“Abandonment is an act carried out by someone who leaves someone alone and feeling helpless. Often, the person doing the abandonment is running away from their responsibilities as a spouse or a parent.” The Agony of Abandonment https://cptsdfoundation.org/2022/08/29/the-agony-of-abandonment/
I do some genealogy work on Ancestry and I found that my husband’s great-grandmother, Minnie, was born in Norway out of wedlock in 1871. Her biological father abandoned her and her mother and immigrated to the United States. When Minnie was five years old her mother married and Minnie was officially adopted and given the name of her new father. The new family also left Norway and came to Michigan, where Minnie married and became the mother of fourteen children.
Abandonment leaves psychological scars, as does shame. I imagine there was quite a bit of shame with unwed births back in 1871 in a small town in Norway. Being adopted and given a name and then moving from that small town where everyone knew her shame to a new country where no one knew her past probably helped. Apparently, the secret was kept. My husband had no idea of this part of his family’s history. But it made me wonder about Minnie. Did she carry the burden of hidden pain and shame her whole life, or did she find healing?
“Nothing can shake the soul of a person more than abandonment. No matter what time of our lives it happens, it is excruciating and life-altering.” — ibid.
But there are other ways to experience abandonment besides being physically deserted that are just as destructive.
According to WebMD, emotional abandonment occurs when parents:
- Do not let their children express themselves emotionally
- Ridicule their children
- Put too much pressure on their children to be “perfect”
- Treat their children like their peers 1
Nicholle Maurer of Seattle Christian Counseling offers a comprehensive list of children’s emotional needs that are not met when emotional abandonment occurs.
“All of us are born with basic needs since we are created in God’s image. God has designed families to meet these needs for us. However, many children did not experience the fulfillment of these needs, which can lead to problems in adulthood. These are the needs all of us have, starting in childhood:”
- To be loved
- To have companions
- To be nurtured
- To be valued
- To be listened to
- To be understood
- To be appreciated
- To be accepted
- To receive affection2
I decided to look at these basic emotional needs of a child in light of scripture and I found that our loving Father fulfills them all. Whether we have suffered from physical or emotional abandonment, there is one who is always with us, one who will never abandon us – physically or emotionally – one who fulfills all of our needs.
To be loved
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16
The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3
To have companions
I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid … Luke 12:4
This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not understand what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because everything I have learned from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you. John 15:12-16
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God … Ephesians 2:19 (ESV)
To be nurtured
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Philippians 2:13 (NLT)
Father to the fatherless, defender of widows— this is God, whose dwelling is holy. Psalm 68:5 (NLT)
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm 91:4
The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. Psalm 103:13 (NLT)
To be valued
Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Matthew 6:26 (NLT)
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9
To be listened to
Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice. He redeems my soul in safety from the battle that I wage, for many are arrayed against me. Psalm 55:17-18 (ESV)
He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. Psalm 145:19
I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears … This poor man called, and the Lord heard Him; He saved him out of all his troubles. Psalm 34:4, 6
To be understood
This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. Hebrews 4:15 (NLT)
For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust. Psalm 103:14 (NLT)
To be appreciated
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah 3:17 (ESV)
He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me. Psalm 18:19 (ESV)
But the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love. Psalm 147:11 (ESV)
For the Lord takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation. Psalm 149:4 (ESV)
To be accepted
Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” Galatians 4:6
God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. Ephesians 1:5 (NLT)
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— John 1:12
And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:18
To receive affection
Jesus looked at him and loved him. Mark 10:21
I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. Jeremiah 31:3 (ESV)
Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close. Psalm 27:10 (NLT)
The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. Deuteronomy 33:27
Minnie’s obituary notes that she was “a devout member of Bethany Methodist Episcopal Church.” I hope that she found healing and comfort in the arms of her loving Father God. If you carry the scars of abandonment, let God take you into his loving arms. Jesus made the way by what he did on the cross out of love for you.
But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5 (ESV)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:4-6 (NKJV)
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)
For the Lord will not forsake his people; he will not abandon his heritage … Psalm 94:14 (ESV)
The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. Psalm 23:1 (NLT)
2Nicholle Maurer, Emotional Abandonment, How to Recover https://seattlechristiancounseling.com/articles/emotional-abandonment-how-to-recover
Image is a photograph of Helmine “Minnie” Andersen, my husband’s great-grandmother.
3 thoughts on “Abandoned, Yet Adopted”
Loved this! Such a moving heart warming story.
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Thank you so much John!
♥️🥀 blest to read.
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