INTERVIEW QUESTIONS FOR CHRISTINE LINDSAY,
AUTHOR OF FINDING SARAH, FINDING ME
This is my interview of Christine Lindsay. Please feel free to
leave comments or ask questions. I know Christine
would appreciate hearing from you.
Question: Speak more about “Adoption is born out of loss”.
In a perfect world, adoption would simply never be needed. A man and a woman would come together under God’s blessing and the natural outcome of their union would be healthy happy children.
But it’s not a perfect world.
Parents die, or a woman gets pregnant out of wedlock, or is abandoned. A woman in this situation makes the gut-wrenching decision to give up her child, usually due to poverty of some kind. Extremely rarely does a woman really want to give up her child. In those cases, they do a heavy load of mental gymnastics to convince themselves they don’t love their child, or the child is better off without them. Even so, for the majority of birth-mothers, the pain of giving up their child hurts until the end of their days.
Adoptees, even in the best-case scenarios, feel a sense of loss. Where did they come from? Who do they look like? Who were these parents who gave them up? Why did they not want me? In unhappy adoptions that sense of loss can multiply into intense psychological pain.
Adoptive parents mostly adopt out of their own staggering loss. Granted, there are a lot of big-hearted people who open their hearts and homes to children through adoption in addition to those they have given birth to. But in the western world, the majority of reasons behind adoption is the pain of infertility. It was once said that, “The hungriest thing in the world is an empty womb.”
2. Anna talks about learning to help others based on her experience with her birth father. I believe that is what each of us need to do from whatever challenge we face. What are the three most important things you learned from your choice to have Sarah adopted out?
I smile as I write this: The greatest lesson I learned is the same as Anna’s. Whatever pain the Lord allows in our lives, if we give it over to Him, He can use it to help others, to give comfort where comfort is needed. And there is so much need in the world. I guess I learned to love my neighbor as myself.
I learned to love myself by understanding how much God loves me. Like a lot of people, I had a warped view of who I was, burdened under a blanket of unworthiness so that it smothered the true spark of who God created me to be. Unable to love myself, I was unable to honestly love anyone else. Here is an excerpt from Finding Sarah Finding Me (after the reunion just as an emotional breakdown is ready to grip me and hold me for the next two years:
New beginning, my counselor said. “Huh,” I scoff. All this time, believing that God encouraged me to search for Sarah, I’ve been wrong. Those pink flowers I believed were mysterious little miracles over the years, I read that all wrong. I only saw what I wanted to see. But I’ve been wrong not only about the search.
As the kids go off to school each day, and David to work, I huddle in my house alone, remembering those three days in the hospital in 1979, remembering the strong sense that God wanted me to give Sarah up for adoption. All those years ago, it wasn’t me giving Sarah to her parents. Instead, God took my child from me. Relinquishing Sarah to adoption was, I believed, better for her. And now the thought snakes in—better for her, not just because she needed a father, but because you weren’t good enough to be her mother.
And lastly, I learned how to love God. Before and after the search for my birth-daughter, I lost myself for a while, but gradually a new picture of God emerged in my mind. He used the picture of myself, a crushed and bruised birth-mother who could never let go of the love she had for her firstborn, even if her firstborn could never love her. For the first time, I understood that no matter how much I loved my children, my love pales in comparison to God’s love for me.
Question: Secrets can be so destructive. Why do you suppose so many of us choose to keep a secret from our family or friends, who might actually be supportive and helpful?
Shame. We just can’t bear for anyone to see us as faulty as we are. We are such proud things, we humans.
Question: Tell me more about your phrase, “God allowed me to keep” when you were referring to Lana in Chapter 2.
As a young Christian woman, I felt a failure when I became pregnant out of wedlock. Add that to the inability to provide my child all she would need, and having to give her up because it was best for her. All of this lumped together gave me that awful sense of unworthiness that I think many birth-mothers feel. In chapter 2 of Finding Sarah Finding Me, I am taking the reader through the emotions I felt at that time. Still feeling unworthy, the safe delivery of Lana within a marriage to a godly man, felt like God had given me a second chance in life. I think that was the beginning of me trying to be the perfect mother, and of course eventually failing.
Question: It sounds like Jim was a lot like your father. Did you think you would be able to change Jim?
At the time we were going together I really hoped I could change Jim. But having my mother’s plight (in living with an addict) as a blueprint during my childhood, showed me that the statistics were against me, and gave me the courage to do what was best for my baby.
Question: You talk about the importance of a dad in a child’s life. I have written about that very subject in my book, Novy’s Son based on the theory of the Iron John by Robert Bly. Are you familiar with that philosophy and what do you see as a father’s role?
I am not familiar with that philosophy, but now I will look this up. I would also love to read your book. My personal philosophy is that a father’s role is to be an earthly picture of what the heavenly Father is for all mankind. A dad must love his children unconditionally, provide everything his children need—provision, protection, joy, discipline, etc. He is also to live a life that will give his children an example to live by, a life that will please God. A dad must put his own life (and needs) on the line to save his children.
