Helping the Adopted Find Themselves: One Woman’s Quest

Stephanie Fast

(DGIwire) – “Who am I?” It’s a question many of us ask growing up, as we struggle to shape our maturing selves. But the question is especially pressing for one group of kids: those from Asia, Africa and South America who are adopted by American families. Some of these children yearn to connect not only with their birth parents, but also with their racial or ethnic heritage. And many feel their past prevents them from integrating fully into their new family and culture.

These feelings of alienation can be profound. No matter how warm, supportive and loving their adoptive parents might be, many of these 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.

Stephanie Fast knows this inner, spiritual struggle quite well. Biracial and born in South Korea during the Korean War, Stephanie was abandoned by her mother at age four and a half 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 close to death on a garbage heap, Stephanie was rescued by a passerby—a nurse who heard God tell her to change her normal route home. That rescue was not the final one for Stephanie. She had to endure a few more years of agony until eventually, an American couple—both missionaries—took her back to the U.S. with them to raise as their own.

Now Stephanie has written an honest and compelling memoir, She Is Mine: A War Orphan’s Incredible Journey of Survival, retelling her story. Today, she is a global orphan advocate and a hands-on mentor for troubled post-adoptive teenagers and young adults. 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.

“Many adopted teenagers—especially those who are of a different race than their adoptive parents—become deeply depressed,” says Stephanie. “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.”

With global upheavals 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.

close