All posts by Sneha Ruth Thomas

Eve of Sorrow, Dawn of Joy

It’s a girl!” So began my life in a hospital located right beside a lake where unwanted baby girls were drowned near Bangalore, India. Fortunately for me, in a country where over 50 million baby girls are missing through gendercide, my birth mother chose life! I was then adopted at 10 months old, just six months after my severely traumatized six year old brother. He had seen his birth-mother take her life by setting herself on fire, and suffered from severe RAD and PTSD. We were given love, family, encouragement and a future in the US with our new “forever family” and more importantly, the hope of an eternity with Jesus.

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My adoptive parents felt God’s call to adopt, as it stands as a testimony reflecting the heart of the gospel, where God adopts each one of us who repents and accepts His free gift of forgiveness through His beloved Son Jesus’ death on the cross. Just as Christians become a part of God’s forever family, my brother and I would become a part of their “forever family”. However, my family and I faced much rejection from other Indian families and friends because orphans are deemed less valuable than their biological peers with bad “karma”.  Adoption is discouraged in Indian society.

During the teen years, my world started spinning around me as life overwhelmed me. I struggled with the primary trauma of losing my birth-mother, and the secondary trauma of living under my older brother’s severe suffering. Everyone around me seemed to have easy, perfect lives. I had many deep questions but no answers. Why would God allow me to be abandoned? Who was I? Where did I belong? What were my roots? Why couldn’t I meet my birth family? I was angry at Jesus and at my adoptive parents, and began rebelling. Meanwhile, God in His grace miraculously touched and transformed my older brother’s life. He had suffered for eleven long years, and our family had struggled much along with him. God’s touch on His life was awesome and complete. But I didn’t care. I was angry. My brother had been my ally in suffering, yet now he had left me behind! Additionally, my beloved ninety-one year old great-grandma who had come to live with us died of lung cancer. This further devastated me. I felt like I was living a nightmare and was lost and alone. By my high school years I didn’t even feel alive.

Then, two years ago, I made my first visit back to the hospital where I was born and had been relinquished near Bangalore, India. For years I had felt unwanted, lost and broken. I was looking for answers to my confusion. Excitement, nervousness and fear overwhelmed me. Would this open a Pandora’s box? It felt like my future hinged on this visit!

The Mother Superior of the bare-bones orphanage greeted us and then introduced us to twelve tiny children. They played on stone floors, slept in uncomfortable cribs, had no toys, and were impersonally cared for by their caregivers. Practicality ruled the place. Then, I saw the lake behind the orphanage where all the local unwanted baby girls were drowned! Realization hit me hard!  This could have been my end, had I not been adopted! I was overwhelmed by God’s grace! My parents had gifted me with temporal and eternal hope through my adoption! I was gently told by the Mother Superior that I may not get answers to my questions on this side of eternity, but that I must learn to trust God’s perfect plan. She challenged me to live my life with a passion for God’s glory! I realized that mine was a rare life preserved by the very hand of God, for the purpose of becoming a voice for the millions of voiceless Indian girls who are being abused and killed! While new hope coursed through my veins, I still struggled.

I have met several adult adoptees over this year and though our stories may be very different we all struggle with tremendous loss rooted in the separation from our first families. For me, the loss was real. But as my Pastor recently said, “Yes, life is unfair, but God is good”. I know that for me, my hope comes from the fact that I have had the privilege of being adopted permanently into God’s family. Jesus paid a very heavy price for my adoption- he gave up His very life for me, and because of this; I am a new person, with a new hope and a new identity because I have put my trust in Him. And though this life is painfully hard, and there are days that I don’t feel like I can even take one more step, I know that one day all my tears will be wiped away, and I will rejoice for all eternity as a daughter of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

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If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. ~ Romans 10:9

This song has also been a source of great encouragement to me over the past year: Just Be Held by ‪Casting Crowns‬

To those of you that are parents of kids from hard places, I plead with you to not give up on your children. Keep them rooted in the Word, through Bible Study, church, family devotions and prayer. Even if your children hate you and hate the Word, keep them in the Bible. You are not the answer to your child’s struggles, ultimately, Jesus is the only answer.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Help us to remember that You are our only hope. I pray for those who are struggling because of their life losses. Remind them that You are the Good Shepherd who walks with them even through the valley of the shadow of death. I thank You that You have promised to always be with them and never leave them nor forsake them. Bring them Your comfort, hope and peace.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

Baby, Oh Baby! Lost & Found at the Cross

Here is the transcript of my life story.

“It’s a girl!”

So began my life in a hospital located right beside a lake where unwanted baby girls were drowned, near Bangalore, India. Fortunately for me, in a country where over 50 million baby girls are missing through gendercide, my birth mother chose life! I can only imagine the horror of life as an orphan if left abandoned after birth. I was then adopted at 10 months old, just six months after my severely traumatized six year old brother. He had seen his birth-mother take her life by setting herself on fire, and suffered from severe RAD and PTSD. We were given love, family, encouragement and a future in the US with our new “forever family”, and more importantly, the hope of an eternity with Jesus.

