Adoption has been a millstone placed around mine and my daughter’s necks for 17 years.
For years, I have heard “Christians” speak of the “blessings” of adoption. I have been confused as to what was wrong with me? Why could I not accept this endless pain as a blessing? Why could I not “get over” the loss of my firstborn?
I have realized that it’s because there is absolutely NOTHING Christian about adoption.
There is no biblical basis for newborn adoption.
We are told in regards to ORPHANS:
1) To visit them (James 1:27)
2) Not to mistreat them (Exodus 22:22)
3) To bring them justice (Psalm 10:180, Psalm 82:3)
4) Donate for their care (Deut 14:28-29)
Perhaps, an argument can be made that in circumstances of true orphans, adoption is the best way to visit them, bring them justice, and treat them well.
In regards to children who have their families, who are not true orphans, what scriptural basis is there for separating these children from their mothers? I argue there is NONE.
There are 4 examples in the Bible that modern day adoption would argue the case for adoption as a “Christian blessing”.
1) Tamar: She gets pregnant by her father-in-law, Judah. Perhaps, one of the most shameful acts in all of Scripture, yet no one convinces Tamar that if she “truly loved” her children that she would place them with complete strangers. Perez and Zerah, her twin sons, are included in Christ’s lineage.
2) Hagar: She is given to Abram (Abraham) by her mistress Sarai (Sarah) because they faced infertility. Even though a promise had been made to Sarah that she would become a mother. Hagar gives birth to Ishmael. Sarah does not “adopt” Ishmael as her own. Hagar is allowed to mother him even though he is born out of wedlock. Hagar is promised by an angel that she and her son will be cared for. God even promises Ishmael a nation. Hagar is never told to “relinquish” Ishmael because of her circumstances and to pretend as if Sarah is his mother. She is sent out into the DESERT and still no adoption agent shows up telling her how Ishmael would be better off in another family.
3) Jochebed: Many adoption agencies use the story of Moses as a selling point for newborn adoption. Yet, Moses was never “adopted” in the modern day sense of the word. Pharaoh had sent out an order for midwives to murder Jewish sons fresh out of the womb. Moses’ mother manages to birth and hide Moses for a number of months. When the fear of his murder is imminent, she sends him off with Miriam, his sister, in a reed basket. Pharaoh’s daughter finds him and decides to take him in. At this point, Miriam speaks up for her mother, and Pharaoh’s daughter allows Moses’ mother to become his wet nurse and to raise him within the confines of Pharaoh. So, even with threat of death, God manages a way for mother and child to stay together.
4) Mary: The mother of Christ Himself. She is a young virgin who becomes pregnant out of wedlock. Her very circumstance has become the jackpot for modern day adoption agencies. The golden unwed mother. Yet, her fiancé chooses to marry her, and we know the rest of the story. There was no adoption agent at her door selling her an “open” adoption because Jesus would be better off with complete strangers who were more financially capable to raise Him.
In I Kings 3, Solomon has a dream where he is speaking with God. He is asking help from God to be a good King like his father, David. God tells him in his dream that he, Solomon, has been given a wise and understanding heart. When he awakes, his first case to judge, is that of 2 harlots fighting over a child.
One harlot explains that she gave birth to a healthy child. In the middle of the night, another harlot replaces her living child with a dead child. The mother of the dead child is now claiming the living child as her own. King Solomon then agrees that the living child should be cut in half and a portion given to each mother. Upon this judgment, the real mother relinquishes her son to the other harlot. To her, it is better that he live with another mother than to not live at all. King Solomon then knows the rightful mother.
Newborn adoption agencies pose as the second harlot. Though they may not threaten a birth mother with the death of her child, they do insinuate a life not worth living. How often are mothers, seeking help, told by adoption agencies that their children could have a much better life with strangers who have 2 parent households, financial stability, and ample opportunity? Yet, wise Solomon, recognized that even a harlot is worthy of raising her own child.
Scripturally, we are shown that prostitution (Solomon), incest (Tamar), poverty (Hagar), threat of death (Jochebed), and unwed teens (Mary) are all no circumstance to relinquish a child to strangers. I wonder then, where or how the Church claims the hand of divinity through adoption? There is no case to be made.
