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The Fight to Belong

Have you ever experienced a moment where you had empathy for an individual and the struggle that they were going through? I mean, you had no direct relational experience with their issue, but your heart went out to them, particularly because you could see the pain that it was causing them. You may have prayed for them or offered them a word of encouragement, but soon you became so self-consumed and self-absorbed with your life and your schedule that their issue was just that…their issue. As sad as it was for them, it had no direct impact on you…until it did.

Let me ask you this:  the last time you filled out an application for employment or answered the questions on a medical history form prior to seeing a new doctor or even completed an application for a new car, did you ever have to stop to ask yourself these questions:

Who am I?
Where was I born?
What is my identity?
Who are my parents?
Do I have siblings?
Is there some major health concern in my bloodline that I should know?

For most of us, these questions are easily answered. But there is a population of people who have never and possibly will never know this information. Not because they were too lazy to search for the answers, but because the law says they are not entitled. Yes, you read that correctly.  There are laws in place in New York and in several other states that make it illegal for this segment of our population to access their identity or obtain their health records. Tens of millions of Americans are blocked from ever accessing their original birth certificates.

A very good friend of mine shared with me his frustrations with not knowing the answers to these questions. I knew that being adopted affected him greatly but, until now, I never really understood the true depth of his struggle. There has only been one other group of people in US History who could relate to what he was going through, only one other group has ever been legally denied access to their birth records…Slaves.  He, being a black man, has been denied the right to know his identity not once but twice. 

This does not affect every person who was adopted, but if an adoptee was born in a state that still has sealed records laws on the books covering the year that child was born, that person is not entitled to know any information regarding said adoption.

This is more than just a problem for those who were adopted. This is an issue for society as a whole. The fight for civil equality was not just a black and white issue. We all have rights to fundamental freedoms in our lives. Part of those fundamental freedoms includes knowing our identity.  How dare law makers decide that any class of people be denied a right to know their identity, to know their ethnicity and to know their health history.

I read an article entitled, “When it is Illegal to Know Who You Are: Adoption & Adoptee Search,  Unsealed Initiative, New York State” by Cynthia Cherish Malaran. The article was written in response to the Assembly hearing for the Adoptee Bill of Rights A909. The author was invited to a public hearing on legislation to allow Adoptees access to their original birth certificates. In the article, she mentioned an  adult adoptee who was there to give her testimony. At this hearing, Ellen Mohr spoke of the void that she has carried in her heart all of her life as a result of being blocked from obtaining her original birth records. At the age of 87, her parting words were presented in the form of a question, “Who am I?”

 

Who am I? Can you imagine? Seriously, can you imagine living 87 years of life never knowing your true identity? Never having the right to find out information relating to your family, never fully understanding what your potential could be because you were never given the right to know your past? Let’s put this into perspective.  Imagine your child being deathly ill, you take them to the doctor in hopes of finding the reason for the illness and most importantly the cure.  The doctor begins asking you all sorts of questions relating to your family’s medical history in hopes of gaining an understanding of what is presently going on with them…You open your mouth to answer the questions only to realize that no words are coming out because you don’t know the answers. Your child could die because you don’t have the knowledge you need to save them.  It doesn’t affect you until it affects you, right?

Granted, I am not an adoptee. I was blessed to know my birth family and I understand many of the giftings and personality traits that I possess, because I have had the privilege to observe similar traits in my family members. I know where my big nose comes from.  I am fully aware of the source of the curves and the shape of my body.  I know the origin of my quirky sense of humor and my artistic creativity.  But I started this blog by saying this struggle did not directly impact me until it did. I have been impacted because I am human. I have been impacted because I believe that everyone should have the right to know who they are. I have been impacted because we all should know where we belong. How can we declare independence as a country and not allow freedom to the individuals within that country?

I hope this blog has opened your eyes and brought awareness to yet another venomous attack on our civil rights. The Unsealed Initiative movement needs our support.  It needs our attention.  If you or anyone you know has gone through the struggle of not being allowed access to their humanity, please encourage them to speak out. The only way we can make a difference is to make a difference. There is currently a bill that has been written to allow adoptees the right to finally obtain their Original Birth Certificates, but it has to be passed before adoptees can act upon it.  I encourage you all to lift every voice and sing.

 

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”

Declaration of Independence

 

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Advertising Moment

I totally believe in supporting small business…we must take the time to support one another. With that being said please take a look at the link to the ad below. If you are in need and are in the Hampton Roads are…Thomas would be a great resource for you ;-).

mail3.homesteadmail

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

I’m Back!!!

Hi Fellow Bloggers,

It has been a long time since my last post.  All I can say is “Life Happens”!  Anyway, I am back and ready to share with you once more.

I am so very excited to announce that I now have a website for my publishing company, Penned for Purpose Publishing.  There are so many great things happening and as I always say…when I am blessed, those who are connected are blessed as well.

Please take a moment to check out my new webpage.  It is www.pennedforpurpose.com.  I would love to get your feedback! 

Til We Chat Again,

Debbie

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

PAY IT FORWARD

Happy Thanksgiving Friends! I love this time of the year because it is a time when many people come together and reflect on all of the things for which they have to be thankful. We realize that even with all of the “bad days” that we have seen, our good days far outweigh the bad!

Let’s take this holiday season to pay our blessings forward. Our pastor reminded us in service yesterday that when we give to the poor, we are lending to God and God, being true to His word, says He will owe no man anything…so in essence, what happens is when you “lend to God” by blessing others…He in turn blesses you 100 fold because His Word cannot return to Him void. Of course, we don’t give or bless others because we want a return on our investment. Our giving should come from our hearts and our commitment to service but isn’t it amazing to know that because your heart is filled with love towards others…God’s heart is filled a million times more with love for you!

