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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Part 2: Your Words

What can I say about yesterday's comments except that y'all are amazing? I so appreciated hearing diverse opinions that, for the most part, managed to be both kind and humble. I know we all come from different places when it comes to religion and adoption and philosophy and ethics... which makes me feel even more grateful that so many shared from their hearts.

And I was ESPECIALLY grateful for the "dreaded atheists" (AwesomeCloud and Family's phrase - she is a stitch!) who "outed" themselves (Mahmee's word - love her!) and for the adult adoptees and first moms who shared such wisdom with us.

Thank you.

I know several of y'all didn't understand the controversy of which I spoke. Well... I guess what I meant by that is that I am a Christian, one who tries to not simply talk the talk, but also walk the walk; however, I am not one to broadcast my beliefs using a bullhorn. I want my friends and neighbors to ask about my faith, but I also try to respect their boundaries. So bringing up THIS topic? In a public blog post?

It felt scary to me, y'all.

It also felt right. Because God has been working on my heart for months about this very subject. And it's not a popular opinion among many Evangelicals. If you are left scratching your head in bewilderment right about now, check out the comments by Elizabeth@Romans8:15, Melissa and Holly, who all better explain what many churches teach about adoption at the moment. (And y'all? I love Holly's honesty in her comment. And I love her passion for older child and special needs adoption. And I love that she continues to read my blog and I continue to read her blog even as we come at this topic from two different perspectives. We learn from each other.)

Many of y'all raised some really excellent points. Autumn brought up how money clouds the issues in a huge way. And she's right. A second Melissa spoke eloquently about the grafting process described in the Bible: it is a painful process, one that requires as much work from the tree as it does from the shoot. Debra spoke of preferential adoption, which really sparked some conversation, not all of it gentle. And Lisa raised an important point that often gets swept under the rug: many adoptive parents wait to embrace the hard truths of adoption until AFTER they are safely home with their children.

Ahem. Yes. Well. *blush*

I can't decide what makes me more of a hypocrite... refusing to focus on these hard truth until after we arrived home with the Tongginator... or continuing to wait for our second adoption after slowly beginning to accept these hard truths. (And Lisa? Is totally a woman after my own heart - calling it like she sees it. I love her for it.)

Several of y'all also mentioned some of my favorite ministries... organizations that are Doing It Right, including the Medical Unity Fund at Love Without Boundaries, the Bamboo Babies Foster Care Program at Pearl River Outreach and the Dorcas Widows organization. Check them out, y'all. You'll be glad you did.

All of this to say... thank you. Good stuff there. Very good stuff.


Aus said...

I really didn't have time for all of those - but hey - they WERE worth the read!

I was going to go on here at length about Religion vs. Atheism - and atheist vs. agnostic (which really is what was written "sounded" like to me n- splitting hairs maybe but one of my sons is openly agnostic) - but that's not where I really want to go....

I saw something in all the comments that REALLY cuts across all of it...and one of the hidden things about adoption that had never crossed my mind until 'after the fact'....

We've adopted three times - and I have yet to meet an adoptive family that wouldn't go out of their way to give me whatever they had that they thought I might need to smooth our way. Folks that have adopted - regardless of their personal faith beliefs, backgrounds, social status, racial or cultural background, any of it - have something in common - we 'get it'.

Defining what 'it' is - tough to do and the subject of a proper blog post (one I've had kicking around in my head for a long time), but what it comes down to is that the adoptive community IS one big family.

and probably that's why I wondered why there would be any 'issue' with what you had to say - you are a part of this community - and you 'get it' - and we do too....

hugs - really good stuff there - and thanks for getting it....

aus and co.

Annie said...

I had some computer "glitches" last night!! GRRRR!! Will have to go back and read the comments. I have struggled with this and am trying to get it straight in my own mind before Lizzie gets old enough to really understand and ask questions and really understand my answers. I defintely know that we were lead by God right to sweet Lizzie and I do feel like things were happening long before Lizzie was born to bring her to us, but...

