Adoption: When God Comes Knocking and Calling
- The Problem With the Christian Adoption Movement
- Orphanology, the mind-bending rationalization of evangelical adoption
- Adoption Studies and Level of Satisfaction
- The problem with saving the world's 'orphans'
- Americans use the Internet to abandon children adopted from overseas
- International Adoptions: A New Route For Gays
- Uganda's child adoption 'market' brings misery and confusion
- Picture it: White life for the orphans
- Russian Adoptions Slow but not Stopped a Year after Uproar
As a believer in God, and follower of Jesus, I have always found the rationale for adoption given by practicing Christians both amusing and hypocritical. I could never understand how God would "want" man to separate mother and child, simply because a society ruled by misogynists say an unwed pregnancy is unlawful. After all, when Mary found herself pregnant without a husband, at no point was she "counseled" by adoption facilitators and told it was in the best interest for the unborn child to be relinquished, and given to council-approved strangers, while she was to act as if the pregnancy never took place. Instead, Mary, the only mother of Jesus, was told to have faith; she was told support would be provided, through the assistance of a benefactor. That benefactor would be a man named Joseph, a man who would provide for Mary and her child, for 13 years. It should be noted, at no point during Jesus's time on earth did he ever claim Joseph was his father. Instead, Jesus (and Mary) recognized God as his only father. I myself found the crucifixion of Jesus to be the most revealing of all typical adoption issues owned by a child who has been abandoned by a birth-parent. According to the New Testament, it was at the lowest loneliest, most painful point in Jesus's life, he cried out loud, to his father, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
It is possible that at some moment on the cross, when Jesus became sin on our behalf, that God the Father, in a sense, turned His back upon the Son. It says in Hab. 1:13 that God is too pure to look upon evil. Therefore, it is possible that when Jesus bore our sins in His body on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24), that the Father, spiritually, turned away. At that time, the Son may have cried out.
All too easily and frequently, when many followers of a fundamental belief-system want to justifying the questionable actions they are making for the sake of others, they will use (and quote, when needed) the holy-book they read, as if that's all a person needs to do in order to explain questionable rationale and behavior. Through blind unquestioning faith, (and a collection of argument-sustaining quotes), many fundamentalists feel free and justified to change the lives of others, radically, and permanently, without giving much thought to the future natural consequences that will result, when man tries to play God, on earth. I find this misuse of the bible both arrogant and lazy.
Now I admit, I myself am guilty of my own faith-based cockiness and laziness. For decades I have been guilty of irresponsibility as it applies to decision-making in my own life. I have allowed my personal faith and relationship with God, (my Heavenly Father, as I have always seen him), to control my life, and relieve me from the burdens and challenges that go with independent thinking and responsible risk-taking that can lead me to a better life.
Back when I was torn between committing suicide and getting married (as a way to end the misery I was experiencing in my suffocating and toxic adoptive home) I chose to believe God's call for me. I saw what I wanted to see, in the form of a formal proposal of marriage. I saw what I wanted to see because I wanted an answer made FOR me. I admit, as smart and bright, and capable as people thought I was and could be, I was too ashamed to admit I was too damaged and afraid to take personal responsibility for mistakes I was making due to ill-informed decision-making.
In my case, the list of natural consequences from very poor-decision making, rooted in blind unquestioning faith, did not manifest itself for many years. When the final cost of my mistakes became known by me, I found myself overwhelmed by the mess I have had created for myself and my children.
What the hell have I done to myself -- to my family?
Because of blind faith and a refusal to take personal responsibility for my life and myself, I have accrued a debt I'm not sure I can pay-off, while I am still living.
This reality is very scary to me.
Do I blame God for the state and situation I am currently in? No. Do I blame Satan? No. I blame myself for not taking better care of myself by making smarter decisions. While I can use the excuse, "I never had a positive living example to follow", I must also have to admit I have been exposed to many great triumph-over-tragedy stories, shared by those God brought into my life.
Yes, I am among those who believe God brings certain people and situations into the lives of many, all so one can grow and mature, and become a greater stronger version of oneself. It is this fundamental belief that allows me to see there is reason and purpose for all things, even pain, loss, and mammoth mistakes. Sometimes, it is only through painful mistakes a person will finally learn a life-lesson that should NOT be repeated.
I believe it is possible to learn from past-mistakes, and create the change that is needed so the ghosts of the past will no longer haunt and plague and cause more human suffering. I have found the first step in this difficult process requires an admission or confession of wrong-doing.
