I found myself truly moved today watching a short video from a young woman adopted as a child from Romania, Chelsea Sobolik. In it, she reflects on her life journey with an honesty and simple beauty that brought tears to my eyes.
So often, when adoption is spoken of, it is with an accent on only one part of the story: just the sweetness and redemption of it all… or only the hurt and brokenness encountered along the way. This tended toward the former in the past, while recently it’s been much more the latter. Both are part of the whole truth, and the whole truth isn’t fully revealed when part is left out.
Chelsea brings the two together – simply, earnestly, beautifully. She names the hurt yet does not allow it the final word. She describes the beauty without pretending that many hard things don’t come alongside it. She points to unanswered questions but does not give them the power to consume. She describes redemptive work, but reminds that redemption will never be complete until heaven. She acknowledges that adoption is a defining part of her life, but asserts that who she is is much larger than the fact that she was adopted. Ultimately, she finds her deepest identity not in things that happened to her, but in her family, in her sense of calling to love and serve, and most of all, in being a beloved daughter of God.
In truth, these are the things that every single person on earth most needs if we are to live whole and vibrant lives. We can all learn from what Chelsea says. For none of us are likely to thrive until we can speak of our own stories this way, too.
I’d add, too, that I have the privilege of seeing Chelsea in action here and there in Washington, DC – in Capitol Hill meetings, social gatherings, and coalition groups we’re both part of. The poise and grace so visible in the video is what she brings to everything she does. Chelsea is the real deal. The fruit of the understanding, commitments, and identity she holds is good fruit. Very good.
This video is part of the Hope for the Journey conference created by CAFO member Show Hope to help adoptive and foster parents as they love, care for, and work to bring healing to the young souls entrusted to their care. (The conference aired live on April 9, 2021, and is available for streaming through the end of May 2021 – more on that HERE.)