February 6, 2013

How The Church Hurt Me...
An Adoptee Speaks Out (Part One)

Since I've been an active part of the adoption community, I've heard countless stories from my adoptee friends about how they've been hurt by the church, and why many of them want nothing to do with it. It breaks my heart. There are nights I read their stories with tears streaming down my face.  

Hearing their stories is part of what compelled me to start this blog. There are so many to share, it will take more than a post. Therefore, this is part one of an ongoing series.

Am I sharing these posts with the goal of bashing the church? No. Please understand, I love the church. Not to mention my full time vocation is serving in the church. However, God hates injustice and we should too.  Those of us who are aware must speak up so that change can come. For those of you who think this type of behavior only existed in past, think again.  

Many of my adoptee friends have never openly shared their stories of how the church has affected their lives. They have only told other adoptees. Now they have bravely agreed to open up in this forum, because I have asked them to.

Some of you may read this and say, "Wait a minute, I'm a Christian and I'm not like that! And  my church isn't like that either!" I understand. Same here! I'm not accusing all Christians and churches of this behavior. And, we need to identify and address injustice where we find it. Once you know, you can help. 

Today the story I am featuring is that of my friend, Jenn. She is one of my Lost Daughters sisters, a blogger and all around amazing gal! She is a reunited adoptee, in relationship with her adoptive and immediate birth families, yet because of the church, she must remain a secret from the rest of the world, even her extended birth family.

I will let her story speak for itself without any further comment from me on the actual post. I invite you to share your response to what she has shared, in the comment thread.  

Jenn's Story:

It's amazing to me how the church shaped my life in ways I couldn't have imagined. I was born in 1987 and placed with my adoptive parents through a church-sponsored agency because they were of a certain religious background and my natural parents wanted me to be raised in the faith. I went to a college of the same background, where I met my fiance, who is also of the same faith. It was as an adult when I found out that I was being kept a secret from everyone because of the  church. 

Because of the church, my grandparents do not know that I'm back in touch with my natural family. I'm still separated from my natural extended family. My aunts, uncles, and cousins do not know about me and I've been told they will not be told about me because we must keep the secret from the church. My sisters cannot tell their friends about me because some of them belong to the same church and my natural parents are petrified of the secret getting out.  I have faith in God. But I cannot believe the lengths that some people will go in the name of "The Church". It's not very Christian behavior. I always assumed "Thou shalt not lie" was a pretty big one, but what do I know?
I am currently still a secret because of the church. My natural mother is the religious education coordinator for her church, and she fears that if her pastor ever found out she had a child out of wedlock, she'd be fired. That's the excuse she's given me anyway. My natural parents are both ministers, very involved in their church, and yet they lie to everyone at the same time. The way they have treated me is very un-Christian. I know, however, that the choices they make are their own.

Another thing...my natural parents are married. They've been married for over twenty years in fact. They've done everything "right" since they had me out of wedlock. It seems to me like my mother did the "right" thing. She screwed up, but instead of having an abortion, she gave the baby up for adoption and later married the guy. If that's not the "right" way of doing things, I don't know what is.

All I know is, because of the church, I'm still a secret.
And it hurts.