Dear Person Who Found this Blog By Searching for “pro-adoption scripture”

Dear Person Who Found this Blog By Searching for “pro-adoption scripture” –

There are none.

At least not if one is looking for scriptural justification to take another woman’s child, lie about that child’s parentage on a falsified birth certificate, and then raise that child as their own. Ain’t. Gonna. Find. It.

Don’t believe me? Go read this forthcoming article by David M. Smolin, Professor of Law titled “Of Orphans And Adoption, Parents And The Poor, Exploitation And Rescue:  A Scriptural And Theological Critique Of The Evangelical Christian Adoption And Orphan Care Movement.” It will be published in the Regent International Law Review, Vol. 8, No. 2, in Spring 2012. Full document can be downloaded from this link as well : adoption.christian.regent.smolindraft1.2.12-1.

He makes so many cogent points in this article, but there are two that have really stuck with me since I first read the article. The first one is about Joseph and his treatment of a young unwed mother.

“…what Joseph did in helping an otherwise “single mother” to keep and raise her own child was consistent with the ministries of Jesus and Elijah in assisting single women and their children in staying together. Honoring the “birth” mother—honoring the motherhood of Mary—is exactly contrary to the kinds of adoptions advocated by the modern Christian adoption movement, which typically takes children from living mothers and gives them to non-related people as their adoptive children.  If Joseph had acted in a way typical of the Christian adoption movement, Mary would have lost Jesus at birth.” (Emphasis mine).

The next deals with “pro-adoption” scriptures in the New Testament.

“Despite the claims of the Christian adoption and orphan care movement of a fundamental New Testament call to horizontal adoption—and specifically to the adoption of orphan children—-the New Testament does not record a single such event.  If Jesus and the apostles were calling the New Testament church to practice horizontal adoption of orphans, it seems to have escaped the notice of the writers of the New Testament entirely.   Despite clear New Testament admonishments to assist the poor and widows, and despite a clear New Testament record of the early church in fact engaging in organized efforts to assist the poor and widows, there is no parallel New Testament record of anyone being urged to adopt an orphan, or of anyone doing so….Hence, we have the mysterious gap of a Bible supposedly urging horizontal adoption as a fundamental practice of the church, without any Biblical record of anyone actually encouraging Christians to adopt, and without any record of Christians actually adopting orphan children. “ (Emphasis mine).

So put on your pointy-headed thinking cap, pull out a red pencil and go read Smolin’s article and then get back with me about “pro-adoption scriptures.”

Sincerely,

M.

 

 

Am I right or am I right?

Sit back, grab of a cup of hot cocoa and be prepared for a long read. Hopefully there is something of value in this letter.

Yesterday was a watershed day for me in many ways.  I did not write about everything that transpired, but let’s just say it was real, it was raw, and it was needed.  Let me also say I am eternally grateful for a loving, compassionate, and wise husband who loves me – all of me – even the real and raw parts of me.

One of the things I spent the day wrestling with God over was this issue of the “doctrine” of adoption that Sister Beck spoke of at the LDSFS/Families Supporting Adoption conference in August. This struggle with God went on all day – I ended up neglecting many of my responsibilities around the home. God bless Jeff  – literally – for coming home, putting his arms around me and holding me tight, then doing the dishes, making dinner, giving the wee ones baths and putting them to bed all while I stomped around behind him, jabbering and frequently cursing about all of this. There are few men finer than Jeff in this world – if more men could be like him, there would be a heck of a lot less sadness and heartache.

So back to Sister Beck and what she had to tell all those folks at the conference in August. This is what she said:

“The Atonement of Christ brings us that covenant and makes us heirs with Him, so that we have the same inheritance that He has with our Father,” she said.

It is through making covenants that individuals are adopted into the kingdom of God.

“It is very doctrinally based,” she said. “We believe in literal adoption, the literal gathering of bringing people into that covenant. … [Beck, J. (2011). “Rooted in Love.” As reported in Church News 20 Aug 2011].

Now maybe my version of the scriptures is different than hers. I highly doubt it since I have double checked to make sure I am using the most current edition of the LDS standard works, but…. The stuff I remember reading about covenants and the Atonement is about being born again through the blood of our Savior, the waters of baptism, and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Last night, as I lay in bed drifting off to sleep, one of the last thoughts I had was, “God, either she is right or I am. We can’t both be right. Either we are adopted into the kingdom of God or we are born into it through the waters of baptism and the blood of Christ.”

When I got up this morning at 5:00 a.m. to take my older son to early morning seminary, I spent about 15 minutes reading in the Book of Mormon. The daughter of one of the ladies I Visit Teach is turning eight years old in October and  issued a challenge to the ward members to read the entire Book of Mormon by her birthday. I took her up on the challenge and have been reading about 10 pages a day in the wee small hours of the morning as Captain Knuckle gets ready to leave.

