I Grew In Her Tummy

 
 
 

 

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
~ Isaiah 55:8, 9

 

 

 

A story I once heard as a child seemed (to me) a mirror of my very own life. It told of a little girl who had been adopted. When another child asked her what “adopted” meant, she replied: “It means I grew in my mommy’s heart instead of her tummy.” That little girl’s answer has inspired me throughout the years, and this is my story.

It was a warm, sunny, August day in 1987 when Trudy met Russell at C.J. Barrymore’s. Some would call it “love at first sight”, some would call it “fate”, others perhaps might call it “luck”; but had you asked me, I would have called it “a mistake just waiting to happen.”

Russel Hurst, Biological Father

They hadn’t known each other that long, but it happened – Trudy got pregnant. When she told Russ that she was going to have a baby he did what any man who didn’t want a commitment would do. (Well, maybe his reaction was a little extreme…) He fled the country. He packed up all his belongings, including his trailer home, and he and his father moved back to Yugoslavia. Unsure what she should do, she hid her pregnancy from her mother. What could she say? How would her mother react? Would she kick her out of the house? Should she keep the baby? Like a gloomy storm cloud, questions seemed to hover over her life. When the time came that she could no longer conceal her protruding tummy, she broke the news to her mother. Again, the questions seemed unending – this time coming from her mother. After some time went by, Trudy made her decision. She simply couldn’t keep the baby. After all, she was a high school drop-out. She had no job. She still lived with her mother. She had no way to provide for her baby. She contacted Christian Family Services to inform them that she was going to have a baby, but wished to give it up for adoption. She then went to the adoption agency to fill out the proper paperwork. Not long afterwards her baby was born on May 24, 1988. Without ever having the chance to say hello to her baby girl, she said goodbye. She informed the adoption agency that she did not want her baby floating around from foster home to foster home and eventually end up in an orphanage somewhere. If a permanent home wasn’t found for her baby within 8 weeks, she wanted her baby back. The adoption agency agreed to these terms. However, almost 8 weeks to the day later, a home was found for “Baby Girl”. Overjoyed, like a child who had just received 4 pounds of candy, Larry and Nora Vires drove to the adoption agency to pick up their “new-born” 8-weeks-old baby girl. I am Baby Girl.

“Hurry, honey! Grab her and run before the agency changes their minds!” Larry joyfully said when he first saw me. I had a full, thick head of hair that was dark as night, and ‘precious moments’ baby blue eyes. My tiny, delicate, 5-pound figure was like that of a porcelain doll.

“Wait! Wait! We need to take pictures!” the agency workers called out to Larry.

After the pictures had been taken and the final paperwork had been filled out, Larry and Nora were able to take me to my new home where I met my big brother for the first time. He was so proud.

Years passed, and the fact that I was adopted was never hid from me. At first, I didn’t really care because I really didn’t understand; I told my friend that Nora was my “stepmom” because I knew she wasn’t my real mother. However, as the years went on I began to understand what it meant to be adopted. In my mind it meant that I wasn’t wanted. I wasn’t good enough. My “mother” didn’t love me enough to keep me. These feelings continued and grew as time passed. Until one day it became so unbearable that it broke my 15-year-old heart in pieces. No one seemed to understand why I felt this way. After all, I had a wonderful family. My mom and dad cared about me, and wanted the best for me. Somehow, though, that wasn’t enough for me. I wanted answers. I wanted reasons. I wanted the truth I thought I deserved. I didn’t get my answers, reasons, or truth that night, but I did find something so much greater than all those things. I found forgiveness. I found peace. I found love in my heart for the mother whom I thought didn’t want me. I determined then that I would set out to find her one day.

