Walk of Faith: Through the Landslides of Life, God is Near // Michelle Madrid-Branch
Elevate Your Potential Magazine
Miracles happen, every day, even amidst great devastation. The lost can be found. The weak can be made strong. The voiceless can be heard. Two young lives were among those rescued in the catastrophic flooding and landslides that rocked my community, in January.
Love wrapped itself around them and set out to find them. Through the thick mud and dangerous debris—love arrived. God will have compassion on you; he’ll come back and pick up the pieces from all the places where you were scattered. Deuteronomy 30:3
When you feel that you are staggering through the wreckage of this life, know that you have an active God who is picking up the pieces all around you.
The Walk of Faith
I have learned, along my ever-growing walk of faith, that it is God who makes us bolder—over time and over trial. He is the catalyst that causes us to rise. God incites the transformation of the human heart amidst tragedy in this human world. From the words of A.W. Tozer, “It is doubtful whether God can use a person greatly until that person has been hurt deeply.”
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0:00 we evolved because it’s what we can do 0:02 it’s what we should do 0:04 Today Tomorrow forever 0:13 I’d like to introduce you to a little 0:16 girl I once knew her name is Julie dawn 0:19 and she was named after her father 0:21 Julian Julian was known as the Spaniard 0:26 where he was living at the time in 0:28 Newmarket England her mother Irene was 0:31 English and originated from the area of 0:33 Kent but Irene and Julian were not able 0:36 to raise their daughter due to 0:38 complicated circumstances and so upon 0:41 her birth she was secret away into 0:43 foster care 0:44 it’s interesting that at the time of her 0:46 placement into foster care she was no 0:49 longer considered a baby now she was now 0:52 called a matter for the country of 0:54 England to settle she was a mater a 0:57 complication of predicament as innocent 1:01 as this child was she was judged before 1:04 she could even speak she was labeled as 1:07 a difficult to place child before she 1:09 even knew what identity was her social 1:13 worker wrote of her Julie Don is a 1:16 strange-looking child she is very dark 1:17 in coloring and in complexion and 1:19 presumably takes after her father the 1:22 Spaniard but Julie Don was fortunate she 1:26 landed into the home of a kind of foster 1:29 carer by the name of mrs. hip khun’s who 1:31 wrote letters to whomever might one day 1:33 adopt this little girl she wrote about 1:36 her likes and her dislikes how she liked 1:38 to sit outside in her stroller taking in 1:41 a crisp English air how she did not like 1:44 bath time these letters written on blue 1:48 paper were eventually given to the 1:50 American family who would adopt little 1:52 Julie Don and they offered those letters 1:55 some sense of familiarity of a child 1:57 that would now be entering their family 2:00 for good and once again everything 2:03 changed for Julie Don even her name 2:05 changed to Michelle you see I am Julie 2:11 Don I’m a former foster child an 2:13 international adoptee but I’m not here 2:16 solely to share my story of adoption 2:19 with you now I have seventeen point 2:21 eight million other stories from around 2:24 the world to share with you and another 2:25 some five hundred 2:27 and stories to share with you from right 2:29 here in the United States there are 17 2:33 point 8 million children around the 2:36 world who are orphaned or being raised 2:38 in orphanages there are over 500,000 2:42 kids in u.s. foster care today 25,000 2:47 kids aged out of foster care every year 2:50 in the United States without having been 2:53 adopted meaning they don’t have a family 2:55 of the 25,000 kids who age out of foster 2:59 care every year in the u.s. without a 3:02 family 25 percent of them become 3:04 homeless 30 percent will be pregnant 3:07 before the age of 20 and 56% remain 3:11 unemployed in addition 80 percent of 3:15 prisoners in the United States have come 3:17 through the foster system at some point 3:19 in their lives 3:19 eighty percent of trafficking victims 3:22 have been through the foster care system 3:24 at some point in their lives what do you 3:28 think are the stories that these orphans 3:30 and Foster’s have told themselves about 3:33 their worth and their potential what do 3:36 you think are the stories that others 3:38 have told them about their worth what 3:42 messages are we sending as a world 3:44 community you see when I was in UK 3:46 foster care I was given that title of a 3:48 difficult to place child and it was an 3:50 unfair label but it was a label that I 3:53 believed for a very long time and I’m 3:56 not alone every orphan every foster 3:59 child has been unfairly labeled the 4:02 truth is they possess limitless 4:05 potential their circumstances do not 4:07 define who they are they’re human beings 4:10 just like you and me they long for love 4:13 and family and connection a safe and 4:15 secure place to call home but all too 4:18 often they are branded they are 4:20 marginalized due to what’s happening 4:22 outside of their control and none of it 4:28 none of it defines who they are or the 4:30 universe of promise that they hold the 4:34 result of all of this is that millions 4:38 of children around the world 4:41 offering as I speak to you you see 4:43 society judges what it has yet to 