This morning, this verse was on the very first page I read:

“And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters.” (Mosiah 5:7)

Hmmm. It seems pretty clear in this particular verse from a scripture of the restoration. Begotten. Born. Because of the covenant. Is it just me, or am I not seeing adoption anywhere in that verse?

This led me to search out other scriptures (yet again) about the Atonement and becoming a son or daughter of Christ. This is what I found

“But as many received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13 KJV)

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things…but with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:3, 18-19)

“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world…” (1 John 5:4)

“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3 KJV

“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” (John 3:5-7, KJV)

“And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters…” (Mosiah 27:25)

“…preach unto all, both old and young, both bond and free; yea, I say unto you the aged, and also the middle aged, and the rising generation; yea, to cry unto them that they must repent and be born again.” (Alma 5:49)

And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experience this mighty change in your hearts? (Alma 5:14)

“Now I say unto you that ye must repent and be born again; for the Spirit saith if ye are not born again ye cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye may be washed from your sins, that ye may have faith on the Lamb of God…” (Alma 7:14)

“I stood upon my feet, and did manifest unto the people that I had been born of God.”(Alma 36:23)

“And behold, whosoever believeth on my words, them will I visit with the manifestation of my Spirit; and they shall be born of me, even of water and the of the Spirit– (D&C 5:16)

“That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory.” (Moses 6:59)

[An aside: I looooooove that it was Moses, a late-discovery adoptee, who was given the clearest explanation of what being “born again” entails.  God tells this man, this adoptee who has most likely spent a lifetime struggling with his identity, that to become a son of God, he has to be born again, just like he was born physically. To this prophet/adoptee, God clearly states that the process of sanctification from all sin is one of RE-BIRTH, not adoption.]

I think any reasonable, thinking adult can see those scriptures all point to being born as the way we become sons and daughters of Christ. However, even after reading all of them this morning, something in the back of my mind was bothering me. Sister Beck specifically said that adoption was “doctrine.” If it is doctrine, then certainly it must be found in the scripture, yes?  So I turned to “The Guide to the Scriptures” found on the www.lds.org website, and read this:

Adoption

The scriptures speak of two types of adoption.

(1) A person who is of non-Israelite lineage becomes a member of the family of Abraham and the house of Israel by having faith in Jesus Christ, repenting, being baptized by immersion, and receiving the Holy Ghost (2 Ne. 31:17–18; D&C 84:73–74; Abr. 2:6, 11). (my emphasis)

(2) All who have received the saving ordinances of the gospel become sons and daughters of Jesus Christ by continued obedience to his commandments (Rom. 8:15–17; Gal. 3:24–29; 4:5–7; Mosiah 5:7–8).

Interesting. Both of these instances point back to being baptized as the process through which people are “adopted” into the household of faith.  But…..didn’t all of those scriptures I just found tell me that ordinance of baptism is about being born again? And just a second there. Mosiah 5:7 is being used as a reference to support “adoption” as being the way that we become children of Christ?  Gosh, I could have sworn that it said very clearly we are born again.

“And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters.” (Mosiah 5:7)

Oh yeah. It does say “born of him” NOTHING about adoption.

So then I clicked through to the link “Children of Christ.” This is what I found.

Children of Christ

Those who have accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ.

  • Whosoever shall humble himself as this little child is greatest, Matt. 18:1–4
  • Believe in the light that ye may be the children of light, John 12:36
  • Put off the natural man and become as a child, Mosiah 3:19, Mosiah 27:25–26
  • Because of the covenant ye shall be called the children of Christ, Mosiah 5:7
  • If ye will lay hold upon every good thing, ye certainly will be a child of Christ, Moro. 7:19
  • As many as received me, gave I power to become my sons, D&C 39:4
  • Fear not, little children, for you are mine, D&C 50:40–41
  • Thou art one in me, a son of God, Moses 6:68

Darn it all, there are those “pesky” words again: Begotten. Born again. Born of God. Sons and Daughters of God. No adopted.

Then I clicked through to:

Sons and Daughters of God

The scriptures use these terms in two ways. In one sense, we are all literal spirit children of our Heavenly Father. In another sense, God’s sons and daughters are those who have been born again through the atonement of Christ.

Dang it all, Sister Beck! There those words are again!!!! Atonement. Begotten. Born again. Born of God. Children of Christ.

Essentially, what I discovered this morning is the basis for claiming we are “adopted” into Abraham’s family is because we enter into the covenant of baptism, allowing the Atonement to take effect in our lives….which is clearly the process of being BORN AGAIN.  Which is not adoption. Ask any adoptee. Adoption and being born are two very separate things.

