Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Adoption

This past Saturday John Piper gave a message on adoption, titled "Adoption: The Heart of the Gospel." He shared 8 similarities between God's adoption of Christians and Christians' adoption of children:
1. Adoption was (for God) and is (for us) costly.

When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. (Galatians 4:4-5)

2. Adoption did (for God) and does (for us) involve the legal status of the child.

When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” (Galatians 4:4-6)

3. Adoption was blessed and is blessed with God’s pouring out a Spirit of sonship.

Because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” (Galatians 4:6)

You did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. (Romans 8:15-16)

4. Adoption was (for God) and is (for us) marked by moral transformation through the Spirit.

All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” (Romans 8:14)

5. Adoption brought us, and brings our children, the rights of being heirs of the Father.

Because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. (Galatians 4:6-7)

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. (Romans 8:16-17)

6. Adoption was (for God) and is (for us) seriously planned.

He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:4-6)

7. Adoption was (for God) and often is now (for us) from very bad situations.

We . . . were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (Ephesians 2:3)

8. Adoption meant (for all Christians) and means (for Christian parents) that we suffer now and experience glory later.

The whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:22-23)
(HT: Between Two Worlds)

23 comments:

Joy said...

O-M-G

You are freaking me out, stop, please

I am an adoptee and your post makes me feel soooo objectified.

aggrrrh.

jwd said...

joy,

Why does this make you feel objectified?

Anonymous said...

Why would God take some poor mother's child and GIVE that child to you?

Do you really think God wants to break one family to make another?

Are you saying God doesn't care about poor people?

jwd said...

anonymous,

I don't understand where you're coming from. Do you know of forced adoptions of some sort? Of children being "taken" from their parents against their will and given to other parents? I know nothing of this sort. The adoptions I'm aware of are generally women who find themselves with unwanted pregnancies, and for whatever reason don't feel that they are able to raise the child themselves, but they don't want to abort the child either, so they decide to place the child with an adoptive family. It's more about people meeting the needs of these women, not of taking their children away from them - not of "breaking" one family to make another.

I don't know what makes you think that I would say that God doesn't care about poor people.

Anonymous said...

JWD sounds to me like you need to educate yourself about agressive adoption lawyers, coercion, poverty problems with single mothers, the billion dollar adoption industry, the fact that abortion and adoption don't belong together because they are separate issues....
Not to mention the life long grief that mothers suffer from being separated from their children, how adopted children grow up wondering why they weren't kept and the list goes on.

Adoption is not something mothers do willingly, poverty and lack of support and people not understanding what it's all about contribute to families being split apart.

Let's work for family preservation that makes more sense.

Why would God want one poor mother to suffer years of grief? Adoption has nothing to do with God, it has everything to do with our failure as a society to look after our own.

jwd said...

I'm not pretending that there aren't really tough issues with adoption. Aggressive adoption lawyers, coercion, and other negative aspects are extremely unfortunate and should be stopped. But that does not mean that adoption is bad. Tell me anything that our government or businesses, or humans for that matter, have gotten involved with that wasn't abused one way or another.

I disagree with your statement of "fact" that abortion and adoption don't belong together. While they do not necessarily go hand in hand, they can and do relate to each other. When a woman wants to get an abortion because she feels like she made a mistake and cannot care for the child, then adoption absolutely enters the picture. You speak of a mother's grief from being separated from her child. How much more grief is it to be separated from a child with no chance of reunion?

I also disagree with your statement that "adoption is not something mothers do willingly." I know of too many mothers who have done just that. Just because they make a tough decision that causes grief doesn't mean they aren't doing it willingly.

I'm all for family preservation. I think it would be okay if there weren't any children placed for adoption. But that's simply not reality. For many different reasons, there are a multitude of children placed for adoption. So what's wrong with trying to find "good" loving families to raise these children?

Jeremy said...

