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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

God and Adoption

These past two months some really cool bloggers have been exploring how they feel about the relationship between God and adoption. As a Christian and an adoptive parent, I read all of these posts with tremendous interest, both those written by Christians and by non-Christians. Several weeks ago I read yet another post on the topic, as well as the subsequent comments, and I began to type out a response. Only my response became so long, I decided perhaps I should instead go out on a limb and type it all out here.

Despite the controversy.

(And goodbye to half my readers. I love y'all.)

Now, I don't pretend to have all of the answers. And I am definitely more likely to seek out spiritual advice rather than to offer it. But I do have some thoughts about this. And I would love it if y'all would share YOUR thoughts on the topic. I want both Christians and non-Christians to feel comfortable sharing, however, so I ask you to keep humility and kindness in mind when composing your thoughts. I'll do my best to do the same.

Anyways, here is My Comment That Turned Into A Book...

Several years ago, my husband and I navigated the whole "why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?" question when my husband missed the destruction of the Twin Towers by a couple of hours (his meeting was scheduled for later that morning). We found the book The Problem of Pain by CS Lewis to be immensely helpful.

I am a Christian. I am also an adoptive parent.

I believe that I sound completely confusing when I talk about this because I believe that God is omniscient, meaning that He is all-knowing. In other words, I believe He knows what is going to happen even before it happens, even if it is not what He wants to happen. Suffering occurs in this world, but it was not part of God's original plan. The Book of Genesis clearly states this. God allows for suffering because, without free will, our choices to follow Him or not follow Him would mean very little. Because of this, I believe that yes, God worked to bring the Tongginator into our family... but... BUT... I believe that we were quite definitely His plan B for her life.

I believe that God's first choice is for all children to grow up within the loving arms of their biological families. When abandonment, relinquishment and/or forced removal occurs... well... I believe that SOMETHING from this world, not God, caused it to happen. As Carrie once stated, adoption is a redemptive response to a tragedy. It is an absolute TRAGEDY that a child cannot stay with his or her biological family, whether it be caused by the personal sin of the parents (engaging in sinful behavior such as abuse, for example), or the sins of another who held power over the parents (whether familial or societal or political), or because of the overall sin of living in a fallen world (where things such as poverty and illness and death exist) despite the parents being without fault within the situation.

To say that it was God's first choice for a child to experience adoption is the same - to me - as saying that it was God's first choice for someone to be murdered. That may not make sense to some of you, but it's how I feel. Whether I am right or wrong, I do not know. I've never claimed to be a Biblical scholar. But it IS how I feel.

I think that the church often conveniently picks and chooses how to interpret God's Word about adoption. Moses' adoption? Occurred because of the sin of one group of people who were oppressing another group of people. And to whom did Moses return? His biological family. Esther? It was a kinship adoption after both of her parents died. Jesus? Remained with His mother and, in effect, an earthly step-father raised Him.

God's call is very specific to care for widows and orphans. TOGETHER. It says WIDOWS and orphans. And it says TO CARE FOR, not necessarily to adopt. Which, to me, reinforces the idea that family preservation is God's top priority and that adoption is His second choice for a child. I often think of many within the church - those who are pushing an adoption agenda with a zeal that makes me feel uncomfortable, especially when they are closing their eyes to corruption and coercion and the like - I think of them when I read the Scripture of 1 Kings 3:16-28. In that Scripture, two women both gave birth within a few days of one another while living in the same house. One baby died and the other lived. Both women claimed the living child and a judge had to rule as to which mother belonged to the baby. The judge wisely ruled that they should cut the child in half so that the two women could share the baby, knowing that the actual mother would rather her child be in the arms of the other woman than suffer that fate. One woman tearfully offered to hand over the baby, while the woman who lied said, "Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!"

And the true mother was revealed through the actions of both women.

A real mother knows that adoption is a redemptive response to a tragedy, but that it does NOT erase the tragedy. When someone longing for a child... or simply longing to adopt... places blinders on during the adoption process, or ignores the tragedy, he or she is, in effect, stating - as did the woman in the Scripture listed above - "Neither you nor I should have him. Cut him in two!" In other words, "if I can't have him, then no one should" or "I deserve this child more than you." They are allowing their own selfish desires and/or spiritual pride to blind them and guide them.

Looking back, I wonder where my heart was during our wait to adopt the Tongginator.

Therefore, I believe that the church's number one priority should be assisting families in remaining together rather than pushing other families to "save a child" through adoption. End world hunger and many adoptions will no longer occur. Stop stigmatizing single mothers, passing judgment on them, and many adoptions will no longer occur. Help find the cure for AIDS and many adoptions will no longer occur.

Adoption is often a band-aid placed over a gaping wound.

Children growing up in abject poverty do not necessarily need adoptive families... they need food and clothes. Children born to a single mother do not necessarily need adoptive families... they need their fathers to face up to the responsibility of raising them. Children born with special needs do not necessarily need adoptive families... they need access to adequate medical care and a community that embraces, rather than stigmatizes, them.

Adoption is often a band-aid placed over a gaping wound.

That does not mean that I think adoptions should end. Because the tragedies will still occur. My daughter was abandoned when she was a newborn. She lived in care for almost a year. At the time of adoption, returning to her biological family was not an option... it was either to grow up in care or to grow up with an adoptive family. She is a wonderful little girl... one who deserves a family, just as ALL children deserve families. Since her biological family was no longer an option, for whatever reason, I am glad that God chose us as His plan B to be her adoptive family.

But her adoption? Was a band-aid placed over a gaping wound in rural China.

We continue to need the redemptive response of adoption... we live in a fallen world, y'all, a place where children continue to need a second chance at a family. But that does not mean we should wash our hands of and ignore the tragedies that cause that need in the first place. What are y'all doing to help end adoption? Don't say nothing... because I know that's not true. How many of y'all donated money to help the victims of the earthquake in Haiti? It may have been small or large... regardless of the size, it was something. And that money went to care for people suffering multiple tragic losses, losses so huge, families might have been torn apart without practical help from others.

I believe adoption is necessary, but when we focus solely on adoption, I think we look at only a small part of God's plan. We need to dream BIG. With God, ALL things are possible. We need to not only care for the orphans, but also the widows and the sick and the impoverished as well. We need to work to end the need for adoption while at the same time opening our homes to the children who need families the most.

So *deep breath* how do y'all feel about what I've shared? I can take it. Really, I can.

(I think.)

140 comments:

Buckeroomama said...

"We need to work to end the need for adoption while at the same time opening our homes to the children who need families the most."


Oh, TM, I believe you hit the nail on the head.

Carrie said...

I love your post. Am so thankful for adoptive mommas like you... and hope someday that when I'm one, I'll be a little bit like you. :) Thanks for linking to my thoughts... glad it wasn't crazy-talk.

Kim K. said...

I was waiting for this post to be really controversial, but I agree with everything you are saying.

I can't imagine our family without Josie, but our daughter deserved to have open-heart and hand surgery in her birth country, being raised by her birth family.

One of the groups that we work with is Pearl River Outreach. We sponsor a SN child to remain in foster care in China. I'd much rather see these orphans with a family-type structure than be in an orphanage. There are so many opportunities and so many needs.

Aus said...

I don't know why you would be concerned that your post would run anyone off - I'm sorry but I just don't see that! I'm thinking your post is very well reasoned and founded....pretty much spot on in fact!

Oh - maybe you were worried about zealots? Well - too much zeal about anything is a bad thing....so....(like you like to say) "I'm just sayin"....

And I just deleted the next oh say thousand or so words....like you - I could go on and on over something like this ....

Ya'll did good work - OK?

Hugs - aus and co.

Sarah said...

Nodding along with you the whole way. Amen!

AwesomeCloud and family said...

I'm an atheist, which makes my response a lot shorter than your post - I don't have to explain why God allows pain and tragedy. I'm rather enamored with the concept of a combination of random chance and human choice, intentional or unintentional, explaining everything. For instance, my son's illness was random chance. His family made the decision to give him up for adoption. His parents intentionally decided to adopt; our papers randomly came up at the same time; the agent intentionally matched us; we intentionally accepted him.

(This view also lets my mother off the hook for a great many things I'd have trouble resolving. Trust me, atheism makes me a much better, happier person.)

That said, I agree with the great bulk of your post's content. Adoption should be the dead last solution to many of the world's social problems. Our priorities are backwards. We should be putting a lot more effort into giving the original families a better chance to keep their children and raise them well.

There! Now that you got the dreaded atheist opinion out of the way, don't you feel a lot better?

LynnieB said...

I, too, was ready for controversy, but agree with everything you said. As an adoptive mother of two, I know both of my children "could" have stayed with their birth families if it wasn't for poverty and societal pressures. While that aches my heart to say, I know it is truth.
I hope your post will move people to give (or give more) to others in need, both around the world and in their own backyard.
Good job!

Rhonda said...

Amen, sistah! I couldn't have said it better myself. If anyone buggers off, they didn't 'get it' in the first place.

Elizabeth@Romans8:15 said...

Amen, Amen, AMEN! To all of it! As a Christian who sees a lot of adoption ministries that are only about ADOPTION and, I could not agree more. What about a ministry that works to keep families together??

I was trying to work some of this out in my mind a few months ago and wrote this post: http://romanseightfifteen.blogspot.com/2010/03/meant-to-be.html

But I like yours better...I want to be you when I grow up!

Elizabeth@Romans8:15 said...

PS--I am linking this post on my FB page.

autumnesf said...

EXACTLY!! And I'm going to bug you to let me post and link this on my blog because it is so exactly what I would say.

I always get a very sick feeling when someone says that God planned for this child to be in our family.

I don't believe that. I believe human actions caused a tragedy and God turned that tragedy around. Why do so many people want to take out the human sin element in "why do bad things happen..." ?

The problem is I can't see any of this ever being fixed because of the financial aspects. It's very hard to want to give our hard earned money to people that have children they cannot support. (And I'm not actually talking about impoverished countries - I'm talking about our own.) They know they can't support the kids...so why exactly is it my job to fix the problem and take food off of my table to do it? That's where I get hung up. And yes, I do send money and participate in many different little charities...but that's a whole different issue. Those really are widows and orphans...not career welfare moms.

Now there's your controversial subject!

Wife of the Pres. said...

I agree with everything you said, particularly this part because it hits so close to home:

"Children born with special needs do not necessarily need adoptive families... they need access to adequate medical care and a community that embraces, rather than stigmatizes, them.

Adoption is often a band-aid placed over a gaping wound."

