Adoption Services

I try not to discuss religion with people, because I know it's a personal topic based on subjective knowledge of one's own denomination.  Religion far too often starts many heated debates, which in my mind ruins perfectly peaceful discussions.  It's not my wish or intention to start arguments.  My purpose is simple:  discuss the problems organized religion causes in terms of Bible interpretation, and how that influences family dynamics.  For instance, where in the Bible does God say the taking of another woman's baby (the fruit of a woman's womb) is a good deed?  I ask this because I read a blog last night, http://donva.blogspot.com/2007/11/orthodox-adoption-service.html, written by an orthodox Christian adoptive dad, and although I admire his dedication to the boy he has in his life, I have to wonder how the church explains "What God puts together, let no man put asunder", as it relates to biological family and heritage.  It wasn't so long ago that the daughters of God-fearing parents would be banished from their communities if they became pregnant before marriage.  Historically speaking, huge offenses have taken place through the hands of holy-people, so I'm perplexed how readings from the bible become interpreted to serve some people, but not others.  After all, isn't the bible mostly about God's Law, and how we are to treat others as we would want ourselves to be treated?
 
To give perspective on my own opinion, keep in mind I was raised Catholic.  That means I was sent to church, because that's what parents do; they send their kids to church.  My parents didn't need to attend weekly services because my mother served her time working as a Catholic School teacher during the week, and my dad's job required him to work many weekends.  I'm sure they felt like they were doing their job as "good Catholics" by making sure their children went to learn about God at their grandmother's church. 
 
The problem was, I had lots of questions.  (It seems adoptees always do, don't we?)  I had huge questions about the Original Sin issue.  If all babies are born with sin, why are only SOME sent away to live with other people who are not their original parents?  Were some babies more sinful because their parents were really bad sinners?  If so, is that why names get changed, family members get removed, and documents get altered?  Where in the bible does is say God wants children to be removed from their mothers, and adopted by others?
 
In the blog that I read last night, the single-father describes an Adoption Service that was held at his church, and the following description floored me:  

 Father begins addressing the children by talking about families, and how we come together as families in many ways. He asked the children, "For example, who is Jesus Christ's REAL Father?" The children of course answered "God." "That's right, but who took care of Jesus while he was growing up? Who raised him from a baby to a man, and became his father on earth?" Again, the children answered correctly with "Joseph." He explained that Joseph adopted Jesus as his own son, and loved Him and raised Him as any father would. He did an excellent job of respectfully sharing how some biological parents are unable to care for their children, so sometimes adoption is how a family is formed.  

This family-story lacks a few important details.  Jesus, the illegitimate child of Mary, was kept by his mother.  Joseph was asked to be the unborn child's guardian and father-figure, which he did for 13 years, but at no time did Jesus ever deny who his "real father" was. "My Father" was always spoken about God, not Joseph.  [At least that was always my understanding, especially at the time of crucifixion when he cried, to God, (not Joseph), "Father into your hands, I commend my spirit".] 

Given the undeniable church involvement in adoption practice, how can sex outside marriage be used against a person, when sex is wrongfully used and practiced by those who are preaching "The Good Word"?  Is it any wonder many adults are losing their religions these days, thanks to the contradictions and mixed messages sent through certain events taking place in various parishes?  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23337807

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Clarifying the "Adoption Service"

Kerry,

First of all, this is a well-written piece.  Thank you for letting me know that you were using an archived post from my blog (http://donva.blogspot.com) and for inviting me to see what you've written.

Please know that you and I may be viewing the adoption world from very different vantage points.  I have not done my research on you, and can only gather from what I have read that you have been adopted, hopefully by a loving family, and therefore, understandably, still have questions.

Hopefully I can help clear some things up, if not from the Orthodox Christian perspective, from my own.  I hope none of this sounds defensive, as that certainly isn't my intention.

I think we have to keep in mind that in many cases, a child is removed from their biological parent because of the choices that biological parent has made.  My son's mother spent a great deal of time in and out of "trouble" for one offense or another, as a result, my son had spent many of his early years unsupervised and basically on his own.  By his own admission, he could have died at the age of five when he was run over by a school bus. 

By the time I got to know him, he had become what is referred to as a "parentified" child.  In his biological family, he had become the "responsible one."   He was only ten when he was taken into foster care, when the "friend" he and his younger brother--who was only one at the time--were left in a  motel room with on a night she was taken to jail dumped them at a convenience store and told the clerk "they're not mine."

To ask the question of how anyone can justify putting asunder anything God has joined, to me, is an unfair question, at least with regard to my family's situation.   It had become quite clear to me, the court, and my son, that she had chosen to NOT be a parent by basically neglecting him, failing to secure a home, a way to pay for it, or keep herself out of trouble.  Even from the time she began appealing court decisions to terminate her parental rights, she had indicated to me that she didn't want to remove him from my home, but wanted a say in when she could see him, not trusting that I would (as a son, and as I had indicated in court) respect her role as the woman who gave birth to him, and the ten-year relationship they had.

Again, quite clearly, she wanted the title of "mother," but wasn't much interested in parenting.  There was no biological father in the picture, nor had there ever been, which was why the agency felt that placing him with a single man would be an agreeable solution to everyone, as all they were doing, really, was giving this boy a father.