Anonymous, I'm sorry your experience with adoption has been a bad one. I've been involved in the adoption process a few times and each one has been an amazing experience. That's not to say that it is always easy for everyone involved, I can't imagine watching someone walk away with a baby I just delivered, but the love I've felt from three birth mother's is one I'll never know completely either. Lack of money has nothing to do with the situations I've seen, it's love. The non-profit adoption agency we work with helps birth mothers find out what is best for them and in the end either set up an adoption plan or a parenting plan. This agency is not in it for the money, hence non-profit. I work for a non-profit also so please don't tell me that non-profits make money and hide behind a 501c3 status.

It's not about poverty, it's about love.

It's not about being an object, it's about being one of God's creation, being born, and being loved.

Abortion and adoption do belong in the same argument. I expect to become the father of a baby boy in 1 month and his birth mother was urged by many to abort him. She decided not to. She doesn't think that would be right. She bases that thought on what she thinks are biblical thruths.

I guess you could argue that adoption shouldn't happen because sex should only occur in a marriage relationship between a man and a woman and that divorce shouldn't happen and that abstinence should occur before marriage. I agree, but sin is here, things happen, and I beleive that God is completely sovereign and because of that I thank him for my daughter, my unborn son, and our second daughter whose birth-mother decided to parent after one week of her life. God's love and provision for all those involved in all of our adoption experiences has been evident.

I know it's not all peaches and cream for everyone all the time. Life isn't supposed to be easy, but the toughest times my family have experienced always show us one undeniable truth: God is who He says He is and He is great. We don't know why He does things sometimes, but when He wants me to know I'm sure He'll let me know.

Joy, I'm sorry you felt objectified. But I'm glad you are alive and loved.

Anonymous said...

Yes Joy, you are lucky to be alive so you should be grateful that you weren't aborted.....


Is that what you meant Joromy?

Jeremy said...

No, that's not exactly what I meant, but that's a pretty good point.

I meant what I said. No more, no less.

Anonymous said...

I think it's really sick to try to prove that God plans, promotes and advocates you adopting.

I am sorry you feel like that.

Jeremy said...

Please don't feel sorry for me. I sat in a doctor's office yesterday with a birth mother who is carrying a little boy. I got to hear his heart beat again. Miraculous stuff!!

What is it your are trying to say, that I'm stealing a child from a birth mother who doesn't fully understand what this decision will lead to? Please clarify what the problem is here.

I'm not trying to tell anyone who God is, I'm just going on what the Bible tells me about Him. I beleive that to be true. He is a personal, loving God that cares about me, and He is sovereign. Would you disagree?

Anonymous said...

Don't you think it's inappropriate for you to be in the doctor's office?

Why don't you give the mother some space instead of hovering around her for her pregnancy. I think it's coercive to be befriending a mother with the sole intention of taking her child from her.

Jeremy said...

We are involved at her request. You won't understand, I don't expect you to.

JWD, thanks for the post from John Piper.

Nicole said...

Wow.

You know what?

I'm going to ask that you please read a few of our blogs. Go ahead, start with mine... I'm a birthmom. Then go to Joy's... she's an adoptee. Then click on any single one of the links in my or Joy's blogroll, and just read. And read. And read.

BTW, I wasn't coerced, but thousands upon thousands of woman in pre Roe v. Wade weren't just coerced, but FORCED to give up their children. And many women today ARE coerced--I was lucky, I was only pressured and misinformed. That means that while I suffered a suicidal depression due to relinquishing my child, I at least didn't have PTSD to deal with on top of it. Again: This makes me one of the LUCKY ones.

From where I sit in the adoption triad, I can assure you that adoption isn't about love... not through my glasses, not from this view. From this side of the triad, it's about defeat, about self-doubt, about giving up, about feeling desperate, about missing my child endlessly, about crying with daughter's (adoptive) mom while we mourned together the life my daughter lost with me and the desperation and misinformation that contributed to my daughter's relinquishment.

And you know? My daughter is only five, but I don't think adoption is all about love from her perspective, either. Some of her recent comments:

"I miss Nicole."
"When is Nicole coming again?"
"My little brother is lucky that his birthmother lives closer (ie, than mine does)."
"I want to see my birth sister" (my other, parented, daughter).
And... "Even though my new baby brother is very happy to be here with our family, it doesn't mean that he doesn't miss his mother."