As a sailboat being slowly but steadily pushed through the sea, the years slowly but steadily moved on, and I became a confident, accomplished young women. I graduated high school with a 3.98, was a private piano teacher with 15 years of experience under my belt, carried a major part of the music ministry department of our church on my shoulders, was an avid athlete, and was even quite artistic and creative, as well as wrote music and poetry. Mom and Dad were proud of me, which, in turn, made me proud of myself. Fearing that I would hurt my parents, I never told them that I wanted to meet my biological mother. I feared they would think I wanted to leave them and go back to “the mother that didn’t want me in the first place.” So, I went on to college in Tennessee in August of 2006. After I completed my first year of college I felt it was time I had talked to my parents about the desire I had to find my biological mother. Surprisingly, they were more supportive than I thought they would be. In fact, my mom gave me a bundle of letters for me to read. As I read them I realized these were letters my birth mother had written my parents throughout the years. The adoption agency encouraged such correspondence, so long as the proper rules were followed. The letters must be written to the agency to then be forwarded on to the appropriate location. The letters couldn’t include any names, phone numbers, addresses, etc. Even pictures of the adopted child were allowed to be sent to the biological mother, so long as they were older pictures. As I read each of the heart-breaking, honest letters I realized that giving me up was no easy task for Trudy, but she did it for me. She sacrificed her own wants because she knew she could not provide for me and give me all the things a child needs. In a way, she became my hero that night.

The next day I went about trying to locate her. I called the agency, looked online, and even checked in phone books (though that didn’t do me much good since I didn’t even know her name). After about 4 months of searching, I found her. I wrote her a letter explaining who I was and that I hoped to meet her one day. About a week after sending out that letter my cell phone rang around 8:30 that night. I didn’t recognize the number.

“Hello?” I answered the ever-annoying device that was disrupting a very good romance novel. There was no answer.

“Hello??” I asked again, a little less tactful. Still nothing was said. My book awaited, and just as I was about to hang up the phone I heard a voice.

“Hello…” the voice said quietly, “I’m looking for Heather… Vrees? Virus?” She stumbled through the pronunciation of my ever-so-easy, yet difficult last name.

“I’m Heather Vires…” I answered.

“Oh… hello. I’m your… my name is… This is… your mother…” her shaky voice was hesitant and sounded almost unsure of who she really was. My book dropped to the floor, and my slouched back became as straight as a board.

“Are you serious? Are you really? Is it really you? Oh my gosh…” despite all that I said, I really was quite speechless. For 19 years I waited for this moment, and now I sounded like a rambling, babbling idiot.

After about a half-hour of conversation and I had found out that she had a little girl and a little boy, a date was set for us to meet face to face for the first time. My hands shaking with excitement, and tears (the happy kind) streaming down my face, I ran out into the living room.

“You will never guess who that was on the phone! It was HER… my birth mother!” I shouted to my parents. Though quiet, they were happy for me. This was what I wanted.

October 13, 2007

On October 13, 2007, I met the woman who had conceived and carried me in her tummy for 9 months. To say that I look like her is a major understatement. I am her spitting image from head to toe. My little sister, Chauntel, and my little brother, Steven, were so excited to meet big sister for the first time. It was never hid from them that somewhere out there in the world they had a big sister. The family included me in everything they did even though I was not physically present. My name was painted on the back of Grandpa’s semi-truck right along side the rest of the grandkids’ names. Only, mine read “Baby Girl” – the name my biological family called me for 19 years. My newborn picture hung on Grandma’s picture board right along with all the other grandkids’ pictures. My name was even tattooed on my biological mother’s back along with Chauntel’s and Steven’s names.

I was happy to finally meet my biological mother, but I found that I was even happier that she made the choice she did. She was a chain smoker, practically an alcoholic, had two shaky jobs that barely paid the bills, and was in the middle of a sticky divorce with a man that was an alcoholic, drug addict, and an abuser. To be honest, it wasn’t a pretty scene. The rose-colored glasses quickly came off, and I had never in all my life been more thankful for the family that had adopted me. They were my real family.

