Commenters and posters (both adoptees and others in the adoption community), often point out how offensive the statement “God brought us this child” is in regards to adopted children. I never respond to these posts, because it would be wrong to say “You should not be offended.” But as a person of faith, I would like to post an open response here.
I believe in God. Not some nice, always happy Daddy-figure, but an all-knowing, all-powerful God – who is inscrutable to my tiny human mind. I believe that God intended me to parent all three of my boys, both the 2 who grew in my body and the one who did not. Yes, this does mean that God also intended for that son and his birth mother to experience a tragic loss. Here’s the thing…
I believe it was God’s plan for me when I was hit by a drunk driver, when I was homeless, when I had a nervous breakdown. I believe it was God’s plan for me to walk through 6 months in my mid-20s so involuntarily hungry that I could barely see, so hungry that one day I sat on my steps, held my stomach, and cried at the great pain caused by the scent of cooking chicken.
I believe it was God’s plan for a childhood friend to freeze to death by the side of the road. And the prisoners who found his remains two years later – that was God’s plan too.
The trouble is that people want to think that “God’s plan” means everything is good. It doesn’t. It means that, as people of faith, we accept all things, not just the good things, are according to God’s will. It also means that we accept that the mind of God is not ours to know. It is a comfort, indeed, but it doesn’t always feel like a hug.
People often tell me “everything happens for a reason”. Maybe, but I will never understand what those reasons are. I’m okay with that, you know. I don’t need to understand. I accept that I am as incapable of understanding the “reasons” things happen as a spider is of understanding why I flushed him down the john. I am as incapable of understanding as a bird is of understanding why it found a treasure trove of seed in my front yard. Trying to understand is a waste of my time and my heart. I can grieve. I can rejoice. But I cannot understand.
People often also tell me “everything is for the greater good”. I don’t know about that. Is God working for good? Or balance? I don’t know; I do accept that it is what it is. And maybe everything is for the greater good, but that doesn’t mean it won’t stink for me personally. Nor does it mean that nothing should ever change. As a person of faith, I believe I have been entrusted to work for justice – that may mean, in some contexts, supporting adoption reform. But I do not believe it means not providing a loving home to a child who filled my heart before I ever even learned his name.
I have a beautiful life, and beautiful sons. These days, I live an easy, easy life – with plenty to eat and a safe, warm place to sleep. And my sons live this life too. I hope that continues to be God’s will for them, and their will for themselves. I can only do so much to ensure it. But what I can do, I will. Each and every moment of each and every day.
Before we brought C. home, a man in a small southern town asked us why we didn’t wait for God to give us another child. My (adopted) husband was too distressed by this to respond. So I did. “This is the child God brought us,” I said. God brings every child to every parent.
All of my children are on loan to me from God. I will do all I can to do right by them. For one of them, that may one day mean embracing another mother. If that is what he needs, then that is what I will do. None of it is about me – it’s only about him. My belief that it was God’s will that I parent him in no way diminishes the heartbreak I feel for his birthmother….and for him. It does not diminish my joy in him either. What it does do is make clear that being his mother is a sacred trust.
And really, isn’t that how, at the core of us, we should feel about each of our children? No matter what?