It's not easy to admit to big bad major life-changing mistakes, is it?
As a believer and follower of God and Jesus, I think it's easy to get overly confident and even arrogant with a belief system that says "all will work-out for the greater good and glory of God". I see this over-confident arrogance in many adoption blogs, especially when they are coated with saccharine-fueled "humility". Such bloggers make me choke with the rage Jesus must have felt when he went to the temple and saw traders trading. (It's very possible, just as I cannot stomach the idea that adoption has become a very profitable form of child-trade, Jesus did not want commercial-trade, and all the self-serving greed that can go with it, to be associated with God (his Father) and His Church.).
Maybe I'm wrong, but it has always been my belief the most loving (most Godly) of all people are the ones who make no show about what it is they do for others. It's always been my belief the most Jesus-like living examples are the ones who give when giving is most difficult, and the most Christ-like people are the ones who understand it is best to give freely, and generously, without expecting anything tangible in return. Since this is my own belief, WHY would I support and agree with the many bloggings written by a recipient of a Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) award -- who should go nameless but wears her "Christianity" like a sequin cloak, for all her followers to see -- and tell others she really knows what's the best form of "faith-based orphan-care" and all that goes with what is best for each child forced to live in a poorly run care systems? Is it not possible to have a similar faith in God, but be very opposed to the US Senate's version of "Christian" orphan-care and adoption?
(I mean, come-on folks, is it really THAT hard to see why politics and religion can make the worst of all bedfellows, especially for those outside the wealthy and elite communities, and dependent on humanitarian aid and charity?)
Yes, I am frequently aghast with repulsion when I read the words written by fundamentalists hooked on the ever-growing Orphan Crusade, as it has developed in the USA.
Since PPL has started, I have become a masochist when it comes to learning all I can about the saving of 'orphans '. There are days I am simply sick to my stomach before 7am, all because so many fundamentalists out there refuse to move outside of their circle of man-made religious comfort. So many of these aggressive crusaders fail to recognize the many horrific outcomes that have resulted from "God-inspired" actions done against families that were created by God. (Doesn't all life come from God?)
Very rarely do I read faith-based adoption bloggers encourage other Christians to THINK about the decisions they are making, when "called by God to adopt". Instead, many faith-based adopters and bloggers encourage fellow-followers to read quotes and phrases taken out of context from their chosen blogs and bibles, and then they encourage their readers to take those words literally, "because that's what God Wants".
When taken out of the fog that comes with a good brainwashing, I can better appreciate just how quickly the broken and the dependent can be lured into believing a dictated course outlined by a "very religious" person. I can see why so many need to be told what it is that God wants for his people. It's much easier to be told what to do, than to make that decision all by oneself.
If a person is going to give "all thanks and glory to God", then that person HAS to take on a strong measure of personal responsibility for his own decisions and actions. Part of personal responsibility means one has to allow more than one voice to be heard. I have learned, over time, only when my mind is open enough to hear many sides, (and I am not limiting myself to only point of view), can I finally see where my own convictions and arguments are either wrong or right... and justified.
To illustrate this point of one-sided adoption appeal, I'd like to use the writings of infamous Craig Juntunen, founder of Both Ends Burning, as I read them just the other day. I believe it is easy to see how radical religious belief coupled with a deliberate blindness to all future consequences of an international adoption can become a radical mistake, for so many. In a recent article, Juntunen pontificated the virtues of ICA and how ICA is without a doubt or question, in a child's best-interest. He claims with each adoption, a difficult decision has to be made, but since that decision is made "with love", the end-result will be "best" for the child, even if extreme pain, grief, and loss are felt.
While much of what he says may be true, in regards to painful decision-making, I find it very disturbing (and telling) that Juntunen seems to want us all to turn a deaf ear and strong faith-based blind eye to child trafficking for adoption purposes, the exploitation of women, the exploitation of the poor, and the pain inflicted on children when they are raised by parents who discipline them to death, (in God's Name, of course), or cast-away, like unwanted goods..
Instead, as the spear-head of a faith-based adoption service, Juntunen wants readers of his words to focus on the richness hominization (spelled: White Christian Americanization) will bring to the world. He wants his readers and paying supporters to see how great it would be if only MORE so-called orphans could be "saved" by Christians and raised in America, where it seems God wants all children to be and live (minus the black foster kids "advocates" want to send to The Netherlands, of course).
If we are really going to evolve into a functioning global society, why can't we accept, embrace, and promote cross-border adoption in the same light we accept and promote domestic adoption? Are we still quietly clinging to the notion that a segregated society is a better society?