Christmas Day, 2007

You know, I got my answers. I got my reasons. I even got the truth I thought I deserved. The truth was that I would have grown up without a father. The truth was that I would have been a drug addict. The truth was that I would have been a drunk. The truth was that I would have been a high school drop-out, and an unmarried, teenage mother. The truth was that God had mercy on me. God saw fit to hand-pick me out of the mud and give me a home that would raise me right, and in the light of His Word. That was my truth.

 

Chauntel & Steven Sleeping

Everything happens for a reason; and though sometimes we have to wait 19 years to see that reason, I have found that it’s worth the wait. My biological family and I still keep in touch, and I go to their family gatherings. I call them by all the appropriate family titles, but it isn’t the same.

My mother, Trudy, carried me in her tummy for 9 months; but my mom, Nora, carried me in her heart from the moment she first saw me. I couldn’t ask for more; I won’t ask for more. I’ve been blessed beyond measure, and I’m so thankful.

“…But where sin abounded,
grace did much more abound.”
~ Romans 5:20b

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  1. Pastor Hoffman

    Wow, wonderful testimony! I remember you as a little girl at Antioch and I knew you were adopted, but I never knew your story. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Amanda Bristol

    This blog brought me to uncontrollable tears! God is so amazing, and you just confirmed in my mind even more that I WILL adopt someday. God adopted me into His family by pulling me from the miry clay, and I will adopt a child that is unwanted or in need of a better life! Thank you so much for sharing your story! WOW!

  3. This is beautiful, Heather. Very touching testimony that I’m certain the Lord is using.

  4. Cathy Thompson Williams

    Heather,

    I had a baby girl in Oct. of 92, she’ll be 18 this yr. I can only hope that Anna is as happy as you are. Releasing your baby is the hardest thing a women will ever go thru, it’s the happiest day & the saddest. Always knowing we did the right thing for our children is the comfort we have thru out the yrs. I’m so glad you found what you were looking for. I remember when your parents brought you to church for the 1st time, you would of thought Mrs. Vires gave birth to you herself, the pride & joy was so evident. God truly blessed you & your parents by bringing you together.

  5. Beautiful Story you made me cry!! Your mother has a special heart as she loved you and understood your hurting heart even when I am sure it was hard to hear you call her a step mom! I have always thought that adopted kids were in a way even more loved as their parents looked high and low and in many cases paid dearly for them! Glad you have come to terms with everything, I am sure your story will be used of God in many ways. May God bless you richly.

    • Bobbie Sue, I’m so my story was a blessing to you. My mother has always been very patient with me, which is probably why I’m still alive today. Any “normal” parent would have either sent me to the moon or locked me in a psych ward. 😉
      God Bless,
      Heather Joy

  6. Heather, Thanks for sharing your story. It reminided me that I am so blessed.

  7. Hi Heather,

    What a wonderful story you have shared here! Although many times we cannot see the big picture, God certainly knows what He is doing.

    Blessings in Jesus’ name,

    Carol Connell

  8. Heather, I am so glad God brought you to our family. You have been such a blessing to all of us. You have grown into such a wonderful young lady. I am glad I am called your Aunt. May God continue to bless you, guide you and forever hold you in his hand Love you my little one Aunt Dolly

    • Aw, Aunt Dolly – I am sure thankful God chose my to be a part of our family as well! I couldn’t have asked for a better family.
      Thank you so much for your sweet compliments.
      I love you.

  9. Hey Heather…

    Just stumbled across your blog via a friend’s blog, and just wanted to let you know that your testimony is an wonderful story – thanks so much for sharing. Besides it being well-written (!), I loved reading about God’s hand in throughout your life… He surely is awesome and worth all we’ve got!

