Rebecca Kiessling: Adopted into God's Family
By Rod Thomas
The 700 Club
“The family that I was raised in was Jewish. I went to five years of Hebrew school three days a week. I was bat mitzvahed and everything.”
Rebecca Kiessling was adopted at birth. Though she was not Jewish, her parents raised her as one of their own. However, kids her own age saw it differently.
She tells The 700 Club, “My classmates would remind me, as I well knew, that I wasn’t really one of them. I was called names, and I felt like I was outside of God’s grace, outside of God’s family. If I could just find this birth family, then I could find out where I fit into this world and into God’s plan, if at all.”
She decided to find out who her birth parents were, and why they put her up for adoption.
“When I was in middle school, I demanded that my parents tell me who the lawyer was who handled my adoption. They gave me that information. So I called him, and he said, ‘You have to be 18.’”
So, when she turned 18, Rebecca contacted a case worker and got the documents she needed.
“It had all kinds of details about my birth mother, her eye color, hair color, height, weight, age, her ethnicity, religious background, occupation, educational level. Then for my father all it said was that he was Caucasian and of large build. Of course, I thought that sounds like a police description. I called up my case worker, and I asked her, ‘Was my mom raped?’ She said, ‘Yeah. I didn’t want to tell you.’ I was just devastated.
“I remember feeling so ugly and so unwanted, really thinking, ‘Who would ever love me?’”
Still, she wanted to meet her birth mother. Rebecca recalls, “I met my birth mother when I was 19. Basically a judge had allowed a case worker to try to contact her and see if she wanted to meet me. It worked. I called her. She said that she was sorry to hear that I already knew that I was conceived in rape, but then she filled me in on some horrific details that I was totally unequipped to hear. She told me that she would have aborted me if it had been legal.”
After that, Rebecca’s self-image was even worse than before.
“I really settled in relationships -- like I should be thankful that somebody would want to be with someone like me. Those relationships became abusive, and ultimately I was beat up by a boyfriend from law school. He broke my jaw. My front tooth was hanging.”
Rebecca ended the relationship.
“I had really hit rock bottom,” she says. “From all outward appearances, I had so much going for me. I excelled in academics and athletics. I was going to a great law school, but I was really deteriorating on the inside.”
Then a friend invited her to church.
“They played the song ‘Amazing Grace,’ and I just cried and I broke down. I knew that I had squandered the gift that God had given me. Now, it wasn’t just the issue of this stain on my life because of my conception. It was now all of my sin -- all of the bad choices that I had made. So, you know, it was really just like in the song ‘Amazing Grace’. To think that He saved a wretch like me, was just really amazing.”
It was the message of grace that gave Rebecca a new perspective on God’s love and herself.
“I got a good foundation at that point and began to learn more about what God has to say about orphans. It’s in the spirit of adoption that we’re called to be God’s children through Christ. Wow,” she exclaims. “It was a huge weight that was lifted and to realize that I could actually have a fresh start. I wasn’t just now tainted goods. God didn’t see me that way.”
Once she realized how much God loved her, Rebecca began to believe that others could love her too.
“By the time I met my husband, I had decided that I was going to only kiss one more man in my life, because my kisses are precious. We waited two and a half months to have our first kiss. It was in the Grand Canyon, and it was spectacular! We knew that that meant we were getting married.”
When Rebecca and Bob married, her parents and her birth mother were there, standing beside their daughter. She says, “My husband likes to joke that he got the short end of the stick, because he ended up with two mother-in-laws. But it’s really neat. It’s beautiful. My birth mother and I are very close today. She’s Grandma Joann to all of my children.”
Today, Rebecca and Bob have five children. Two of them are adopted. Rebecca lives her life by one very important truth.
“Ultimately, I know that I have an infinite value. Jesus paid an infinite price. That’s my worth, that Jesus died for me. I’m not worthless. I’m priceless.”
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