4:46 understand there does exist in our 4:50 society a double standard of grand 4:53 proportion we celebrate figures and 4:55 characters from literature and religion 4:56 who have been adopted orphaned fostered 4:59 think of Moses think of Superman Harry 5:03 Potter Tarzan Cinderella we celebrate 5:08 these characters in these figures but 5:10 real adoptees living and breathing 5:14 orphans and foster care foster care kids 5:17 are they’re made to feel ashamed of 5:19 their stories they’re silenced from 5:23 their truth they’re told that they are 5:25 somehow broken somehow lesser than the 5:27 rest of us and that’s a heavy burden for 5:31 a child to carry on his or her shoulders 5:34 and for every child who carries that 5:36 burden we must evolve what is the world 5:42 missed because children without families 5:45 have been told that their stories do not 5:47 matter what have we missed within this 5:49 global epidemic of building borders that 5:52 separate us from hearing the cry of a 5:54 child without a home you see it is my 5:58 mission that the world is no longer 6:00 willing to miss their cries no longer 6:03 willing to miss the treasures that these 6:05 kids possess and so I work to eradicate 6:08 the myth and a shine a light of who 6:11 these kids really are and if I can do 6:14 that with your help together we could 6:18 change the very way adoption is 6:20 perceived and here is the super cool 6:23 thing adoption has so much to teach us 6:26 in a political climate where we are all 6:29 too often talking about building walls 6:31 and borders to separate us adoption 6:34 stands is the living blueprint of how to 6:37 tear those walls and those borders down 6:43 these are my kids Christian and blue was 6:47 delivered into my life 6:50 biologically Ian in red was delivered 6:53 into my life via adoption from Russia 6:55 and Evie Anna there in the center was 6:58 delivered into my life 7:00 via adoption from Ethiopia we are a 7:03 family of different skin tones but we 7:05 are one United family threaded together 7:09 by love you see adoption teaches us that 7:14 family has very little to do with 7:17 biology but everything to do with love 7:20 adoption shows us the transformational 7:23 power of loving beyond the borders a 7:27 bloodline adoption has taught me as an 7:31 adoptee and as an adoptive parent that 7:33 there is miracle in a messiness of life 7:36 and it takes but one person to see the 7:38 miracle in the mess and to say to a 7:39 child I believe in you one person to see 7:44 the miracle in that mess to tear down 7:47 the wall and say to a child I dedicate 7:49 my life to loving you 17.8 million 7:56 orphans around the world and 500,000 8:00 foster kids right here in the US or 8:03 asking us to take courage to stand up 8:06 and to say tear down the walls tear down 8:10 the walls of government her down the 8:12 walls of judgment tear down the walls of 8:14 the mind and of the heart dissolve the 8:17 borders that keep children from finding 8:19 their forever families how did we ever 8:23 create borders around a love that knows 8:25 nothing of division the very essence of 8:30 adoption breathes inclusion this is my 8:36 family today and together we represent 8:39 four different countries of origin but 8:42 there are no borders between us we are a 8:45 quilt of different patterns fabrics 8:48 textures tones places of origin but we 8:51 are one united tribe I believe 8:56 that the foster children and the orphans 8:58 of the world will one day find their 9:01 forever families when we as a society 9:04 evolve to the shared belief that no 9:08 matter our ethnicity no matter our 9:11 religion no matter our places of origin 9:13 we can be brother and sister parent and 9:19 child you know it was activist and 9:23 entertainer Josephine Baker who adopted 9:25 12 children in her day by the way who 9:28 said surely the day will come when color 9:31 means nothing more than the skin tone 9:33 when religion is seen uniquely as a way 9:35 to speak one’s soul when birthplaces 9:38 have the weight of a throw of the dice 9:41 and all men are born free when 9:43 understanding breeds love and 9:45 brotherhood that my friends is 9:50 borderless love and it is the kind of 9:54 love that can bring the lost children of 9:56 this world home borderless love that can 10:00 bring us home to each other 10:02 borderless love that can bring us home 10:06 to ourselves 10:11 [Applause]
As an adoptee, Michelle Madrid-Branch describes her journey to becoming a parent with two adopted children of her own. Through her experiences, Michelle emphasizes that the idea of a family should be shaped purely by love and not by the traditional notions of geographical borders, genetic makeup, or religion.
About Michelle Madrid-Branch
Michelle is an author, speaker, international adoptee, and global advocate for women and children; specializing in the areas of adoption, foster care, abandonment recovery, and identity reconciliation. Her mission is to ensure that the adoption community is heard, seen, valued, respected, and understood.
As the Host of “The Greater Than Podcast,” Michelle focuses on the strength and resilience of the human spirit. She shares stories of triumph over challenge and asks the question, “What is the internal drive that urges a person to move beyond struggle and stand greater than the very obstacle that tried to keep them down?”
- For the latest updates, news and information, visit her online at: https://michellemadridbranch.com