vulnerability hangover.

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First time ever.

An evening, a space, a backdrop, a platform…for adoptees only.

It’s never been done before. Ever.

But someone dared to do it, and I love that. I respect that. I applaud that.

There we were…8 live voices, 6 recorded voices, ranging from ages 15 to 62.

All adopted.

There we were, about to speak, about to tell, about to share…our stories, our hearts.

There we were, representing a people, a population, who often gets labeled as:









But this night was not about those people, that kind of person.

This was a night was about a collective voice saying that we have a story to tell.

This was a night was about a collective voice saying that we have a voice to offer.

This was a night about a collective voice saying that we have the desire to connect.

This was a night about a collective voice saying that we are learning to trust.

This was a night about a collective voice saying that we are being healed.

This was a night about a collective voice saying that we possess hope.

This was a night about a collective voice saying…

“We want you to listen to our hearts.”

And so we all shared what was in us, in our hearts…our questions, our journey, our dreams, our restoration.

All we were asking, all we were inviting, all we were hoping our audience would do, was to listen.

And they did.

Some a little. Some a lot. Some we don’t know how much.

But it really wasn’t about how well or how much or how closely they listened, because this evening, this experience, was for us, about us…about us finding more of our voices, more of ourselves, more of God.

And we did.

We stretched and challenged and dared ourselves to be courageous and brave and vulnerable and true.

And we were.

And in that process, we heard each other’s voices, and we heard our own…a bit more clearly, a bit more loudly, a bit more beautifully.

Sometimes, we have to begin hearing our own voices telling our own story before we can invite anyone else to listen.

And when we do, something miraculous and mysterious and breath-taking happens. We begin to embody what it means to connect and trust and feel safe with the people around us.

Many of us left that night feeling drained and emptied and depleted…in a good way. In a really good way. We had this sense that we were going to wake up the next morning with a “vulnerability hangover,” but we knew we’d be OK because it was worth it.

Totally worth it.

Adoptees…may you come to not only know your story, voice your story, share your story, but also come to know that the story of your heart matters…deeply.

Thank you to Tapestry Ministry of Irving Bible Church for hosting an evening where our voices could be shared, highlighted, heard. And a special thanks to Michael and Amy Monroe whose ability to listen to their children’s hearts has begun to free the hearts of adoptees everywhere.

“HOPE…It’s that beautiful place between the way things were and the way things are yet to be.”

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12 thoughts on “vulnerability hangover.

  1. Carissa,


    You are here for such a time a this. Your voice and heart are precious to take a risk to help many. Praying for you as you continue this journey. I keep thinking how very proud your mom would be of you and all you are doing. I will tell you for her – you are a joy to watch and your courage and heart will bless many!

    Much love, Suzann

  2. Carissa,

    I was there to experience that beautiful, raw, emotional night. I listened, and I was changed. I am a college student and big sister to four children who entered our family through adoption. They are still young, just 11, 10, 7, and 5, and every day I am learning how to better love them.

    Your words impacted me on Friday night. I appreciated the vulnerable reminder to let my siblings experience the pain, loss, and grief in their own way, at their own time. I wish more than anything I could take that pain away, but as I listened to you and the other adoptee voices, I was humbled to know that being there and listening is all they need from me.

    Listening looks different for each one of my siblings. They all have unique challenges and difficulties, from the one placed with us at birth, to the one who was adopted at age 5. I want them to know that their big sister is crazy about them, loves them more than anything, and will stick by them through the trenches. Sometimes those trenches run so very, very deep, but I see my Savior’s redemption shining through every single day, and I am reminded that His grace is sufficient…even for my family.

    Thank you for helping me better understand that in order for me to become a big sister, my siblings had to experience a deep loss. Thank you for showing me how I can better understand them and listen to them. I am still processing much of what I heard from Friday, but I wanted to let you know that your words touched me deeply and have inspired me to be a better sister.


    • kylee…i’m so touched, so humbled, so blown away by how you “listened” that night. i’m grateful for the ways that you have been and will continue to step towards your siblings. what a gift you are to them…telling them that they and their hearts are worth fighting for, listening to. may this journey change you as much as it is changing them.

  3. Hi Carissa,

    “Adoptees…may you come to not only know your story, voice your story, share your story, but also come to know that the story of your heart matters…deeply.”

    Thank you for affirming this on your blog for adoptees. I was blessed to tape a segment for Tapestry in the We Are Adopted project and I so wished I could have been at the conference to watch you all. It’s such a blessing to be connected to other adult adoptees who are using their voice to encourage, educate and bring the Kingdom here on earth. Thanks for all you are doing to be a positive voice to others!


  4. Carissa, WOW! What a wonderful description of a much needed process for adoptees. Sherrie Eldridge and I co-authored a workbook dedicated to this process for adoptees entitled, “Under His Wings…healing truth for adoptees of all ages.” The Bible says: “You can’t heal a wound by saying it’s not there!” (Jeremiah 6:14 TLB) There’s only one way to find peace with a painful past and that is through a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. He alone, through His Spirit, can place a healing balm on our deep wounds. It can be purchased for $10 on at this link: We also have an All-Adoptee Growth Group for adoptees only on yahoo. com at in which we are going through the chapters of Under His Wings together. We would welcome all adoptees looking for a group that is determined to work hard on personal issues and finish the journey well. We probe adoption issues and process them together until growth is achieved.
    Many blessings to you,
    beth willis miller

    • thanks, beth! i’m grateful for how you understand woundedness and healing and for the ways you’re sharing your story, your journey, your heart, with the world. and, for the ways that you are inviting adoptees everywhere to find more of themselves and more of God.

  5. Pingback: Listen to Our Hearts | Tapestry

  6. I attended C4C this year for the 3rd year in a row…and I just wanted to thank you for your words, your heart and your wisdom and your view into my daughters hearts. I am praying that God helps me to ‘listen’ to all that they are saying when there are no words. Praying for you as you continue this beautiful journey and that you continue to use your voice in the way that God has planned for you!

  7. Pingback: trust. | Carissa Woodwyk

  8. Pingback: Listen to Our Hearts | TAPESTRY

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