I don't know. Sounds like my five-year-old sees the loss in adoption, too.

Oh, and by the way... My daughter didn't go from a bad situation to a better one. I was not a drug addict, alcoholic, abusive person, homeless, or mentally incapacitated. What I was, was: engaged, one year shy of graduating college magna cum laude, working and attending school, and generally a capable and loving person. I could have parented her just fine. I simply caved under pressure and self-doubt, and let her slip away... not to a "better" life, just to a different one.

Yes, I have serious problems with your analogy, and I do hope you'll take the time to read up on the experiences of birthmoms (first moms), first dads, and adoptees,as well as some on-the-ball adoptive parents, before making any more analogies.

Please. Honest request.

Anonymous said...

This is obviously a very emotional topic for anyone involved, or for anyone who cares deeply about these issues. There are many good points being made in this discussion. I have done some reading on this blog and others referred to here. For the record, I have quite a number of adoptive families in my extended family. I have an adopted neice and an adopted nephew, and anticipate that number to grow. I have struggled with seeming infertility, and subsequently had two biological children, whom I raise with my husband. I have had a dear friend who is a birth mom, and one who has had an abortion. This is just a tiny glimpse of the ways that these issues, and I do believe they are all intertwined (not the same, but related), have been a part of my life and why they are extremely important to me.

That said, some of the good points: any truly "forced" adoption or corrupt handling of families as though they are simply business transactions to be profited from is completely and utterly WRONG. It's appalling to think that this even happens. Sadly, it is true that there are any inordinate number of things in our society and around the globe that are good when done or handled properly, and bad when mishandled or abused. I am saddened to know that there are people in the world who want to take advantage of anyone else, no matter the form.

On the other linked blogs I've read about "scientific research" and an ad campaign that are more examples of people just not really thinking. I mean, really THINKING about what their report or ad says/means, or might be lacking. Again...this happens in the world today on any number of topics, and here were some examples of it in relation to adoption and families.

One post says, "Why would God take some poor mother's child and GIVE that child to you?" This person is automatically assuming that there are absolutely no pregnant women who truly do not want to keep and raise their babies. Hence, "some poor mother." This is obviously not true, or the abortion rate in this country would not be so astronomical. I'm sure that there are mothers who have wanted to keep their children and have given them up, reluctantly, under pressure, and later regretted that. However, we cannot assume that there are no mothers who truly desire to have someone else raise the child that is born to them.

This is such a personal issue, and I can almost hear the emotion in some of these posts. There are so many things being read into statements that aren't even there. i.e. "Are you saying God doesn't care about poor people?" This is obviously a personal struggle for someone, something painful they are dealing with, so they sometimes "hear" it, even when it is not being said. The author of the post was talking about a loving and caring God, and most certainly did not make a point that insinuated or in any way implies that God does not care about poor people. If this author believes in God (which seems clear), and belives the Bible to be true (which also seems clear), then surely he belives that God loves poor people. God loves people. Period. And wants us to love them, too. All of that is clear in the Bible.

This brings me to an interesting thought for consideration. HOW do we love poor people? By championing a cause, no matter an individual's specific personal situation? By doing things for them that they could learn to do for themselves? By giving them things that they truly need? By listening to them? How about by providing a loving, caring home for the child that they do not want to raise?

There are two sides to every coin. Certainly, not every adoptive family is better than a biological family. (Again, we can remember the incomplete report of the study referred to earlier on another blog.) However, just as not every adoptive family is better...neither is every biological family better. We are talking about people here. Different people. With different backgrounds. Different beliefs. Different ways of life. And yes...while biological, inherited "nature" is important; so is the environment, or the "nurture."

I wonder if some on here would argue that a child would be better off left in their biological mother's care if the mother were a drug addict who had unhealthy living conditions, could not care for herself...let alone anyone else? Is that choice deemed "better" than any other choice, simply because of the biology involved?

Or let's say there is an intelligent young woman who is just starting out into her adult future. She is not wealthy, but has enough material resources to care properly for a child. But in her heart, she does not want to raise that child. She regrets what she herself feels was a mistake by getting pregnant, and now faces the decision. This mother decides to keep her baby because that is the only way she is advised, but is bitter and resentful to the child from that point forward, because of the "constraints" now placed on the life she had originally hoped for.

