Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Was my adoption God’s plan?

Is adoption God’s plan? Consider some Argentinean adoptions of yesteryear, as described on an NPR.org blog post on March 9, 2011:

During the mid 1970s the Argentine military set up a baby-redistribution network, headquartered at the Campo de Mayo Hospital and the Escuela Mecanica de la Armada in Argentina. Fact-finding commissions have established that the regime systematically kidnapped young parents who expressed left-wing sympathies, then killed those parents, dropping many of them alive from airplanes into the ocean. If the women were pregnant, the regime created maternity wards where mothers were drugged or forced (their hands and feet tied to the beds) to have cesarean sections to accelerate birth. If they survived childbirth, they were murdered.
Francisco Madariaga was born at the Campo de Mayo hospital in 1977. His mother is presumed dead. Francisco was then adopted by an intelligence officer at that same hospital. This was not unusual. Children were regularly handed over to police or soldier families more friendly to the regime. That way, the junta would not only eliminate its political opponents; it would steal their children. Kids who might have grown up thinking like their parents would now grow up thinking like their parents' enemies. This was a double erasure.

Francisco was renamed "Alejandro" and was not told that he'd been adopted. He noticed that with his droopy-looking eyelids, his coloring, he looked nothing like his parents. His father regularly beat him. He felt uneasy. "It is something difficult to explain," he told the BBC. "It's like I always knew something was not right…"

I recommend you read all of this amazing story:

Was Francisco/Alejandro Madariaga’s adoption God’s plan? I would argue that his adoption was contrary to the will of God, as God does not use murder and conspiracy to accomplish His purposes. No laws were broken in my adoption, but like Madariaga’s, it was riddled with meanness and it began with a mother who had left-wing sympathies and with adoptive parents who thought like her political opponents. I wasn’t prepared to hear my first mother’s story when we reunited 31 years later. This is what I imagined she would say:

“I loved you so much, but I wasn’t ready to take care of you. I wanted the very best for you, and so did your birth father. I am so proud of who you’ve become. I know I made the right decision.”

But here was the truth of it:

“I was depressed and alone. Your birth father wouldn’t support me. I didn’t have support from anyone. My aunt and uncle pressured me. The social workers pressured me. They made it hard for me to visit you in foster care. A terrible injustice was done do me. I regret my decision. This was not God’s plan.”

Well, dang. Abandonment, pressure, manipulation, injustice—definitely not God’s plan. Let me quote the next part of Jane’s story directly from her blog:

The social worker asked me about religious preference, telling me that, while they could not guarantee any religion, my preference would be respected. I preferred either a non religious family or a liberal Protestant one. However, if it was necessary to give my baby a good home, a Jewish or Catholic family was okay. I added as an afterthought that I did not want my daughter to go a family with a non-mainstream religion like Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, or Seventh Day Adventists. I thought it was unlikely this would happen – after all, I was in ultra-liberal San Francisco. I considered Mormons and the rest as kind of loony… The social worker and I crafted a statement containing my preference for either no religion or a mainstream religion and specifically stating my objection to Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Seventh-Day Adventists. Over the years as I learned more about the LDS Church (its racism and opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment), I thought “at least I didn’t let my baby be raised by Mormons.”

Jane made her final decision and signed the papers when I was one month old, and then I was in foster care another month. Brand new babes were plentiful back then, and that’s what adoptive parents wanted. At two months I was aging out, not a blank slate anymore, and becoming more difficult to place. Perhaps the Social Worker couldn’t find atheists or mainstream religionists to take me, so she placed me with Mormons, setting aside her reassurances to Jane.

Although I am glad that I was raised Mormon, something nags at me: If things weren’t meant to happen the way they did, then am I really who I should be? In some people’s eyes I am a tragedy, a damaged individual, proof that mothers shouldn’t sign away their right to raise their own children. I walk down the street and leave footprints where they really ought not to be. And every time I breathe, I exhale carbon dioxide in the wrong spot on this planet.

Many readers of this blog have wonderful open adoptions. Birthmom prayed about it, adoptive parents prayed about it, God told spoke and said baby was meant to be with the adoptive family, everyone agrees, so much love all around. The child grows up being who he is supposed to be. But some birthmothers regret their decision like Jane did, or will regret it in the future. Even with open adoptions, birthmom might discover down the road that A-parents aren’t what she imagined. Some foster care adoptions are forced separations from natural parents where abuse and neglect may have played a part. Some adoptions are transnational, where poverty or kidnapping may have played a part. Some adoptions, like Madariaga’s and Moses’, are the result of an evil conspiracy.

What’s an adoptee to think when he learns he was placed in a particular home because of people’s unrighteous choices? Was adoption God’s plan then? I could have been raised by Jane or by a different adoptive family, but I ended up where I did because my birth mother, birth father and social worker made choices that led me to my family. They had God-given moral agency. Of course God had a hand in my placement, but allowed everyone to made their own choices. I was an answer to my parents’ prayers. After Jane made her decision to sign the papers they began to receive spiritual promptings that I was coming to them. They chose to follow those promptings, so they dropped by the agency unannounced on that day in January 1967, and learned there was a 2-month old baby girl available. If they hadn’t followed those promptings, I might have gone to another family, maybe the non-religious family Jane was hoping for.

God, a perfect being, has a plan that cannot be foiled by choices of imperfect mortals. God’s plan for me would be the same, adopted or kept. Doctrine and Covenants Section 3 tells us, “The works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught.”

Here are some of the elements of God’s plan for me:

1. I lived with God before I was born. God’s plan was for me be born and receive a physical body.
2. I am free to make choices and to act, but not free to choose the consequences of my actions.
3. There is suffering in this life.
4. God wants to develop a relationship with me.
5. God wants me to return to live with him, because I am His family.
6. Earthly families are central to God’s eternal plan.

Adoption both causes suffering and prevents suffering. Whether Madariaga or I had been raised atheist, protestant, Jewish, Catholic, Jehovah Witness or Mormon; whether we had been kept by our first mothers or adopted; God’s spirit would have whispered this same truth to us: “You are my child. I know you. I love you. I want you to come home to me.”


jodilee0123 said...

Wow! Amazing post!

The Clanton Gang said...

Wow! What an amazingly insightful, mature view on your adoption. Thank you for sharing it.

Mary said...

Very thought-provoking and eye-opening, Megan! Your very last paragraph says it all. Thanks for sharing.

Lara Zierke said...

Very amazing and thought-provoking. Adoption aside, there are so many situations where you can question God's hand in things - wars, murders, etc. - that come about by the choices of humans. But despite the agency and consequences of man, God does have His hand in EVERYTHING and guides us all.

HURT and CONFUSED said...
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