Question: Do you think it is easier or better for a birth mother to not see or hold the baby she is giving up for adoption? Why or why not?
I firmly believe a birth-mother should not only see, but hold her baby. For me, giving up my baby was like giving up my own life. I don’t want to lay a burden on adoptive parents, but for most birth-mothers, these are the stakes. We did it for our baby!
I believe that a birth-mother must allow herself that sweet memory, to hold her child for at least a few moments, not only to say goodbye, but to kiss the soft brow and whisper the words, “I love you.” How do we know, that these simple acts of love may actually go down deep into that baby’s soul, and help that child later in life? I’m amazed at the spiritual connection I have with my birth-daughter these days. It seems all those things I prayed about while she was in utero God kept in a vault until we could develop a friendship.
Question: Toward the end of the book, you talk about seeing the heart of Anne and Hans in Sarah’s heart. That statement touched me deeply. It felt like you had come full circle in your healing with the adoption. Would you talk more about that?
Yes, I’ve truly come to love Hans and Anne. I love and appreciate seeing “them” in Sarah as well as my own biological input. Here are a few excerpts from Finding Sarah Finding Me about our combined influence on Sarah’s life. (This excerpt is long after healing had come and Sarah and I have a last begun a close friendship)
I don’t want to add a word as I savor the comfort and intimacy blossoming right in front of me. As a family we’ve gone through a new set of doors this evening. I fancy that I’m walking through open glass panels out to a sunlit garden where the flowers are in full bloom. When Mark and Sarah prepare to leave (our house), the square dance of hugs starts over again, and we all squeeze into the stairwell above our small foyer to say goodbye. Outside on the front porch, David, Lana, James, and I wave until Sarah and Mark have driven off.
After they’re gone, as Lana cuddles beside James in the living room and talks to her dad, I clean up the kitchen and think back to those long tearful nights when I was pregnant with Sarah. Those nights when I’d prayed on my knees, my arms around my tummy to protect my baby from the stress I was undergoing. Back then I wondered if my emotions, especially my depression but also my prayers, would affect my child’s personality. I wondered too if something of my growing faith at that time would be passed through to my baby during those long sessions on my knees. As I imagine Sarah and Mark driving away from our house to go and stay over at her mom’s place tonight, I want to believe that in a spiritual sense, some of what Sarah is today was seeded in my prayers.
And I think of Anne and Hans. It wasn’t just their daughter’s heart I saw tonight but also theirs. Anne and Hans have virtually been here in my home, in that the results of Anne’s mothering and Hans’s fathering are so visible to me. Their parenting is such a thing of beauty.
You are so right, Karen, like life, like a good story, all things must come full circle. The Lord brought me around with a new love, a real love this time, for Sarah’s parents. But I’m glad for our rocky journey after the reunion so that I can now share it with others. Like I say in my book, people are made up of such different emotional stuff.
Perhaps the Lord could have engineered different circumstances for us, so that love could have developed between Sarah’s parents and me much earlier, especially before Hans died and we never met. Looking back though, I believe the Lord allowed us all to exhibit our honest emotions. I’m not talking about whether we sinned in our emotions—that’s not my intent with this book—but I do believe God gave us emotions and they are to be acknowledged, not covered up, but expressed, hopefully in a God-honoring way.
But we humans are frail and complex. The reason I wrote Finding Sarah Finding Me was to encourage others to take a good honest look at their emotions when they are hurt by life or by others, whether their story is about adoption issues or not. Emotional pain is going to happen. Anne and Han’s emotions over me meeting Sarah, are shown honestly, and so are mine, and Sarah’s. In this book, all contributing authors hope that others in similar situations will be affirmed in their emotions, and allow God to help them through those complex relationships in life.
After years of emotional pain, it is like walking on air—downright effervescent—to now feel only love. In finding my birth-daughter Sarah, the Lord really did help me to find myself in Him.
READ CHAPTER ONE OF FINDING SARAH FINDING ME—Click HERE
Book Description:Sometimes it is only through giving up our hearts that we learn to trust the Lord.
Adoption. It’s something that touches one in three people today, a word that will conjure different emotions in those people touched by it. A word that might represent the greatest hope…the greatest question…the greatest sacrifice. But most of all, it’s a word that represents God’s immense love for his people.
Join birth mother Christine Lindsay as she shares the heartaches, hopes, and epiphanies of her journey to reunion with the daughter she gave up...and to understanding her true identity in Christ along the way.
Through her story and glimpses into the lives of other families in the adoption triad, readers will see the beauty of our broken families, broken hearts, and broken dreams when we entrust them to our loving God.
(In addition, 100% of author royalties will be donated to Global Aid Network Women and Children’s Initiative)
ABOUT CHRISTINE LINDSAY
Christine Lindsay is the author of multi-award-winning Christian fiction, and now non-fiction. Readers describe Christine’s fiction as gritty yet tender, realistic yet larger than life, with detail that collides into the heart of psychological and relationship drama. Readers of her non-fiction adoption memoir say Finding Sarah Finding Me should be in every Crisis Pregnancy in the country. A busy writer and speaker, Christine and her husband live on the west coast of Canada.