Or let's go the other way. A family finds themselves adopting because they feel pressure to "have a family," rather than be a couple. They aren't 100% convinced in their hearts that this is what they want, but they feel their parents want grandchildren, and since they could manage it, maybe this is how they could "help out." But they do not cherish the child, seeing him as a stumbling block to the life that they really want.

Would it be ideal if no one found themselves in these kinds of situations? Yes! Would it be great if there were no drugs, no poverty, no casual sex that leads to unwanted pregnancies? Would it be great if all people were truly loving to each other? Of course! But that is a utopia, not our reality in the world today. So we must live in the reality that exists. I hope that people are able to look at this from an objective point of view and see that both things are necessary - biological families and adoptive families - for our society to exist.

If we strip away all of the pretense on both sides of the issues, what really matters here is love. It's what matters to those who feel that the poor are not being cared for, it's what matters to those who feel that God has created the gift of adoption. It's what matters to those who don't want mothers being coerced into giving up their babies. It's what matters to parents who ache deep in their being to raise children, even though they cannot biologically have them. It's what matters to those who don't want aggressive lawyers swooping down on poor, unsuspecting pregnant women just to make a buck. Love.

I'm not trying to be cheesy, here, I'm being truthful. We don't want children struggling with issues of rejection. That's because we want them to be, feel and KNOW that they are loved. We all want that! And we need that! That is a need that God Himself created. The Bible says that He IS love. And that He wants us to love each other. So...do you think, given those truths, that He would prefer that a child be brought up in an abusive, yet biological family? Or do you think that an adoptive, loving home is better? This is so crucial, if we are going to be objective here. A loving, caring family IS a better family than an unloving and/or abusive one. That is true, regardless of whether it is an adoptive or biological parenting situation. God would never advocate that a mother who loves her child and wants to raise him...give him up to a family who will not care for him well. Likewise, it would not be consistent with God's character for Him to think that a child would be better in a cold, harsh, and uncaring home where he is not wanted...simply because it is his birth family.

God loves people. And He meets needs. We can't always understand why He does the things He does. But if the Bible (again, we're assuming this book is the infallible word of God) says that He adopts us as His sons, how can we see adoption as a bad thing? He loves us. He adopts us. He sees situations where a baby is going to need a home that a birth family cannot provide, and He makes a way for another family to love and care for that child. This is the kind of adoption that is His gift. To all involved - the birth mother who does not want to raise a child (Not all birth moms feel the same about this, remember.), the adoptive parents who have longed to have children, and the child who will be loved and treasured in the adoptive home, rather than resented in the birth family.

Once again, we realize that any corruption in this process is NOT okay! But just because there is corruption in some adoptive situations, does not mean that adoption, in and of itself, is a bad thing.

I am not adopted. I was raised by my biological parents in a loving home. And even I struggle with feelings of rejection and pain from past issues. As humans, we will all have difficult and painful issues to deal with. Certainly my neice, nephew, cousins and friends who are adopted will struggle with that issues of whether or not they are "wanted" in a way that no one else can understand except those who have been through it. However, struggle and pain do not always equate with something negative. It does not all add up to something bad, in the end. Coming out on the other side of working through struggles is how we grow and mature.

The opportunity that adopted children have to feel "more wanted" than others is there, as well. I happen to know that my parents were not thrilled about the idea when they found out my mom was pregnant with me. In fact, I don't think she was thrilled at the idea of two out of her three pregnancies. That said, she knew she wanted children and that she and Dad wanted to raise them together. Do I ask myself whether or not I'm loved or rejected, because my mom didn't "want" me from the start? One could argue that point. My adopted family members and friends can say that someone "rejected" them. Yes. BUT...they can also say that someone who had absolutely NO obligation to care for them in any way, shape, or form...WANTED them, took them in, loved them, cared for them, provided for them. A child is adopted because someone chooses them...not because someone just goes ahead with the pregnancy and deals with having to raise a kid because of their mistake.