I applaud your bravery TG. I struggle everyday with my own feelings in regard to this. We are so blessed here and we go and adopt these children, but why not help the families to keep them??? I know we all (many APs anyway) do our little part in that regard, but can't we do more somehow?

A little shameless plug here:

https://www.lovewithoutboundaries.com/medical_unityfund.cfm

Love Without Boundaries, when made aware and able to work out the complicated logistics, does help families in China keep their children who need medical care and do not have the resources to provide it. See link above.

Again, Thanks TG. Personally, I think this needs to be linked on WW or even put right on the NHBO blog.

I am all about helping orphans, but I do think there is a real misunderstanding and I've been there myself. Our church btw is opening a school in Ethiopia for teen children who are either orphaned or socially orphaned … I am proud of the new venture and I hope we can do more of that sort of thing. Right now they are raising funds to buy the children's supplies like books, paper, etc. and they will also be given one meal a day along with their family members.

Wanda said...

100% Amen!

The whole idea of Plan A and Plan B needs to be explored. That's what life is all about.

Hugs,
W

Chris said...

TM, this post is exactly how I feel....

I mean, exactly!!!

(I don't think I could have expressed myself so eloquently, but since you did, I don't need to! lol)

"Adoption is a redemptive response to a tragedy."
So true....only God could do this!!! He is the one who turns 'beauty into ashes'!

I have always felt that I am Plan B for Shea & Avery. In fact, I embrace that realization and I feel honored that God allowed me this place in my girls' lives. I know I am their second mom. However, i also know that this 'second' is not a rank but simply an order...does that make sense?

Ya know, I could respond to every point that you made with firm agreement...but, then I would be turning my comment into a book!! ha!

So in a nutshell, I don't think this post is that controversial...
I think you hit upon many truths...or at least, you have opened the door to some great discussion and will cause people to sit back and ponder....
Of course, this is my opinion....but, really!this is a great post!!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
This is why I love your blog!!!

I would love to link up to this post from my blog....would ya mind if I did so???

Briana's Mom said...

You said this so well.

I think one of the reasons I looked to China to adopt was because I knew that my child's bio family already made the choice to let her go - it made me feel like I wasn't forcing or ripping a family apart. It was already sadly torn apart for reasons unknown. I do not like the fact that Briana will never know her biological roots. It makes me so sad.

But on my selfish side, adoption helped me create the family of my dreams. It gave me the daughter of my dreams. Without it, I know I would feel as if something was missing in my life. I look at my daughter each day and feel as if she is a part of my soul, even though she didn't come from my body. I am grateful I was able to adopt my child.

People say we should try to stop adoption and keep families together and I do agree. But without it, I wouldn't have Bri in my life. It kind of tears me apart inside. I guess I don't really mind being a "plan B".

Denise said...

I have also been thinking about this topic a lot lately. And I have to say that I was one of those parents who believed and actually said that God meant for Maggie to be with us. Posts like this that speak the truth are helping me change my views so that I can talk to our daughter about this as she gets older. Thank you for your honesty. I will be printing this post out for family and friends to read when we discuss this topic!!

Beach Mama said...

I agree with everything you stated. In a perfect world adoption would not exist, but this is far from a perfect world. There is much that Christians and the Church need to do.

LucisMomma said...

Totally agree. May I link your post on my blog?

And I love being plan B. Even though my DD would rather have plan A.

Soliloquy said...

Girl. You get my wheels turnin'.

I do agree that caring for widows is tragically overlooked and I'm glad you raised that point.

THAT is the very thing that I so love about Dorcas Widows ministry in Uganda. My friend Kari is ministering to (by way of FRIENDSHIP, which I think is so beautiful) a group of around 100 Christian widows - 500ish in total including the orphaned children they are raising - some not even their own.

Hope you don't mind if I leave a link to Kari's blog.

http://divinestories-kari.blogspot.com/

As for our own adoption process, all I got is.... obedience. One day at a time. If God wills it, we will obey.

Tracy said...

Great post...
Of course I could totally write a book too! But just know it was a good well written post.

Melissa said...

TM, as a Korean-American adoptee, I truly appreciate your insight and honesty regarding the issue of God and adoption.

Because so many people who adoptee (not all, of course, as exemplified by AwesomeCloud), claim some form of a Christian faith, I think this is a topic that needs attention.

As you stated succinctly yet very insightfully, "I think that the church often conveniently picks and chooses how to interpret God's Word about adoption."

Because adoption occurs in the Bible and is used as a metaphor for a relationship with God, people of faith often assume therefore that adoption is only good.

Well, rape and murder also occur in the Bible and the metaphor of an adulterous wife is also used to exemplify Israel's relationship with God, but that doesn't mean that those things are good.

Coincidentally enough, I have been working on a blog post regarding the issues of God & adoption from an adult adoptee's perspective, and will post it at some point.

Thank you, TM, for being an an ally to adoptees. If you don't mind, I'd like to link to this through my FB page. (There is more of a chance that people who need to read this will read it if I link from FB rather than my blog...)

Melissa said...

oops, I meant, "Because so many people who adopt..."

prechrswife said...

"adoption is a redemptive response to a tragedy"--Love this!

We have always said that God saw a baby girl in China who needed a family, and he saw that there was a family here who needed a baby girl, and that He brought us together. We SO don't want our daughter to think it was God's will for her to be abandoned by her birth family. 1) We don't believe that God would ever will for a child to be abandoned. 2) What in the world would that do to our daughter's view of God, if she were to grow up believing that God willed that she be abandoned as a newborn baby?

We think of our daughter's birthmother often, as our girl has such a distinctive personality. There is so much we will never know, never be able to tell her... (But that's a tangent for another day...)

Gail said...

As a Christian and a former RN who cared for children and families, I couldn't agree with you more. Because it's all about family and keeping them together. I've always been a bit uncomfortable when I hear someone say we were 'meant to be' our children's parents. Meaning it was a plan from the very beginning (the abandonment part). I'm a plan B believer and always have been.

Our son Will was abandoned because of his cleft, if China would accept children with special needs and give them the proper surgeries and medical care, there probably wouldn't be so many adoptions. Those families could keep their children. Don't know if that will ever change...

And as always, thank you TM for this well written and thoughtful post!

Desiree' said...

I loved your post and couldn't agree more. We are still dealing with Hope's trauma. I don't think it will ever go away, but we were part of God's plan for her. I will gladly take second choice but am sad to think she will not be with her bio parents. When I look at her sometimes I see glimpses of her bio mom and my heart aches. I can not imagine the pain she is feeling. I love my girls and can't imagine life without them.

A Beautiful Mess said...

no long comment for me other than to tell you I <3 you and your your gift to write a respectful and insightful post.

I'm going to have to link you for sure!!

Debby said...

Thank you (again) for your post. It does make you think. I do agree with everything that you have said. My son's adoption was so different from international adoptions. I want to come back and re-read your post and the comments later without interuptions from the little people that I care for.
I have been struggling lately because I feel that I am not an advocate for adoption. I feel that is such an awful thing to say. I love my son and I wouldn't change anything about him being a part of our family. He wouldn't believe alive today if we wouldn't have adopted him. He is now 23. Raising him has been the hardest thing I have ever done. I will post about these things eventually. Until then.....thanks for this post.

Patricia/NYC said...

Right on, sister-friend!!
Great post...very well written!!

Magi said...

I've generally steered away from religion and politics on my blog because I didn't want to court the controversy.

One advantage of losing the majority of your readers due to blog neglect is that I've been thinking of writing a post on what I believe.

That being said, I don't find anything you said disagreeable. I like the way you have meshed your beliefs with adoption.

Now I have to go think some more on this and figure out what I want to say. ;o)

Myst said...

"Adoption is often a band-aid placed over a gaping wound."

LOL, I almost fell off my chair when I saw this line as it is what I say to everyone when I am talking to them face to face about adoption. Except I don't use the word almost... but all the other words I say and have said for a very long time.

Great post!

Melissa said...

I loved this. I have wrestled in the past about our decision to adopt our beautiful daughter (she is from China, as well). I agree wholeheartedly with the picking and choosing of what the church can teach/preach about adoption. Romans 8:28 teaches that all things work together for the good, for those who love him...Moses is a great example. I do believe that God could have still used him to do great things with out the tragedy. Anyway, I digress. The Bible does have one clear teaching on adoption and that is ours to Him. It is painful; there is grafting and cutting that have to take place--very much the same as our daughter's adoption. We had to graft her in after she was cut from her family. We had to work hard to understand her pain so that we would not "reject" the graft. It is NOT just adding someone in; there is so much care and tending that must take place. As adoptive parents we must walk in with our eyes wide open. I too could go on and write a response longer than your post. But this really helped me focus on moving forward with a great plan that God has put on my heart to educate and build stronger families.
Kudos to you and this wonderful blog!

Holly said...

Interesting timing TM. I just finished a bible study on adoption, written by a former missionary and his wife...to the Phillipines. They ministered to orphans for YEARS and he finally realized that their greatest need was FAMILY.
I do get what you are saying and I think it tempers my zealousness a bit. You are right. We often misinterpret and omit things all together. Widows AND orphans...not just orphans. And while I have heard AGAIN and again and AGAIN that adoption is NOT plan B...in fact the president of AWAA has said that adoption is God's plan A...in this context that is impossible. God knew US from before creation and thus knew that WE would sin and separate ourselves from Him,thus He planned our adoption...but it was never plan A. Plan A was stay in the garden with Him free from sin. Plan B came because we messed up plan A. Adoption is the same. And yet we NEED a plan B.
I know we have had this discussion before, but I do believe that adoption is a ministry and a necessary one. However, I also believe that if we all spent the millions of dollars that are spent on adoption fees each year on HELPING families STAY together, this world would be a better place.
Much to ponder TM.
I do appreciate your sharing this.
The Bible study I just finished is very gung-ho adoption and was not tempered with anything you just wrote.
It's a complicated subject!
Thanks!
Holly

Myrnie said...

I think you're right.

1) God doesn't plan for us to suffer, sometimes life just happens. Everyone has their own agency, and we all need to live with the consequences of others' (and our own) actions. Can the Spirit whisper "don't go down that path" and if we listen, we avoid a terrible tragedy? Of course. Or we can choose to ignore that prompting, and live with the consequences of our own actions.

2) I decided not to say it, because I really know nothing about adoption.

hugs :)

Carla said...

So right on for my feelings...exactly how I feel and think.

You know you'd have to write something way more controversial to maybe scare me off. ;)

and again...AMEN!!!!!

