Each of us have a story. Hard seasons. Beautiful seasons. And times where we’ve seen God’s faithfulness. And today, I’m excited to share the powerful story of my guest, Annie Marek-Barta. Annie grew up in an unsafe home that ultimately led her to decide she would take her own life. Through a series of God-ordained conversations and events, she found hope and healing. In today’s conversation, she shares that whole story, what it was like to enter foster care at the age of 17, and the emotional experience of being adopted at 26. (And yes, that’s a thing!) I hope this episode inspires you and reminds you of the faithfulness of our God and why you do what you do.
(Want to catch the video version of this episode? Just click here!)
HERE ARE 3 TAKEAWAYS FROM TODAY’S CONVERSATION:
1. God does not forget us, even in our darkest moments.
Annie’s story really is heartbreaking in many ways. She has experienced so much in her life. But as she shares her story, the thread of God’s presence is clear. From the timing of the conversation with her school counselor to the neighbor she happened to encounter at the local grocery store to the state allowing her to stay with her youth pastor when she entered foster care, He truly was present in the most frightening and dark moments of her story.
“Even when I thought God had forgotten me, He reached down and took me out of some of the darkest moments.”
2. So often there are things happening behind closed doors that we don’t know about.
This is so important. And it’s something we can’t forget. While there was suspicion from some of those around her, Annie had come to a place in high school where she chose that she would rather end her own life instead of giving her birth parents the power to do it. Even though she was guarded about her experience at first, it took multiple people asking questions, listening, and giving her the words to use for her experience that ultimately led to her journey towards safety and healing.
“That night, I decided tomorrow would be my last day at school. It would be my last day living.”
3. Being trauma-informed is so important when parenting and communicating with children from hard places.
While the first home Annie was placed in was a physically safe home, it wasn’t necessarily an emotionally safe home where Annie felt safe to be open and to “take up space” both physically and emotionally. This often was because her emotions would shut off conversation with her foster parents, which reaffirmed the perspective that she was “too much” and that she had to pretend to be something she wasn’t to be worthy of love. Being trauma-informed is incredibly valuable in helping children discover their true identity and find healing.
“Instead of learning how to regulate my emotions, I projected those negative words back on to myself.”
RESOURCES FROM TODAY’S SHOW
Meet Our Guest
Annie Marek-Barta is a former foster youth who aged out of the foster care system without a family and without being adopted. At the age of 26, she was adopted as an adult in Washington, showing the truth that we never outgrow the need to belong. She now volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate and works as a photographer and freelance graphic designer. Her heart is to advocate for the foster care and adoption realms and to see seats added to tables as the lonely are invited into belonging.
Get encouragement and updates in your inbox.
Be the first to know about new episodes, posts, resources, and stay in the loop about what’s coming up.