______________________________________

As I wrestle with this issue this morning, the only thing I can come up with is that members of the church play loose and fast with the word “adoption,” using it as a metaphor for being “born again.” Maybe I just need to get my proverbial doctrinal panties out of a wad and just go with the metaphor of adoption = being born.

But I can’t.

I know the difference on a very intimate level, much like Moses. Adoption is not a sufficient metaphor for the very real, very visceral, very messy and difficult process of being born again, of becoming a child of Christ. The Book of Mormon tells me very plainly that I am born again, made a new creation in Christ. It is another witness to what the Holy Bible teaches me about who I am and to whom I belong. The Book of Mormon, side by side with the Bible, clearly testifies I am born into the household of faith through the waters of baptism, the blood of the Atonement, and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Born. Not adopted.

There is no other way. (John 14:6; D&C 132:12)

Much love,

M.

National Adoption Awareness Month ~ Day 8: Let Me See if I Can Be Perfectly Clear About This: God DOES NOT DO ADOPTION (Unless of course, the adoptive grandfather is trying to kill the child, then God makes an exception)

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

Making the rounds out there on the internet is this video. Take a moment and watch it.

Sounds all well and good, right? We are a bunch of orphans, plopped on this little ol’ planet and God loves us so much He adopts us into His family.  Because we are trying to be like God, then we must adopt the orphans of the world to save them from a multitude of woes.

Wrong.

The truth of the matter is this: We are already God’s children. It is impossible to “adopt” something that is already yours. (Please refer to the post God Doesn’t Do Adoption: Paul’s Version for further discussion about the word “adoption” in the Bible; also please refer to the post God Doesn’t Do Adoption: “Is You Is or Is You Ain’t” (Or in other words: A question for Fred Riley of LDS Family Services) for a better understanding of how we LDS folk view our relationship to God).

The scriptures are an epic love story. They are the story of a Father’s love for his children and the extreme measures He goes to bring them back from their wanderings. He never ceases to search for us. He never quits loving us regardless of the fact that we have “sold ourselves for naught.”  In fact, He loves us so much He sent his first born, his Only Begotten Son in the flesh to pay the ransom for the rest of His children – to atone for our sins and redeem  us from our spiritual bondage (please refer to the post God Doesn’t Do Adoption: He’s Into Being Born Again for further elucidation about this reality). Not to adopt us. To redeem us. That is why our Savior Jesus Christ is known as the Great Redeemer. Not the Great Adopter.

The video I have linked here uses three specific examples from the Bible to illustrate why adoption is “God’s heart,” namely, the story of Moses, the story of Esther, and the preservation of the Messianic line through Joseph’s supposed adoption of Jesus. (I have already discussed the fallacy of this belief in the post God Doesn’t Do Adoption: The Jesus Was NOT Adopted Version, but let me just reiterate one more time: Joseph was Jesus’ STEP-FATHER. I personally feel that misrepresenting this righteous, loving, and protective step-father as the adoptive father of Jesus is near heresy but that’s just my personal opinion. Joseph should be held up as the supreme example of what it means to be a loving step-father, not an adoptive father.)

I know that many Christians like to use the Moses story as an example of why adoption is such a great thing and I guess, if you follow the story all the way through, it is a great story about adoption. (Well, other than that part about Moses returning to his adoptive grandfather’s household years after killing an Egyptian and then calling down the 10 plagues of Israel onto his adoptive family’s kingdom, culminating with the first born of every household dying and then a whole bunch more of his adoptive family dying when they were drowned in the Red Sea. I guess that part isn’t such a great example of adoption, is it?)

Moses’s story starts off when his PAP sees how many Israelites there are and starts to get worried about the sheer number of them. A decree is set forth that the Hebrew midwives have to kill the Hebrew babies – when that doesn’t work, the Pharaoh orders all Hebrew male children tossed into the river.  This is the political environment Moses was born into – his death certificate had already been issued by his future adoptive grandfather before he was born.  His mother hid him (and nursed him) for three months, then put him in the river. His older sister followed along so she could offer the services of her mother as a wet-nurse to whomever found baby Moses.  Their plan worked wonderfully – the Pharaoh’s daughter found him, gave him back to his natural mother until he was weaned, then took Moses into the palace as her own son.

As we all know, with the killing of a “fellow” Egyptian Moses eventually rejected his adoptive family and culture. This precipitated his flight into the wilderness where he then spent 40 years learning of his true identity and heritage. While sojourning in the wilderness, Moses was reunited with his natural family and in this act, God’s heart is revealed: God is totally into family preservation. Eventually, Moses returned to his adoptive father’s palace, this time in his true identity and name – he returned to speak Truth to power and demand that his people be set free. His people – the Israelites, not the Egyptians.  Hmmm…now that I think about it I guess that would make Moses an angry, ungrateful,  bitter adoptee according to a lot of adoptive parents I know.