Misty said...

i almost always read all the comments but today i'm cutting to the chase, so forgive me if i reapeat what others say. first of all, i'm humbled, and thankful, to have been privy to what you shared. second of all, i'm just really proud of you--and i mean that in the least patronizing way. i would imagine the world of adoption can be so polarizing, and it is a testament to Him that you share your thoughts here.
and the whole notion of redemptive response to tragedy... that's what the whole gospel is about, no?

this is my favorite segment, b/cs it points to the Gospel:
"Therefore, I believe that the church's number one priority should be assisting families in remaining together rather than pushing other families to "save a child" through adoption. End world hunger and many adoptions will no longer occur. Stop stigmatizing single mothers, passing judgment on them, and many adoptions will no longer occur. Help find the cure for AIDS and many adoptions will no longer occur."

it reminds me of this post:
http://www.emergingmummy.com/2010/04/in-which-there-is-irony-at-pro-life.html
it can feel so useless to hold your finger to the dam to stop the bleeding, and yet as the (awesome) switchfoot songs says, dare you to move. dare you to love. one act of kindness is a revolution. whether that is a plan b adoption or offering a plate to a hungry man. or wiping three poopy bottoms all.day.long.
i'm sorry my own comment turned into a novella... but i'm kind of humbled and awed and moved. and i'm thinking.

Kim said...

After reading your post I said to myself....AMEN!!

Well done!

Debra said...

I have mixed feelings on your post. You are a very eloquent writer and I see what you are saying. I agree to a point, but have a different point of view. I am a single adoptive mother of two. Mr. Charming never came. I found myself at 40 unmarried and realistic enough to know that it was highly unlikely to happen and then to have children. My one continuous dream my whole life was to have children and be a mom. What to do. I confided in my mom that I could go the rest of my life and appear as though all was well, but inside I would be in anquish over the children I never had. She is very moral and blessed me with the words to do what I needed to be happy. Isn't that what all us mom's want for our children? I thought of all my options, and there were several. Through coincidences/luck/spiritual leading, I found myself on the journey to motherhood via China adoption. I really doubt that God thinks of my children as my plan B, I know I don't.
So if I'm their plan B then they are my plan B...thus our difference of opinion.

lighthousegal said...

This was actually going to be the topic of one of my posts, if I ever get around to writing it!

We chose China, as someone else said, because we knew that the first family had already been ripped apart. We were not part of that. At the time we adopted our daughters it had not been made public about corruption in the program. So what I have told my girls from the very beginning was that when God saw that they were going to need another mother he created an EB and a JB shaped hole in my heart so that I would go out and find them. The interesting thing is that about the time we were making the decision to start each adoption was about the time each child would have been conceived.

Now on to the band-aid part and helping to keep families together. I agree in a lot of ways, especially when we are talking about any country that has trouble feeding its people or getting them medical care. I also share the same feelings as Autumn in that I have a really rough time supporting people who are just wanting a handout. I know, I have a lot of Christian growth to do there.

Thanks for posting this. When I finally get around to posting my feelings on my blog I will be linking back to yours.

Lisa said...

Very well balanced and thoughtful.

I know from personal experience that you have been giving this great thought and for some time now...that you have wrestled with sharing this altogether, fearing perhaps judgements from others?

No judgements here and I think it takes a brave soul to tackle such a big and truly complex issue on a blog forum. Gosh, some folks won't even discuss religion amongst family and friends for fear of potential rifts! :)

I do however notice something that nags me just a bit whenever this topic comes up:

Often it seems the adoption related epiphany only comes to AP's AFTER they already have a child or more at home. Perhaps its easier to embrace the hard truths once they safely have a child in their lives? Or perhaps not.....maybe its truly a case of growth & maturity and realizations that are reflected back to us as we watch our children struggle with abandonment issues?

I hope that doesn't offend anyone but I've noticed it time and again on adoption related boards/blogs, etc....its almost exclusively AP's with children already tucked at home. In a way that seems unbalanced to me, yet I too am guilty of it.

I'm really not sure and struggle with many of the same questions and ponderings you explore in this post.

I also guess I just don't worry about the semantics of using words like Plan A or Plan B. If my Mom had not lost a child between my sister and I, would I not have been born? Was I then Plan B for my parents?

Again, hard to say, but thankfully I never felt like Plan B.

But words do carry power ~ this I know. When too many of us simply chalk up our families to God's will it diminishes the primary loss our children have suffered and will endure as they grow to better understand their origins.

I have always felt God's hand in my life; I like to imagine that I walk beside both my children's birth moms, not in front or behind. No ranking necessary, though of course I acknowledge that I been given the greatest of the blessings and privelege by being able to love and raise them and have them in my life. My heart breaks for what their BM's have lost. I gained from their sacrifice and their circumstances. This I know and for that alone, will always honor them as best I can.

I like this post TM ~ truly I do.

Thanks for sharing and letting us share too.

Aunt LoLo said...

Perfect. Perfect. And? Oh, Perfect.

A bandaid over a gaping wound. TOO TRUE.

I was watching the lake behind our house the other day...watching the waves run...left to right, left to right. They just kept coming.

When they go left to right, I know that warmer weather is coming.

If the waves switch, right to left, I know there's a big change coming, most likely to make it cooler.

It reminded me of God...and how he knows what will happen before it happens. I imagine, from his vantage point, our lives look like that lake. He can see our path, and look to the right, and see the shore about to break our stride...but he certainly didn't cause it. He just knows what's going to happen.

It's not a perfect analogy...but it helped put the whole "knows the future" thing into perspective for me.

*hugs*

Kristen said...

I think this is SUCH a brilliant post! You have expressed what's in my heart since returning from Africa. I'm sure I will write about it soon (and probably quote you several times), but I just wanted to thank you for helping me today.

Chris said...

rats! i don't have time to read all the comments...I like your post...Plan B, I agree.

If you really want to get controversial, try to explain IPeter 1:2-3 about "elect according to the foreknowledge of God"
Our preacher tried on Sun....but left me hanging...too bad you can't raise your hand and ask questions in church...My DH on the other hand is very thankful...that I can't raise my hand in church to ask questions.

Anonymous said...

Debra....Adoption is Plan B because you realized that you couldn't naturally have a child.

Debra said...

Dear Anonymous,
Yes, I could have had a biological child.

Chris said...

Adoption is not Plan B!!!!

I, the adoptive parent, is Plan B for my children!!!

Just wanted to clarify.....

Melissa said...

Chris, I must agree. It was Plan B for my daughter not me. Our plan when we got married was to try biologically to have child (we did) and then to adopt from China. My husband had lived in Asia and knew the circumstances of the orphans there. So, yes, Plan A for our daughter was to be with her China family but we are her "Plan B." I like that you made that clarification.

Colin and Jill Canada said...

As a Christian myself, I agree with everything you've written here TM. You are a well written and well read - Bible believing, God fearing lady.

I totally believe that us being Lilah's parents was God's 'Plan B'. And I thank him every day for the gift of her. I'm so glad we got to be her Plan B parents. I know that is very selfish thing to say, but parenting this sweet child has been simply amazing. And I know we don't deserve her, and I know if she asks us some day that we will do everything in our power to search for her biological parents, because she totally deserves that and more.

Thank you for this post. I'd love to link it on my blog...if you don't mind?

Jill

Cristina said...

Excellent post TM. Succinct, heartfelt and spot-on. Blessings to you xx

Rachel@just another day in paradise said...

spot on. Wow. I've written and erased 3 sentences, so I think you've come really close to shutting me up. : ) I think the "God-talk" was right. The Bible tells us God doesn't want bad stuff to happen, but it will happen. It also says the bad stuff is not from God. No arguments from me there. . .

I would like to reiterate the fact that I think you were making that there will always be a need for adoptions due to the "bad stuff" in the world, but this adoption "fad" (don't yell at me for using that word. . .only said bc adoption has become much more acceptable/popular in the last xx number of years) will hopefully become a catalyst for so many of us to make change in the world (such as with Haiti. . .and can you imagine if we did something stronger than give money. . .wow. . .) And now, hubs' voice is in my head saying, "you sound like a bleeding-heart liberal." : ) . . .so I guess I still found something to ramble about, huh? : )

Anonymous said...

When a person chooses not to have a child from their perfectly healthy womb, they are choosing PLAN B. Don't be disillusioned that your wants are Plan A.

Plan A is using the female equipment that God gave you to have a child with.

Truly Blessed said...

Absolutely agree. Said just about the same thing myself when responding to the Rum*r Que*n's "Meant to Be" post.

I believe that adoption is a way to create Beauty from the Ashes - making something good out of something terrible.

Lovely post.

Chelsea Gour said...

Well.said.

cw said...

I think this was brilliant and spot on accurate. I believe and truly hope that I was my daughter's last best chance for a family and that if not the birth family then at least adoption in the birth culture was attempted. I imagine that there are many who won't agree with you and I feel for those children- that their truths will be obscured by some belief that this was all how God planned it. I think the RQ post had some great insight too- but this post was amazing. Thank you for sharing

www.pullthisblogover.blogspot.com

Mahmee said...

Wow...look at that...you actually 'outed' folks.
And well, I'm one of them. At the risk of losing some of my readers (oh well) I 'Mahmee' am an atheist in the truest sense of the word (a disbelief in the existence of dieties.) I'm married to a Catholic so you can imagine the conversations we have. Ha ha.
Regardless of what brought you to the decisions and beliefs regarding adoption that you are sharing with the world...I gotta say...it all makes sense to me.
We (as the human race) need to make it possible for families to stay together.
M.

Beck said...

What a wonderful, thoughtful post. I'm going to be thinking about what you've written here for a long, long time.

Sharie said...

You've often made me think with your posts, made me laugh till I cried, but today - as I was reading, I found tears were streamig down my face.
You said what I've been trying to say for the past several years...
I choose to adopt Amelia - She did not choose to be adopted. I am her Plan B...

Sometimes I love her so much that it hurts to think that there is another family in the world that she would fit with - but in my heart, I know there is another family that she was MEANT to be with. I also realize that it was two files passing on a desk that brought us together; was it chance, or was it God implementing Plan B? No matter what your faith - or beliefs, there is no arguing that we all need to work to keep more families together.
Thank you for expressing what is in my heart.

Sharie

Erica said...

I loved this post and as a Christian and an AP I often find myself choking over the things we gloss over in the church. I struggle with the church's perception of "rescuing" the child. I don't believe that adoption is a rescue mission and to look at it as such places a lot of responsiblity on the church. I think this is why it is so easy to push the adoption agenda.