In response to this part of a post, "Why would God want one poor mother to suffer years of grief? Adoption has nothing to do with God, it has everything to do with our failure as a society to look after our own." I say several things. Again, it is being assumed that this mother is greiving over her decision. It cannot be assumed that all birth mothers feel this way. Some experience relief, peace and joy, knowing that there is a child being loved and cared for by parents who truly wanted him or her. As for our failure as a society, this is true. Our society fails in many ways. We DO need to look after our own. And some of those "our own" that we refer to include unwanted children...whether being given up for adoption or aborted. Yes, we need to look after them. Even God says that...to care for the orphans and widows, as He does. He cares for the fatherless, Scripture says. He loves everyone, and that includes unborn children, birth parents and adoptive parents.

May He give each of us grace to see this objectively and in light of the truth. All people and situations are different. Adoption isn't the answer for some. The process shouldn't be corrupt. It is the perfect gift of God to others. And I, for one, am thankful for it.

Anonymous said...

"This brings me to an interesting thought for consideration. HOW do we love poor people? By championing a cause, no matter an individual's specific personal situation? By doing things for them that they could learn to do for themselves? By giving them things that they truly need? By listening to them? How about by providing a loving, caring home for the child that they do not want to raise?"

WHAT AN IGNORANT THOUGHT......and hateful too......

Anonymous said...

What is ignorant about this? It is being suggested that a person really consider, or think through, these things. Some samples on this list are loving to do for others, some things might not be the best. Is championing a cause without regard for complete truth loving? No. Is doing things for them that they could learn to do for themselves loving? No. This leads us to the next step - we love them by teaching them how to do those things. i.e., care for them and their future. Giving them things that they truly need? Yes. God wants us to feed the hungry, help those in need. Can we love others by listening to them? Yes. And then acting on what we've learned while we listened? Yes. And one ADDITIONAL way that we can love is to provide homes for unloved children.

To say those things are neither ignorant nor hateful. They are the opposite. They were written to cause us to REALLY THINK (hence, not ignorant), and to come up with a variety of ways in which we can love (not hate) others.

Nicole said...

There are very few women who truly don't WANT to raise their kids. VERY few.

"I wonder if some on here would argue that a child would be better off left in their biological mother's care if the mother were a drug addict who had unhealthy living conditions, could not care for herself...let alone anyone else? Is that choice deemed "better" than any other choice, simply because of the biology involved?"

I would NEVER argue that. But here's the thing: the wrong women are placing their children for adoption.

MANY women who "voluntarily" place their children are perfectly capable and would never abuse or hurt their children, but would instead be loving parents.

Meanwhile, the people who SHOULD relinquish their kids as newborns, almost never consider it.

"Or let's say there is an intelligent young woman who is just starting out into her adult future. She is not wealthy, but has enough material resources to care properly for a child. But in her heart, she does not want to raise that child. She regrets what she herself feels was a mistake by getting pregnant, and now faces the decision. This mother decides to keep her baby because that is the only way she is advised, but is bitter and resentful to the child from that point forward, because of the "constraints" now placed on the life she had originally hoped for."

I hear this argument all the time, and it's a straw man. Why? A few reasons. 1. Because you can place a child for adoption at ANY point. So any woman who chooses to parent, and truly ends up hating it, can still relinquish. No one is EVER forced into permanently parenting... unlike adoption, where plenty of women ARE coerced into permanent separation from their kids. 2. I have yet to see a single mom who experienced a crisis pregnancy and decided to parent, actually regret or resent her kids. NEVER SEEN IT. I'm not saying it doesn't exist, but I've NEVER seen it. However, I've seen plenty of women "voluntarily" choose to place their kids for adoption who end up regretting it deeply. 3. Very few women actually don't WANT to raise their kids. I can name ONE mother who placed her child because she really didn't want to raise another kid. Most women, though... if you ask most women in crisis pregnancies who are considering adoption, "What would you do if you won a million dollars right now, would you parent or place?"... well, 99.9% of them will tell you "I'd parent."

In other words, we WANT to keep our children. But at some point during our pregnancies, we start thinking that adoption is the only solution... that parenting is practically or literally impossible.