In case you missed it: the reason Moses was put into the basket and floated down the river was because his adopted grandfather had issued an order to kill him. So yeah, I guess God does do adoption in RARE and UNUSUAL circumstances where the life of the child is at risk.

Now the story of Esther being “adopted” is even easier: BOTH of her parents had died. Her COUSIN took her in a raised her as his own daughter. It was a kinship “adoption” – that whole family preservation theme again. That being said, it wasn’t an “adoption” as we conceive it. Adoption as we know it today (with the falsified and sealed birth records) is a purely modern legal arrangement that simply did not exist under Talmudic law. In Talmudic law, blood relations were all that mattered. Mordecai raised her because he was following the law of the land – orphans stay with their kin folk.

I have probably belabored the point by now.  I know I have very little hope of convincing any of my born-again Christian friends that God didn’t adopt us. Most won’t listen because *gasp* I am a Mormon. Frankly, I like the idea of being the literal child of God, created in image of my eternal parents. And frankly, that’s OK if they don’t listen to me. I still love them and think they are pretty interesting people.

Hmmm…just had an interesting thought.  Born-again Christians are the ones who most frequently use the “God adopted us” and “God’s heart is adoption” themes. Does anyone else see the irony in this? These folks claim to be born again (which is a good thing, BTW) in one breath, and in the next claim that God adopted them.  ?????? If they wanted more congruency between their name and their beliefs, perhaps they should call themselves “Adopted Christians” instead of “born again.”

Maybe it is just a little bit too late and I need to get some sleep. Maybe it won’t be so ironical in the morning. Is ironical even a word?

Much love,

M.

God Doesn’t Do Adoption ~ The King Solomon Version

A few weeks ago in Gospel Doctrine class, we covered  the wisdom of King Solomon.  One of the “talking points” of the class study guide is this: “Two women take a child to Solomon, who wisely determines which woman is the mother of the child (3:16–28).”

Judgement of Solomon

“Judgment of Solomon” by Gustave Dore

Now this story is of particular import to me because it was used as a scriptural example and justification for relinquishing my daughter for adoption. After all,  a “real” mother would sacrifice her own “selfish wants” to parent her own child. A “real” mother would love her baby so much she would let him or her be raised by some other woman. Within the past few days, this same reasoning has been applied again to the John Wyatt case – if he really loves his daughter, he would “do the right thing” and let her be raised by someone else who claims to be her parents.

Just to refresh your memory, I have copied the entire text of this particular scripture, straight from the LDS edition of the KJV Bible.

1 Kings 3

16 ¶ Then came there two women, that were harlots, unto the king, and stood before him.

17 And the one woman said, O my lord, I and this woman dwell in one house; and I was delivered of a child with her in the house.

18 And it came to pass the third day after that I was delivered, that this woman was delivered also: and we were together; there was no stranger with us in the house, save we two in the house.

19 And this woman’s child died in the night; because she aoverlaid it.

20 And she arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while thine handmaid slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom.

21 And when I rose in the morning to give my child suck, behold, it was dead: but when I had considered it in the morning, behold, it was not my son, which I did bear.

22 And the other woman said, Nay; but the living is my son, and the dead is thy son. And this said, No; but the dead is thy son, and the living is my son. Thus they spake before the king.

23 Then said the king, The one saith, This is my son that liveth, and thy son is the dead: and the other saith, Nay; but thy son is the dead, and my son is the living.

24 And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king.

25 And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other.

26 Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it.

27 Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof.

28 And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the awisdom of God was in him, to do judgment.

.

An interesting bit of history:  this story is the first recorded and published legal decision in all of the history of legal jurisprudence.

Hmmm…. The first recorded instance of a legal decision has to do with family law. Interesting.

So we read the story and the class started discussing how brilliant Solomon was and what it must have been like for him to come up with his decision. But I, being the constant questioner, the habitual wonderer, the inquisitive child, went wait just a second. (Mind you, this was in my head – I don’t usually raise my hand in Gospel Doctrine to point out things like this because that would bring down the fury and wrath of the LDS culture upon my head for merely questioning a policy of the church – not doctrine – but a policy. If there is anything you DO NOT do in the LDS faith, it is question, even honestly, a strongly held cultural practice. I mean, have you ever tried to suggest that green jello might be good with something else other than shredded carrots in it or that gasp, it might be  good just all by itself? But I digress, back to the story.)

I thought to myself, “Did anyone else catch that?”  And I went back and re-read the story again. Yep. There it is. I flipped to the front of my scriptures to make sure I had the correct LDS-sanctioned version of the Bible. Yep, I do. I flipped back to 1 Kings 3. Yep, it’s still there.

