Sunday, January 24, 2010

Just Some Questions

Ok I am going to guess that this post will offend or be interpreted in the wrong way....and this is not my intention. I am Catholic. I was raised Catholic by parents who didn't bring us to church. My sister and I would go to Church on our own once we were in 3rd grade I guess. Our Church was around the corner from our house. Now I am not speaking for ALL Catholics, but as Catholics we tend not to be well versed in the Bible....and for many cradle Catholics not well versed in our own faith practices. So that is my disclaimer....if I offend you blame it on me being Catholic:)

If your motivation for adopting was was related to your faith....for example you were "called" to adopt.....or maybe attended a Stephen Chapman concert or your church called on its congregation to adopt....How are you going to explain that to your child?? "God chose us to be your forever Mommy and Daddy" may lead her to think that God "Took her away from birth mother" which can only lead to why would God do that? How are you going to avoid your child thinking that you rescued her?
We see this quote from the scriptures often on blog headers, usually just a small portion.
"Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, "Give them up!" and to the south, "Do not hold them back." Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth" Isaiah 43:5-6
I found this link easily by g00gling scriptures for adoption.
I am not challenging you faith or your call to adopt. I read a comment a few weeks back and a parent had something to the effect that her daughter becoming part of her forever family was "preordained". That is was God's doing, and then there was a really great respectful response....but I can't remember where I read it!!
I suppose even if I did tell Sophie that it was God's will that she came to be part of our family, she might ask why does God not let Chinese children stay with their birth families, or why didn't God stop her birth parents from leaving her, or why did God make her with a special need???
I remember during one Mass awhile back during the homily the priest touched on "why God lets bad things happen" and oddly his response was simple but it truly resonated with me....the priest shared that "that sometimes when bad things happen it gives us the opportunity to be more Christ like"
Just thought I would ask.....


a Tonggu Momma said...

I think this is a tough one to explain because it incorporates predestination, free will and sorts of fun stuff. (But maybe I'm just confused because I was raised by a Catholic father and a Protestant mother. Heh.)

I personally do not believe that God in any way wanted our Tongginator to be abandoned by her first family. Abandonment and other bad things happen because: first, most importantly, we live in a fallen, imperfect world. Sometimes bad things really do happen to good people. Just because. Sometimes bad things happen because of our own personal sin. And sometimes bad things happen to us because of someone else's sin.

I believe that God did not cause the Tongginator's abandonment to happen, but rather that He did not stop it from happening. God allows us free will because if He orders us to love and obey Him, then it isn't really love and obedience in the first place. And by us, I mean the general "us" ... not directing this at my daughter's first parents at all.

I do, however, believe that God already knew my daughter's abandonment was going to happen before it actually DID happen, even though its not what He wanted to occur. I believe this because I believe that God is omniscient (all-knowing), that He knows what will happen in our future.

Because that is such a hard concept to explain to children, what I wrote in the Tongginator's lifebook is that "on the day you were found, God began working to bring us together as a family." I actually think God began working before that, but not because He wanted it to happen.

Clear as mud, right?

After 9-11 (our family was hit hard), the husband and I both read an excellent book called "The Problem of Pain" by CS Lewis. It really delves into the age-old question of "why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?"

I like your priest's answer, too.

I'll be back to read everyone else's responses. I'm really curious about how others feel. I'm not the most theologically knowledgeable person, so...

Anyways, this is just how I feel about this topic.

a Tonggu Momma said...

Wow... talk about a book. Shut up, TM!

Jen said...

I am also Catholic and I will say right away that our choice (notice I did not say "call") to adopt was not based in religion. We did not want to "save" a child or to turn to scripture to find a reason to adopt. We did not feel as if it was our duty to adopt nor was it from a moral or ethical responsibility. Our choice to adopt came from the fact that we wanted to parent. We had done it twice before and we thought that we were not half bad at it. Specifically, our choice was to adopt and parent a special needs child (or 2 now). This is what we wanted and this is what we got. It was our choice.

However, way too many things happened in both of our adoption journeys for us to consider them coincidences. I believe that it was no accident that I checked my email at a certain time or that after looking at hundreds of photos of waiting children I just "knew" the exact second I looked at the child who would later become mine... twice. I knew because they instantly felt like mine. When I saw them I felt a sense of peace that I cannot describe. I just knew.

To me, this is where God comes into the equation. God was not involved in our children's abandoment, God was not involved in my pain of wanting to have another child, and God was not involved in our choice to adopt. These were human decisions based on the free will that we have all been blessed with. However, I see the undeniable hand of God in the way that our children were brought into our lives and us into theirs. God found 2 lost, sad, and scared people and he brought us together. He did everything in his power to make sure we knew that these particular children were out there. He made sure that we knew, from the very beginning, that these were the children we had been dreaming of all along.