I look at my son every day and EVERY SINGLE DAY I think of his mother. He is such an amazing child and I grieve that I can't show her how incredible this child she created is. To know that she likely was unable to raise him because she was poor or young breaks my heart because in the US I don't make that much money as a single parent and yet by VN standards I am rich.

It is hard to celebrate adoption and it is hard for me to hear that I am "doing a good thing" when I know how much he has lost, how much she has lost.

Good post, Mrs Togginator.

Debz said...

I'm not leaving! I Love your perspective, it's compelling and makes me use all my 5 sences....you sure know how to unpack it. Your a no-fluff kinda girl and I just realized I was trapped in a conformed thinking pattern.....thanks for opening my eyes. I have much to think about!

YoonSeon said...

I could leave a comment on this topic, but I did make my own post on this subject a while back, so I won't bother now.

I just wanted to say that I've recently been bombarded by APs who give you good ones a very very VERY bad name. And I realised that I probably don't give you rare, open minded APs enough credit. So, just wanted to say thanks. Believe it or not, your type of attitude makes life for us adoptees much easier.

The Byrd's Nest said...

(sigh) You know what? I love your heart for the Lord and for adopted children and for us for always educating us even when it is painful to hear. I think when we first adopted and "before" we even met Lottie we were very very naive AP's but now we share and feel our daughter's pain, even though they cannot put it into their own words...yet.

Thank you for sharing this and I'm not leaving:)

Mia_h_n said...

What I found most interesting about this post was actually the beginning before the post really began.
I am an atheist who live in a Christian but not very religeous society (I'm European), hence I don't have much intricate knowledge of any form of religion, so I'm completely without a clue as to why you think this would be such a controversial post that you'd lose readers? If you're a firm believer why is it "dangerous" to share the way your religion relates to your life? I always find it quite peculiar that believers sometimes are the ones who are most reluctant to talk religion - unless it's to preach.

Well, on to the post itself. As I said, I don't believ in God (please, don't pitty me) but I agreed with pretty much every thing you said. Without believing that God has anything to do with it, you gave a good explanation as to how things are connected, should be and what kind of world we as human beings should work towards.
To me, it isn't a Christian view. It's a good, kind-hearted, caring, compassioned view, and one that I fully support.

Heather of the EO said...

Well, you know I'm not currently an adoptive parent, but I am in agreement with you. I love your thoughts here and I'm really glad you shared them.

Mama Bean said...

Read this post over at Autumn Asks Why. Just wanted to pop over here and encourage you this is an excellent well-written response. I'm speaking from the perspective of being Christian and being adopted. Growing up, I always knew something bad (sin) was the reason I wasn't raised by my original family, but I was told to ignore that reality, because it showed a lack of gratitude. It is important for adopted children to feel they can grieve their lost family, and still be happy and blessed and feel gratitude for their adopted family. Thank-you for being brave and writing this (at the risk of being controversial) I'm so glad so many people have come out to show their support!

Tricia said...

Well said. I have stopped by your blog before, but never regularly. Usually only when Autumn says, "Have you read...?" Rather than losing a reader, you may have gained one. I am thinking, an idea is percolating. I may respond to this on my blog and link to you. I will let you know if I do. May God bless your family.

C Lo said...

First of all, awesome post. I think you bring up some awesome points.

I would like to add....I think God is omniscient and all knowing....and I think that there is very likely room for the fact that God knows some people will fail, some parents will die or be lost, and I sometimes think that, on rare occasions, God leaves room in the arms of certain parents for children who need those arms but aren't necessarily born to them. If that makes sense.

I believe God is big enough to encompass all of it. I believe there are probably more reasons you and I will never know. But He does.


:)

thegypsymama said...

Oh TM - You can be all funny as heck on this blog, but when you get serious, gosh it just makes me want to hug you (wish I know your sensory-averse self would hate) but truly the thoughtful beautiful wisdom that I know you have walked hard roads to acquire just pours out of you and it is an incredible gift to the rest of us.

*deep breath*

So thank you - just thank you.

LJ

mama2roo said...

I think you're brilliant is what I think! I think you should submit this to Ad. Families magazine for publication is what I think, tho they likely wouldn't print it because of the Christian aspect, but its worth a shot.

Thanks for putting words to such a difficult line of thinking.

shelley said...

Why do we have pain in the world??

I heard a remarkable speaker one time who told this story.....You are walking down the street with your two yr old. You ask her to hold your hand...she crosses her arms and says NO....she then trips a few steps later and she fell. Did you WANT her to fall? Of course not. But you will instantly be there to pick her up and help her get back on her feet, or carry her if she isn't ready.

That is how God works in my mind. He would never WANT these things to happen, but he will always pick us up and get us on our way.

I do love your train of thought on the post....you did a good job.

Margie said...

This is a lovely post, Tonggu, well said.

I have a request of the many readers who have added their agreement here: Please please make your voices heard where Scripture is misused to make the "adoption in any circumstance" argument.

I spend most of my online time reading and writing about the dark side of adoption, and when I see adoptive parents and prospective adoptive parents use their misguided beliefs to bully first parents and adoptees, I speak out. I can't speak out as much as I would like, because there's simply no way to keep up with every post on this subject. But when I see them, I call them.

Unfortunately, there aren't too many APs - you are one, fortunately - who will go to the mat with someone who is out of line on this issue. I suspect, too, that the blogs I read aren't in all your readers', er, readers.

So I encourage you all to be vigilant for instances of this, seek it out even, and start speaking the truth.

* steps down from soapbox *

Amy said...

I couldn't agree more. He gives us beauty for our ashes. But we can still dream of a world where there are no ashes. No poverty or sickness or pain. We cannot forget that serving the least of these means keeping families together, not just caring for the orphan.
Thank you for posting from your heart.

T & T Livesay said...

Beautifully said ... in this messy world where there is much brokenness, may we be light and love.

imagesbyjodianne said...

Beautiful post! My mother was killed and many said things such as " it was God's will" or "it was her time"

I also read why bad things happen to good people and it was a great read at a time when I needed to hear something that affirmed what I felt and knew was right.

Thanks you for writing this,

J

planetnomad said...

Great post, TM. I also agree with several who have cited the "beauty for ashes" verse and also the "working things for good"--which implies that the things being worked with weren't good. Amazing work, amazing grace, but a painful process.

April said...

beautiful post, i couldn't have said it better myself!!

It's one of the reasons i cringe when i hear people refer to our daughter's adoption as "us saving her". Do i think she's better with us than in permanent foster care or an orphanage-absolutely.
But did her adoption "save her" from the trauma of separation, pain of leaving her foster family and possible future insecurities. No.
The assumption is made that adoption is this wholly symbiotic relationship that ends with parents and child walking hand in hand from with their very own theme music.
I love adoption. I am blessed to have my daughter and can not, will not ever imagine our life without her. She is a gift and I believe that God intended for her to be in our family. But do you know what I would have wanted for my daughter? For her mother to be able to take care of her. For the stigma attached to a young single, pregnant girl to be erased. For biological family members to have stepped up and said, this child is our family. We will help raise her, we will support you in raising your child unconditionally.
I think we have to be brave enough to acknowledge that adoption is difficult. Our children suffer for the decisions their biological parents made for better or for worse. What we have to do is recognize that God can use any situation for His good purposes. He is, above all, our constant, our guiding Light and everlasting peace.
I tell people that I don't want my daughter to be defined by her adoption. It's a part of her story but it's not who she is. She is so much bigger than her circumstances, thank God...

B said...

You are wrestling with some tough doctrinal issues here : ) I'm not a regular reader but a friend pointed me to this post.

I have to state here what I think the Bible teaches - truth - God is a great and mighty God and His plans are not constantly thwarted by our concept of 'Plan B'. He is truly sovereign over all things, big and small. I got a cold yesterday - shoot, that must have been God's plan B for me because this really stinks! My son slapped his brother, that was God's plan B. My Mom got alzheimer's disease at age 50 - that must have been God's plan B.... you get the picture. This world is fallen, ugly and not my home (or yours either if you are a christian) so we can expect that each day, ____ (fill in the blank) happens. A child being abandoned is of course a sad and terrible thing. I have four adopted children and is their life second-best because I'm their mother and not their biological mom? I'm not sure - only God can answer that. But He IS sovereign and He brought them to me so through tragedy and loss and our family's obedience to His word, He has brought us all together. It's sad, it's not perfect, it never will be. But it's God's provision and grace to them (and me) for today and in the midst of all that - He is still good and He is still in control. He does not have a plan B, as we understand plan B, but causes ALL THINGS to work together for our good (those that love Him and are called according to His purpose) Romans 8:28

Anonymous said...

Have you forgotten that God is omiscient, all-powerful and all-knowing?

As an adopted child, I firmly believe that God knew where I was going to end up before I was born and that he wanted me in a different family and therefore placed upon the heart of my biological mother who already had two kids to give me up for adoption.

It doesn't matter what social workers do or what we try to do poverty will never end. For some kids, it's not about being provided with the basics-food, clothing, shelter. Maybe it's God's plan is that these children have a DIFFERENT LIFE. They can be born into poverty, and still have food, clothing, shelter, etc.

I was adopted into a wonderful home, was given a great life, a good education. I wouldn't have had any of that if I weren't adopted. And God knew that. He allowed me to be adopted because that was his plan.

I also don't really distinguish between adopted and biological parents.

I'm not PLan B for GOd or my family. It may not have the first choice for my parents who struggled to get pregnant in the first place, but it was God's plan.

Chris said...

B,

Your comment is very insightful and really got me thinking...about the 'Plan B' thing.....

"He does not have a plan B , as we understand plan B..."
I agree with that statement. I guess how can I, a mere human, even begin to understand the ways of God???

Plan B???? Am I Plan B for my youngest kiddos???? I don't know?? Do I feel like Plan B is second best....definitely not!

My oldest daughter, who is 20, was really offended when I told her about the 'Plan B' thing...
She stated firmly that I am NOT Plan B for Shea & Avery...I am just their mom. I then had her read this post...because I obviously did not do it justice...

She told me that she liked the way TM explained it and that she 'got' the idea of plan B sort of....(deep sigh)

Thanks again to TM and all of you...your comments are priceless to me....

I believe this parenting journey that we are all on is a journey of continual learning....

Jocelyn said...

You kept me awake thinking about this all night last night. My comment is not so much on your original post as it is on some of the responses.

I am a first time mother to a beautiful boy I gave birth to 9 months ago.

His father is my second husband.

