Best (or worst?) Ever Search Term

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

Today, someone found these letters using the search terms, “scripture god prepares orphans for adoption.”

Really.

I am not sure what the searcher is looking for. I certainly hope they aren’t looking for scriptural support of a  God who destroys a family through death, disease, poverty, abuse, war, or famine, etc., simply to “prepare” a child for a couple who wants to “grow” their family via adoption.

That would be a cruel and petty God indeed. And guess what? No need to bring God into the equation. We humans are perfectly capable of deconstructing families all on our own, by hook or by crook or by ignorance and greed, without assistance from God.

M.

Advertisements

I am One Angry Natural Mother

There is a fire in my belly, blazing white and fanned by the hot winds of moral turpitude of the people who profess to follow Christ, yet engage in devious, amoral behavior in His name. They commit atrocities in His name, holding themselves up as paragons of what is right, what is good, what is best.

Yes, I am angry. It is a righteous, oxidizing anger that consumes any fear in my heart and tempers the metal of my soul.

What am I so angry about? Read this story: http://ourheartslinked.blogspot.com/2010/12/keary-father-fighting-for-his-rights.html#comment-form

Yet another story about the LDS church and subterfuge they use to procure infant children for their “righteous” childless members.

Let me be perfectly clear about this: There is NOTHING righteous about what has happened to that father and his daughter. There is nothing righteous in stealing a man’s child so that other people can be parents.

I don’t know all the facts – maybe he is an abusive, alcoholic, drug dealing, kitty strangler, just like all birhtmothers are crack-whore baby abondoners. But what if he isn’t? What is he is just a man like my husband, a man who is crazy in love with his daughter? What if he is the kind of dad, who although not wealthy or white, would move heaven and earth for his daughter?

What if?

And how can we as a people who profess to have the further light and knowledge of God’s true nature, how can we allow a family to be torn apart like this, all to satisfy the baby-lust of some more “righteous” (i.e. white, wealthy) couple? God is not happy about this flesh peddling in his name, I can guarantee it.

My mother told me at one point that I was to become the Harriet Beecher Stowe of adoption in the LDS church –  I laughed at her then. This morning though…this morning I know it is Truth.

I have much more to write as it is no coincidence that just prior to learning of this story I have been reading Frederick Douglass’ autobiography. It is no coincidence I have begun to truly understand the parallels between slavery and modern infant adoption practices. It is no coincidence that I recently read the part in Douglass’ autobiography were he says that he would rather be a slave to a non-Christian master than a Christian one because they are the worst kind. Christian slave owners felt morally justified in their behavior because, after all, their religion told them it was the “right” thing.

This is exactly how the couple who now has custody of Keary’s baby feels – justified because their religion tells them they are entitled to this baby. Sure, they feel “sad” for him and his loss, but not “sad” enough to do what is morally, ethically, and legally right. Just like the children of slaves were sold, traded, or bartered away, this father has lost his child to unscrupulous human traffickers, acting in the name of “love” and “God.”

After pouring my heart out to God and watering my pillow with tears throughout the night, distraught over the plight of this father and his daughter – and frankly, in my own personal culpability in falling prey to the “what is best” argument in the LDS church –  I awoke in the morning, my path laid clearly before me.

I know exactly what it is I must do. I  know in doing it, I may finally be able to forgive myself for what what happened to us.

It is time to speak.

It is time to tell to the story of us. Out loud. In public. Calmly, eloquently, repeatedly, holding fast to the doctrine of Christ while cutting through the dogma of the Mormon culture. It is time to start petitioning the First Presidency and the Twelve for a redress of a natural parents’ grievances.

It is time.

 

[Edited 12/27/2010 to add: It looks like the adoptive parents did the right thing and returned baby Elizabeth to her mother when they found out both parents were not in agreement with the adoption. God bless them. Literally, God bless them for doing that – legally, they did not have too. It must have been the most difficult decisions for them, but I am so glad they respected both first parents enough to do what was morally and ethically correct. Now it is up to Elizabeth’s parents to work out how to parent this tiny little one between the two of them.]

National Adoption Awareness Month ~ Day 17: “He Shall Feed His Sheep Like a Shepherd” or in other words, God’s View on Reunion

The other day as I doing my early morning study, I read the following scripture:

“He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” (Isaiah 40:11, KJV)

The imagery of Christ gently leading those that are “with young” brought tears to my eyes.  Having been “with young” myself four times now, I know all too well how vulnerable – physically, emotionally, spiritually – a woman is when she is pregnant or when she has a little one tagging along beside her.  The idea that Christ will “gently lead” pregnant and new mamas as he gathers his lambs to his bosom is a salve to my soul.  This is the true heart of God.  We are – you and I and all the mothers and children like us – we are surely his sheep and his flock, just as much as any one else.

The image of Christ as a shepherd got me to thinking about shepherding in the gospel. I went to the topical guide and found the following scriptures about shepherds in Israel. As I read them, it became pretty darn clear: God isn’t too happy with the folks who lead his flock when they scatter and feed off of His sheep.  (Bold & underlined stuff is my emphasis…)

Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the Lord. Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord.”  (Jeremiah 23:1-2 KJV)

“And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.(Ezekiel 34:1-4 KJV)

Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord; Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them. For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all the places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick. (Ezekiel 34:9-16 KJV)

Two things about these passages really struck home for me. First, the shepherds had been “feeding” themselves from the flock. They had been taking that which was not theirs to satisfy their wants. They had scattered and driven away the sheep, they didn’t bind up those that were hurt but with force and cruelty they had led them.

Sound familiar?

Sounds a lot like what Christians (of any variety) do to single expectant mothers, even all of these years post-BSE. They scatter the very flock they should be protecting when they convince a young mother to make the “loving choice” and give her little one away.  Their hunger to parent – any child, dammit! – leads them to feel justified in satisfying their craving by feeding off of the most vulnerable among us, single expectant women.  The first mother then becomes an acceptable casualty, left broken and bleeding beside their path to motherhood.  And when those first mothers or those children start to talk about the catastrophic loss adoption caused in their lives and the brokenness it has left behind, they are frequently met with cruelty from the very people that should have been protecting them in the first place.

I don’t know about you but it makes my heart pause to read what God says about the people who are scattering his fold: He will require his shepherds  to account for what they have done to mothers and children and visit the same evil upon their heads. (What this means, I don’t know. I figure I will let God sort it out and not worry my pretty little head over it right now). Additionally, He will eventually bring an end to the unholy practice of scattering the lambs of His fold through infant adoption.

The second things and perhaps most important to my situation is when God tells us,  “I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all the places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken.”

I think most first mothers will agree that the day we lost our child to adoption, the day our baby was scattered and driven away by the appetites of people who thought they were better parents, was a pretty “cloudy and dark day.” But here God promises that he will bind up that which was broken  – my heart, your heart, and the hearts of millions of other mothers and children just like us. He will bind up our hearts and restore that which was lost. He will seek us out from wherever we have been scattered, bind up our broken relationship and carry us in His bosom.

In my mother’s heart, I know this to be true. I just wish I knew His timing but his ways are not my ways. I just have to keep trusting that God is faithful and he will fulfill all his promises.

 

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.

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…