Right now we talk about her birth family but she is not quite ready to truly grasp that and ask the really heart tugging, big sigh, gather my thoughts before I speak kind of questions. I want to make sure that what I tell her is what my heart truly believes and quite honestly, I just am not sure what that is right now. I also want to make sure I leave enough room for her to listen to her own heart and be able to answer some of those questions for herself in a healthy way. Whew!! Guess I better go start reading - after I get the girls up and dressed and feed and hair brushed and off to preschool!! Hehe!!

Sarah said...

I've met Lisa in person after meeting her via blogging. *Huge Heart*!!! :)

Elizabeth@Romans8:15 said...

I read Lisa's comment last night and I have to agree to a point. I have had a post brewing about this in my head for awhile now.

While it is not an excuse, there is something to be said for APs once they complete their adoption....and they really see this loss up close and personal. When you visit the child's birth country, when you look in their eyes....it changes you.

Some things you just can't entirely understand until you have lived it....unfortunately.

Lora said...

I come at this from a different side, as an adult adoptee. My first mother does not want to meet and in her last letter to me enclosed a chapter from a religous book that said " God knew who you were and planed your birth and life before you were born, you were not a mistake" Oh really? Hard to asssimilate that when she treats me as a mistake she never wants to awknowlge. Hard to accept that when I have lived my life feeling"less than" and like I had to be extra perfect to make up for who I am. Hard to beleive that when I had to be rejected by my mother in order to get to the accepted place.

Although I want to believe in God and would say I do, teachings like that and the current adoption fever push me away.

Pug Mama said...

I'm trying to catch up here. Just read the post below.
I have recently returned home, meaning, I have recently returned to church - found one that I LOVE and it just feels like home to me.
But I have ALWAYS felt exactly the way you do. Your post was beautifully written and I found myself nodding my head in agreement the entire way through.
I don't have time to read the comments, but it sounds like you had a lot of support.

Lisa said...

I *heart* you too TM!

& I sure don't think you are a hyprocrite for following your Mama's heart to a second sweet child ~ if so then I stand right in those ranks with you as would so many of us. Even acknowledging the hard truths and accepting that there are shades of grey in a sometimes broken system, allows for understanding that ALL children deserve a loving home.

I so appreciate that you are willing to tackle the big issues and share of yourself time & again in this way.

I also see in these many responses something else....that we are in many ways a much larger community that I might have suspected, comprised of birth mothers, adult adoptees, folks of differing beliefs and faiths & how remarkable it IS when we all stand together for these amazing kiddos to make their paths more enlightened & free of judgement!


Lisa said...

Oh, just me again :)

I *heart* Sarah too!! Talk about big loving hearts....a mile wide, at least!!

Mahmee said...

Thanks. I think you are pretty swell too TM.

Rachel@just another day in paradise said...

I thought of something I wanted to add last night. I think (for some)the "plan B" comment is "off" a little. As someone who plans for every little thing that could go wrong and has trouble closing doors to begin with, the plan B comment rolled off my back. However, for some people, plan B suggests a failure by someone (or in your post, perhaps someOne. . .). I don't think God makes mistakes, so imo, your plan B simply meant He knew there would be a need for a plan B. . .I think some people simply had an issue with the idea of God and failure and children in the same paragrasph. . . Gee, I hope this makes sense, and I'm glad everyone was so supportive of your post. I just wanted to add my little afterthought. : )

AwesomeCloud and family said...

Aw, TM, that was sweet. You're welcome. I was just referring to the tendency of both sides to dread what the other side might have to say, when usually it turns out to not be so bad.

Aus, you may call me an agnostic or anything you like! I'm not picky. The problem with splitting hairs, though, is that I have a LOT of hair. (Both metaphorically and literally.) :)

Tricia said...

I posted my thoughts over on my blog. It was just to much to put in a comment. And in some ways, it wasn't even about your post, but I put a link sending people back here. You have some really good points. I appreciate what you have to say. Blessings to you and yours.

Janet said...

I really didn't know what to say in response to the last post. I guess my belief is simple. I think that adoption is a picture of how God takes a child who is not his own biologically and makes him (or her ) a child of His own. Fully and in every sense of the word. Of course, this included pain, but it also includes redemption. Grace. Love. All the good stuff.

Do I think that God ordained their adoption from the beginning of time? Yes. Do I wish that every child in the world never had to go through adoption because they would be with their family forever? Absolutely.