Any family, irrespective of where they live, can offer a child the love, the safety and the nurturing every child needs. Why do we draw the line and believe domestic adoption is a positive part of society, and international adoption is a dirty word? Why are we allowing kids to grow up in stark, filthy orphanages or on the streets, just because the family they could be part of today requires them to get a passport and a plane ticket?
[From: Revealing a Dichotomy , October 22, 2013 ]
If we are really going to evolve into a functioning global society, why can't we accept human differences? Who decided it is the (white) American Christian that rises above all others?
Should all "faith-based adopters" follow the preaching and teachings of such ill-informed, limited-thinking, self-serving glory-hounds found in Adoptionland, I'm afraid the damned hell of corruption we see in Adoptionland will only get much deeper and much worse. It has only been recently journalists have finally uncovered what members of the adoption community have known, for YEARS: thanks to an unchecked, unmonitored, unregulated adoption system in the USA, there are hundreds, if not thousands of adopted children being dumped by their so-called "forever" parents. [See: The Child Exchange, and how the unregulated re-homing of unwanted adopted children is becoming the hot NEW rage.]
Why is this being done? Because people "called to adopt" are not being educated as they need to be educated.
In contrast to Craig Juntunen's written words, I'd like to introduce a different approach, when it comes to reaching the Christian Community, and the topic is related to adoption and orphans.
The other day I read a very surprising page full of parenting tips offered by a man who demonstrates, in words, the difference between doing the responsible thing versus answering the call from God to adopt, (without much question or thought). The piece is titled, A Look at Adoption, From the Other Side When They Become Teenagers and it is written by Mark Gregston.
His extensive and lengthy story based on reflected personal experience begins with one simple suggestion he offers all people, when facing potential parenthood: Recognize the difference between your own wants and needs and the wants and needs of a child.
After much introspection and serious thought, Gregston recognizes and confesses (as I too believe): there are times when inter-country adoption is NOT the solution to a child's problem in a region where chaos, corruption, and poor care for the people dominate.
Early in his extensive piece, he describes one of many Godly Moments a man-on-a-mission had during an early aborted adoption plan. Mark wrote:
This young orphan was causing me to come up with just about every excuse, reason, explanation, basis, purpose, and motive for “needing” to take her home, and for calling my wife stateside and convincing her that she needed to allow me to do so. She even got me thinking that surely if my wife was here, she would agree that this is what we needed. I was moved. I was touched. I felt as if it was a “God moment,” that He was actually telling me to take this girl home. Everyone else was excited about adoption, so why shouldn’t I be? And here was my chance to make a difference while helping another child and fulfilling God’s desire to provide an orphan with a family. How could something that seemed so right, and felt so right; .for me; ..be so wrong ; .for me?
As I reflect back on that time, it’s the same feeling I’ve had when I’ve tried to convince my wife of all my other “needs”. I amaze myself with how I can come up with 4 million reasons to justify why I need to possess or do something; not thinking about any future consequences, potential problems, or, immediate implications. It’s also easy for me to “explain away” a movement of God which is at times really just a cloaking of the truth that I might just be using the excuse, “God is telling me to ; ; ” to manipulate others and my own feelings, trying to justify what I really want to happen.
I left the orphanage feeling guilty. I boarded the plane a couple of days later experiencing shame for what I had back home, and what this little girl did not have in her life. In all my feelings of wanting to adopt, the small voice of God rang through, “This is not to be Mark; you have 75 kids and staff living with you back home. You might one day adopt; .but not this day.” And I knew that He was right. My question was, “How can something that feels so right, not be right when adoption is right?” and when I could even quote Scripture that would back my feelings, justify my actions, and give explanation to others about my motives?
It turns out, the author of the piece written for adoptive parents is not an AP. He is head of a residential counseling center for teens. For 20 years he and his wife have seen, heard, and experienced the end-result of many types of disrupted adoptions. He himself has seen the pain inflicted on a child whose injuries from poor care and a poorly-chosen adoption became so deep and so bad, all that seems to remain is not a human child full or hope and potential, but an animal ready to be wild.
As an advocate for adopters and those adoptees who have been traded and dumped -- homed and re-homed -- the writer for APs urges those "called" to adopt to take the time to look and see the many red-flag warnings that are almost always present in today's adoption plan.