Who did King Solomon, in the wisdom of God (see verse 28) send the baby home with?

Was it his natural mother?

Or was it the woman who was so desperate for a child that she was willing to steal the baby of another woman and lie about being that child’s mother?

Oh. That’s right. King Solomon was wise enough to see through the ruse of falsified birth records AND to send that child home to be raised by his NATURAL mother (verse 27).

But wait just a minute…wasn’t that natural mother a single mother???? Oh and waaaaaaaaaaiiiiittt a second here – wasn’t she not only a single mother, but a harlot as well (verse 16)?

HANG ON AN EVER LOVIN’ SECOND: The wisest man in all of God’s creation, in a decision that has been heralded throughout time as a brilliant move of legal jurisprudence, sent that baby home with a SINGLE MOTHER who was a prostitute???????

Certainly there had to be at least ONE woman in all of Israel that was married, wealthy, and childless who “deserved” to be a mother, who knew all of the basics of child nutrition and discipline, who had started saving for the child’s education, who had a support system in place that would exist for the next 18 years, who knew of all the community resources available to help her, you know – the kind of woman who could answer all the questions from LDSFS the “right” way. King Solomon probably had a lot of them in his court! Why didn’t he just tell the natural mother that if she really loved that baby, she would let some other (presumably) more righteous, more wealthy woman raise her son? It’s about love, you know, and if she just loved that baby enough, she would let him be  raised by someone else.

Because King Solomon, in all of his wisdom, understood the bonds of a natural family. King Solomon, in all of his wisdom, understood that societal position or wealth did not entitle one woman to take another woman’s child.

In the first recorded act of jurisprudence, the wise and brilliant King Solomon ruled in favor of family preservation.

So here is yet another scripture reference that I believed supported my decision to relinquish my daughter for adoption, but now with the clarity of the years, I realize it was telling me the exact opposite. In every case so far, except for Moses because he was about to be killed by the directive of his future adoptive father, God has ruled in favor of family preservation.

Oi. I think I need some Tylenol now.

Love,

M.

P.S. As an interesting sidenote, when you click through the link for the cross reference to “wisdom” in verse 28, it takes you to a scripture from 2 Ne 21:2 in direct reference to Jesus Christ, the Great Healer and Physician, The One who can mend a broken heart and a broken life.

“And the aSpirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of bwisdom and cunderstanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;”

Sooooo…the folks who do the cross-referencing with the Book of Mormon thought this instance of King Solomon’s wisdom which ruled in favor of family preservation was important enough to reference to the wisdom and understanding that Christ possesses.

Hmmm…interesting. Very interesting.

Here We Go Again – ~ God Doesn’t Do Adoption, part 11,002,546,997

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

OK – so maybe that “part 11,002,546,997” is a bit of an overstatement, it’s really part 11,002,546,992.

This latest go round has to do with John Wyatt and his baby daughter “Emma.” You can read more about it here: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700064115/Utah-Supreme-Court-hears-fight-over-Baby-Emma.html

Needless to say, this case is causing quite the stir in the adoption blogosphere and needless to say (again), the LDS folks sure are making it easy for others to hate on them.  Just check out the comments left by readers over at Deseret News.

At any rate, I was led to a blog entry about this case on a blog titled “Rarely Home Mom.” (Does that mean she is rarely home because she is working or does that mean she is rarely home because she is busy being a helicopter parent or does that mean she is rarely home, as in she lives in another country and is rarely not “home” in the US? I digress…)

After reading the post and the comments, I left one of my own in response to another reader. I am fairly certain it will not be posted by the moderator, so I will post it here.

One of her readers says:

September 10, 2010 2:18 pm

This is so much like that story of King Solomon in the Bible. Caring for children whose lives are tangled in the courts carrys a huge amount of heartache. Someone needs to be there for them though. What a hard thing. I agree, the father is just painting himself a jerk, not proving his fatherhood.

To which my reply was:

Jendoop –

Do you remember the rest of the story of King Solomon and the baby? Do you remember who that baby ended up with? Was it the prospective adoptive mother or his natural mother? King Solomon gave the child back to his mother – a SINGLE parent, BTW.

If you are advocating that the Supreme Court in UT do the same thing – give this child back to her natural family who wants to care and love for her, then I am all for it.

M.