My very favorite adoption quote of all time goes like this,

"We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life. But those who make their journey home across time & miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them, are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us by God's very own hands."

I could not agree more.

Kim said...

Tonggu Mama said it all so beautifully!

God would never want a child to be abandoned but He is all knowing, and already knew what was going to happen from the beginning of time.

Psalms 139: 13-16
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.


All of our days were issued an order before day I believe Paul and I were called. Max, Vivi and the 2 boys that we are adopting right now, were to be ours way before they were born and before we were born...but from creation.

Jen is a very good friend of mine...I love that girl so much! I believe that God put the desire to adopt in Jen and Jay's heart. I got the privilege to follow closely, their journey to Catherine and I agree with Jen that it was undeniably the hand of God! It was amazing to see how God orchestrated Catherine's adoption...AMAZING!

I left you a comment the other day saying something about Sophie being Max's orphanage sister. I was wondering if you already knew Max was from Sophie's orphanage? I can't get over how much she has grown. She is a gorgeous little girl!

Have a great week!

A Beautiful Mess said...

* TM-thanks for the comment:) As usual I like what you have to say!

* Jen we used the same quote on Sophie's adoption announcement! I love it! Of course God knew just what he was doing He put Sophie on our agency waiting list right at the time we were the first family to be called.

* Kim yes I knew that Max and Sophie were from the same SWI...2 gorgeous kiddos:) I am looking for insight on how the different parts of the scripture you have quoted are going to be viewed by your children...with the many WHY questions that children have.... I have no doubt that God has brought our children to us which is the amazing and beautiful part...but what about the sad part? The abandonment and loss of a birth family?

A Beautiful Mess said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Gang's Momma! said...

I agree with much of what TM has articulated. And for a "non-theological type of gal," she said it all very well. Dang it, that girl can write :)

I am one of those that feels as if God called her to adopt. I think I might use that phrase-ology a bit differently in that I can look back at the series of events that led to my interest in children, orphans, and international orphan care as if it was a path of just some of the many means by which God spoke to me. He used things that occurred in my life to make me look at them differently. To feel and process them differently. Which led me to the deep compassion and deep need to DO something. To be a part of something bigger than myself. To care about an issue I had previously never considered.

For example, my sister read the same book I did. She enjoyed it. But it didn't stir anything in her heart toward learning more about why kids grow up without families. Or how she could be part of changing that, even for just one. She's a great, compassionate woman. But God had a different path for her so it resonated differently.

I believe that God wired each of us to be in fellowship with Him. And when we choose to pursue that relationship with Him, He can speak to us, call us if you will, and we can respond to that based upon our wiring and our free will. My desire to add to our family through the means of adoption maybe started as an adolescent feeling of needing to "rescue" a child, but it grew to something far bigger. It grew to a love for a child I didn't know, a need to find my daughter.

As for all the "pre-ordained" to be my daughter stuff, I also agree with TM - God never DESIGNED natural/biological/birth families to be torn apart by politics, commerce, governmental structures, whatever. But HE knew man's tendency to sin that would lead to that. And I believe that's why He admonished the church (James 1:27, also quoted frequently by people of faith) to CARE FOR the widows and the orphans. Both represent classes of folks in that New Testament culture who could NOT speak for, advocate for, or care for themselves, based upon the cultural norms. And sadly, for many orphans across the world, the same is true today. Women (widowed or not) have come a long way in being set free from the oppressive culture that completely disallowed them to be their own persons. Unfortunately, the children of the world have not come as far - without a voice (such as us in the IA Community) to speak for them.

There, that's my book. Concise, I am not.

A Beautiful Mess said...

Gang Mom:) Thanks for your comment. You said it beautifully.

I don't doubt that God presented different things in our path that we chose to follow... that led us to adopt

オテモヤン said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
A Beautiful Mess said...

Comment deleted due to highly disgusting link.

Debra said...

It was me Debra who commented on T's site. I believe that TM comes close to what I was trying to say, perhaps in a better way than I did.
Oh yeah, I'm catholic too.

A Beautiful Mess said...

hehe....look at all the Catholics coming out of the woodwork!

Thanks for the comment Debra...gotta love TM:)

The Gang's Momma! said...

Thanks, M! You are overly kind :) I'm no TM! heee heeee heeee!

I forgot to say that posts like this really shouldn't be offensive. Rather, if they come from a point of honest questions and intent to learn, we can all benefit. And benefit greatly. We're all learning as we go, aren't we?

