BabyBeBrave: Creating Purpose out of Pain
Updated: Mar 26, 2022
My friend Michelle didn't think she'd ever be leading a public advocacy movement, and yet her online presence showcases the power of her healing journey. Her life speaks to the truth that we can do beautiful things, even when we have hard histories.
In her bio, Michelle shares that she is an international adoptee, born in Romania. She lived in an orphanage and was adopted at the age of two by an American family. When she was eight, her parents changed her life forever when they shared they had adopted her. The questions were unending. In high school, Michelle began to search for her birth mother. It was five years later that with the help of a private investigator she found her birth mother, but their reunion was very different from the one Michelle had longed for. The initial response was one of rejection, and Michelle has spent many years carrying and trying to process that pain. A recent discovery of a letter her birth mother wrote to her is starting to change the narrative, and they are now in reunion.
In our interview, Michelle shares how her deep anguish led her to an attempt at taking her life. Yet, in the midst of that pain, Michelle decided to live. She also decided to create. She says, "When I started Baby Be Brave, I met a whole community of other Adoptees which I never knew existed. The love and support they provide me not only makes me feel like I belong but has inspired me to know my purpose in life. My struggles of being adopted and the struggles of my fellow Adoptees have led me to become an advocate for the Adoptee community. I want to be that person I wish I had growing up for others who are adopted. In addition, Baby Be Brave wants to focus on helping the entire Adoption Triad (Adoptees, Adoptive Parents, and Birth Parents) by providing as much support through support groups and by building a safe and loving community. There will always be trauma that comes with adoption, but I’m making it my life’s mission to help eliminate as much trauma as possible for all included in the adoption process."
I asked Michelle to be a guest on the podcast after watching her speak and advocate for adoptees. Last fall, my friend Lori Holden (guest on episode 2) suggested that I watch how Michelle was creating a space for adoptees. A sacred space for holding stories and lifting voices. So, I did. And I have learned so very much from her and from the guests she hosts on her Instagram live series: Brave Souls. Michelle's kindness and compassion shine through as she honors every guest's voice and stands with fellow adoptees in their journeys to share their stories. Michelle, also has a heart to see trauma reduced in this world by helping the adoption triad learn from each other. During our interview, she shares incredible wisdom around processing rejection, learning to be present in her life, and the difficulties that come with having many unknowns in your history. She helps create understanding and gives advice for adoptive parents to remember that "when you adopt a child, you adopt every part of them. They are not a blank slate." She encourages adoptive parents to honor and engage their child's first family, history and culture - a gift that we discuss is not something that we need to wait for our children to request - a gift that it is the adoptive parents' responsibility to offer.
BabyBeBrave is a space Michelle has created for adoptees now and in future generations to find solidarity and hope. It is her safe space. The space that saved her life.
Here's how you can connect with Michelle:
After our interview, Michelle showed me her tatoo. A lotus flower with the cross. The story of the tatoo moved me and I asked her if I could share that with you all. Here is her explanation, her journey back to faith and her realization that God is with her through the hardest parts:
Please remember that if you are considering suicide there is always someone available to help: National Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-8255