I am a widow and I am living the most wonderful Plan B imaginable.

Rarely a day goes by that I do not think of my late husband and what this experience might have been like with him. I may offend a lot of people by saying this, but I can not imagine that there are too many days that go by in the life of an adoptive parent where they do not contemplate how things would be if their child(ren) were their biological child(ren).

I KNOW that the fact that I am a widow does not make me love my husband or my son any less. But I also KNOW that this was not the original plan for my life, or theirs for that matter. Does it make it a bad plan? NO! Does it make it less of a plan?? NO!! It is a wonderful plan. I love my plan. I am unbelievably thankful to God for allowing me to have this Plan B. But I am not afraid to admit that it is Plan B.

a Tonggu Momma said...

Jocelyn, that is EXACTLY what I was trying to express.

I am actually what many term a preferential adopter, so - although some might disagree with this statement - I do not consider adoption to be my Plan B... we made a choice to adopt rather than go down the fertility treatment road. BUT... I also feel there is nothing wrong with adoption being a second choice for parents. Many come to adoption after struggling with fertility issues. That doesn't make it a bad plan. That doesn't make it less of a plan. But it does make it Plan B.

When I wrote this post, I focused on the adoptee. All too often, as adoptive parents, we focus on ourselves. But when you look at adoption solely from the adoptee perspective, adoption truly IS Plan B. Because it begins in loss, just as your second marriage came about because of loss.

I'm so sorry for the loss of your first husband. And so happy that you found love again.

April said...

I take no issue in saying that we adopted because we lived in a country (at the time) where fertility treatments were not available to us.
I had wanted to adopt my entire life but my DH felt differently. GOD changed his heart in a big way and after coming to the realization that it would be years until we could be in the states again and get help, he said "let's do it!". What became the focus was growing our family, not having another biological child.
I think we live in such a politically correct world that everything becomes offensive- like how dare we say that adoption can be Plan B!!??
The thing is is that no one can judge why a family chooses to adopt. Some people don't want biological children. Some people (like me) suffer infertility for YEARS so adoption does, in a way, become a back up plan. You can cringe and turn your nose up all you want but the desire to have a child with my husband has always been incredibly strong and I dont' think you can understand that until it has been taken away.
God IS aware of each and every moment in each our lives, including our Plan B, C & sometimes D. I am thankful that we had the choice to adopt. I don't know what I would do without my Grace, she changed me in a way that only God Himself could have allowed and foreseen.
Thanks again for a wonderful post TM.
April

Melody said...

As bio mother to one and mother via adoption of 3 boys severely abused as infants, I have made this very statement about giving support to single mothers and families at risk for abuse to their children.

But still, going back to God knows all that will happen, I do believe my sons were born to be my sons. Gets confusing, doesn't it?

Best to you.

coffeemom said...

Well said!
Happy to find your blog, now to go read....

Llama Momma said...

Wow...interesting.

I definitely see your perspective in regards to international adoption.

As a birthmother with a child given up at birth when I was 17, well, there's no doubt in my mind that was God's plan. For me and my birthson.

I'm not sure blanket statements apply. There is a place for adoption. Adoption as plan A.

Thanks for making people think about this issue...it's important.

Cheri said...

Thank you so much for this post. It was beautifully written.

I've shared a link on my facebook for the many adoptive parents I know. We struggle with anger ourselves at the system that led to the abandonment of our beautiful Chinese daughter, and the neglect that followed. I know in my heart we are the Plan B, but that God choose us to be that Plan B!

Laura Lee said...

agreed, and amen, and thanks.

heather said...

I'm an adoptive mom too and have been "bothered" but the recent talk of adopting to "save" children. I couldn't quite verbalize why though. Your thoughts are what my brain couldn't wrap around! It is great to want to save the world and it is great to want to open up your home to another child. But...if you are adopting it should be because you are called to adopt, not because you want to save the world. I think there are other ways to work towards that goal. I see adopting as giving everyone involved a family...both the child and the parents!

Amber@theRunaMuck said...

How do I just now know about this blog? It's great here - amazing conversation.

My thoughts:
I believe that God's number one, absolute Plan A for our lives is for us to be like Christ, and that being his plan, come hail or high water, He makes all things work to that end.

Here's my question: If He wants us to be like Himself, like Christ, isn't adoption at the very essence of Christ-likeness? Did He not adopt us? Are Gentile Believers Plan B, because the Jews just didn't get it?

I'm left with those questions, in the middle of adoption myself, and I can't get away from a feeling of obedience as we pursue our little girl.

Your bottom line blows my mind here, though. I LOVE what you say about our focus being more toward restoring families.

Does it not seem that the Holy Spirit, too, approaches the church in a holistic way, initiating some to adopt and some to give and some to go?

As far as the adoptive child goes, it's impossible for me to assume what God's Plans are. I'm learning we can't really know those except that they're in the pointed direction of Christ.

Thank you for braving other ideas. You're full of grace, and I'm loving your space here.

Love,
Amber

Sharon said...

I'm a first time visitor, coming through via WeAreThatFamily...

This has given me much food for thought (and prayer!).

My husband and I are just stepping into the process of a domestic adoption. We barely understand it all, but this gives us something to discuss and pray through.

Complex, isn't it? I feel like it is God's plan for us to adopt our next child and I'm so excited by that; yet I am learning that there will be grief for the family that SHOULD have been.... and somehow we have to let our child mourn that loss.

Much to ponder.

Llama Momma said...

I'm also coming over from WATF. I appreciate your perspective, and thought provoking comments.

I have a different perspective, as a birthmom.

17 and pregnant, I didn't have many options. Were people willing to help me as a single parent? Yes. Was that what I wanted for my birthson? For myself? No.

I think I react to your use of "Plan A" and "Plan B" because I so mucked up "Plan A." But I think all of us do. We all muck it up.

But God is gracious. He's a redeemer.

And in my story, He's the hero.

My birthson was placed in a wonderful christian family. Was that God's plan B? I don't think so. Neither do his parents.

Did I grieve? Yes. Have I been changed through the experience? Yes. Do I consider his birth and adoption a tragedy? Not at all. Not even close.

It's all grace.

I realize my story is just that -- my story. Everyone has one.

Thank you for sharing your perspective and getting people thinking about adoption.

Mom2zqb said...

I am stopping by from We are THAT family. I find your post to be very thoughtful and I can see where you are coming from. I very strongly feel that everyone is entitled to their own opinions. I very much respect where you are coming from.

I come from the same place as Llama Momma. I found a great christian couple that were unable to have children themselves. Before I was half way through my pregnancy I had found them and they were a huge part of everything. One of the most special moments is the adoptive mother was there holding my hand as our son was born. I feel that honestly was God's plan for us.

Lindsay @ Not2Us.net said...

I cannot tell you how much GOOD it does to my soul to read these words from an adoptive mother! I have been telling people (for years) that the "push" for adoption in the religious community bothers me, because we're not even paying hardly any attention to many of the causes of the need for adoption. The HIV/AIDS crisis, extreme abject poverty, teenage pregnancy, and on and on and on...

Why aren't we working equally hard to prevent orphanhood and preserve families?

Anyway, it was SO good to read this! Thank you for sharing your heart!

3 Peanuts said...

TM,

I really enjoyed this post. It has made me think about things in a way I have not really thought about them before. I am Christian and I WHOLE HEARTEDLY believe it is God's plan for Kate to be in our family. I also acknowledge and know that it would have been ideal and (GULP) better for her if her birth family could have raised her (I love her so deeply but yes that is hard to say). I just am not a huge fan of how people are interpreting the "plan B" semantics." I get what you are saying and I agree with it. It is faith-filled and logical and compassionate. But I feel like commenters are dissecting the "plan B" wording just like the mother who wanted to cut the baby in half in the Bible.

It doesn't matter to me if we are Kate's Plan B parents. I am thankful God entrusted us to care for her at all. Do I wish there were no orphans? Yes. But if there are, I am glad there are loving people out there to care for them.

And to the anonymous person who claimed that it is a Plan B because someone could not have a biological child or did not want to use their perfectly good uterus....that is just plain ignorant. I was perfectly capable of having another biological child. Getting pregnant and having children was easy for me. I absolutely felt CALLED to do this. THAT was God's plan. Not mine.

Karin said...

I think I understand where you're coming from, and I agree with some of your post. Certainly I never gloss over the loss my children have felt over losing their birth families. It is a deep loss and they need to grieve it and heal. I am uncomfortable with the Plan B blanket statement though. As another commenter stated, it's not that black and white. God's ways are not our ways nor are His thoughts our thoughts. We may never know this side of heaven, whether or not we are plan A or plan B for our children. To say that all bio families are the best place for children is just not true. Our foster care system is proof of that...so many abused children there. I agree that children should be kept in their bio families as much as possible. However, what if God wants a different family for that child? What if the only way for that child to know Him is for God to place that child in a different family? Is that plan B? We just don't know. The bottom line is that we have to trust God and maybe not try to figure everything out. If He directs us to adopt a child then we need to obey. If He directs us to give to a ministry that helps children stay in their families, then we need to obey that. There is room for both ministries.

Scripture says that after Adam and Eve sinned, we were all born as children of wrath. (The more unpleasant wording would be to say spawn of satan...haha). God offers us adoption. David repeatedly talks about how God has rescued his life from the pit...redeemed him, saved him. I am not offended to know that I have been rescued, because it's the truth. I have been rescued!

Do I expect my kids to be grateful? Well...not in the sense that I am going to hold that over their heads. But I hope that they will be grateful for all the good in their lives, just as I am grateful to God for all the good He has done in mine.

We cannot eliminate poverty. God said that we would always have the poor with us. We cannot eliminate all the things that cause children to become orphans. Should we try to do what we can? Yes. But we will never totally eliminate the reasons that cause children to be adopted.

Kelly said...

I am still processing this post, but some part of me balks at the statement that a family member may use his/her power to keep a child separated from his biological family.

I know it hits close to home because I am currently denying my son's biological parents visitation with him and if they tried to reunite with him, there's no telling the lengths I'd go to stop it.

Is that sinful? When biological families come calling after 10 years, should adoptive parents step back and encourage that reunion? I can't imagine that's God's plan for us.

Kohana said...

I am giving myself a little pat on the back for reading 95 comments before leaving my own!

Thank you for speaking up on this issue. I understand that people out of the evangelical Christian space might not get this as a controversy, but it is one I often find myself right in the thick of, and have written about repeatedly.

