I'm just warning you in advance. Maybe you should go now to get a piece of chocolate to soothe yourself once you're done reading.
My word of the year is BRAVE, so here goes.
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Our president, who is pro-choice, grieved me back in 2008. He made a statement about the importance of sex education, which I do agree is important. As the speech went on he said, "I've got two daughters. 9 years old and 6 years old. I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby."
As an adoptee, and as a human being in general, I felt like I was punched in the gut.
"Punished with a baby."
The words stung.
I hate those words. I hate them, hate them, hate them.
Was I a punishment?
I certainly felt like one at times.
I've spent many hours in a counseling chair because I felt like someone's punishment. Finally one day I had to realize whether I was expected or relinquished, whatever my beginning or the circumstances that surrounded my birth, my life was ordained by God.
I am no one's punishment.
"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord. The fruit of the womb is a reward." Psalm 127:3
Did you catch that?
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A reward. Not a punishment.
I am a reward. You are a reward.
We are a blessing, my friends. All of us. No matter how we got here, we are a blessing.
And every single baby that is conceived after us is a blessing.
Every. Single. One.
Some of us took the world by surprise.
Nevertheless, all of us are a reward.
So there are those, like our president, who believe that in some cases, a baby would be defined as a punishment. And there are also those who are of the school of thought that it is their mother who must be punished.
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She should have known better.
She made a mistake.
But now, she can make up for it, if she is willing to face the consequences.
She is encouraged that she can "make a new start" and "make all things work together for good", by giving the baby as a gift to a childless couple.
She is seen as atoning for her wrong (sex and pregnancy outside of wedlock) by giving the baby to a desperate and deserving couple.
What started out horribly wrong can now redeemed as she makes someone else's dreams come true and can move on with her own...after enduring the punishment. The anguish of saying goodbye to her child will be great...in fact almost unbearable. But she is reminded - sin is costly. All along the way she is encouraged that although she really messed up, she can bring good out of a bad situation by giving the ultimate gift to another.
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This idea is not limited to Christianity but is also spread through organizations like the National Council for Adoption with articles like this one, Birth Mother, Good Mother: Her Heroic Story of Redemption. Among other things this article says:
"By choosing what is best for their children, birth mothers see themselves as good mothers. Instead of feeling like bad mothers for abandoning children or “giving them away,” they now begin to see that placing their children with loving couples is what it means for them to be good mothers. They redeem themselves, transforming their mistakes into positive outcomes. Adoption allows them to recover their self-esteem, restore their identity, and renew their dreams and goals."
Right now I want to speak directly into the hearts of Christians. I know many of you reading this post today are among my good friends who do not share my faith. Some of you don't subscribe to any faith, and that is okay - all are welcome here regardless of your background or beliefs. But right now, I want to talk to my Christian friends exclusively for just a moment.. For those of you who are not Christians, you may listen in, but know this next paragraph is not for you.
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Brothers and sisters in Christ, I appeal to you that we don't have the ability to atone for our own sins. The Bible says none of us are without sin. The young lady who conceives a child out of wedlock is no different from you or I who gossip, hold bitterness or are gluttons. There is only one way to salvation. It is not through an adoption agency. It is not through relinquishing nor adopting. We are only saved by grace, through faith. Only the work that Christ did on the cross can forgive our shortcomings. The Bible says that God has not appointed us unto wrath (punishment) but to receive salvation. He covered all of our sins, mistakes and failures on the cross. We can't work hard enough or make enough good choices to make up for all our wrongs. How dare we boast that anyone can redeem themselves by choosing adoption! What a slap in the face to the accomplished work of Christ. There is only one person who can give us a truly new start. We are new creations through Christ, not through the world's adoption system. In and of ourselves, we do not cause all things to work together for good. There is only One who came to make all things right -- His name is Jesus Christ. A new start comes through Him, not by giving up a baby. We are only free because of what He did, not by what we can do. It is an abomination to a Holy God to attribute atonement, salvation,and redemption to a worldly form of adoption. Being "adopted in Christ" (as all believers are) has absolutely nothing to do with being adopted in a worldly sense. Pressuring a young lady to give up her baby so that she or the situation can be "redeemed" is not only terrible theology, it is cruel and inhumane.
And in closing
I am grieved that some people believe a baby would ever be a punishment. Ever.
Likewise, I am deeply grieved that some people think punishing a mother and a baby by being torn apart by relinquishment equals redemption.
On your mark...get set...go.
Tell me your thoughts.
Now that I've made everyone mad from the tree huggers to the southern baptists (both among my bff's) I'm going to have a cup of Caribou.