We Are All Adopted

A reflection from Criterio magazine via Mirada Global:

Getting further into the mystery of the person, we understand that we are all adopted by the human family, concerned that there is water, air and food for its children, and even further, that everybody finds his/her place, not only the food, in this Noah’s Ark. The crowds of Haitians that survive living in tents, with thousands around dying of cholera, feel that humanity hasn’t yet adopted them. They receive food but not a home. Faith reminds us that we are brothers because we have been adopted by God. That is the mystery revealed by Jesus. Having faith is being happy for being God’s child. Some consider themselves atheists or agnostics, but if they rejoice at universal fraternity, they have more faith than they imagine. Loving God and our neighbor also falls into the category of adoption, our Father’s adoption of us and our adoption of our brothers.


Also available in Spanish.

Tim Reidy


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7 years 10 months ago
McCasey -

Do you think it would be better to force parents living in poverty to give up their children for adoption by people of higher socioeconomic status, than it would be to allow those children to be brought up by their moms and dads? 

Do you think we should encourage parents in poverty to give up their children for adoption rather than strive to keep their family together?

And if the child-biological parent relationship is irrelevant, wouldn't it make sense to convince people of higher socio-economic status to not have children and, instead,  take children from people of lower socioeconomic status?   That way, all children born would have the highest socioeconomic status possible.

Couples jump through hoops to have their own children before they adopt.  There's a reason for that.
we vnornm
7 years 10 months ago
"Our logic, which we foster strongly with the kids, is that a family is not a genetic cluster (after all, my wife and I are not genetically connected) but a group of individuals unified by love and committment to each other and the family as a whole.  We are each  unique, each born in different places, each bringing someting unique to the larger family group."

MCasey, beautifully said; worth quoting here and in many other places.  Best wishes and blessings to your family.

Mr. Brooks, perhaps you might consider reading REAL PARENTS, REAL CHILDREN by Holly Van Gulden and Lisa Bartles-Rabb?  Very helpful in understanding a complex situation-a book to help all communicate with adoptive families in a sensitive and caring manner. It is avaialable through many public libraries and http://www.amazon.com/Real-Parents-Children-Parenting-Adopted/dp/0824515145. best, bvo
Michael Casey
7 years 10 months ago
Mr. Brooks,
   I think I miss your point about the "larger social agenda" involved here, and I really don't see how adoption has any impact on what you call the traditional family.  Also,  I'm completely baffled about how adoption undermines capitalism and promotes socialism. Huh? There was plenty of capitalism involved in our adoption, believe me; we were taken to the cleaners to the tune of 30 grand by some good old-fashioned capitalists. Of course, no price is too high for our son, and we didn't complain, but I sure wouldn't worry about adoption opening the door to socialism...just the opposite, in fact.
    Plus, the more I talk with older people and the more I learn about history, the more apparent it is that there never was much "traditional family" in the Leave it to Beaver sense. Plenty of people in my grandparents'  day adopted kids, or took in oprhans from the neighborhood. Sometimes dads ran off, or died in war, and mom raised the kids with her sister or mother. In the "old country", whole villages often raised kids, or, if they were rich, kids were raised by nannies and almost never saw their folks. So, what is traditional, and how does adoption undermine that?  It sounds like you may be longing for some Platonic image of "family" that just doesn't exist, and never really did.
Michael Casey
7 years 10 months ago
Mr Brooks,
   I agree that our adopted son does not share our genetic background (in fact, we know almost nothing about his birth parents) and hence we don't look for our congenital traits in him, but that doesn't change the nature of the relationship.  I haven't asked him, since he's only 4, but I am pretty certain he feel the same sense of family (the unifying force you refer to) with us as his younger brother does.  Our logic, which we foster strongly with the kids, is that a family is not a genetic cluster (after all, my wife and I are not genetically connected) but a group of individuals unified by love and committment to each other and the family as a whole.  We are each  unique, each born in different places, each bringing someting unique to the larger family group.
     That being said, our adopted boy is aware that he is a little different- for one, he is brown and we're all white, which is  hard to miss. His early months in an orphanage still manifest themselves in odd behaviors sometimes. He does ask about his birth mother, and we are as open as we're able to be, given limited knowledge.  So there are subtle differences. But, again, there are many differences between all of us (our natural son is much nicer than either of us) but these are precisely what makes us a family.
7 years 10 months ago
Hi Bill -

Thanks for the reference; I understand that this is a sensitive issue and that my comments sound insensitive.  But I've found that when language is manipulated with good intentions for the benefit of individuals, oftentimes someone else will use that language in an unforeseen or unconsidered manner to promote a broader social agenda.  So we ignore modifiers such as "adopted" and "step" to make people feel good; and then these modifiers become essentially erased from language and the important distinctions that they clarified disappaear along with them.

And that's why I posted in response to what appears to be a relatively innocuous article on adoption to make it clear that while it is considerate and sensitive to talk about adopted children and adoptive parents on an individual basis as if they are no different; at the societal level it is important to emphasize that they are not the same.  Why?  Because there are people who want to destroy traditional families and the authority of parents over their offspring in an effort to undermine capitalism and promote socialism.