I feel like the evangelical world has worked itself into a frenzy of "orphan saving", so highly visible in the response to the Haiti earthquakes where people are clamoring for Haiti to just send their kids over to the U.S. to families who can provide "more". So much of the view of adoption in the church, and discussion of adoption as perceived from the Bible is just off.

I am a Christian, and I am an adoptive mother, but I ceased to be an adoption advocate when I adopted my son. I hope to adopt again as soon as possible (our current expat status makes it impossible), but I focus my voice and my energy and finance on supporting the widow AND the orphan, as you so clearly explained. There WILL always be children who need families to love them, but the more we can use our privilege and position in the world to bring justice and blessing, the better.

To that end, everyone might want to check out Compassion International's Child Survival Program (http://www.compassion.com.au/cmspage.php?intid=260) which works with children AND their mothers or caregivers.

I could really go on (even more!) about this, but I do that enough on my own blog. :) "Good on ya" for writing this, as we say down under!

Laurie said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post. I have read your blog a number of times, but haven't ever commented, I don't think - got here today from Raina's weekend links. This morning at church, I actually used the Plan B language. I am a Christian, and I will NEVER believe that I was God's first choice for my daughter. Too much happened to her, and to her first family, for that to be the case. You said so eloguently what I have struggled to find the words to say in a way that makes sense. I don't see my daughter as a Plan B for me, but I DO believe that I was Plan B for her. It doesn't make my love for her, or hers for me, any less real and deep, it just is what is.

suzannah @ so much shouting/laughter said...

wow, there is so much here!

"I believe that the church's number one priority should be assisting families in remaining together rather than pushing other families to "save a child" through adoption."

isn't there a medium somewhere? there is something truly stomach-turning to me about an adoption-as-salvation model, and there is SO much the Church can and should do to aid unwed moms/global poverty/etc, but this IS a fallen world, children need safe loving homes, and adoption is a million times better than institutional care for children whose parents cannot care for them.

i think a loving home is God's plan A. our world is broken, people neglect and abuse kids, couples are infertile, and adoption is a tremendous blessing. it's the very picture of the gospel--that we are adopted into God's family and heirs to his kingdom and promises!

adoption is so much more than a band-aid placed over a gaping wound for the individual children who get to have a mom and dad who love them. (or a mom and a mom, dad and a dad, just a mom, etc.)

you are right, tho, that the challenge is for the Church to recognize those wounds and seek to change our broken systems. but there will still be kids without parents or kids whose parents are abusive/addicted/etc who will continue to be better off in the safe and loving arms of someone else. and that is God's grace in action, and a picture of his ability to work all things for good, even tragedy.

Alyson and Ford said...

Wonderful words; I love how you can put it down into words. We envy that and is why we ask to link to your blog. Thank you.

Alyzabeth's Mommy

Cavatica said...

Late to the party, I've been avoiding my computer in favor of real life. On to my comment...

Now another cool blogger has spoken on the topic of God and adoption and, hey... you haven't been crucified for it! I'm liking you folks (Christian) more and more! :-) Besides, there's been an "outing" of atheists here and what can be more exciting to me than this? Adoptive, atheist, blogging mommies. Wow.

Okay, so I don't think God has anything to do with... well, anything, including our adoption. I think BB was involved in a horrible tragedy and we may have played a part in picking up the pieces and we are giving her a loving home and she is giving us more than... well than can be imagined. I do hope we didn't participate in her tragedy by fueling the need for babies to be collected. I have so much concern about trafficking and what our part in it may have been. If I had time for more serious blogging, I'd be writing about this. Instead, you see cute pictures of a girl and her panda.

I really need to do my post on if God exists he knows we (that's my husband and me) are stupid/weak. Really, I have evidence.

SocialWrkr24/7 said...

Just stopped by following a link - thank you so much for this post. I'm not an adoptive parent, but I am a Christian and a social worker who works with foster children. Despite all that I have seen and as thrilled as I have been for some children's adoptions, it becomes clearer to me every day that the focus should not be on adoption as a "solution". I just started working with an agency that uses "resource families" to temporarily provide homes for children whose family is in crisis. The program is completely voluntary and the intent is for the child to return to their parents as soon as the crisis can be resolved. Feel free to come read about it on my blog!

http://eyesopenedwider.blogspot.com/2010/04/walking-walk.html

'Adoption is a bandaid over a gaping wound' is absolutely right.

blessedfamily said...

Coming over from A Bushel and A Peck (onethankfulmom). Beautiful post, eloquently written. I like many of your commentors (yes I read ALL the comments) have mixed emotions on the Plan B. I need time to process this... good food for thought here...

Blessings!

The Drama Mama said...

This is the statement I agree with:
"Have you forgotten that God is omiscient, all-powerful and all-knowing?

As an adopted child, I firmly believe that God knew where I was going to end up before I was born and that he wanted me in a different family and therefore placed upon the heart of my biological mother who already had two kids to give me up for adoption.

It doesn't matter what social workers do or what we try to do poverty will never end. For some kids, it's not about being provided with the basics-food, clothing, shelter. Maybe it's God's plan is that these children have a DIFFERENT LIFE. They can be born into poverty, and still have food, clothing, shelter, etc.

I was adopted into a wonderful home, was given a great life, a good education. I wouldn't have had any of that if I weren't adopted. And God knew that. He allowed me to be adopted because that was his plan.

I also don't really distinguish between adopted and biological parents.

I'm not PLan B for GOd or my family. It may not have the first choice for my parents who struggled to get pregnant in the first place, but it was God's plan."

I had twins as a teenager. I believe I had TWINS for a reason. If it had only been one baby, I would have dragged it through the muck and mire that was my life as a young adult, subsequently losing this child to the system, anyway. However, it was GOD'S PLAN that I have twins, so I would think differently. I'm not going to say that I know exactly what God's purpose was because I know that it was the hardest thing I have EVER had to do in my life. I didn't change my life though. I kept doing the things I was doing, so when my daughter came along, I knew that I couldn't suffer that same pain again. I changed my life. She has all the basics she needs, but her first 10 years of life have not been full of stuff and activities, because as a single mom, I could not do that. I could not even begin to really explain to you why I never even gave a thought as to why I shouldn't adopt her out too, so she could have a much better life. She is my better life. She is God's plan for ME. This is what I do know.

As for biological things, my parents adopted my twins. I have always had some kind of relationship with them, but my parents were always very tight with how much room they gave me when it came to interacting with them. DO I feel wronged in this somehow? No. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that it was God's plan that my parents adopt them. I am very blessed to have been a part of their lives. I signed away my rights to them in order for my parents to adopt them. THey owed me nothing. This is exactly how I feel about it. The birth parents sign their rights away. THe adoptive parents owe them nothing. Regardless of why the adoption was necessary in the first place.

Shannon Morrison said...

Coming over from A Bushel and a Peck. I totally agree that keeping families together should be the priority whenever possible. Stop building orphanages in Haiti!! This is not the answer.

But we can't separate God's sovereignty and foreknowledge from our sin. Joseph's brothers meant it for evil, and God meant it for good. Yes and yes. It's both.

You wrote, "To say that it was God's first choice for a child to experience adoption is the same - to me - as saying that it was God's first choice for someone to be murdered." I don't understand why that is difficult. Scripture clearly states that He killed his own son. Yes, those who crucified him were in sin. But Jesus was also slain from the foundation of the world.

Hope this made sense.

Kris said...

well you know i'm on the same page with you here woman. i've posted these thoughts exactly, though not nearly as eloquently. i have said over and over, it was never God's will for our children to be abandoned- it was the will of man (whether that be the parents, the pressures of govt, etc that forced a decision they did not want to make)... and from that choice that led to tremendous loss, God has the power to bring good from it, if we allow it. a wise priest told me once that not everything that happens in this world is God's will- if it were, man wouldn't have free will. i admit i get nervous for children who are raised in homes where their parents are telling them that God brought them together- doesn't that mean that God also brought about their abandonment to make that union possible?

Kris said...

ps. as to the anon comment that Plan B is our option b/c we realized we can't have biological children- that is a sweeping statement that in no way applies to me. i was 17 when i first told my mom i wanted to adopt one day. adoption was my first choice.

Anonymous said...

Very well said! I found your blog through WATF. I am a social worker and my specific job is to find the bio families of teens who have spent many years in foster care. Their suffering is most definitely NOT a part of God's plan. But, it is a joy-filled, God-filled moment when I am able to locate bio families (most often, parents) and reunite them with their children. The hugs, the tears, the smiles, the studying each others faces for resemblance remind me of what it will be like to be reunited with Jesus in heaven. Seeing the pure, forgiving love that children have for their parents, after all they've been through, after years apart, has opened my heart wider than ever to the belief that families are meant to be together forever. More churches, temples, mosques, and community organizations need to focus their resources and compassion on the suffering of families at home and abroad and their need for services to help them stay together. Of course, when options have been exhausted, it is fantastic that there are families willing to open their hearts and homes and adopt. I have know many children in foster care who dream of finding an adoptive family of their own. It is a major mind shift, however, to begin to have greater compassion for birth families and desire to give them second chances.

I have known Christian families who have been inspired to adopt from foster care. Overall, this is wonderful. I was first taken aback when I was told how specific one family was about exactly what type of child they would "accept" and about their rigid plans for a completely "closed" adoption. Most recently, I have been taken aback somewhat as they have asked for prayers upon finding out that some family members have come forward stating interest in caring for the child. It appears that they and their church community believe it is best for the child to be adopted rather than go to her relatives and are praying for that end. Because of the work I do, I have to ask: Should we really be praying for the Plan B? Is it not arrogant and selfish? Is it really in the best interest of the children and society as a whole?

I also want to put this idea out there for others, as it is something I feel a tugging on my heart to do in the future. (At this point, I am only 30 yrs old and raising my own little ones and feel I need to be a little older to take this one). There are many, many pregnant and parenting teens in foster care. The placement options for them are very few and not of a very good quality. Many parenting teens in foster care wind up losing their own children to the system. It is an absolute travesty to see them start out this way, when they really have no chance. But, a loving foster home, willing to take a pregnant and parenting teen could make all the difference. You could provide them with the love and support and encouragement the teen needs to succeed and make good choices for the future, while also modeling good parenting and homekeeping--teaching the life skills that will be necessary for mother and child to one day make it on their own--just as God intended for them to do.

Thanks again for an inspiring post:-)

tcadenhead said...

You speak truth, and truth is not something we always want to hear.
God's word is beyond clear that we MUST take care of those who suffer injustices and cannot care for themselves. I agree 100%.

