15 YEARS 15 LESSONS
Updated: May 24
🌸 15 YEARS 15 LESSONS
MAY 5th, 2023, made 15 year of living in the United States. Where has the time gone? I feel l’ve been here my whole life, but also feel It haven’t been long enough 😀
For those of you who have read some of my earlier blog post know, adjusting to a new world and lifestyle was a big challenge, but also a great opportunity.
I truly believed that God was in every detail of my life, and cared about what happened to me. I know God was the one who chose the family I am with now, and how He was behind all the planning, even before I knew what was going on.
My life before being adopted was very hard, chaotic and scary. From sunup to sun down was work (and sometimes play when work was done). My lifestyle was obviously very different. Growing up in a third world country was crazy and there were so many unknowns from worrying about the next meal, where you were living, clean water, sicknesses/disease, family members and on and on.
I was too young to really worry about some of those things, but I was also old enough to know that the way I was living wasn’t right or proper or just good in general. I often felt the worry my mother'ls face carried, but we lived to the best of our abilities.
I was a little seven year old girl who had been praying and hoping for a year and a half that whatever happened next would be a happy and good thing. I knew I didn’t like the situations I was in in the orphanage, and was ready to get out of there. Each time a parent came to pick their adopted child, I was so hoping that that child was me, but I was only disappointed every time- until my turn finally came.
I didn’t know much at age seven, but I knew my American family actually wanted me and cared for me. To say I was happy was an understatement. I felt love for real l and everything was so good! I worked hard to be good and do as I was asked. I had many days where I got mad, upset, angry and overwhelmed because of how hard adjusting was, but the happy and joyful moments totally outnumbered all my other feelings.
When I came to the United States I was so overwhelmed and shocked at everything. One of the first things I fell in love with was “Go fish”. My Dad taught me how to play Go fish before we actually came to the states and I was hooked. I asked him to play it with me every day several times a day😄 I didn't know what enough meant, but my dad was kind enough to keep playing with me. The next thing I fell in love with was “Tuna and mayonnaise on crackers” plain snacks. I was like a little eating monster😂 It tasted so delicious to me I just kept eating them. At that point I wondered if my dad was like “what are we adopting” haha😀 But he was so kind as to let me eat more.
For the past 15 years I have felt and experienced so much Joy and Sorrow, so much Pain and Happiness. Sometimes I still wonder why God chose this path for me. I don’t know what He’s been planning, but I trust it will end up being good, because of the incredible people I’ve been able to meet who have loved and built me. It's been an a life changing journey so far. I don’t know how I’ve managed to make it this far, but here I am😀
Here are 15 life lessons I’ve learned:
Lesson 1: Love is real and true
One of the very first things I noticed about my new family was how real, true and sincere their love was. They weren’t faking to like me nor were they using me, they just naturally cared and loved with all their hearts! That stood out so clearly to me. They taught me how to truly love someone no matter what. I hope to carry that same passion forever.
Lesson 2: Tough but Christlike love
This lesson was harder to learn. My parents sometimes taught me with tough love and I always wondered why, but now I know. I was coming from a place where I knew absolutely nothing more than a few life skills. They had to try and raise me from the beginning on how to care for myself, love myself, prepare me for a judgmental world and things my other siblings wouldn’t have to worry about. I just thought they were being mean and unfair (like any child would) but I just couldn’t see quite yet the bigger picture. I’m grateful they cared enough to do what they did. Sometimes they had to be tough, but it was always with love.
Lesson 3: The importance of good sibling relationships
I’m just going to say it again and again, I absolutely LOVE my sibling! They are all such good amazing people. From the moment I met them I fell in love with them. We always had fun playing with each other and having movie nights. They’ve all taught me so many good life skills and lessons. Some of my favorite things to do with them are singing and dancing (oh how they’ve enjoyed my singing over the years haha 😂) They’re irreplaceable gems!
Lesson 4: God is real God is good
I always knew God existed, but I didn’t really understand that He is a real being, and is our loving Father. Once I was taught how real God was and how He could be a part of my life just as my family is physically, it changed everything for me.
