Monday, October 11, 2010

Is it Semantics? What Do You Think?

Okay. So to get the whole gist of today's post, you really need to FIRST read this post and then it's follow-up. (It's not necessary to read all the comments, they are really mostly "atta boys" and aren't necessary to this particular conversation.)

Go on. I'll wait.

Then, skip over here and read another perspective.

Tapping, tapping, tapping.
Yes, I'm waiting for you.

THEEEEEN, come on back and see what I contributed to the conversation - via a comment that I left on the first set of links. . . . The rest of today's post is actually a re-post of a comment (with some slight editing) that I wrote to the "follow up" post indicated above.  It's regarding a topic about which I've been brewing and brewing for a long, long time. I'm reading a book that is stirring up a LOT of questions. I've been reading a ton of blogs from all across the spectrum of this particular conversation. Most of which have fairly stirring conversations that stir up other conversations, I'm sure. I'm also fairly sure that I have nothing new or unusual to add to the conversation on either side of the debate. But I HAVE been thinking on it a long time and I feel like the comment below was just the "brainstorm" I'd been searching for to set my thoughts in some sort of order.

I'd love to hear what you all think.  Just remember to be nice and I'd love to have further discussions with you all!
I have enjoyed the last two discussions and the subsequent comments about the "lifestyle" of adoption. Choosing to surrender yourself and your "American dream" of a neat and tidy little life with the picket fence keeping it all in and controlled TO God's dream for your family is a beautiful thing to peek in on. And a testimony to the opportunities that Christ offers when He says, "Come and follow me!"
While I greatly appreciate the last two posts and the conversations about the mandate of the Gospel to choose HIS path of eternal investments and intentionally living in a way that makes us AVAILABLE to His calling, I must admit to being uncomfortable with the use of the word/words of  "rescuing" an orphan.  It may be semantics, but I do think that many are put off by the idea - even within the Christian community.
I am an adoptive mother to a child from China. I don't want her to ever feel that she was a "rescue mission" for our family (or for those in our life who gave very graciously to help our dream to build our family further thru adoption).  I am concerned that that mentality could lead her to feel unduly grateful, unnaturally "special," and not in a good way. I want her to walk through life knowing that she is part of us, and being "rescued" or talked about as if she was "rescued" will set her apart in an unhealthy way. The way I see it (and I grant that I am still very "young" in the adoption community, having only been home with my daughter for two years now), her special need will likely do that for her in enough venues. I don't want "rescued" to be part of a label that I or anyone puts on her.
Additionally, I don't even want her to be still labeled as an orphan. That part of her life is done. She is no longer an orphan. She is beloved. She is chosen. She is "hand- picked" by our God for our family.  Do I believe that God's original intent was for her to grow up and be cherished by her family of birth? Yes. But the sinful world into which she was born prohibits that and God graciously chose to weave us together in a redemptive plan for her. AND FOR US. The changes that have come about because we opened our hearts to alternative ways to grow our family have already started to reap eternal-perspective-type changes and growth. In all of us.  We believe that we are part of God's redemptive plan for her life. BUT we believe just as strongly that she is part of God's redemptive plan for our family's story.
Again, I admit that it might be semantics. But the use of the word "rescue" doesn't sit well and this is why.


Melissa said...

"Additionally, I don't even want her to be still labeled as an orphan. That part of her life is done. She is no longer an orphan. She is beloved. She is chosen. She is "hand- picked" by our God for our family."

Beautifully stated. I understand both perspectives, because at some point we must move into action and activate the call to care for orphans and widows. Since I work for a non-profit that helps both of those types of people, I feel as if I am helping to fulfill that mandate to a degree. And, the idea of fostering to adopt one day has crossed our minds so we are praying about that.

Cindi Campbell said...

These are all really good posts and point to ponder and I have a few thoughts too. Mia who is 8 has already expressed that she was once an orphan. I am not sure what feelings she has in responce to the words just yet.

In times past it was much easier for Christians to just send money or volunteer to build orphanages and thus believe that they had fulfilled what God would have them to do in caring for orphans.

There are children with Down Syndrome in other countries that are sent to mental instutions at 4 yrs. old and can never be adopted out of those instutions. They are truly *rescued* from death.