Kristine said...

Wonderful post. We have not adopted (yet!), but it has been on my mind. And with my grandmother and 2 sisters-in-law all adopted, we are not strangers to some of the issues. Anyhow . . .

I think many here misunderstand. God is all-knowing. He knows what will happen. So yes, he knew which children would be up for adoption, and guided many to wonderful families who were searching for a child to adopt. BUT, God wants families to stay together. He wants parents and children to love and care for each other. It is only because of our imperfect world that adoption happens. I agree 100% that we should aim for those things that create the need for adoption, even while advocating adoption itself. I wonder what my grandmother's life would have been like, growing up with her sister and parents. I am grateful to her adoptive parents, but she lost something she could never fully regain when her mother put her up for adoption.

When I think of us adopting, I think of giving a child a little of something they have lost. But I know I can't pretend to "fix" everything. I can give them the love and stability they need to help them get through life's tough road. But I don't think I could ever not look back with sadness at their "plan A" and wish, for their sakes, that it would have worked out.

Laughing at myself from being so hypothetical. I guess if I ever convince my husband to adopt, we shall see what my true feelings are!

*Ashley Lou* said...

I was completely blessed by your post. We are heading into our home study for our Ethiopian adoption and I continually pray that the child God chooses for us to protect and steward can someday return to his/her birth land and make it a better place. A safer place. A place where families can stay together and mommies never have to make the decision to give up their child. I pray that the destiny God has ordained for this child can be protected and trained up the way He intended and can fulfill the purpose he created them for. I was blessed by your message.

Michelle@BornInOurHearts said...

Once again, a well thought out and beautifully written post spoken from the heart. Such a thought-provoking post. I will still be around!

Gina said...

As an adoptee who is in the process of adopting, I wanted to chime in. I am not an expert on
Christianity or any other religion. I do, however, agree with an anonymous adoptee post above in that I do not feel my life as it is happening is plan B. This is my life. It is the way my life was meant to be. Period. If I am living plan B for myself, then what about my kids. Were they never meant to be? Because if I wasn't adopted I would never have met my husband, and my 3 biological kids would not be here. I just do not feel that their existence is plan B or C or D. I don't wish I wasn't adopted and I don't feel my life would have been better with my biological parents. Life is what it is. And yes, I think God has a plan for us all. Some of us are born with genetic diseases. Some of us are born poor. Some of us are born rich. Some of us are born into abusive families. Some of us are born to be adopted and some of us aren't.

Anonymous said...

You wrote:

"To say that it was God's first choice for a child to experience adoption is the same - to me - as saying that it was God's first choice for someone to be murdered."

Um.....how about Acts 4:27-28?

God did, indeed, decree that someone should be murdered, and that fits amazingly well with the heart of your post - namely adoption. Of all "people" ( he was fully man after all ), God called for and orchestrated a great deal of human history to ensure that his own son would be murdered in MY place, to redeem ME from the mess of my life. And then, he gave me every benefit of his own son. That's adoption, and that's why I've done it. As a tiny attempt to mirror, in some respect, God's amazing love.

God does, indeed, control every event that comes to pass. God was there when my Ethiopian son's birth father died and it did not happen outside of his will. God also ensured that a wreck like me would be there soon after to give him a new father. I don't know why that's Plan A, but I can read the Bible and see a pattern there. God's plan for Joseph required pain, and loss. God's plan for redeeming humanity required pain and loss. He isn't the tooth-fairy, focused on making you happy. He's God, thrice holy, focused on restoring relationship with Humanity and declaring His own Glory in history.

Praise God when we can look at it all and say "I don't always get it, but with a Holy and Just God who is totally sovereign in control, I can trust that it is right."

For someone better explaining it all:

www.desiringgod.org/Blog/2370_has_god_predetermined_everything_even_sin/

Lucy said...

I've been chewing on this post for a couple days. There is much about it that I agree with. One thing you didn't address is that as Christians we are adopted into God's family and made joint heirs with Jesus. Romans 8:14-17.

Then I considered that if it were not for sin being introduced into the world in the Garden of Eden (which was God's first plan for us) then we would have had no need of being "adopted" into God's family... we would have never been separated in the first place.

As I read the scripture, God's first plan was for us to live in the Garden, sinless, and in fellowship with him. That was broken, so we are adopted, which was God's second plan for each of us too. And as adopted children of God... I suspect he sees a lot of RAD behaviors from us.

Thanks for your post, it caused me to ponder this more deeply than I have in the past.

Blessings,
Lucy

Wendy said...

THANK YOU! I work for an international relief and development organization and we always get people calling us asking if we work with orphanages . . . and are shocked when we tell them no. We do help the aunties, the grandmothers, the churches, in communities overseas care for the orphans in their midst. Removing a child from its own culture is rarely the best option.

oh amanda said...

I think your post is perfect and beautiful! After all, isn't this what happened w/us and Jesus? His perfect plan was the Garden of Eden. But we sinned and now Jesus had to die so we could be adopted by him!

Thank you for such a though-provoking post!

a

Julie and Matt said...

Usually I wouldn't comment on every blog I stumble upon, but there is a visual image in my head from your blog post that is stuck in my head and (and with all respect and for the sake of kind-natured discussion)quite frankly, I don't like it. I don't think it is accurate.

"Adoption is a band aid over a gaping wound"

This image to me doesn't fit with God's redemptive response that I so agree with you on. The image of your daughter's adoption as a band-aid over a gaping wound makes me think this wound is still bleeding. A band aid is not enough for a gaping wound. I envision that she will forever hobble along, weak, pitiful, frail. That she will never heal since never receiving the proper care from a Loving Physician.

But as you said, adoption is a redemptive response to human tragedy and we know that God's healing is powerful! Not only does a person come away with healing of the original wound, but often times they walk away with more power and strength to proclaim God's glory! Scars still exist, sometimes there is even a small hobble in a person's gait, but victory is apparent!

I agree very much with your post. enjoyed reading it. so please don't take may comment as attacking. The very visual image you repeated just didn't set well with me.

rredhead said...

Interesting post! I wrote a blog post at Adoption Blogs about this topic, God's Role in Adoption, http://hoping.adoptionblogs.com/weblogs/gods-role-in-adoption

Sherry said...

Hello,

You have explained what I have been feeling! Especially, with all the problems and horrible things that have happened with the earthquake in Haiti. It opened my eyes to a lot and I didn't know how to express what I was thinking about some peoples reactions to it. I would love to adopt but there are so many needs out there for so many....

Thank you for speaking about it.

Amy said...

I'm hoping to link to this post at jaredandamy.com and it should be up in the next day or so, thanks for sharing.

Dani said...

Hi, I found your blog linked from "And Then There Were Seven". This is a wonderful post. Thank you for so elegantly writing what I think and feel. I too get very concerned about what I see in some circles and churches in regard to adoption. I am the mother of three children through adoption, and I know without a doubt that our family was plan B. I'll be linking this post a number of places. Thanks again for writing it!

Eastiopians said...

This post and all the comments have been wonderful to read. Gina's comment above (an adoptee who also wants to adopt) is very powerful. Thanks for sharing everyone. I am not a Christian, so I don't consider my choice to adopt a "calling." I am a Unitarian Universalist. Therefore, I believe that all people are of equal human worth, no matter what, and we need to do good things because it's the right thing to do. And that we as human beings are responsible for deeds, not creeds. We adopted because there was a need and we wanted to do something about a child that was in an orphanage without a family to care for him/her, and because we wanted another child in our family...as we love children. We also think it is extremely important to build wells, sponsor children to stay with their bio families, etc. This world and our Creator are all interconnected and we all need to do what we can to help our fellow brothers and sisters.

Xavier Pacheco said...

Thank you for your very thoughtful (and though provoking) post. I admire the effort and concern you put into this. I have offered some differing thoughts that are too lengthy to put here. I've posted them here: http://www.xavierpacheco.com/post/Adoption-God-Has-No-Plan-B.aspx

God bless you.
-- xavier

American Mamacita said...

A friend of mine pointed me to your post because I'm in Adoption Round 2, and she wanted to get my thoughts.

I'm so glad you're here (and with so many commenters who seem to share your philosophy). I don't know if it's a new one, or if we're just finding each other now that there's a blogosphere. But at any rate, it's refreshing to read someone coming from the opposite of "I want a baby, and there are poor kids; therefore I should be able to GET one" point of view.

As our kids grow, it's especially important that we "get it" that they truly always DO have a right to grieve their very real losses.

Thanks!

Tracy @Magnolia Cul-de-Sac said...

I have a daughter from China too. I have nothing to add to your amazing post. i just wanted you to know I agree with you 100 percent. Thank you and God bless you.

Patty O. said...

I totally agree. Wow, you were able to articulate so many of my own beliefs so succinctly. I think this post is so important for all mothers to read. You are totally right: we need to be helping fix the problems that make adoption necessary.

My sister adopted a girl and a boy from Russia. She discovered that her son actually has an older brother who the family kept. She is convinced the only reason they put T up for adoption was the inability to afford to care for him (his biological mother put off signing the papers releasing her rights for a very long time, which indicates to us that she didn't want to do it). It just breaks my heart for that poor mother (and the family) who had to say goodbye to such an amazing little boy. A boy I am so happy to have in my life, but one who has many questions about why his family couldn't care for him. And a boy who will someday want to know why his parents kept his brother and not him. It is just heartbreaking all the way around.

My sister hates it when people say she rescued the kids or that she was so selfless. She claims she was totally selfish in her motives. She wanted kids and adoption was the only way for her.

rosemary said...

Yep, this is exactly how we feel too. I wrote a similar post a while back but I didn't do it nearly so well. We just feel grateful and humbled to be God's plan B for Button. I'm not too good for plan B.

Bailey's Leaf said...

I look at adoption in a bit different way, though agree with many points. We always knew that we would adopt. We were having one and adopting one. Though I'll pass by the very long story (you can come on over to the blog and click 'Bailey' to read the details), but my body is physically broken. Having children is not something I can do.

In the book, The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren speaks of adoption in Chapter 2-- You are not an accident. It talks of how God knows what genetic make-up you will be, but that doesn't mean those are the parents that He has intended for you. I cried so hard when I read that chapter, that I couldn't even see the words on the page.

Our daughter in adopted. She is a domestic adoption, what we advocate for since we have suffering children right here in our backyards. (No offense to international adoption. We all have our own reasons and our own calling.) K- was born to a drug addicted homeless prostitute. My child is a product of prostitution. She is a product of sin. However, though she was born cocaine positive, her birth mother did choose to have her in a hospital and left AMA 12 hours after giving birth.