P.S. Here are some of my posts regarding adoption reform from an LDS perspective that your readers might find interesting:

https://letterstomsfeverfew.wordpress.com/2010/01/08/arrrrrggggghhhh/
https://letterstomsfeverfew.wordpress.com/2009/12/21/is-you-is-or-is-you-aint-or-in-other-words-a-question-for-fred-riley-of-lds-family-services/
https://letterstomsfeverfew.wordpress.com/2010/03/06/god-doesnt-do-adoption-part-2/
https://letterstomsfeverfew.wordpress.com/2010/01/12/you-know-what-chaps-my-hide/
https://letterstomsfeverfew.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/another-head-scratcher/
https://letterstomsfeverfew.wordpress.com/2010/02/05/the-mormons-and-liberalprogressive-scientific-thought-maybe-not-so-different-after-all/

I truly don’t have any more mental energy right now to deal with this so I let my previous writings speak on my behalf. In the words of the unforgettable Prince Humperdinck: “Tyrone, you know how much I love watching you work, but I’ve got my country’s 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder and Guilder to frame for it; I’m swamped.”

Much love and belief –

M.

___________________________________________________________________________

I just had to update the conversation over there on that blog. Of course Julie didn’t post my comment. Whatev.’ As a first mother in the LDS world, I am MORE than used to my voice being silenced, ignored, belittled, and marginalized. After all, I *deserve* what happened to me. At least that’s what most LDS people believe.

So here is Julie’s response to my post:

September 10, 2010 3:39 pm

Yes, it’s true that I have received comments to this post that I have not published (every first time commenter has to first be approved by me, then further posts are published at once). I am fine with people disagreeing with me (see posts by Katie above). But I won’t publish posts by people that have endless links sending readers of this original post to sites that are anti-adoption (one site says adoption is always wrong, in every situation!), anti-Mormon (nice, making my non-religious argument about my religion), and just plain ignorant.

Disagree with me, but don’t be a jerk.

Bottom line here: what needs to be decided is how the different state adoption laws will work together. This adoptive couple are not criminals – they followed the laws in at least one state. They are not kidnappers. I’m so tired of that argument. So, we can all agree that there needs to be action to prevent future disagreements like this.

It’s amazing to me that so many of you don’t agree that the best interests of this child can’t come first. Have mercy.

And here is mine:

Oh my, Julie. Anti Mormon??? Anti-adoption? Ignorant? Did you actually take the time to read those links?

Do I need to pull out my temple recommend or give you my Bishop’s phone number? Would you like to sit in on the Sunday School classes I teach? Would you like to see my tax returns that show how much we tithed last year and how much we donated in fast offerings (BTW, some of which goes to support LDSFS adoptions to help people such as yourself get children?), how much we donated to the mission fund and the humanitarian fund? Do you want to sit in on the Compassionate Service meetings I attend? Attend the ward activities I planned? The Enrichment classes I teach? Do you want to join me and my family at 6:30 a.m. tomorrow morning for scripture study and family prayer? Do you want to go with me when I do my Visiting Teaching this month? Perhaps you could join me on my morning 3 mile walk as I listen to the latest conference addresses on my mormonradio app. Do you want me to show you pictures of me singing with the the Mormon Youth Chorus at a solemn assembly when a new prophet was sustained? Would you like to join my efforts to “clothe the naked” and make infant care kits, knit hats, and sew dresses for children who have less? Do you want to join me as I go to a Sister’s house to teach her the basics of child care, home making skills, and budgeting because the Lord prompted me to do and then the RS president asked me to do it? Do you want me to parade you past the pictures at the Orem Institute of Religion that show me as part of the choir and part of the student leadership way back in the day? Should I send you pictures of my 1-year food storage? Do you want to make the 3.5 hours one-way trip with me to attend the temple? We could have a great chat on the way there, I am sure. I even know how to make funeral potatoes and green jello with shredded carrots in it!!! Even more, I kind of like them too. Would any of that convince you that I am NOT anti-Mormon?

What I am is a Mormon who is willing to turn over the rock of infant adoption and look at what might be underneath. Sometimes you find cool stuff, sometimes you don’t. I am a Mormon who is honestly seeking to reconcile the pure doctrine of Christ with her own experiences in the culture.

Anti-adoption? Perhaps, but *certainly* not the way you may assume. I am anti-the way *INFANT* adoption is currently practiced now (adoption through foster care is another thing entirely). You know, some of my dearest friends are adoptive mothers, just the variety that have the courage to look at this from every angle, even the ones that make them feel uncomfortable and queasy.

Please, as a fellow sister in Zion, I urge you to read some of those posts before you jump to conclusions about me as a person. Perhaps you will still come to the conclusion that I am ignorant and I am fine with that. But at least it will be an informed decision.

In the mean time, I will be praying for you that your heart will be softened and yes, I will continue to seek mercy. Mercy for the mothers who have lost children to adoption, mercy for the children who have lost their first families, and mercy for those who feel like it is their God given right to remove those children from their mothers. If there is one thing we ALL need, it is mercy from the Great Healer and Physician.

Much love,

M.

