Today I have a story of abundant resilience and defiant hope to share with you. In this episode we get to hear from Sandhya Oaks, a Transracial Adoptee who was adopted from India at the age of one. When she turned 18 years old, after years of experiencing trauma, Sandhya was disowned by her adoptive family. As she has intentionally worked on healing from the past of being an orphan for the first year of her life and from the pain her adoptive family brought, Sandhya has learned the importance of addressing the pain of the past and redeeming her perspective of forgiveness. This episode is powerful, and I am so grateful to Sandhya for sharing her story and being open about her journey of healing.
TAKEAWAYS FROM TODAY’S CONVERSATION:
1. We can’t ignore the pain of the past; we need to tend to it.
All too often we try to bury what we feel and avoid processing through the trauma, in the hopes that the pain will disappear if it goes unacknowledged. Unfortunately, when we try to run from feeling our pain, we are only delaying the process. We cannot heal from what we do not allow ourselves to feel. When we’re ready, and often alongside someone we trust, it’s important to take the time and space to tend to the pain and the feelings from our past.
“What has helped me heal the most is actually facing the pain and facing the grief and not fleeing from it anymore.”
2. There is a difference between stepping away and running away.
The process of working through the past is a long and exhausting one. It cannot be completed in a day or two. It is okay to feel overwhelmed, to listen to our bodies, and to take some time away before revisiting the process. Sandhya has learned to trust her gut and her body to know when it’s time to take a break. This is not the same thing as running away from our feelings. If this is a process you’re navigating for the first time, consider finding a trusted friend, counselor, or therapist to help you navigate it.
“When I can pay attention to my body, my body is actually the truth-teller.”
3. Forgiveness in ongoing.
Like Sandhya says in today’s episode, forgiveness is so hard. As we work through parts of our story, and discover new aspects of it, we will have opportunities to offer more and more forgiveness. Forgiveness for ourselves. Forgiveness for those that hurt us. And internalizing the perfect forgiveness from God. Offering forgiveness to those that hurt us does not mean that relationship has to be restored. But it does mean that we can give that burden to the Lord.
“As I continued to go through parts of my story, I would forgive my adoptive parents more. I would experience more forgiveness as new things came up, as deeper wounds came through.”
Meet Our Guest
Sandhya Oaks is a campus ministry leader with Cru, speaker, writer, and advocate for both adoption and foster care. She is a Transracial Adoptee from India to the Midwest and the co-founder of The Adoption Triad, a social media group that provides community and resources to those connected to adoption and foster care. She has a certificate in Narrative Focused Trauma Care through the Allender Center based in Seattle. Sandhya’s story holds tremendous loss, abundant resilience, and defiant hope. She is passionate about sharing God’s restoration in her journey. She resides in Colorado and spends her free time camping, sipping coffee with friends, and creating tasty charcuterie boards.
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