For that, we will forever be grateful.

K- is such an incredible blessing to us. I couldn't imagine our lives without her. We think that we are the home and family that God always intended for her. It was a faith thing. She is our testimony of how wondrously God worked in our lives. (Among thousands of others.)

Thank you for sharing your honest opinion and to bring good, hard thought about adoption.

Kari said...

I LOVE when I find a new adoption blogger that is not afraid to advocate the passion of adoption and caring for orphans. Thank you for posting and sharing... adopting Zoie was the craziest, most amazing miracle for our family!! We can't stop sharing that we are all called to Simply Love!! The comments your readers left are wonderful too! I am inspired!!
xoxo

Meliski said...

I have been working on a post so much like this for some time. You have put it much more eloquently than I.

In private talks between my husband and I, I have referred to our adoption (which is still in process) as Plan B -- not for us, we can have children and have chosen to pursue adoption instead. But I believe our adopting will be Plan B for our future daughter. It is as if you are looking directly into the heart of what I am feeling as we walk this path of adoption.

I think I will use the following quote from you an my new mantra for the rest of the adoption process:

"We need to work to end the need for adoption while at the same time opening our homes to the children who need families the most."

Thank you for you courage in typing this. I believe TRUTH has hit home in many hearts through your words.

Melissa

Dawn @ 5 Kids and a Dog said...

Your post was very insightful. I am a former foster parent AND adoptive momma to 2 boys (through foster care). We went into FC with the mindset of 'saving' some kids from bad parents. We came out after 9 years feeling like we were able to make a difference but not so much with the little ones we cared for, but with the bio parents we worked with, talked with, and prayed for. There needs to be support especially for young, struggling mothers. Adoption is necessary but so is family support. In addition, Christians need to NOT turn a blind eye when they see something unethical happening. Rather than approving and sanctioning it they need to respond with wisdom and rebuke. What they did in Haiti was wrong. It should never happen anywhere, especially NOT while being funded by the church!

aaron said...

My wife sent me a link to read your blog and respond to your post about adoption. When I respond, I am responding from the perspective of an adoptive father of two special needs girls. When I look at social/theological issues from a Biblical perspective I attempt to understand them strictly from a Biblical hermeneutic based on who God is and not how I perceive Him to be. What this means I understand scripture from the vantage of His sovereignty, omniscience, aseity (self sufficiency) and sovereign will, i.e., from a reformed perspective.

When I use this lens to look at the world I don't ask the question "why do bad things happen to good people,” instead I ask, "How in a fallen, corrupted, sinful world can anything good happen." This is the mercy and grace of God; that in a world at war with Him (Genesis uses the word enmity which means murderous intent), that is always running from Him, that can't know Him unless He reveals Himself; He still chooses to redeem us. This is where adoption comes into play. Adopt is THE vehicle God chooses to redeem His people to Himself. It is Plan A. God uses means to confound the wise and exalt the humble. We can't fix social evils and society’s needs because they are based on sin, it can only be redeemed through God.

From Paul we learn that God purposed in Himself his plan of redemption for creation before the foundation of the world. He planned it not because of the fall but despite knowing it would occur for the purpose that the entire world would know His glory. He chose Abraham even though he was from the Chaldees (which means he was from Babylonian heritage, these people would later enslave Israel) and on purpose choose a couple who couldn't have children on their own, so that all would know it was God who did it and not man. The story of the Old Testament is the story of God's pursuit of His people who abandoned Him and that is the story of the Fall (man disobeying God resulting in sin entering the world). The same is true in the New Testament, we are the people of God through adoption not by birth and this is what confounded the Jews and seemed foolishness to the Greeks. Yet this is the very means through which God choose to reveal His Church in the world for the purpose of its ultimate redemption. God isn't going to fix the world just as He isn't going to fix us. It's marred by sin. He’s going to renew, recreate and redeem it. Adoption is a miniscule glimpse of the ultimate work He plans on doing.

So what I've learned from the scripture is that adoption is a way in which we mirror the redemptive act of our heavenly father. That's why it is so hard to do and its seems as if the world is against it. When we adopted our two girls we fought the system the entire time, it seemed as if no one wanted us to have these little girls that their mothers abandoned. One mother even tried to abort her unborn child through drug use. The story of our girls is that every potential father signed his rights away, their mothers abandoned their drug-addicted children from the womb. Yet from some reason (His sovereign will) God moved my wife to love Anna while she was apparently unlovable and moved me to see Him redeeming her from the world and make her my very own daughter. That is the Gospel! That's Plan A from before the foundation of the world! Unmerited love and mercy being shown to those under the curse of sin for the purpose of God's plan and His glory.

When I look at my little girls and where they have come from I can only praise God. I have a great hope that the work He started in their lives is but a glimmer of what He plans on doing. Adoption is the ultimate form of showing God's work in the world this side of eternity. Praise be to God.

Shannon said...

I know that you wrote this awhile ago but this is my first time readng it. I want to say amen! amen! amen! about a million times over.
I WAS one of those selfish adopters with our first adoption. I am certain that I still have so far to go in my perceptions and even how I write and talk about my girl's adoptions. But what God has done in the last 5 years of being an adopted parent and wrestling with all of it has been staggering to my soul in both amazing and searingly difficult ways.
I could not agree with you more that we need to be looking at the root of causes, at the heart of them because the Bible goes so far beyond just James 1:27...hmmm...ok, now I am writing a novel on your post! I think I may have some chewing/praying and writing of my own that God wants me to do!
Bless you for your honesty and bravery!
Shannon

Tami said...

I am a fan of your blog, and find your posts to be very good! That said, I am a little disappointed in this post (but I know you expected some to be (smiles)).
I agree wholeheartedly with Aaron’s response above. I started to write my own, but found it redundant to a few (unfortunately too few) responses above. As an adoptive Mother to my little boy, I have written a blog post on this subject that differs from yours (http://thereckes.blogspot.com/2010/09/why-adopt.html).
I’m one of those who believes that we Christians are commanded to adopt, and should encourage others to do so as well. While I see some valid points in your post, I find it really over-simplified. As long as there is sin in the world, so adoption will be too. Having 2+ million orphans in the world is just not acceptable and we Christians should be doing something about it now, especially if it means giving them forever families so that they have a chance at a blessed life.

Tami said...

oops! I meant to say almost 200 million orphans, not 2 million, in the above post! :)

Anonymous said...

This is the very thing I've been struggling with for the past few months. You've mentioned EVERYTHING I've been thinking about, and wondered if I was not being Biblical. At church adoption is totted as THE best thing in the world and it's very painful for me as a Korean adoptee. Poverty is the main reason children are separated from their families. More attention needs to shift to aiding families be together so there is no need for them to give up their children. Christians believe it's a God given mandate to adopt because it's an example of the spiritual adoption they have with Jesus. However, they do not seem to realize that spiritual adoption and physical adoption are two different things.

Wonderful post! And it's a relief to hear an adoptive parent say this! Thank you!

Amanda said...

I agree.

It bothers me when people say "adoption is God's will" because adoption is a culmination of events, not just one. Do I think my horrendous conception circumstances, the lies of my agency, and the suffering of my First Mother were his "will" so that my parents could have a chance to raise a child?

Absolutely not.

The finite mind cannot understand God, but the Bible gives us some hints.

--we know he is omniscient and omnipotent.
--we also know that humankind has free will, is responsible for its choices, and has consequences for its choices.
--we know God does not cause suffering, in fact, Jesus wept deeply for the pain of his friends.
--we know that God works bad things together for good.

Adoption can sometimes be the "good" of something bad. Adoption can also sometimes be the "bad" that God will have to make good. That is why ethical adoptions and every single person in the world demanding that adoption be ethical is paramount.

In caring for the widow AND the orphan, sometimes that means adoption won't take place. The UNICEF definition of "orphan" is a child with one LIVING parent. How can we best care for widows and orphans? Together. Working towards policy change, social welfare programs, and to change the stigmas against women and single mothers will eliminate or seriously reduce the "need" for orphanages. Adoption takes one child out of poverty...but out of their family, culture, country of origin, and language as well. And, with adoption, orphanages will only continue to fill right back up. We ought to address why children are in orphanages in order to best serve the widow and the orphan.

I liked your interpretation of the Solomon story and I agree. That story was told in a different context by the agency to an online friend of mine to make her feel like she was harming her child should she didn't give him up for adoption.

Amanda said...

The adoptions in the Bible were also not legal adoptions. The Israelites saw no need for a child's original family to be erased or replaced in order to receive a home. In fact,Talmudic Rabbis abhorred Roman Style adoptions as they felt it was finite humans telling God he made a mistake by placing a person in the wrong family.

Amanda said...

Tami, would you mind sharing the scripture where we are commanded to adopt?

A lot of the verses in scripture are not translated properly. "Adoption" should often be "reunion" (e.g. sheep back into the fold, lost son back into the father's arms, lost coin back into the purse. We are not strangers to God and new to his family, we left it, and he seeks for us to reunite). A lot of the NT verses are actually talking about illegitimacy and comparing to Roman illegitimacy law (a fascination of Paul's), not adoption.

Either way, I have never seen a command to adopt a child, certainly not when it's an ill-fitting "solution" to so many problems its hailed to fix.

Helena said...

I never really thought about it like that, but reading - it now makes so much sense!

April said...

To help clarify your "murderer" analogy - I would say Adam and Eve would be a great example.  God meant for Adam and Eve and all of us to be in the Garden forever.  Unforunately, sin and death stuck its ugly head in there.  Jesus came so we could have our linage through the perfect Lamb.  Now adopted into God's family.  We are all children of sin and then adopted into righteousness (if we accept Jesus' gift of salvation.)  I do believe my son is %100 my son through God's providential plan.  We do not ignore the pain or that there is a birth mother out there somewhere.  We clearly explain the roles of each.  
Of course, adoption is not the original plan.  But I have to believe in purpose and a providential plan despite all the wrongs on the earth.  If I or my son was to constantly focus on what could of been or trying to right a wrong (that I cannot) - I would be in perpetual darkness.  I try to focus on light - there is a hole (the pain of abandonment or whatever) that God can heal - and a scar will remain.  But I hope and pray my son will grow having a strong faith and be a secure man with who he is - to show that God has brought him through.  
As far as the church needing to concentrate on prevention - of course.  Just be careful about pitting the two against each other.  Just because people focus on the "wonderfulness"  of adoption doesn't mean people want the "growth" of it.