Adoption: Isolation, Challenges and Hope

Carrying daughter

(DGIwire)   All teenagers struggle with feelings of isolation and the challenge of creating a strong identity. But for teens from Asia, Africa and South America who are adopted by American families, the feelings are especially acute. Many of them feel their past prevents them from integrating fully into their new family and new culture. Some yearn to connect not only with their birth parents, but also with their racial or ethnic heritage.

It is a yearning on a soul-deep level. No matter how warm, supportive and loving their adoptive parents might be, many teenagers and young adults—even those who were adopted as infants—may never shake the feeling of having been “tossed out,” unwanted by their birth parents.

Nobody knows this inner, spiritual struggle better than Stephanie Fast. Biracial and born in South Korea during the Korean War, Stephanie was abandoned by her mother at age four and a half—left alone at a train station to fend for herself like a stray animal. After living on the streets for years, being abused and ultimately winding up near death on a garbage heap, Stephanie was miraculously rescued by a passing nurse who heard God speak to her and impel her to change her normal route home. That rescue was not the final one. Stephanie had to endure a few more years of agony until eventually, an American couple—both missionaries—saw something in her that even she could not see, and took her back to the U.S. with them to raise as their own.

In addition to having written an honest and compelling memoir, She Is Mine: A War Orphan’s Incredible Journey of Survival, Stephanie Fast is a global orphan advocate and a hands-on mentor for troubled post-adoptive teenagers and young adults. As she explains, “Many adopted teenagers—especially those who are of a different race than their adoptive parents—become deeply depressed. Deep down, they still feel unwanted, filled with self-hate. I have seen far too many turn to self-harm, substance abuse, even suicide attempts because they could not find relief for their aching souls. I listen to their stories and can offer them spirit-to-spirit healing because I truly know what they are going through—I, too, had to find my way home.”Stephanie has become an expert at recounting what her background means to her—and has meant to others. She is knowledgeable about the many resources available to help adopted children, teenagers, young adults and their families, and she can explain eloquently why she is desperately concerned about the plight of orphans here and abroad.

She is also able to convey how each of us is impacted, and what we can and must do about this deeply tragic situation.

With global upheaval more common than ever in the 21st century, the problem of adopted children’s welfare is ever more pressing. Stephanie Fast is working diligently to help young people who might otherwise feel unable to answer, “Who am I?”