    Jess

    • Jessica,
      Thank you for stopping by and for leaving such sweet words!
      God has been so good to us. Even when we don’t understand it, and even though it hurts sometimes – His hand is ever-present and He is working to bring about those plans to give us “an expected end” (Jer. 29:11).
      I hope you have a wonderful day, and an even better week ahead!
      God Bless,
      Heather Joy

  10. Wow. What an amazing testimony.

  11. My Aunt and Uncle can’t have kids. When she did get pregnant, she nearly died during the miscarriage. They’ve adopted 2 little boys. One from Russia, the other from their home state. I’ve always wondered how Asher (the boy from Russia) would deal with being adopted, especially since he has like 7 siblings he will NEVER be allowed to met b/c of the adoption terms. From what I do know of his biological family, his dad was abusive. So it’s a good thing he got to come home to my Aunt & Uncle, but still with all the blessings in your life, there’s a little bit of your heart that would ache and wonder “did my… REAL mom…love me?”

    Thanks for this testimony, Heather!! It opened my eyes to the true feelings of adopted children.

    Blessings in Christ,
    -Awel P.

    • Thank you for visiting Grow Up! and for leaving such a sweet comment. 🙂
      You are right – those feelings are very real and present. I’m glad the Lord allowed me to get some answers though.
      I’m so thankful for His perfect plan and for His perfect will.
      God Bless,
      Heather Joy

  12. I must have missed this one when I read your “about”.

    In one way we are opposites. My dream for so many years was to find out I had been adopted, because that would have meant that at ONE time I had been wanted. YOU were wanted and loved and cared for by your “real” parents – the ones who, as you say, carried you in their hearts. Even though you had hankerings to know your birth mother, you had a happy and secure childhood.

    Though we had different early experiences we both know the complete joy and satisfaction and the REALITY of a relationship with our loving heavenly Father through the Lord Jesus Christ. Truly we serve an amazing God.

    • I read your testimony posts a while back and I was hurting and happy and saddened and encouraged as I read through them. You have seen some dark struggles in your life, but I believe your story is helping mroe people than you can imagine.
      May God continue to richly bless you.
      ~ Heather Joy

  13. ‘To be honest, it wasn’t a pretty scene. The rose-colored glasses quickly came off, and I had never in all my life been more thankful for the family that had adopted me. They were my real family.’

    I am adopted as well, Heather. I was ten days old. I agree with you the adoptive family is the real one. But for the heck of it several years ago I put my name into BC adoption services for a passive and not active search. It came up with a male cousin whose biological mother was the younger sister of my biological mother and also put him up for adoption.

    Now, I do not want to be too judgmental in ignorance here but I think I am better off with the family I am with. I am Facebook friends with the biological cousin but we do not communicate. A problem is when we met we went on a trip to California (four of us) and the worldview differences became apparent in a harsh way and he had no respect for Christianity. In fact he was rather negative on it.

    I have a piece of paper that explains my ethnic background which is similar to that of my adoptive parents. So, my Dad is British and I am by him and by biology, for example. My parents were told that the birth families wanted me to go to a Roman Catholic family, which did not happen as my parents were United Church, and here I end up a Reformed theologian.

    My philosophy: I leave the door open to potential friendships with biological relatives. But I have no further expectations.

    Russ;)

    • Mr. Murray, I agree with you about the door remaining open. As my last paragraph states, I still go to their family functions and keep in contact with several of them. There is nothing more that I want than to see them come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior.

      God’s been so good to us. Thank you for stopping by and for leaving a comment!
      God bless.
      ~ Heather Joy

  14. Hi Heather. I clicked your post on Facebook to stumble upon your blog… And this testimony is divinely beautiful. Calvin and I hope to adopt from foster care someday (maybe years from now — maybe sooner than we think?), and we’re actually in the process of our home study paperwork. Reading stories like this leaves me with tearstained cheeks — and in awe of how God’s power and grace is revealed through adoption. What an incredible picture of our salvation! I love it! Thanks for sharing your heart and story. 🙂

    • Mindy, I love foster children. I was one of them. If the Lord ever took my current job away from me, I would go into working with abused and neglected children, perhaps even foster a few myself on down the road. I have the hopes of adopting a little girl from China and perhaps even a little boy from Africa one day. We’ll see if that is God’s will.
      May God bless you as you begin this journey to love and care for a child who so desperately needs you and the Lord.
      Blessings,
      Heather Joy

  15. Wow!!!! I never knew your testimony when we went to school together at Crown. Its so amazing to see God’s grace at work in our lives! Thank you for sharing your testimony!!!!