In my son's case, I thank God we have a government that will reach out and provide for these children, even if only temporarily in foster care (which is how I got to know my son).   In the end, with a mother who was still homeless and couldn't care for him, and a child who wanted to stay where he was and had been for longer than he had expected (with me), it seems to me that what we truly had here was a win-win-win situation.  I also realize not all adoptions result in everyone getting what they "want," but I am blessed with an adoption experience where it appears that everyone did.

I also think it's interesting how our priest's explanation of Joseph's role (not what he was called, but what he did) floored you.  At no point did our priest indicate that Jesus called Joseph "father," although there are accounts where Jesus was called the "son of Joseph."  But can you deny that for those critical first thirteen years that Joseph cared for Christ any less than he would have for his own biological children?  He fathered Jesus as a child on earth.  I believe our priest was referring to a man who signed up for the job but never received the title.

In addition, not only did Christ "not deny" His Father, but neither did Joseph, who fully understood his role in Jesus' Life.

Also, remember that the priest was speaking in simpler terms because the sermon he was giving was to children.  To get too elaborate would be too much for their little ears, and to be too specific might have been embarrassing for my son, who had agreed to have our family blessed by the Church in this way.  I was very impressed at how delicately he handled this subject matter, which used to be locked away in legal filing cabinets, not celebrated and blessed before a congregation.

Again, hope I didn't sound defensive.  Please forgive me if I have.  I thought by what I'd  read in this post that I could clarify.  As for your last question, I don't know enough about anything to even offer an answer, other than to suggest that maybe you're looking at how things are used "against" parents, but now how they are implemented  "for" the child's health,  safety, and welfare.

The difference is the individual

It's very unfortunate we live in a world where fathers can't be found and mothers are overwhelmed with the care and duty of a child.  Options are not always black and white, if a person's family-background is less than ideal and desirable.  Personally, I don't think neglect is a natural trait in women; I think it's learned by and through example.  Perhaps if you were a pregnant woman with no partner or prospects to better your situation, you can better appreciate what "options" our government provides women during pregnancy and beyond. 

In my son's case, I thank God we have a government that will reach out and provide for these children, even if only temporarily in foster care (which is how I got to know my son).   In the end, with a mother who was still homeless and couldn't care for him, and a child who wanted to stay where he was and had been for longer than he had expected (with me), it seems to me that what we truly had here was a win-win-win situation.  I also realize not all adoptions result in everyone getting what they "want," but I am blessed with an adoption experience where it appears that everyone did.

Indeed, your situation is one that works in favor of the child.  Dare I suggest that has more to do with your personal committment than government assistance and medical services?

I'd like to draw your attention to the "progress" our country has made in terms of SAFE child placement.  http://poundpuplegacy.org/groups/dirty_deeds_in_child_placement

As far as the children caught in the cross-fires of state-funding, allow me to introduce you to Joel's Story, and most recently posted, the Paddock family.

Clearly, our government , churches, and social services can do a lot better, wouldn't you agree?

 

Very valid point...

Of course, I agree.  But I also agree that birth parents can do a better job, as can adoptive and foster parents. 

And I can do a better job, too. 

I cringe when I hear about those people who take on foster children in order to collect the stipends that the agencies sometimes provide to reimburse families for the cost of caring for the child.  I know that during my evaluation process, they were very thorough in examining my finances to make sure I could support myself without any of their money (which has found its way to a college fund).

I do think you're right, though, individual results DO vary.  I found myself becoming very aggravated with "the system" during a process that was supposed to quickly provide permanency for this child.  The process, from the time of the termination of parental rights, took over two years.  Social workers are overloaded, courts are clogged, and I'm sure there are many who "fall through the cracks" due to a way imperfect process. 

This site has been an eye-opener for me, for sure.  I pray that the things I'm reading about here are truly the exceptions, and have not become "the rule."

Cringing

Jesus, Joseph and Mary (said with a poorly executed Irish accent),

Religion and adoption, well what can I say. Tis this cult called christianity that is perhaps to blame for so many tumble weeds out there in the world today. Those of a similar (horrifying) age as myself. Products of sinful unwed unions between the sheets or on the back seat of a large fuel hungry car at the drive in movie show, a film with Charlton Heston comuning with same god worshipped by above mentioned cult. And Joseph....hmmm gullible Joe taken in by Mary's tearful but joyous account of imaculate conception " a convienient truth"....

Let's go back to circa 1968, a young 19 year old girl forced....yes I have found her...into giving up a wee baby (said this time with a Northern English accent) because she was unwed and what would people think! My goodness can't have a sinner in the neighborhood. Oh and guess what, it happened again to her and yet again. They gave up and let her keep the rest because the cat got out of the bag and anyway it gave the neighbors in their headscarves and specticles something to whisper a little too loudly about. Hey she actually did a good job as a Mum and has a solid relationship with all of her children except this little tumble weed. Years of sorrow and seperatedness followed by these years of trying to get it together in a mixed/muddled/guilt ridden union plagued by a tyrany of distance and those little blue pills.

Not being religeous or American, is it just me but are all you guys rabid religeous nut jobs, I can't stomach this notion of a sin that is worthy of robbing one of an identity and bringing about decades of flesh ripped apart hoping to one day graft itself back together.  Perhaps I need to find God but finding my mother was hard enough so I will just let that one go.......

Pound Pup Legacy