When we feel offended or defensive or angered, it short circuits our ability to hear the Truth in the discussion, even as uncomfortable Truth might feel.

For example, when I first delved into the IA community, I was offended by folks' assumptions that "a call via faith" or a "rescue" mentality was unhealthy intentions. I wasn't completely secure in my ability to communicate my desire to adopt and it sometimes came out as a need to save an orphan.

When I dug in and tried to learn from others' perspectives, I learned FIRST how to examine my own intentions and motives and SECOND how to artfully articulate them in a manner that didn't offend others. I learned.

Thanks for this conversation place and a healthy way to talk about the things our children might need to talk about in the future.

Yoli said...

I am impressed that you actually tackled this subject. There are so many blogs that I cannot even look through because of the reasons you just stated. You adopt because you want to be a mother or father, you want to love and nurture another human being. Not because you want to prove or show your religious devotion. To "me", it feels disrespectful to God.

A Beautiful Mess said...

Yoli thanks for the comment and I like keeping y'all on your toes. Can't let things get to boring in blogland!

I agree that you adopt to become a parent. That is why I posed the question...if you were called how is that calling going to impact your childs perception of how you became a family?

Not that God didn't have a hand in bringing us together...I believe that he did. Did he lay the desire to adopt on our hearts? I have no idea!??

We choose adoption because we wanted a daughter.

Buckeyes & Eggrolls said...

I commented on this post yesterday but don't see my comment today so not sure what happened.

It's a great post ME. I know a lot of people think we are wrong for our reason for adopting but I know a lot who understand too. I think TM and Kim understand where we are coming from.

Perhaps God did allow Maddy to become abandoned because he allows mankind 'free will'. afterall, he allowed his own Son to be abandoned and put to death on a cross by this same mankind. I also believe though that God would allow all orphans to find families if mankind would allow it. (and not cause 4 years of people waiting and waiting)

Hopefully, when the time comes, I'll be able to explain to Maddy our reason for adopting and she really did grow in my heart from a little seedling that I believe God planted there.

t~ said...

Crimeny...just when things settle down, ya gotta go through Jesus into the mix. ;0)

I just may just be your first NON Catholic to comment, I feel special *wink*
I was born, bred and buttered Baptist, but they said alot of the same annoying scriptures and put their personal spin on them. The link you provided is bothersome on multiple levels. Adoption is not about 'saving' an Orphan and doing your good deed to get in good graces with the Savior.

Adoption is based soley on being a selfish human being. *I* wanted to adopt because *I* wanted a daughter. *I* wanted to adopt because *I* wanted to be a Mommy. *I* wanted to adopt because *I* knew biology didn't matter. You get the point....

I believe Tonggu Momma said it best! Very well written TM.

I used that same quote on our annoucement because the hand of God is clearly seen in adoption.

p.s. I'm no longer Baptist, I'm non denominational now, because I just can't stand all the additons, clutter and spins on scripture.

A Beautiful Mess said...

Thanks Tracy...oh and for clearing up that Baptist part!

We have had this chat before..we talk about the tough stuff when we are having beverages by the fire pit!

t~ said...

Awww Mare, I can't wait to have chats with you after beverages beside the fire pit....I <3 u!

윤선 said...

As an adoptee, I really hate the whole "God chose us to adopt" crap. It seems like such a stupid excuse that only opens up more questions than it asks. I think it's a selfish, narrow-minded way of thinking that, really, is just an excuse to deny what's really going on with adoption.

a Tonggu Momma said...

Yoon Seon, I can understand where you are coming from, but I understand the other view as well.

I, personally, wanted to be a momma. We could have chosen to go down the fertility road, but we didn't. And I think we didn't because God opened our hearts to the possibility of adopting. Does that mean I feel that God "called" me to save an orphan? Nope. As T said, it was selfish - *I* wanted to be a momma. But I still feel that God guided our decisions. If that makes sense.

And I'm totally feeling the love y'all. Thanks for your kind words. *grin* I would have been back here earlier, Maryellen, but I've had a sick child suctioned to my side since Wednesday.

Janet said...

The bible is pretty clear that we need to look after those in our society who need help. That doesn't always mean through adoption, mind you. It can be done in numerous ways, through donations to orphanages, through charity work, you name it. That being said, I don't have a problem with the language of "being called to adopt". I think it just refers to someone being "given the idea, or the "desire" by God. In the same way, I think that God often places "ideas" in our hearts, like, "I should call my sister today," and then when you call you find out she's having a really bad day and she's so glad you called. There's always that tricky fine line between free will and pre-ordained. I'm not sure that anyone could give a clear answer on that one. There are some mysteries that will always remain....mysteries.