As for the question about the best way to help people? The best way to help them is to help them determine what is best for THEIR lives, for themselves, by offering them complete information. Part of that information, in adoption, is that relinquishing a child leads to complicated grief for every relinquishing mom ever studied. Part of that information is that a woman's goals and desires can, and often do, change after giving birth. Part of that information is that teen moms who parent do BETTER at cleaning up any delinquent lifestyle behaviors, and tend to turn into good parents, than teen moms who relinquish (who tend to drift TO drugs and alcohol and more sex, not away from all of that). And so on.

I know everyone likes to think that every human is individual, that we are all different, that everyone's experience is unique. And that's all true. But there ARE some common experiences to relinquishing moms, and there ARE some generalities that have been observed through the (sadly limited) number of studies on us. Based on all that, I think it's pretty fair to say that IN GENERAL, it is not best for a woman to relinquish a child... it is better for her parent.

Now does that mean all women should parent? No, not if they aren't capable of keeping their kids safe. But again.. when you talk about voluntary infant relinquishment... you are talking about women who, by and large, would NOT be harmful to their children.

Jeremy said...

Before I entered anything on this blog, I read, and read, and read from Joy's blog and some connected to her's. That is why I decided to post something here, I usually don't do that.

I understand that there are many situations where there are regrets and that there may not be any support system to help birth mothers/fathers/adoptees with those issues. I posted my thoughts because I want people to know that there is adoption that exists that is about love, even if you insist that there is not. I have experienced three situations that tell me that. The agency we work with is at this very moment supporting a mother of a girl born on August 21. That birth mother selected my family to adopt her child. After many get togethers with her family, upon her request, home visits, etc. we left the hospital with our child and a week later, birth mother decided she wanted to parent. We lost our daughter. The first thing I did when I got home was send her an e-mail to assure her that we loved her and her family and knew that that baby would be loved and well taken care of, and that she should never feel like we had any ill will about her decision to parent. She responded and stated that she wanted to resemble what she saw in my wife as a mother. This agency works to make sure that the birth mother figures out what she truly wants/needs to do in her life. After this unfolded in our lives, the agency staff brought people together to assess if they did everything correctly as to not lead people on etc. They did on all accounts do everything right.

After a birth mother sets and follows an adoption plan, this agency supports them further in many different ways, emotionally being the focus.

I don't have blogs to direct you to so that you can read about situations like this, but I know of hundreds just through this one agency. I sit here feeling a little disgusted that I'm made to feel a certain way. The comfort I have is that God's plan is and always has been my focus for our family. My wife and I "can't" have biological children. Does that mean God doesn't want us to have children? Well after a couple years of greif/struggle, but much prayer God led us down a clear path that put adoption in our lives.

I'm sorry for all the pain and hurt I have read about on other blogs that you have referenced. I can't imagine. I don't want to diminish that or dismiss it in any way. What I would like is some consideration that there are agencies/people out there who are working for the best interest of all parties involved. If you disagree, then we'll have to agree to disagree, but I can assure you that the adoptions that I've seen with my own two eyes and felt in my heart are completely and totally about God's love. I have felt it, experienced it in many ways, one of which was painful to experience, but obvious that He had purpose.

Nicole said...

Well I don't believe in God (at least not the way you seem to), so we'll have to disagree on whether there is divine purpose in any adoption (or just in life, period).

However, I will quite readily agree that there ARE some ethical infant adoptions that take place. Absolutely.

Unfortunately, I think they the UNethical ones outnumber the ethical ones.

Also unfortunately, the laws and political climate of our country make it quite DIFFICULT to have an ethical adoption.

So. Does the fact that SOME ethical adoptions happen negate the need for reform in adoption? No.

Does the fact that SOME adoptions are appropriately motivated by love, mean that it's okay to make analogies about adoptees going to "better" homes with people going from "sinful states" to "redeemed states"? No.

And I completely understand why Joy felt objectified, reading this post. I got grossed out, and I'm not even an adoptee.

