I recently spent a unique weekend at a “reunion” of people who are Georgia Tann babies. If you do not know, for three decades Ms. Tann ran an orphanage/clearing house that placed babies for adoption in the Memphis area and all over the United States. The downside of her business was the method by which she procured these children. Some were stolen from their families, others were purchased from family members who had fallen on hard times, and some were just given to her.
Since Ms. Tann ran the Tennessee Children’s Home Society in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, those of us at the reunion were in our seventies and eighties. Some had researched to find their birth records, some had networked with adoptive family members, and some had used such programs as 23 and Me. The point is all were looking for information about their birth families: parents, siblings, etc. All adoptees would say something about their “lives not being complete,” “a piece of the puzzle missing,” “a yearning for knowledge of their origins,” or “who had loved them first IF they had been loved at all.”
Inadequacy and Incompleteness
I had some of the same feelings of inadequacy or incompleteness growing up. As you might have guessed, I am one of the over 7,000 children (6897 to be exact) adopted from this home. However, since I gave my heart to God at age ten, He has made up for my feelings of abandonment.
In connecting with the other adoptees and in the process of helping two authors publicize their new book about 15 survivors of Georgia Tann, I have had several opportunities to share how God shaped my life. I hope each person who asks me about my story takes away this one belief of mine.
I am not attempting to teach a history lesson on the shameful business practices of a very greedy social worker who trafficked in children. My point is that all of us are like these reunion adoptees who were longing and searching for a sense of their origins and a reassuring love. Psalms 139: 13-14 recounts David’s praising God for being his creator. God created each of us with a purpose. Each of us is unique. Each of us has the ability to reach for our divine creator as He reaches for us.
God’s Hand in Our Lives
In my opinion, God does not force Himself upon us. Instead, He waits until we turn to Him for redemptive guidance and then shows us that He loves and cares for us individually, as would a loving parent, only with infinitely greater love.
Those who are unhappy and feeling incomplete, who are looking for someone (or something) to feel whole, only need to look to the Savior with his outstretched arms and loving eyes.
I know God has had His hand in my life. I was adopted by loving, Christian parents and had a husband and two children I love dearly. God’s hand led one maternal half-sister to find me and led me to connect with a paternal half-sister.
Has my life been a bed of roses? No, but in the bad times, the dark times, the times of heartbreak and sorrow, God has walked close to me. He leads, guides, and supports me and when necessary carries me along as He whispers words of encouragement.
I was not wanted by my birth mother. I don’t know if she (1) gave me away to get me out of her life, (2) sold me to make a little extra money or even, (3) hoped I could have a better life with other parents. I do know that God cherishes me and that more than makes up for my rocky beginnings.