There are many good parenting tips for PAPs in Mark Gregston's piece, A Look at Adoption, From the Other Side When They Become Teenagers. The probing questions he urges PAPs to ask themselves are very useful tools for the daring and questioning PAP. For instance, he shows through various examples why it's critically important for all parents touched by an adoption-plan to identify his/her own own motives for an adoption plan. (Questions include: is this child a "mission crusade"? is this child a souvenir-package? is the child a Badge of Honor? is adopting the cool (Christian) thing to do? is adoption the response to a moment of weakness/temporary insanity? is adoption an impulse, or void-filler? ...will adoption "prove" something, to others? will adoption correct bad choices and past mistakes?) In addition, he highlights why one must be willing to see not only the red flags that are out there in Adoptionland, but also remain open to the possibility that there is more than one solution to one particular problem. Maybe quality child/family care can be provided without a formal adoption plan. He also goes on to describe what happens when an adoptive parent gets too confused, overwhelmed, excited, and downright blinded by the real goal behind a good solid adoption plan for a child.
I appreciate it when a self-confessed Christian man makes the effort to reach fellow Christians BEFORE they decide to follow a "call from God to adopt". By including many ugly truths most in the adoption community want to ignore, dismiss, or minimize, he brings the failures of certain types of adoptions to light. By taking the words and actions from those failed by their adoption agencies and so-called-forever-families formed through adoption, Gregston is able to offer a new and different light to prospective adopters, one the likes of one Craig Juntunen could never offer freely to his own flock of potential clients/buyers/followers.
Yes, for once, I feel as if a self-proclaimed Christian man from Texas finally sees the light, as it is seen here, on the dark-side of adoption.
Can we hear an Amen?
All trite phrases aside, we the people touched and torched by poor adoption-planning, (and forced into a purgatory called Adoptionland), we must remember, those who represent the profiting side of the adoption industry may be among the very type we are warned to look-out for, throughout our earthly life. While I myself have always used the bible as a personal teaching/learning tool to help me through very difficult times, (as I may have mentioned, the woman who was driven to adopt me, and the man who chose to marry me are both from the same cloth; both are among the most fake and Godless people I have ever seen or known), I never got into the practice of memorizing words for pubic show. For myself, the bible is a reference, where interpretation is allowed. However, I understand some people take the bible literally, and in-turn need specific chapters and verses to support an argument that goes against their own pro-adoption rhetoric.
With that, when one claims he or she is being called - by God - to look to adoption (as a solution to certain problems, like infertility or social strife and man's inhumanity towards man), I'd like to direct that person to the the lesson (and final natural consequence) found in Ezekiel 13:
The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who are now prophesying. Say to those who prophesy out of their own imagination: ‘Hear the word of the Lord! 3 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to the foolish[a] prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing! 4 Your prophets, Israel, are like jackals among ruins. 5 You have not gone up to the breaches in the wall to repair it for the people of Israel so that it will stand firm in the battle on the day of the Lord. 6 Their visions are false and their divinations a lie. Even though the Lord has not sent them, they say, “The Lord declares,” and expect him to fulfill their words. 7 Have you not seen false visions and uttered lying divinations when you say, “The Lord declares,” though I have not spoken?
8 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because of your false words and lying visions, I am against you, declares the Sovereign Lord. 9 My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations. They will not belong to the council of my people or be listed in the records of Israel, nor will they enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord.
10 “‘Because they lead my people astray, saying, “Peace,” when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash, 11 therefore tell those who cover it with whitewash that it is going to fall. Rain will come in torrents, and I will send hailstones hurtling down, and violent winds will burst forth. 12 When the wall collapses, will people not ask you, “Where is the whitewash you covered it with?”
13 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: In my wrath I will unleash a violent wind, and in my anger hailstones and torrents of rain will fall with destructive fury. 14 I will tear down the wall you have covered with whitewash and will level it to the ground so that its foundation will be laid bare. When it[b] falls, you will be destroyed in it; and you will know that I am the Lord. 15 So I will pour out my wrath against the wall and against those who covered it with whitewash. I will say to you, “The wall is gone and so are those who whitewashed it, 16 those prophets of Israel who prophesied to Jerusalem and saw visions of peace for her when there was no peace, declares the Sovereign Lord.”’
17 “Now, son of man, set your face against the daughters of your people who prophesy out of their own imagination. Prophesy against them 18 and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to the women who sew magic charms on all their wrists and make veils of various lengths for their heads in order to ensnare people. Will you ensnare the lives of my people but preserve your own? 19 You have profaned me among my people for a few handfuls of barley and scraps of bread. By lying to my people, who listen to lies, you have killed those who should not have died and have spared those who should not live.