And... all this talk about how she should feel grateful to be alive? Why? She didn't ask to be born. Also, you have no idea whether her mother ever even considered abortion. So why should SHE be any more grateful for life than anyone else?

These are the things people don't talk about enough, in adoption. And when we don't point them out, when we don't point out the ethical problems, the infantalizing laws (WHY don't adoptees deserve the basic right of having their own records and information, like the rest of the population?), the hurtful and repressive rhetoric ("Don't dwell on the negatives, just be glad you're alive! Why should you need to work through any of your own thoughts and feelings, anyway? It's your fault for not just being more grateful!"), and so on, we do our children a HUGE disservice.

So anyway. Again I won't speak for anyone else, but I personally am not saying every adoption is wrong. I am not saying every infant adoption is wrong. I am not saying every adoptee feels the same thing. I am not saying every first parent feels the same thing.

What I AM saying is, it's insulting to adoptees AND first parents to compare spiritual adoption to legal adoption; it's insulting to tell adoptees HOW they should feel about their lives ("just be grateful"); and it's an abomination that coercion and pressure and the sealing of records continues in the adoption industry.

Melissa said...

Wow, this has to be the first time I have ever disagreed with John Piper. Yes, adoption is a spiritual picture of our salvation, inclusion in God's "family." But where I disagree is equating that with we sinful, fallen, humans adopting here on earth.

First of all, we're not God. Pretty much anything we get involved in is corrupted. As is clear from the many comments before mine. I have written more than once on my blog trying to find a balance between our free will and God's sovereignty. I totally believe in God's sovereignty - that nothing opposed to His Will is allowed to happen (love the story of Balam's donkey). But we also have our own will and He gives us plenty of room in directing our lives, I believe (Abraham & Sarah, King David).

Of course when we seek Him we will find Him, and He is more than able to work in and through our mistakes and weaknesses. And it just seems a bit self righteous - although I don't think that is Piper's intent - to think of ourselves as saving a child from sin. We adoptive parents are no less sinful than the first parents.

Yes, I am an adoptive parent and I've learned a great deal from some of the folks that have commented here during the past year. I am also a Christian - a sinner saved by grace. You can read about my journey, if you're so inclined, on my little wordpress blog.

Melissa said...

Oops, have to come back and correct myself. I mispoke regarding adoptive parents saving a child from sin - it was saving a child from a bad situation. I think Nicole handled that beautifully, already, so won't belabor the point. That has been a hard issue for me to come to terms with, personally - that adopting an infant was not likely saving anyone from abuse or neglect.

On a different note, I was noticing some of your links, like sovereign grace ministries, desiring God, and Glenn Beck, to boot! :-) I'll be back to check out the rest of your blog. I'd probably agree with you on some other subjects.

jwd said...

Joy, Nicole, and others,

I'm sorry that my original post made you feel objectified. That was definitely not my intention. (And I'm sure it wasn't John Piper's intention, either.) I think the discussion that followed, and especially Melissa's comments, helped to point out how all human analogies for God and His activity ultimately break down - some quicker than others.

Like Jeremy, I believe the Bible to be true. I believe it is God's Word. In it, we are repeatedly (John 1; Romans 8; Ephesians 1; Galatians 4) told that God has adopted those who are "in Christ" or "led by the Spirit" - those who believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God who died for our sins and rose again to defeat death. Even in this spiritual adoption, there is much pain, which the apostle Paul speaks of in the book of Romans. He speaks of the inward battle between his sinful nature and the spiritual rebirth that he experienced through the grace of God, and of the ultimate completion of our adoption as children of God:
those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:14-23)


It is my prayer that each person reading this either already has or will come to know God as Father in this way. To experience the spiritual rebirth that comes through believing in Jesus Christ as the Savior. To "consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." Not to dismiss the pain and suffering we experience, but to acknowledge how great the suffering actually is, and then to realize the greatness of the glory of the risen Christ, who knows our suffering and experienced suffering that we cannot imagine. And though we "groan inwardly" (and outwardly), to be able to join with Paul in eagerly awaiting the time when our Lord returns and makes all things new, delivering us from the frustration of creation and "into the glorious freedom of the children of God."