So, while I am sorry if I hurt mccasey's feelings, I feel that the larger societal issues at hand are far more important than his sensitivity about how people talk about his family and his adopted son.

7 years 10 months ago
Quick clarification on the last paragraph of my comment at #7:  I meant that in the context of this forum, not as a general statement. 
Bill Mazzella
7 years 10 months ago
I understand that taking children away from natural parents is a mistake unless there is crime. The proof is always in the pudding. Adoptive parents have the edge whereas too many birth parents are cruel or negligent. Too many times selfishness is involved in natural birth where a parent tries to live their lives through their offspring. Secondly, Tim's point is that we are children by adoption which means choice. This does not mean that some adoptive parents do not do  the right thing. Tim applys the comparison to Haitians which is at the heart of Jesus according to Matthew 25:31-46. Remember a priest and a levite passed the wounded person whereas the hated Samaritan fulfilled the word of God. Everybody is our brother and sister. To the extent that we neglect them Jesus will bring us to task. We are adopted children of God and brothers and sisters by adoption.
7 years 10 months ago
mcasey -

For nearly all of history, society has accepted that “biological” parents have rights over their offsrping by virtue of their birth, not by legal assignment of rights by the government.  Adoptive parents have rights over adopted children, OTH, only because the government grants those rights.  If the government equates adopted children unqualifiedly with “biological” children, then the government can argue that all parental rights are rights assigned by the government. 

And when the government has legal control over all parental rights, it can manipulate that relationship to the extreme extent that parents no longer have any control over their children.  (Witness a recent bill in San Francisco to deem circumcision of infants illegal, even for religious reasons).  In the extreme, the government can decide who can raise offspring, regardless of what the parents want.  It can dictate what parents are permitted to teach their children, what parents can do to their children, beyond abuse.  It’s already happening in adoption scenarios where parents who give up their children for adoption have no say in whether their children can be adopted by a homosexual couple or not. 
By destroying parental authority (and, btw, this happens with societal acquiescence ) and assigning it to the government (no Happy Meals for your kids in SF), socialism, in a cultural, as opposed to economic, sense is well underway.
I grew up in a “Leave it To Beaver” family, and no thanks to the progressive culture movement, my current family and neighborhood is all “Leave it to Beaver.”  Sure, there are always exceptions; and that is my point:  that if we normalize these exceptions, they become the rule.  Traditional families are an ideal that are the foundation of civilized culture.  Destroying the family opens the door to extreme government  control.
I’m not against adoption; I just believe that we need to make sure that it is treated as an exception to an ideal.  And the ideal is that children should be brought up by their “real” married moms and dads in a safe, secure environment without the need for government intervention.
Michael Casey
7 years 11 months ago
@ Mr Brooks
"So while adoption is a beautiful gift to a child who has suffered the tragedy of the loss of one or both parents, the adoptive child-parent relationship should never be favored over or considered an equal substitute for the biological child-parent relationship."

My wife and I have one adopted child and one biological (both boys). Both are wonderful and there is absolutely no difference in our relationship with either of our boys. The notion that biology confers some special relationship that can't be equalled by adoption is both wrong and sad. Being a parent means raising a child, not giving birth.  Love is the key, and that comes through the long, wonderful grind of raising children, whether they are born to you or by a birth mother, a surrogate or in a test tube. It's all the same.
7 years 11 months ago
While we all are adopted by God, we all have parents.  Ideally, all children should have the opportunity to be raised by their moms and dads; it is a special relationship unequaled by any other. 

So while adoption is a beautiful gift to a child who has suffered the tragedy of the loss of one or both parents, the adoptive child-parent relationship should never be favored over or considered an equal substitute for the biological child-parent relationship.  Conceiving a child with the intent to strip him or her of one or both parents at birth is an act of violence against the child to serve the selfish desires of the adoptive parent(s).   
7 years 11 months ago
Mccasey - 

Interesting that you focus on how YOU feel and not how your adopted boy feels.  It's impossible for your relationship with your boys to be identical since one of them is genetically derivative of you - is literally a part of you, created by you - and the other is not.  You look at you biological son and you have certain feelings based on how he looks, how he acts, and you make comparisons to you, the boy's mom, your extended families.  When he gets sick, you consider your and your wife's medical histories, your extended families' medical histories.  Your goals for him are based you and your wife's traits; for example, if you're both good at, say, math, you expect him to be good at math.  I could go on, but you see my point.  The other boy, while I don't doubt your love for him, is a genetic stranger to you and to your extended family.  Much different.

And, of course, we haven't even considered how your BOYS feel about you.  But the issues are similar.  Your adopted boy has never experienced the unifying force that all children feel towards their parents by virtue of the fact that they are their parents.  It's the natural desire for that relationships that causes adopted children to seek out their biological parents.

I'm not belittling your relationship with your adopted boy, but to suggest that there is no difference between adopted children and biological children is intellectually disingenuous.  But I apperciate the sentiment to perceive them as the same.


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