God Doesn’t Do Adoption ~ Paul’s Version

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

My friend Cricket was recently attacked by a “Christian” PAP who proceeded to spout chapter and verse about how we are all adopted into God’s family, therefore adoption of infants is  a good thing. (Actually, that doesn’t quite sum up the full extent of the nastiness of this PAP’s reasoning, but for here, it will do.)

Here’s what set me off this morning:

“We also look forward to spending eternaty [sic] worshiping and adoring Him with all of His adopted sons and daughters. “God sent forth his Son…….so that we might receive adoption as sons.” Galations 4:4-5 I’ve been adopted into God’s family and I hope that you will be too.” – Alicia, hopeful adoptive parent of her husband’s cousin’s dead but not-yet-buried wife’s baby. (Yes you read that right.)

Once again, I was left sputtering and stammering at my computer screen. I don’t get it – why on earth do “Christians” keep using those same couple of verses to justify adoption? So here’s my response to this, yet again. I realize I am not a theologian by any measure, but I am a thinker. Following is the scripture Alicia is referencing:

Galations 4:5 To redeem that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. (KJV)

So yes. Paul says “adoption” right there in the Bible. He actually uses it a couple of times, but if one examines the text as written in the original Greek, one begins to understand that Paul didn’t mean “adoption” like the modern world means “adoption. ” His original Greek word huiothesia meant something else entirely.

The original Greek word in this scripture (and the others where Paul was translated as saying “adoption”) is huiothesia, derived from the huios (“a son”) and thesis (“a placing”), so literally the placing of/as a son. (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1985).

The “placing as a son” imagery was something with which Paul and his readers of Galatia would have been entirely familiar (Mitchell, 1993; Zanker, 1988). Basically, it was a ceremony that occurred within the Roman culture in which a male child of a citizen achieved the status of manhood. Prior to the ceremony, a son was considered to have the status of a slave in his father’s house (The Story of Civilization, Vol. 3: Caesar and Christ, 1972, p. 57), even though he had the potential to inherit his father’s wealth. The “placing as a son” ceremony occurred around a boy’s teen years, when his father determined it was time for him to pass from being a child (and under the absolute power of his father) into adulthood.

In this public ceremony, the young man would remove the toga he wore as a boy and put on the toga virilis (toga of manhood). This ceremony marked his entry into full citizenship in the empire and the right to vote in the assembly. The toga virilis also allowed for visual identification between a natural-born Roman opposed to a naturalized citizen of Rome (foreign born people who then became Romans).  Not only this, but after the “placing as a son” ceremony the son became fully legally vested with all of the rights, powers, and privileges of being a son and heir to his father’s possessions, wealth, and status. No longer was he viewed as a child – he was a fully participating member of his society and family. (Harrill, 2002; Fraschetti, 1997; “Roman Children,” ClassicsUnveiled.com). It should be noted that the one who was “placed as a son” was generally already the child of the father, thus it was not an adoption into the father’s household.

Paul’s original imagery of our huiothesia, literally “placing as a son”  (as opposed to being adopted) within God’s kingdom profoundly affects our relationship with God.  Adoption as applied to our relationship with God is problematic as it changes our fundamental status as God’s offspring. When a child is adopted into a family, he remains physically the same person. No change of name or falsification of birth records will ever eliminate the biological reality – he is still the offspring of his natural parents.  That child’s DNA will always remain different, separate, and unrelated to his adoptive parents.

However, God has told us we are his literal offspring, created in his image, especially as we consider that He was the Father of Adam and Eve (Acts 17:28-29; Luke 3:38).  As their descendants, our own DNA carries the fingerprints of divine origins. God even tells us that he is intimately involved with the physical creation of each one of us – He “knits” us together in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13-16).

Although we maintain this divine heritage from God, when we are born we essentially become slaves of the mortal, fallen world we are born into. However, this does not change our status as God’s offspring. We are still His children – we are just separated from His household because of sin. Fortunately, a loving Father provided a way for us to be reconciled to Him, to have those chains of slavery broken.  That way is through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. The act of becoming a disciple and follower of Christ allows us to begin the process of what Paul called huiothesia – of becoming a full and participatory member of our Father’s household, with the full rights as His children. (If you are an endowed member of the church, ponder the meaning of huiothesia carefully in relation to putting an article of clothing which signifies a lesser position and putting on a new one that symbolizes the acceptance of a higher one, and then being welcomed back into the Father’s presence.)

So there it is. Again. God doesn’t do adoption. ‘Specially since we are already His children. He is into restoring things to their proper order and place in His household.

Really, some of these people should study history.

Much love,

Your mother who reads. A lot. And thinks about things.

