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National Adoption Month: A Story To Enter Into

I am so grateful and honored to have Carissa Woodwyk on the blog today. I met Carissa last year at Created for Care and had the opportunity to chat with her one on one. We’ve developed an email friendship over the months as I stepped into the public relations position with Created for Care. Her voice is so incredible valuable. Carissa was adopted from Korea when she was just five months old… the same age each of my children were when they came home from Ethiopia. I’ve now heard her talk “Listen” four times. Each time I am brought to tears and walk away with something new. When you are finished reading her words below I encourage you to hop over and watch the clip from “Listen” on vimeo. It’s something everyone, not just adoptive parents, should hear.


My voice…I’m finding it.

My story…God’s using it.

Our voices…they’re needed.

Our stories…they hold brokenness and beauty and hope.

Our hearts matter. The hearts of our children matter – the wounded and broken and stunning and beautiful places. As parents, we have to acknowledge all of the heart, the whole story. Because the heart is where Jesus resides, where he enters in, where he does his transformative work.

Children who were relinquished, who lost their parents, who experienced trauma or neglect or abuse…they were impacted by our broken world so early. The messages their hearts received from the enemy were distorted, untrue. It messed with them. And, it messes with us, with our reality, in our parenting.

But…Jesus came to save, heal the broken hearted, turn ashes into beauty. I love that.

As parents, you get to be a part of providing the kind of space, the kind of presence, that opens the doorway for Christ’s truth to enter in. You become a special gift to your children when you welcome them into your home. I love that.

But, we adoptees, we have to do our own work, hear our own truth, find our own voice, experience our own healing. You can’t do that for us. But, you can be there with us. And we need you. We need you standing beside us, healing with us, reminding us of how loveable and capable and brave we are. Yes, this is the role you step into when you invite brokenness into your home. Yes, this is the responsibility and calling you sign up for as an adoptive parent.

You see, we bring so much into your home – hurt, sadness, confusion, anger, fear, shame. We also bring other people into your home – people who we were once connected to, but who are not a part of us anymore. We bring a story – a story we will someday be able to tell, but we need your help in putting the pieces together in an honest and honoring way. Yes, we need you…not to fix us or rescue us or save us, but rather to listen to us, empathize with us, grieve with us, model trust for us, remind us of who we are – who God created us to be. We need you to show us Jesus, because the picture of who he is got distorted too.

This adoption journey, this calling, it’s not just about you and it’s not just about the adopted person. It’s about God. It’s about his story. It’s about how he wants to use the journey of adoption in the bigger story he is writing about the world he loves wildly, about the world he is pursuing and fighting for and restoring and reconciling…onto him.

You…I…we…get to be a part of THAT story!

Let’s join hands and do this together. Let’s allow our stories to blend and birth something new and compelling – a story that shows and tells the world how good God is. 


Carissa Woodwyk is a Korean-born adoptee, writer, speaker, counselor/marriage and family therapist, wife, mom, advocate for the human heart. In each of these roles, she offers her story and voice in ways that invite people to connect with themselves, with others, with God. She speaks with a diverse understanding of what it means to be human and hopeful and a deep empathy and compassion for how much each person needs to know how loveable he/she is no matter how their story unfolds. She has co-authored a book titled, “Before You Were Mine: Discovering your adopted child’s lifestory.” She and her husband have two children and live near Grand Rapids, MI.



Find Carissa here:

Twitter: @carissawoodwyk
Instagram: @carissawoodwyk

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