Greek adoption stories have been increasingly in the news as more and more Greek adoptees have come forward to share their experiences and help others in their life’s journey. An Agonizing Peace: Powering through Our Excruciating Experiences by Jon Heymann, a Greek adoptee whose given birth name was Pandelis, starts off shockingly: “I was sold into slavery as a young child. True story.”
From that point, Heymann shares how he was adopted and came to the United States, but he doesn’t focus on merely telling the story of his life, he notes that “this book grabs the attention of those readers who have been turned off by the superficial reactions to their very own traumatic experiences, and to draw these readers back to a healthy view of God, of themselves, and of Peace.”
“I contrast reality-based Biblical ‘peace’ with false, shallow effortless peace, and then illustrate the subsequent results of both using a myriad of real-world examples,” Heymann writes. “Then the book transitions to the Biblical notion of ‘peace’ which is neither passionless nor effortless, but at times rather agonizing. The prime example is Jesus who ‘agonized’ in the garden of Gethsemane yet was presumably at peace with his fate. Hence, the title of the book, ‘An Agonizing Peace.’”
“This book is in no way an encyclopedia of hasty, quick answers, but rather admits that if we knew everything about God, He wouldn’t be much of a God,” Heymann notes.
Unlike other Greek adoptees, Heymann has no interest in finding his Greek family or reconnecting with his Greek roots. “I was naturalized as an American citizen in a New Jersey Courtroom at the age of 10. I am an American with no hyphen,” he writes.
It is understandable since his early years can only be described as Dickensian. Abandoned at the Athens Municipal Infants Asylum through the ‘breadbox’, basically an oversized mail slot where unwanted babies could be deposited, he faced horrific treatment. A doctor signed his ‘death certificate’ after which he was sold, rented, or loaned to adults who lived in a small house. The young Heymann was sent out to steal from tourists. If he failed to bring back enough money, he was beaten or thrown out a window.
Eventually, he was adopted by an American family, but he still struggled with nightmares for many years. Today, he is a successful businessman who served as a pastor and earned graduate degrees in psychology and education.
In the book’s introduction, Heymann wites: “This book… is a result of my early childhood in Greece, my Pastoral ministry plus my decades of ‘marketplace ministry’ in the secular world of public education, creating and leading very large non-profits (i.e. $38 million). God has revived my desire to complete this book and get this message out to hurting people that deeply doubt whether God cares for them at all. Because of their ‘Traumatic and Painful Experiences’ their faith in God has declined and their feeling of rejection is real and debilitating. While God has rescued me from a child mill (trafficking) and guided me through some other excruciating experiences, this and many other examples are used to provide hope and answers to the seemingly helpless and hopeless.”
An Agonizing Peace: Powering through Our Excruciating Experiences by Jon Heymann is available online.