It is what it is. Am I so grateful that I could raise our adopted children? Um...YES! A thousand times over.

The Gang's Momma! said...

I love these two posts. I'm one of those niave parents who adopted recently. Before actually being "in process" for Li'l Empress, I was ignorant to/unaware of most the social, political, theological, etc. issues within the adoption community or the larger world. I just knew that God had given me a desire to build our family by adoption. I find myself devouring information, learning from as many in the community as I can. I am processing constantly and really examining my heart, my ideas and my agendas. I am so thankful for these posts and for the links and the other comments - I need to learn. I need to educate myself. And I need to find my footing to guide my daughter (and hopefully all my kids present and yet to come!) through the process of becoming the salt and light God intends for them to be.

Regarding the two posts here, I've got a distinction to make. Bear with me tho - I'm still processing it.

I think that, yes, the world-wide Church must see adoption as PART of a "plan B" in a larger, more global sense. What I mean by this is that I believe God created the institute of the family and His first best plan is for families to stay together. To grow and flourish in their ethnic groups and communities where they are planted.

However, God also knew that with the gift of free will would come consequences that could and would prevent His Best for us from occurring. Therefore, He also knew that He would need a Redemptive Plan. That plan, in my belief system, is Jesus Christ and from Him flow the teachings that make "adoption" popular in the Scriptures like James 1:27. Too many of us in the Christian Church forget that James 1:27 isn't the whole plan. We can't cherry pick that way. It's got to be all of it - we believers are all responsible to be part of the all of the redemptive teachings of Jesus. But He does give each of us particular leanings, dreams, gifts and passions. I think this might be where the myopic "save a child" mentality likely stems from within the Church community.

(My feeling is that it might be myopic, but at least they are doing something to change the world in which they live. Not everyone will feel that way, I know. But it's a far sight better than griping and/or idealizing about how it "should be" and never actually doing anything at all.)

Part two of my comment is coming. . .

The Gang's Momma! said...

HOWEVER. I do believe that the global, big picture is not the only one to be considered. On a personal, individual family level, adoption needn't be seen as a "Plan B" as in a plan that is secondary to or "less than" Plan A. Rather, it can and maybe should be considered more on continuum of plans for building one's family. Seeing it as such certainly will keep judgment and criticism of each other at bay. It has the potential to release us to release each other to be about the business of the Kingdom, whatever part of that business might be right for the individual family.

For example, when we set about adopting our Li'l Empress, many folks assumed it was because I couldn't or wouldn't bear biological children again. Or that I "only" had one girl, that I was pursuing adoption because I "needed to even the score." Many of those assumptions tripped me up and sometimes made me second guess my motives. Worse, they created expectations and assumptions that were really no one else's business. The simple fact was that adoption is a topic that has been on our hearts and minds since The Boss and I began dating. We've always planned to do both: biological and adoptive children as long as we were able. We have never seen it as a Plan B, or a Phase 2 or anything like that. To us, God gave us an interest and a desire to have a large family, to see children from other parts of the world be included in our family, and to do that by the means of adoption.

Yes, knowing the crises that orphans in developing nations face played into that plan. We were deeply, deeply affected by the plight of orphans and children in countries like Romania. But we were already attracted to the idea of adoption before that news-story broke when we were in college.

In summary, what I mean is that in the universal, big picture, The Boss and I might be Plan B for Li'l Empress. And I'm good with that. I feel honored to be part of the Redemptive Plan of my God. But in our home, going across the world to gather her into our home and into our hearts was always God's Plan A for our family. That's my distinction.

Does that make any sense to anyone else? Again, I am so grateful for posts like these - it really forces me to face and decipher and nail down my convictions and my thoughts. Sorry if this one rambled all over to get there :)

Tracy said...

I love reading all the comments! I love that they make me THINK about what I Think...

I do think adoption is a needed thing in this world because WE have messed it (the world) up. I also think we need to be doing more than just adopting children. We need to realize that yes, we are making a difference for one but there are MANY that need help.

What are we doing to help... that is so important. Check out Kids against Hunger ( I am a leader at the Cincinnati Ohio one) and A CHild's Hope International.

Yep, guess I need to gather my thoughts and get them into a blog as well.