Choosing the Healing

I haven’t shared about adoption or foster care work here, but we are immersed deeply in both of these as a family and community. There is such deep wounding in people from their pasts and ALL families serve dysfunction with dinner regularly (yes, even yours & MINE!).
As an adoptive momma I speak regularly to my baby about her adoption and first mom (if you need help with this get this book immediately:


as a foster care momma I daily open conversations with my little guy about the love and affection he has for his mom, listening to his answers and reminding him how much he is loved by his first family and encouraging him to look forward to their visits. It’s a juggling of emotions most days, he has anger and love, confusion and forgiveness, frustration and grace all overwhelming him at once. I believe a lot of his issues stem from his mom not choosing healing, and she has a right to not choose it! Emotional healing is really hard work, but I read this article and have excerpted a few items which really spoke to me about my own responsibility to choose healing.

“I believe that every single one of us is responsible for healing our trauma, and for our impact on others when we fail to do so.”

“My wounds, or rather my actions as a result of my unhealed wounds, were injuring those around me on a regular basis. My closed heart, which I perceived as protecting me from further betrayal, led me to treat others with heartlessness. The numbness that kept me from thinking about how I had been hurt, led me to overlook the ways I was disregarding the needs of those closest to me. My refusal to feel the shame that had been inflicted on me, made me righteous towards those who failed to live up to my standards. And I have concluded from this experience that there is no buried trauma that does not cause negative consequences to others. It is not a benign act to bury our pain within ourselves. It is not solely our private concern. It impacts everyone around us. It makes our heart a little more closed, our tempers shorter, our smiles smaller, our trust truncated, our paranoia greater, our judgments sharper and our words harsher. It makes us wounders of others. It makes us inflictors of pain.”

“But I tell you, you are responsible to others for healing these hurts. I believe I have come honestly by my opinion that birth mothers are responsible to heal their pain. And I believe those who would “protect” them from feeling their pain are misguided in their understanding of personal responsibility. I do not believe it is okay to say twenty, thirty or forty years later, “I don’t want to think about it”, or “I don’t want to feel anything about it”. Not when another person’s identity, heritage, medical history or humanity is at stake. The price of a birth mother keeping her pain locked in the closet is being paid by another human being. And just like all the rest of us, her responsibility is to heal.”
Copyright 2013Karen Caffrey, LPC, JD

These words have penetrated me as I see first moms hurting their children because of their unwillingness to dig deep inside, feel the gut wrenching pain of their own childhood and find the healing.

And these words from sweet Deanna (

Hurting people hurt people, and when we refuse to heal, the negative impact of that choice is incalculable.
We all have the freedom to say no to healing.
And, what is the opposite of healing?
It is sickness.

When we argue our right to say no to healing, we argue our right to be sick.

Arguing the right to NOT heal is an old argument…

The mothers who defended their right to stay unhealed reminds me of the story of the lame man in John 5 of the Bible.

“Afterward Jesus returned to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish holy days. Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda, with five covered porches. Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed—lay on the porches. One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?” “I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.” Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!” John 5:1-8

This man was sick for thirty eight years.

Clearly, he was dealing with long-term, debilitating pain. And, he had a choice to stay sick, or pursue wellness. Instead of pursuing wellness, he made excuses. For thirty eight years.

He lamented that no one was available to put him in the pool.
He complained that somebody always got there ahead of him.

Jesus cut through his excuses and asked, “Would you like to get well?”

A question still relevant today…

No matter who we are, Jesus is still asking each one of us, “Would you like to get well?”

Sadly, some will defiantly say, “NO!” and defend their right to stay sick.

First mother, adoptee, human being, whosoever…there is help for your pain.

As Karen so brilliantly says, it’s not about “getting over it,” it’s about “getting into it.”

I encourage you, get into it.

Run after help.
Real help.

Not “trying it on your own” for 30 years.
Not just reading a self-help book.
Not watching Dr. Phil. (God forbid. Gag me with a packet of koolaid.)
Not quoting a cliche.
Not just talking to your best girlfriend or your sister.

When it comes to something that involves complex trauma, significant loss and grief, God has provided professionals to help us.

Run after real help like your life depends on it — because it really does.

You’re worth it.

Deanna speaks to me on SO many fronts, she has encouraged me to keep my baby’s first mom in contact with her, her original grandparents, aunt and uncle in love with her and my foster son returning to his first original family at the forefront of my mind (when mom chooses healing).