What are we told about children?
1) Psalm 127: Children are a heritage and a reward. They are like the arrows of a warrior.
2) Proverbs 17:6: Grandchildren are a crown of the aged.
3) James 1:17: Every good gift is from above.
4) Jeremiah 1:5: God knows us as babes in the womb. (Surely he doesn’t mistake which womb He places a child)
5) 1 Tim 2:15: A woman is saved through child-bearing.
6) Isaiah 8:18: God gives us children.
7) Deuteronomy 28:4: Blessed is the fruit of the womb.
8) Psalm 17:14: Children are treasures of the womb.
9) 2 Samuel 7:12: Offspring come from one’s body.
Does scripture say anything about Adoption?
Frequently used in the adoption community; Ephesians 1; Paul speaks of being “adopted” into sonship through Christ. Except this “adoption” requires belief (Eph 1:13). It is meant for those who accept the Gospel. In no way, can this be twisted as a justification for modern day adoption. It is comparing apples to oranges.
I never “chose” adoption. There is no “choice” when you are given only one option. It makes it no easier to make that “choice” when you are being threatened with homelessness and being told by the adoption community that you are not good enough for your child. My love for my daughter was exploited. If I “truly loved” her I would give her away. It was selfish to keep her and selfless to surrender. What decent mother doesn’t want to be “selfless” for her child? Of course, she will agree to relinquishment when faced with a Solomon’s harlot choice- a life “worth” living for her child. None of this is biblical. It is utter perversion.
Modern day newborn adoption wasn’t created until the 1950s. Prior to that, there were maternity homes for young women in compromising situations. They were given an opportunity to keep their children while learning a trade and how to better their life circumstances. Modern day adoption was created by social workers and psychiatrists, not Christian theology. The Baby Scoop Era began in the 1950s and continued through the 1970s until it began to get bad press. Young, unwed mothers were stripped of their children never to see them again. The adoptees were given to strangers, in many cases, never even being told that they were adopted. Their birth certificates were changed to hide the fact. The years pressed on and this social experiment was proven a failure.
With the advent of legal abortion, Churches began to entwine themselves even more into the adoption business. There was a belief that adoption was a compassionate answer to abortion. Adoption was no longer viewed as a secretive, shameful thing, but began to be glorified by the Church. Birth mothers became “selfless saints” and adoptive families were “saviors” to “unwanted children.”
To save face from the Baby Scoop Era, adoption agencies began to sell “open” adoption in the 1980s. Unwed mothers were no longer sent off to homes, but were now manipulated from their children through the selling of a fairytale life for their child. It was adoption with a happy face. The mothers could choose the family and maintain an “open” adoption where they could be forevermore an outsider looking in. Open adoption is an ambiguous unenforceable term. For a mother, it might mean that she gets regular visits with her child. For the adoptive family, it might mean that they simply send pictures and/or letters a few times a year. There is no contractual explanation. It is merely used as a means to promise hope to a woman in complete desperation.
Once the adoption is finalized, many now “birth” mothers, are left in the dark. The adoptions are almost immediately closed or they don’t live up to the promises that were made. For those that do continue some form of openness, there is always the looming threat of being perceived as going rogue. One wrong word or action could provoke an adoptive family to cut off contact with a birth mother and she has no legal recourse.
Mothers are not given any resources in regards to adoptee/birth mother studies. They are not told that both adoptees and birth mothers face a higher risk of suicide; 4-7 times higher than the general population. Nor are they told that they now face a higher risk of depression and/or addiction.
No, they are sold a fairytale. Visions of their child, whom they love more than their own flesh (like a normal mother), having opportunities and advantages that they believe they could never provide themselves. Not realizing that their temporary problem is being met with a permanent solution. Not only is the mother losing her child, but her entire lineage; grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc.
Adoption is being alive and dead. There is no grave to mourn the loss of a child. There was a day that you lost a child, but no one came with consolation. You moved on with life as if nothing happened, yet everything happened. You get to live the life of an outsider. Watching your child transform into the child of others. You get pictures of the first steps, the first day of school, the first dance, graduations, etc. Then you realize one day that you’re a glorified stalker. This child has somehow over the course of years become a perfect stranger before your very eyes.