Lesson 5: In everything Pray
Learning and practicing prayer was so fun for me as a child. My church primary teachers made praying something exciting and good. I mean treats and snacks were included but the actual message eventually got across😀
I found myself turning to Prayer all the time and that’s when I began to learn the kind of strength and power that comes from a single child’s prayer!
Lesson 6: Don’t compare myself
I took a good while to learn this. It was so easy for me to compare myself to my sisters. Besides our physical differences, I wanted so badly to be like them. I didn’t like that I was different, and I thought different was bad. I thought If I was like them things would be easier (I know, it’s silly) I wish I looked like them and could be cool like them😀 I eventually learned to love and except myself and why God made me the way He made me.
Lesson 7: Learn to accept my past
I’m still on this journey. My parents taught me that in order to have a good Healthy life and future, I had to acknowledge and accept my past. I had to learn to work through my trauma and the difficulties. I honestly didn’t want to. I could have carried less to do that. But the more I tried to move on and have a better life, the more I struggled and struggled. I fought this for a long time- all the way into my teenage years. The thought of just accepting all that I’d gone through didn’t seem fair, at all. No matter how much I worked to move on, I’d find myself in the same spot over again ⬇️
Lesson 8: Giving my pain and life to Jesus
This is probably the most successful decision I’ve made. After I finally realized I could NOT do it on my own, and how tired I was of being defeated over and over again, I finally decided to give it to the Lord. BEST DECISION EVER🙌🏾 I’m not even sure how to put it into words. I just basically handed Christ all my pain, trauma, and damage I’ve been through and I felt so great. I felt a weight lift off me and it felt great. If you are looking for relief, PLEASE turn to God and Jesus.
Lesson :9 Life is beautiful
Since before my adoption I’ve always loved being outside in nature. I loved the sun and how it felt on my skin. I loved watching the birds fly, the flowers come to life and I especially loved butterflies (and still do). The little things excited me and helped me appreciate the simple beauties! I feel at peace when I’m outside in His creation!
Lesson 10: It’s ok to cry and feel weak sometimes
I really didn’t like expressing my feelings as a kid, but mostly because I didn’t know how to. I wasn’t taught to talk to someone when I wasn’t doing well so I just always held my feelings in. Because of my experience in the orphanage, I thought crying was bad, I thought it meant I was weak- which led me to forcing myself not to cry or feel anything. That’s not the answer though. You can’t live a good life without going through the tears and pains that sculpt who you become. Sometimes I still think it’s bad to cry and show weakness but I’m working on that.
Lesson 11: When you feel bad for yourself find someone to serve
One of my favorite chores to do as a kid was weed our family gardens. As you can imagine my parents loved when I did this. At first it was boring, but when I realized it made my family happy, I continued to do it. It went from weeding the garden, to dishes, caring for the dogs, mopping the floor etc. As I served more it started to change me and my mood. So when I would start to feel bad about my life and everything else, I Would look for opportunities to serve. It works like Magic. It gets you to focus on something or someone other than yourself.
Lesson 12: The gospel of Jesus Christ
I fell in love with the Church of Jesus Christ right away. It gave me structure and stability. It gave me a purpose to life as well as something to work towards.
Lesson 13: Eternal families
In my religion we believe in family relationships lasting beyond the grave. God has given us the opportunity to be with our families forever, through His everlasting gospel and temple ordinances. This was such a hopeful truth for me. Especially on days I was mad at my parents or siblings- my mom would remind me how I gotta work things out because we’re together forever😀 Though it is frustrating at times, I’d never want to live without any of my family members. All of them mean so much to me.
Lesson 14: Happiness is a choice
My mother would often tell me that I can choose to be happy. That nobody could take that from me. I took some time to fully understand what that meant. In my mind if somebody made me mad or hurt my feelings, it was their fault not mine (but obviously that wasn’t fully true). She would tell me that the adversary only has as much control over me as I gave him. I thought about this a lot and decided that: I’d rather be happy than sad. I’d rather have control over my life than always blaming somebody else for it.
Lesson 15: Find Joy in the journey
I’m still doing/working on this one. I know that God has a plan for my life (and it’s not going to be an easy ride) and that's okay. I’d rather have growth on my journey than stay in the same spot. I’d rather go through whatever I need to go through if it meant living with my Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and my family forever!
Which life lessons have you been grateful for?