There is a tremendous need for foster parents here in the U.S. I believe that God is showing us the things that touch His heart.....and then He asks us to do something about it. We can give our money, or our time, or our home. I have noticed that when you really love will let them mess up your house. LOL
(I know this is all over the place.....because I have kids sitting in my lap. LOL)

Aus said...

HOORAH - BRILLIANT - and all those other 'right words'! You hit on one that's been bugging me for 7 years now...."You must be really special people to bring another child into your family" - horse pucky - we're parents pure and simple! Maybe we're even a little self centered in spending our kids inheritance on other kids? For sure we are the lucky half of this whole adoptive parenting thing - we get way more from the kids than they do!

It's not a "church mission" or "answering a call" or any of that - it's growing our family in the only way open to us.

Adoption is an 'altruistic good' - no argument. God approves - as does His Son - no argument. Did they plant the seed that started us looking at adoption some 13 years after the birth of our last bio child? Sure - again no argument from fact - the thought of adoption had never even crossed my mind - but I had experienced pangs of regret that we couldn't have any more kids (silly me!)

But it wasn't a 'mission', a 'rescue', or anything like that - and like you - I worry that our kids will feel that way some day - that's one of the "hard questions" that adoptive parents have to deal with from time to time....

And to be blunt - I don't know that it's semantics all the time - but I will never force OUR motives for adopting kids on any other family - I respect them too much for that - and I trust that they won't force their motives on us in return.

One final thought - I'll quote you - "Do I believe that God's original intent was for her to grow up and be cherished by her family of birth? Yes." To that I'll disagree. I consider (my personal opinion only BTW) that God had really 'pre-ordained' our kids to be our kids, regardless of their birth history. But for sure - these kids were "hand-picked by our God for our family"!! That's pretty dang clear to me!

Great stuff here GM - and you wonder why we love you guys!

hugs - aus and co.

Aus said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Gang's Momma! said...

Aus, I deleted your second comment for repetition only...

And I do think that the ?? you raised about God intended to place Li'l Empress in our family is a good one. I don't have a total hard-line answer for it.

On the one hand, I believe that God INTENDED for her to be born to and raised by her birth parents. Because I believe that God created her and God created family. And at any point along the way, they could have chosen (in theory, not necessarily in practicality, I realize) to raise her and keep their family intact. That's always God's first best: for the institute (speaking on the principle of family) to remain whole.

On the other hand, I also believe that God knew that the choice would be made to relinquish her and that we would be the family that would offer ourselves to be part of the plan for her future. They also could have chosen other options which would have made her unavailable to being part of our mutual future.

See? Not wholly one or the other. Again, this conversation is never fully one side or the other. Human free will (and all its choices or lack of choices) makes the conversation on a continuum more than one side of the fence or the other.

So I agree with your point to pre-ordaining Li'l E to be a part of the Gang. But I also see that her birth parents could have chosen very differently. Very tragically, even. And every day, I am grateful beyond words that their choice set off a series of consequences that allowed our choice to be part of her path.

May I never lose that awe.

Cindi Campbell said...

Well I had some more thoughts.

I believe that adoption is as much for the adopting parents as well as the adopted child. In fact I don't think there is any *good* thing we do that there isn't something in it for ourselves. I have certainly been blessed for having our 3 from China as well as my adult daughter adopted so many years ago. In fact because of her adoption I could really appreciate the gifts my birth children really were, and that they were all on loan from the Lord.

But, I do believe that adoption is a call from God for us. I prayed for years for God to open the doors to us and for my dh to be on board. This was not my timing and I would not have waited this is truly the Lord's doing. I had dreams for years of babies in cribs...some without limbs and I knew in my dream they were not my children...but, I wanted desperately to take care of them. I could see their eyes and knew what color their eyes were and how old they were. I no longer have the dreams but instead am living my dream. My husband and I are truly called by God to be home builders not just in occupation but in function as well. (We are in construction) It is our heritage I believe. Even before we were married we saw the movie "Bless the beasts and the Children" and from that time I knew God was planning something for us; but what I did not know. My husbands grandfather was an orphan and grew up in a boy's home here in New Orleans and was never adopted. When we talk about it and him you can bet there are tears about his situation. It affected us deeply. My husband's Dad has always given much to the boy's home his dad came out of and other orphan projects in the area . We have been called to bring them into our home. This is our inheritance no doubt! And we are loving it. God's plan for us is good.