No matter how “open” an adoption, there are still thoughts and accusations of abandonment. The introduction of “kept” siblings is painful. Why them and not me?
Then one day you find out that beneath the veneer of fairytale that you’ve been sold over the years, that immeasurable pain has been experienced by your child. Perhaps, they’ve been in therapy, medicated, or have resorted to self-destructive behaviors. When ALL of this was for them!!! You find out that they too are struggling with the absurdities of adoption.
I have questioned God for years in this matter. What was wrong with me for not being content and moving on? People told me I was “selfless” and “brave”, yet I felt everything but. I felt desperate and cowardly. Every time I was told my daughter’s adoption was a “blessing” I cringed with an angry fist towards God. I realize now that adoption is a man-made answer, not a God-made answer. There is no scriptural evidence where God mistakenly places a child in the wrong womb. Perhaps, a child is conceived in a sinful situation, but God still promises redemption through child-bearing and motherhood.
I’ve lived a charade for so many years. Trying to accept my daughter’s adoption as a “blessing” and God’s Will. Trying to fit a circle in a square. I’m not so convinced anymore. He tells me nothing in His Word that He meant to place my daughter with another family who were strangers to me. That her conception and life through me was His mistake. She was my child. She was intended for me. She was MY blessing…and it pains me eternally to know that I gave that blessing away. That I allowed others to convince me that I wasn’t good enough for her. I denied His blessing in my life and I am ashamed.
I now choose to do what He asks of me. I have wrestled with my faith for so long over this issue. At times, I walk away from His love, because of the anger and confusion. We are called to love and to be charitable. Convincing a mother that she isn’t good enough for her child, even said with a happy face and fairytale language, is NOT love or charity. It is exploitative. If a mother, for whatever reason, chooses that she still does not “want” to raise her child; that mother needs counseling, not an infertile couple waiting on line. A struggling mother needs help- whether it be financial, educational, or material. Helping others help themselves to her child is not divine. I wash my hands of adoption. My aim is to save others from it
Because I’m using this post as a go-to anytime I see someone using my Savior as an excuse to take a newborn child from a mother, I wanted to include 3 more scriptural references here. Moms and adoptees, feel free to share this post anytime you confront the whole “(fill in the blank Bible person) was adopted” shtick.
I forgot to include the story of Esther…She truly was an orphan. Both of her parents had DIED. They weren’t just poor or in temporary circumstances that led to the permanent severing of their role as her parents. But even in Esther’s case, her biological family was sought after and she was taken in by her cousin Mordecai. This shows that even to God, family preservation is important. She wasn’t sent off to strangers to have her name and lineage changed.
Speaking of lineage, it seems incredibly important to God. There are multiple instances in scripture where lineage is detailed. It is done for specific purposes, to prove historical accuracy- or in other words truth. It is also done to prove God’s interest in individuals. It shows that God cares about each and every one of us. The first 11 chapters of Chronicles are lists of genealogies. His chosen people, are a testament to the importance of lineage; Israel and its 12 tribes. We can’t wipe away the genealogical history of an individual and paint over it with our own impression; not expecting confusion.
Lastly, Job 24. Does promoting Newborn Adoption move “boundary stones” that we should not be crossing as a society? Are we in fact “snatching” babies from the breast because their natural families are poor or in need of counsel?
2There are those who move boundary stones;
they pasture flocks they have stolen.
3 They drive away the orphan’s donkey
and take the widow’s ox in pledge.
4 They thrust the needy from the path
and force all the poor of the land into hiding.
5 Like wild donkeys in the desert,
the poor go about their labor of foraging food;
the wasteland provides food for their children.
6 They gather fodder in the fields
and glean in the vineyards of the wicked.
7 Lacking clothes, they spend the night naked;
they have nothing to cover themselves in the cold.
8 They are drenched by mountain rains
and hug the rocks for lack of shelter.
9 The fatherless child is snatched from the breast;
the infant of the poor is seized for a debt.
Newborn Adoption is an issue that the Church needs to revisit. The Church irrefutably has no Scriptural argument to make in favor of it.
“Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance” (Proverbs 1:5).