My adoptive parents felt God’s call to adopt, as it stands as a testimony reflecting the heart of the gospel, where God adopts each one of us who repents and accepts His free gift of forgiveness through His Beloved Son Jesus’ death on the cross. Just as Christians become a part of God’s forever family, my brother and I would become a part of their “forever family”. However, my family and I faced much rejection from other Indian families and friends because orphans are deemed less valuable than their biological peers with bad “karma”.  Adoption is discouraged in Indian society.

During the teen years, my world started spinning around me as life overwhelmed me. I struggled with the primary trauma of losing my birth-mother, and the secondary trauma of living under my older brother’s severe suffering. Everyone around me seemed to have easy, perfect lives. I had many deep questions but no answers. Why would God allow me to be abandoned? Who was I? Where did I belong? What were my roots? Why couldn’t I meet my birth family?

I was angry at Jesus and at my adoptive parents, and began rebelling. Meanwhile, God in His grace miraculously touched and transformed my older brother’s life. He had suffered for eleven years, and our family had struggled much along with him. God’s touch on His life was awesome and complete. But I didn’t care. I was angry. My brother had been my ally in suffering, yet now he had left me behind. I felt like I was living a nightmare and was lost and alone. During my high school years, I didn’t even feel alive. I was functioning on the outside but was broken, hurting and alone on the inside. I didn’t know what to do and I collapsed. My brother’s engagement was the tipping point when I was done for it seemed like life wasn’t worth it as anyway, everyone I loved were going to abandon me.

My parents persisted day and night, pleading and interceding on my behalf. My Mom and Dad can tell you how many sleepless nights they spent on her knees. They had decided that I was their daughter and so they let me know that they weren’t giving up without a fight.

And as always God truly does work in mysterious ways. As of October of 2016, I rededicated and surrendered my life to Christ, and have been continually learning to love, learn and grow in him. I have learnt that I have a long way to go, but He is a God who specializes in loving us through our messes.

All of us have sinned and rebelled and fallen short of God’s glory – we are ALL spiritual orphans. God took it upon Himself to pay the price to redeem us adopting us sinful and broken as we were into His family, giving us a brand new identity as His daughters, making us co-heirs with Jesus. I hope each one of you here has believed and been adopted into His family today! If not please talk to me. With this incredible gift that we have received, He calls us to give back!

Now, If I were to ask a room of you the question, “Are you pro-life”, I am sure that most of you would raise your hand- but the numbers significantly dropped when discussing adoption or foster care. I have come to realize that being pro-life as defined by God’s standards to support the life that is created from conception to life’s final breath, and adoption plays a huge role in being pro-life.

John Piper, a well-renowned pastor and theologian states that, “Adoption in God’s mind was not Plan B. He predestined us for adoption before the creation of the world. Plan A was not lots of children who never sin and never need to be redeemed. Plan A was creation, fall, redemption, adoption so that the full range of God’s glory and mercy and grace could be known by his adopted children. Adoption was not second best. It was planned from the beginning.”

In fact in the book of Ephesians 1:4-6, it states: He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

There is no way around it. Adoption is the heart of the gospel to help love children like me in hard places become a human reflection of God’s love. Throughout scripture, God has called people to care for orphans.

So how did this translate to our own lives today?

I would really encourage each one of you to develop a culture of orphan care and adoption in your own families, but specifically adoption as it gives a child a forever home. It is one of the hardest things that you and your family might be apart of and do, but can also make an eternal difference to a child like me, who would have otherwise had no hope in both this life and in eternity.

For starters, I would encourage you to come and help in a conference  which helps give refreshment and rest to those people who have adopted and fostered children. The parents are usually on the frontlines of the battle fighting for their children with often no rest- this is a time to rejuvenate them and help them feel the love of Christ. Maybe you can sponsor a family to go, pray for them, provide them with childcare or bless them with a gift card, bag, vacation, cash, etc. Over 1500 parents attend from all around country and there is a need for over 600 volunteers to be Christ’s hands and feet to them. Or find an adoptive or foster family in your school,  church, neighborhood, co-op, or at your extracurricular activity center and encourage them with kind words, meals, housekeeping, organizing, gifting them a date night, etc. Lean towards and embrace these families not away from them because you perceive them as different. Let God show you how to care – it’s critical, it’s needed. My family would not be standing but for God using the few who loved us enough to care. And maybe, just maybe, God will then ask you to step into the world of one lost precious child whom you can call your own!

Its still a painfully hard journey and Satan tempts me to slip back into my brokenness and loss. I have a long road of healing ahead and I can come through victorious only with Jesus’ help. So, please pray for me that I will find my identity and hope in Christ alone!

As 1 John 3:1 states: See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

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You Are More

You are more than what your children say you are;
You are more than what your spouse says you are.

You are more than what your friends whisper in the halls!
You are more than a number on a scale.

You are more than a name on a paper.
You are more than whatever tells you, that you aren’t worth it.

The best part is, I never said this… Christ did.

You are more… more precious than jewels,
You are more… worth more than gold.

You are more… more than anything worldly.
You are worth everything in the eyes of the Lord!

You are more…