    • Hi Ben! Back then I really didn’t talk about it much – it was still sort of a sore spot for me. I was still a little confused about everything. The Lord’s been good to me, there’s no doubt about it!
      I hope you’re doing well. Thanks for visiting Grow Up! and for leaving a comment.
      God Bless You,
      Heather Joy

  16. Heather,

    What a powerful testimony…May God use you abundantly…to heal manby who are broken hearted and despised…to strengthen weak and feeble hands…to spread this love of God which is beyond any human understanding..

    Blessings,
    Rani

  17. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story.

  18. Your story has parts that ring true in my life also. I was adopted at 8 weeks and my birthmom found me when I turned 40. I have struggles most of my life with the feelings of rejection being adoted even with a adoptive family that loved me and I grew up with adoption as a good thing in the extended family. My birthmom is a very depressed woman whom I am also glad did not raise me I see her and realize no matter the pain and struggles I have in my life God protected me from that way of life. Thank you for sharing your story out loud.

    • What a blessing to meet others who have found the same grace in their lives!
      Thank you so much for sharing your story with me.
      Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. :]

      May the Lord continue to richly bless you.
      ~ Heather Joy

  19. This is a beautiful testimony. Thank you so much for sharing your story. God bless!

  20. Heather
    We are glad that God is using you in a very special way to reach many hearts with the Grace of our Amazing God !!. We rejoice in the fact that He knows our beginning and the end as well and all in between. Ps 139.
    May the Lord continue to strengthen you.

  21. Dropped by after your recent comment and read your story. Though I have not been adopted outside being made a child of God, and I am the adoptive father of two little boys, 5 and 1. Your story touched and encouraged me as I seek to be a faithful father to these wonderful boys. I will remember to pray more faithfully for their birth mothers as well.

  22. thank you for sharing your story. my husband and I are in the process of trying to adopt our 5 yr old little girl that we have had since she was 5 months old. Your story is sooo enouraging to me. We are of no relation and were literally given her from her biological mother at a restaurant. (she was on drugs and didn’t even ask me where I lived). We have loved her fromt he moment we laid eyes on her. We are doing our best to raise her as the Lord would see fit. It has always been my biggest fear that she would some day desire to “be with” her birth mother again or be angry or hurt because of choices we have made. Thank you for opening my eyes to so many things and helping me get a glimpse of what my baby girl may be feeling or will feel in the days ahead. We certainly do serve a great God!!!! 🙂

  23. Thank you so much for this post. My husband and I adopted our children out of foster care and we are so incredibly blessed by them. I know there will be lots of questions for the future as they are already asking about their birth moms. Adoption is a natural part of our language as a family, but still, I know they will face loss in their life. Your post moved me to tears because it is so important to recognize the need for children to know the truth about their birth families and their histories. Thank you for your honesty!

  24. What a totally awesome testimony of God’s grace and mercy. Major kudos to you and to your parents. As an adoptive parent I experienced the flip side. At some point in time my adopted daughter left us when she was about 23 to accept her biological mother and father. He would die soon after of drug overdose and the mom has been in and out of jail and we haven’t seen the grandkids for almost 15 years. We pray for her daily to return and foremost to return to a relationship in Christ.

    I’m excited for you and for your two fathers, one who was willing to risk losing you and one who gave His Son to purchase you.

    God bless

    Dan

  1. Pingback: Maybe it was mercy. « Grow Up!

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