Lisa Santelli, GFC Van Dyke

Mother’s Day is a beautiful time to celebrate all the amazing moms in our lives. But, it can also be a difficult day for some. For the mother who lost a child or the child who lost a mother, it can bring deep pain. For the woman who is struggling to have children, it can be a reminder of what she does not have. Hallmark can paint this picture that we all come from a white-fenced home filled with fresh baked goods and traditional upbringings, but that is not always the case. Even though wonderful parents raised me, it wasn’t a traditional beginning. At five and a half weeks old, I was adopted. It is a fact I’ve known for as long as I can remember. Growing up, I felt a bit different than others, even though adoption was treated as a special event that expanded our family.

Lisa and her Adopted Mom.

As I grew older, my parents shared any information they were provided about my birth parents, which was limited since it was a closed adoption. From the time I was little, they created a curiosity to meet my birth mother, which stemmed from their own interest to learn more about the woman who gifted me to them.

When I turned 19 years old, I decided to search for my birth mother. Through an array of events and complete God intervention, I was able to locate and meet her. There are so many details and emotions surrounding this story that I could never do it justice in such a short piece so that I will save for another day. What I can say is my birth mom and her extended family completely embraced me with open arms. The day I met them, my family instantly multiplied.   Over the years, since she has been in my life, I have learned about my heritage and where I came from, which has helped answer questions that are often a struggle for adoptees. One of the lingering questions was about my birth father and how they met. Somewhere along the way, I wanted to believe their story was a type of Romeo and Juliet, where circumstances kept them apart, which is why they couldn’t raise me together. In reality, it was a briefer relationship filled with rejection. If this was my foundation, it’s no wonder I battled the narrative adoptees often fight. When words like “unplanned,” “mistake,” “accident,” or “unwanted” are used to describe your beginning, it is easy to question your purpose.

Lisa and her Birth Mom.

In recent years, I’ve wrestled with my true calling. Often, we believe our purpose needs to be delivered by an audible voice of God or writing on the wall. We often think purpose involves a big reveal on a large platform. Instead, purpose is really daily receiving what God has for us in the moment. What I’ve learned is we all have a purpose. We have been designed and anointed to fulfill God’s expertly crafted plan for our lives. The more I learn and accept this, the more I am able to step into God’s narrative…that I am “chosen,” “ordained,” “wonderfully made,” and “purposed.”

The greater revelation, though, is the purpose of every heart that has impacted my journey.

The purpose of my birth mom; she was a young teenager when I was born. She made a courageous, considerate choice to gift me to a family that would provide better opportunities and care. She has purpose in my story.

The purpose of my adopted mom; she prayed me into her family. After having my older brother, she wanted another child, but my parents were unable to conceive again. For years, she prayed for a little girl. God heard her prayer; He just answered it in a different way. She also has purpose in my story.

This Mother’s Day, not only do I want to honor the traditional mothers who made so many sacrifices, pouring their hearts into their children’s lives; I would like to honor the non-traditional mothers, too. From those who gifted a child to someone else to raise, to the mothers who lost a child and struggle with this day, to the women still hoping for a child, not able to claim the holiday as their own, yet. I pray God’s favor over you. I pray you see your purpose in the journey and that God reveals His heart, giving you a vision for all He has for you.

In addition, I want to leave you with the lyrics to one of my favorite songs, The Blessing, inspired by Numbers 6:22-27. I’ll be honest, I struggled singing these lyrics when this song was first released. I didn’t know how I could sing about ‘my children’ and ‘generations of my children’ when I don’t have kids of my own. But God. He didn’t leave me with that narrative. He revealed these anointed words are not only for the natural mothers, but they also ring true for the spiritual mothers, too. No matter who you are, you have a purpose. God has created you to impact the next generation. On this Mother’s Day, I am praying these words over all the natural, the non-traditional, and spiritual mothers. You are worthy, you are cherished, and you are so loved.

“The Lord bless you

And keep you

Make His face shine upon you

And be gracious to you

The Lord turn His

Face toward you

And give you peace

May His favor be upon you

And a thousand generations

And your family and your children

And their children, and their children”. ~ The Blessing, Elevation Worship

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  1. Beautiful, Lisa! You told me some time ago that you were adopted but I’d not heard the details. Thanks for sharing this story of love, unity and how God used all things in your birth story for good!

    • Susan, thanks for your sweet comments. Grateful for you and miss seeing you!

  2. This made me cry. What a beautiful take on motherhood for all of us to embrace.
    You clearly have found your purpose in writing! May His blessings be upon YOU.
    Thank you for sharing your story Lisa! 💕

    • Michelle, thank you for the sweet words of encouragement. So grateful! 💛

  3. Dear Lisa, I remember when Aunt Judy & Uncle Ken brought you home. You were cherished and loved. I thank God you are in our family. You’re a beautiful and spiritual soul. Love you cousin! Sheri

  4. Thank you Lisa for sharing your touching story and heart felt wishes! Miss you girl! God bless you!🙏❤️

  5. Beautiful…So Thankful she gave us you!💕

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