P.S. Over on Cricket’s blog there are some amazing responses to Alicia’s letter to her.  In particular, take time to read the one left by T. Laurel Sulfate Friday, March 5, 2010 9:35:00 PM EST ,  Jenni Friday, March 5, 2010 10:01:00 PM EST and Christina on behalf of Goog82 Saturday, March 6, 2010 1:14:00 PM EST

References:

Harrill, J. A. (2002). Coming of Age and Putting on Christ: The Toga Virilis Ceremony, Its Paraenesis, and Paul’s Interpretation of Baptism in Galatians. Novum Testamentum,  44, (3), p. 252-277.

Fraschetti, A. (1994). Roman Youth. Storia dei giovani, Vol. 1, Dall’antichita all’eta moderna.  G. Levi & J.C. Schmited, Eds., trans. Naish, C. as A History of Young People in the West, vol. 1, Ancient and Medieval Rites of Passage. Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, p. 51-82.

Mitchell, S. (1993). Anatolia: Land, Men, and Gods in Asia Minor, vol 2. In The Rise of the Church, Oxford: Clarendon Press, p. 3-10.

Vine, W. E., & Unger, M. F. (1996). Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words: With Topical Index. Thomas Nelson.

Zanker, P. (1988). The Power of Images in the Age of Augustus. Jerome Lectures 16; Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, p. 215-23.


God Doesn’t Do Adoption ~ The Jesus Was (NOT) Adopted Version

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

Wanna know what really chaps my proverbial hide? The claim that “God chose adoption for Jesus”, ergo adoption is a holy, Godly thing.

Uh, Jesus wasn’t adopted folks. He was raised by Joseph, yes. But Joseph was his step-father. And guess what else? He was raised by his mother.

There was no adoption that took place. An “adoption” would mean that Joseph had publicly shamed Mary by telling the community that the child was not his and then married her any way and “adopted” Jesus as his own.  However, we know this isn’t what happened  (please refer to  Matthew 1:19-20 for the story of the angel appearing to Joseph and telling him he needed to wed Mary in spite of the fact that she was pregnant with some other individual’s child).  Because Joseph did the angel’s bidding and married Mary instead of “putting her away privily,” the locals all assumed that Joseph was Jesus’ “real” father. Remember, this was one of the locals big beefs with Jesus during his ministry on earth. They had a tough time accepting him as the Son of God because they had known him his whole life as merely the son of Joseph, a carpenter from Nazareth.

But Joseph knew the truth. Mary knew the truth. And Jesus knew it as well.

Even at the tender age of 12, Jesus understood Joseph’s role in his life as his step-father. Remember that time Mary and Joseph accidentally left Jesus behind in Jerusalem after Passover?  After an entire day of travel, they realize he was missing & they could not find him among their extended family or his friends.  (Can you imagine their prayers that night? “Dear God – we seem to have lost your Only Begotten Son in the flesh.  You probably already knew that but if you wouldn’t mind, please keep him safe and let him know how much we love him. Amen. P.S. Please forgive us – we promise to pay more attention to his whereabouts next time we head into town.”)

Three days later they find him at the temple in Jerusalem, talking with the learned men who were astonished at his answers and his understanding.  Like any mother, Mary was upset with him about staying behind without letting her know where he was.  Now pay careful attention to Jesus’ response to his mother. He says to her:  “How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49).

Not Joseph’s business.  His Father’s business. Jesus distinguishes the difference, even when others don’t.

(Side note: Isn’t it delicious irony that Jesus pointing out who his real Father is appears at the end of the very same chapter in Luke which the “Jesus was adopted” crowd likes to quote? There’s something so piquant about it, wouldn’t you agree?)

But back to the matter at hand. Even God appreciated and respected the mother/infant bond. He didn’t send his only begotten Son in the flesh to be raised by anyone other than his “birth” mother.   Certainly there were more “capable” women in Israel to raise the Son of God – someone married, more mature, financially secure and had a college fund set up for her future child, someone who knew all the ins & outs of child development, nutrition and discipline, had a support system that would be in place for the next 18 years – you know “worthy”  – someone who could answer all these questions the “right” way.  However, Jesus was not secreted away after his birth to be raised by another woman claiming to be his “real” mother. Mary raised him. Jesus stayed with his natural mother, his first mother, his mother.  With this kind of example of family preservation, why is it so difficult for some people to grasp the vital importance of attempting everything possible to preserve the original family unit – a mother and her baby?

If family preservation was in the best interest of the only begotten Son of the Father,  I think we are safe to assume it is in the best interest of all of His children whenever possible.

So Ms. Feverfew, when people start in with the “Jesus was adopted” thing, you can now discuss it with them logically and with scriptural backing.  God didn’t cho0se adoption for Jesus – God chose family preservation.

Much love and belief –

M.

P.S. And don’t even get me started with the “Well, Moses was adopted” thing right now.  That would take several chapters for me to address…