Whenever I think of being abandoned by a parent, three thoughts come to mind.
First Thought: Thinking of children who are in the foster care system. Children and youth enter foster care through no fault of their own because they have been abused, neglected, or abandoned and are unable to continue living safely with their families. According to the most recent federal data, there are currently more than 400,000 children in foster care in the United States. They range in age from infants to 21 years old (in some states). These precious children are in desperate need of love and in need of a safe place to call home. My husband and I have had the honor and pleasure of being foster care parents for the past four years. This wonderful experience has proved to be one of my best successes ever! We’ve enjoyed having the opportunity of providing a strong foundation for every child that has entered our home. Our goal was to ensure that we equipped every child with three essential tools for them to remember for a lifetime 1). Keep Christ first in everything they do. 2). Knowing that Christ loves them and that he will never leave them. 3). Inspiring, encouraging and teaching our children never to allow the fact that they're in foster care define who and what they are nor let that circumstance define who and what they shall become in the future.
Second Thought: Remembering the day that I met my father for the first time at the age of fourteen. During our first meeting, I asked him if I could keep in contact with him and his response was “No, I don’t want to have a relationship with you, ever, because my first and only priority is to take care of my wife and our children, not you.” The children he was referring to were three boys that he had with his wife and two children that his wife had in a previous marriage. Imagine being fourteen years of age and hearing my father say those very hurtful and painful words while looking me straight in my face and knowing that he meant every single word. I said to myself you were supposed to be happy to see me. I’m happy to see you. This was supposed to be the best day of my life. Instead, you’re making it the saddest day of my life. I thought this day was going to be a great family reunion and an amazing start to building a brand new relationship with you, but it’s not. Instead, I’m realizing, that what you’re saying to me is that this day will be the first and last day that I will ever see you, again. So, after speaking to my younger self; I looked at my father, and I smiled at him and I quietly said “thank you for your time, and it was very nice to meet you, and I wish you and your family the best and I will honor your request, and I will never reach out to you, again, because, I don’t want to cause you and your family any trouble.” He said Ok, and I left. Of course, I was devastated.
Third Thought: Thinking of the time that I made the decision to give up my hopes and dreams of being an actress and a television talk show to become my mother’s caregiver at the age of twenty. I made this decision because I believed in my heart that my mom needed me and God expected me to care of my ailing mother.
Growing up I was the apple of my mother’s eye, and I was my mother’s best friend, and she was mine until I turned twenty-five and our loving mother-daughter relationship turned upside down. I didn’t know that making this selfless decision to give everything up to take care of my mother would take me on a tailspin into darkness. After taking care of my mother for several years, I discovered that the deep unconditional love that I had for my mother had caused me to become a victim of my mother’s deceitful and conniving ways. Upon my mother getting better, I decided it was time to live my own life. I decided to get married and move out on my own with my then husband. After making a choice to live my own life, I realized that my mother would stop at nothing to prevent me from being happy. My mother threatened to kill me, and she promised that I would burn in the deep pocket of hell for leaving her, and God would curse everything that I touch, and as sure as God was her witness, God would see to it that I would never succeed in life. Of course, again, I found myself devastated. I never would’ve thought in a million years that one person who I thought would love me forever would eventually become the one person that would deceive, control, manipulate and desert me. My mother is still alive, and we still don’t have a relationship, and she still resented me for leaving her all those many years ago, and she still despises me for not allowing her to continue to manipulate and control me.
You see, it doesn’t matter if you experience rejection as a child or as an adult. It still hurts, and it can still ruin your life if you open the door and allow it to come in to take a seat at the table of your life.
Author: Leslie O'Hare
Excerpt from Be Bold, Be Patient, Be Alert, Be Ready: Overcoming Rejection & Rising to VICTORY