouraged and challenged every day to become a mighty woman of God.

A woman wearing a dress 

To all moms, both biological and adoptive, I wish you a journey filled with peace, joy and contentment.

As my daughter so eloquently reminded me,

“If gratitude had arms you would be swept off your feet and you would never touch the ground again.” 

Words of Encouragement for Adoptive Moms from Marty's Musings

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  1. I am adopted. My Mom died many years ago. She had adopted 4 and then gave birth to 2 more. I will never forget the moment at her funeral when a good meaning woman asked me “So are you one of her real children?” I was only 17, yet I somehow was able to to tell this woman “I think my Mom thought we were ALL her real children.” The woman was certainly embarrassed.
    I abruptly stopped while I was looking at your cute blog when I saw the title – “My adopted daughters room.” I see you are huge supporter for adoption. Thank you!!!
    But If you were my Mama I’d ask- “Can’t I simply just be your Daughter? Sincerely, D

    1. Hi, Dani. I am so glad you left a comment and I’m so sorry for the loss of your mom. We never introduce our adopted kids as “our adopted kids” but since my blog began as an adoption blog and I want to be an encouragement to other moms whose kids have struggled with attachment, I do use headlines and graphics that will draw people to my blog. My adopted kids know that they are “chosen.” Not only by us, but by God. Our bio kids didn’t have a choice but we DID choose our adopted three.

      I appreciate your thoughtful comment and I know your mom would be proud of you! Blessings!

  2. I really don’t know why I found this article. It was of God.
    I read it to my husband and we cried together. It has been a hard/broken two years. Our daughters are hurt, RAD..
    They are beautiful and broken. We are totally dependent on God. Thanks for sharing. We will pray for your family.

    1. I am so glad you found this post. There is so much more of our journey under the adoption archives (under the family heading). I pray you are encouraged in knowing you are definitely not along. Blessings!

  3. Pingback: Grieving Process
  4. We are smack dab in the middle of very hard. I desperately needed this hope. Thank-you Stephanie.

    1. Hi, Dawn. I’m so sorry it’s taken me so long to respond to your comment. I’m so sorry for your hard times. I’ve been there and want you to know you’re not alone. I’m so glad my daughter’s story and words could encourage you. Blessings! Marty

  5. What a beautiful heart you have Stephanie and what a talented, expressive writer you are. It sounds to me like the Lord knew exactly where you needed to be–together. God makes no mistakes. I wish you all a life filled with health, happiness and love and I will pray for your family. Marty you and your husband are exceptional parents and it shows in how your beautiful daughter expressed herself.

    1. Karen, thanks for taking the time to leave a comment and encourage us! I still look back in amazement at this letter and the heart that it flowed from. It’s been a long journey that is far from over but these moments are precious!

  6. Thanks for sharing Marty. Would you share this part with your daughter for me?
    Beautifully written Stephanie. I am so proud of the young lady you are becoming, lovely inside and out.
    Keep your eyes on Jesus and wrap yourself in God’s love and you will became all that He has for you.

    1. Hey, Marcy. I read Steph your sweet words. Thank you for encouraging her! She has grown and matured and we’re excited to see how God will use her story in the future. Love you!

  7. As a Trauma Mama myself Stephanie’s words just caused me to weep. Weep with joy that healing DOES happen. Weep with joy that happy endings ARE possible. Weep because of the pain…lots and lots of pain…..weep for the frustration….weep due to my feelings of utter failure. BUT GOD! Thank you for sharing and thank you for encouraging me tonight!

    1. Hi, Lisa! Thanks so much for sharing. I know that you know the work that has happened to even make this post possible. I have wept for many years because the pain was overwhelming and the journey so lonely. It’s why I started blogging in the first place. I didn’t want to lose sight of how God brought us together. My goal is still to be an encouragement and I’m so glad I could be that for you tonight. You are not alone and you’re certainly not a failure! Blessings, Marty

  8. Found this post on google +. What an amazing mature and heart felt letter; thank you for sharing. You must feel very proud of her. My sweet Meg wrote a post just for me and her dad too that I finally got posted today. She is a treasure, this child of our heart; a blessing.

    1. I’m so glad you found me, Linda! I am definitely proud of my daughter and our whole family and the work and healing that has happened. I have tons more adoption stories if you look under the family tab at the top of my blog you’ll find them there. Blessings!

  9. Sweet story. There are always tough times with children but at the end there is always love.