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Adopted A New Way Of Life

Breana’s upbringing was a life filled with many twists and turns. As the oldest of five separated from her siblings for many years, her biological parents struggled with substance abuse. While in utero, Breana’s mother was using street drugs heavily, as well as experiencing complex trauma. This affected Breana, causing a five week early birth, diagnosed with cerebral palsy and in her first twenty minutes of life, she had difficulty breathing. Her parents made the decision to sign over their parental rights.

However, during her toddler years she was welcomed into a foster family, where her foster mother’s ministry was to nurse sick babies to health for adoption. Having had to endure an upbringing filled with unknowns, Breana is fortunate to be connected with her foster family and a biological sibling. 

“So when I was about one-and-a-half-to-two-years old, I was adopted by my foster mom. My older biological sister was with her as well, and a younger adopted brother.  It was a single parent home, and that's how it all started.

That's where I had been living until May of 2023. Due to having siblings, the foster care system wanted to keep us together, I assume. A photo album was made for me, and off I went. That's one of the ways I was able to find my foster family and connect with my biological family. The Lord reconnected us, and we're still connected to this day.” 

The hardships Breana experienced can cause mixed emotions, unforgiveness and wearing a metaphorical mask.  

“Growing up as a child with the adoptive mother that I had, I learned at a young age to try to put myself in my mother's shoes because I don't always understand why she does what she does. But in the beginning stages when I just found out [about the adoption] I did wrestle with unforgiveness and some moments of anger. The [metaphorical] mask I wear is not expressing what I'm really showing on the inside. I told myself at a young age, ‘I can't talk to my mother. I have to keep everything inside, everything that I'm feeling; just keep it to myself. So, you know, getting older and becoming an adult, I'm still kind of keeping things to myself.’”


Ironically, Breana has worked for the City of Philadelphia in multiple positions for several years in an area of the legal system she is very familiar with personally.  

“I work at the First Judicial District in the courthouses. Before that, I was in family court and the criminal justice system. As a digital recording technician, I listened to and recorded the cases like a stenographer. I’ve heard a lot of stories. I've seen parents get their rights terminated, children getting adopted, and people denied to adopt a child. 

Working in the court system, it gave me more clarity. My adopted mom would tell me stories about when the biological parents are trying to be in the lives of the child. I grew up next to a couple of families where the biological parent was actively on drugs. Dads are in and out, or you don't know your dad, but I know my dad; he's in jail. I was seeing that all my life. My adoptive mom kind of protected me from that, but seeing it helped me to have sympathy.”

For individuals who were raised in the foster care system, and have experienced homelessness, there is one important thing that is necessary for their progress in life: stability. 

“The number one thing I want to achieve before I graduate is stability. And not just physical stability, like housing; basically, mental and emotional stability as well. I want to be stable in the Lord; and my finances too. So far, since living here I've paid off, by the grace of God, $1,100 in debt.”

The turning point for Breana has brought her on a journey of adopting a new way of life of healing and relationship with God.

“People have been telling me all my life about the favor of God and I never understood it - still trying to understand it to this day. The Lord gave me opportunities that are so rare. I see so many kids who don't know their family: who grow up to be adults and still never meet their real family. And I'm like, ‘Wow, Lord you had mercy on me. You allowed me to meet my family.’ It's truly a miracle.” 

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.- 1 Peter 5:10 (ESV)

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