20 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against your magic charms with which you ensnare people like birds and I will tear them from your arms; I will set free the people that you ensnare like birds. 21 I will tear off your veils and save my people from your hands, and they will no longer fall prey to your power. Then you will know that I am the Lord. 22 Because you disheartened the righteous with your lies, when I had brought them no grief, and because you encouraged the wicked not to turn from their evil ways and so save their lives, 23 therefore you will no longer see false visions or practice divination. I will save my people from your hands. And then you will know that I am the Lord.’”
[From: Ezeikiel 13 (NIV) ]
As hard as it may be for some to comprehend, maybe, just maybe, if we all look at what has developed BECAUSE of the rampant amount of corruption found in Adoptionland, we can see maybe, just maybe, the way adoption is presented by those who profit from each adoption is neither what God wants for his people nor in a child's best interest.
Maybe, just maybe, God doesn't want adoption to be a legal act that can bring with it many costly natural consequences like, financial exploitation, corrupt family courts, wrongful removals, an ever-growing number of poorly-run orphanages, the sexual exploitation of women and children, not to mention adoptive family incest and genetic sexual attraction, (just to name a few ills that hurt a people and society.)
Maybe, just maybe, when we hear or read, God wants us to adopt, it means God wants us to adopt a new attitude towards the care we offer one another, and not to literally adopt each and every child put into poor faulty care-systems.
Would this not be a richer world if each culture could co-exist, without the fear of having homes invaded and children ripped from their families? Would this not be a richer world if more people gave freely to the struggling (without taking a child as a physical sign of one's actions)? Would we not be a better global society if more people with ample resources would provide the right type of charity where it is MOST needed, regardless of color, gender, location, and religious belief ?
Adopting a new mindset is not easy. Often times, adopting a new mindset means an entire belief-system will have to be questioned and re-evaluated. But as I have been walking my own painful and always-questioning path with God, I cannot believe for one minute the God of Love wants man to break what God has put together, through pregnancy -- the ultimate miracle. While I can question the path I am on at any given moment, I can still believe in God, and I can still believe He always has a better plan for me, (this helps explain why suicide would be wrong for me), but maybe, just maybe 40+ years of profound suffering is not necessary for one person to endure, all because an important life-lesson needs to be learned. I truly believe NOW, had I taken more personal responsibility for myself, and asked the really difficult questions I needed to ask myself, back when I was making the most important decision in my life, maybe my own pain, later in life, could have been avoided, or greatly reduced.
Now, while I understand many readers believe we at PPL are anti-Christian and anti-adoption, I want readers to know I do like to think God, man, and adoption can benefit a child, for an extended period of time. I know there are adult adoptees who claim they have had only positive experiences through their adoptive families, but I have to confess, for a person like myself, I think it sure would have been helpful and interesting to see what would have happened to Jesus, had he lived past his mid-thirties.... (I myself had birthed 4 children by then, was formally rejected by my APs, was living in a loveless marriage for many years, and on the verge of a suicidal nervous breakdown, once again...). I find it all too convenient when Christians will use the story of Jesus as the ideal story of adoption, but they will do so without recognizing or identifying many basic adoption issues even Jesus had, himself, during his brief time on earth. It would also be nice if the pro-adoption crusaders would recognize at no point was Mary, the unwed woman with child, ever coerced or forced to be separated from her newborn son.
And so I conclude with yet another confession: As a non-religious Christian, I truly understand why so many pro-orphan-crusaders do not want to hear the words from angry APs or hurting adoptees put in dangerous homes ruled by toxic/dangerous people. Listening to those hurt by the dark-side of adoption means one has to admit huge mistakes have been made, over and over again, without question, reflection, or intention to right the many wrongs. (How can huge mistakes be made, if God has been so heavily involved in the original adoption plan?)
The Christian community needs to wake-up and smell the human rot. The Christian community needs to recognize those who want to break already existing (yet struggling) families, and deny the poor and the unmarried (with children) their chance at a peaceful productive life are doing more anti-Christ-like harm than good, especially when we look at the long-term effects of repeated acts of oppression and an over-use of disciplining punishment. Man may be free to create laws for his fellow man, but at no point do I believe any man should think his rules for a given society are above the Laws of God.
I now leave readers with this final thought to ponder:
If we did in fact treat others as we would like ourselves to be treated, how many really believe adoption, as a legal practice, would be used (or needed) as it has been used - and promoted - since the turn of this century?