So let’s agree to pay it forward this season…it will bring so many smiles to so many faces!

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2012 in blessings, Hope, Ministry, Passion, thanksgiving

 

FREE ON KINDLE

Hi Fellow Bloggers! I have been missing in action for a few weeks…partially because I have been busy and partially for health reasons…I wanted to take a second to check in with you and to let you know that I am running a special promotion with Kindle on my new book Shedding Silent Tears…today thru Sunday (Nov 14-18) the kindle version is absolutely free…yes you read correctly…FREE! Don’t have a Kindle? It’s okay…you can download the Kindle app on your computer or your mobile device. Check it out and let me know what you think :-). Ministry first so if you or someone you know has dealt with crisis situations and found yourself in a hopeless state not knowing which way to turn, this book is for you. It inspires, encourages and offers hope in the midst of it all.

Check out the press release: http://prlog.org/12022683

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2012 in Books

 
Aside

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matt 5:13-16)

IMPART…The business that we create and the services that we offer should not be for the sole resolve of padding our pockets.  There must be something that we give in addition to that product or service.  In order for us to truly be successful in any areas of our lives, we must be willing to impart (deposit) ourselves into others.  We must be willing to impart our wisdom, knowledge and talents with others that they, too, may become successful.  I just went through an amazing empowerment summit that taught a very important principal.  In order for us to go where we see others have gone, we must get a mentor to help lead the way.  If you are already in a place that someone is aspiring to get to, then you should be that mentor.

IMPACT…By imparting what we have been blessed to know into the lives over others, we begin to impact the community at large.  A business person will find very little success in an area that they are not impacting.  To impact means to influence, to effect and to make an impression.  We are called to be salt and light in the earth.  Salt and light are change agents.  They cannot be introduced to an environment and said environment remains the same.  What have you done to change the community around you?  How have you impacted the people that God has placed in your circle of influence?

EMPOWER…When we begin to impart and impact those that are around us, we begin to empower them (allow them to be self sufficient to sustain the changes that were made).  We build relationships with them that will cause them to send others to us so that that too can learn and grow.  It does take money to grow a business but more importantly, it takes investments in people to sustain that business.  If we want to be successful and to make a difference…it must start with realizing what we can offer others and not just what they can offer us.  Don’t settle for being a fly by night business…here today and gone tomorrow.  Be that person that if you were gone tomorrow, the community would miss you!

IMPACTING A COMMUNITY

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

ALONE IN A CROWD

Be strong and of good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them:  for the LORD thy God, he it is that does go with you, he will not fail you, nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

QUESTION…Have you ever been a room full of people and still felt lonely?  I don’t mean a room full of strangers, I am talking about a room full of people that you know and that know you.  A room full of people that love you and converse with you on a regular basis and yet you still felt all alone?  This may just be my plight, but I oftentimes feel this way.  It is rather unusual and if I did not experience it for myself, I would probably not believe it could be possible.  But I do experience it and I know it is real.  Because I know it is real, I know that I am not the only person who has felt this way.

SET APART…It took me a long time to understand this feeling but now God has granted me wisdom in understanding why this happens.  God has sanctified each of us, those who believe on Him.  He has set us apart, we are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood.  Even in the midst of a crowd, He sometimes makes us feel invisible because He is working diligently on our behalf.  It may be to block us from the chaos of the moment, it could be to pull us away from following the crowd or maybe it is simply because He is doing an inward thing in us that does not require an outward audience.  Sometimes we truly must experience what it feels like to be in this world but not of this world.  There is a process that He is taking us through and it feels very lonely.  There have been moments that I have wanted to cry and scream out in desperation.  It is a period of isolation and it does not feel good.  Sometimes it even feels like those around us are ignoring us even though they are looking right at us.  They don’t seem to share our passion, our vision or our urgency.  These are the moments when we need to ask God to speak for your servant heareth thee.

TRANSFORMATION…There is always an incubation period that occurs before a full transition can be visible.  Take an egg for example, before it can fulfill it’s purpose of turning into a bird, it first has to go through a period of being placed in a shell.  The egg is very well cared for by its parent and it is given all of the love and protection that it needs while in the incubation phase.  But when it is time for the egg to transform, it breaks out of the shell and it advances into the form that it was meant to take.  Or even a butterfly,  it starts off as a catepillar.  Have you taken a good look at a catepillar?  There is nothing pretty about it and many times it is stepped on, kicked away or even if it does survive, it is still in a very low place.  It crawls around consuming the dust and dirt of the earth until it is time for it to enter into its place of solitude and transformation.  The cocoon is still visible and we know it is there, but the creature inside is set apart, separated from the environment around it and processed.  When it is time, the creature transforms from a catepillar into a beautiful butterfly with breathtaking beauty and color.  Such is our process.  In order for us to be seen and appreciated for what we are destined to be, we must first endure the lowly places, the secluded places.

BEAUTY FOR ASHES…God will trade you beauty for ashes if you just remain patient through the process.  Being alone in a crowd is not an easy process but be encouraged, if you feel this way, it just means God is doing a right now work in your life.  Allow for the process, endure the loneliness and pain, for it is only for a season.  He is working out destiny in you.  He is shielding you from your environment because He is about to place you into your purpose.  When you emerge, your beauty will illuminate the sky!!!

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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