April 1, 2013

Adoptees: Why Can't You Just
Be Okay With the Unknown?

"Your pressures are fine,"  the eye doctor said to me last Monday. "Things are looking good. Any history of glaucoma or high blood pressure on either side of your family?”

“None on my maternal side that I know of, no clue on the paternal side as I’m adopted and don't currently have information about my father's side,” I answered.

Photo Credit: FeatheredTar, Creative Commons
 I give this answer every year. Every. Single. Year.

Doctors ask even if they’ve seen you before. They don’t have your entire file memorized with all the paperwork you’ve filled out in the past. 

I’m not judging doctors. It stinks when people try to tell you that you're doing your job all wrong, when they've never done it. I try to refrain from doing this to other people as I know how it feels when it happens to me. My thought is that it is probably in the interest of time management for them to ask the common questions again rather than digging through all the papers again. I’d probably just ask again too if I was a doctor.  

I face similar questions every year at my yearly physical with my family doctor, then again at my annual  visit with my GYN, then again as I get my yearly mammogram, and yet again at the eye doctor for my yearly check up.
Most of the world never notices things like this because they’ve always known the answers to these questions, or had the answers readily available by simply asking.

“Is it really such a big deal to not know?” some people ask. "Why can't you just be okay not knowing?"

You don’t know what it’s like to not have something until you’ve been without it. My friend Laura Dennis says it’s like trying to explain what it’s like to starve to a person who has always had food. 

Many people have told me they believe bringing a baby into the world is the most important thing, and the grown child knowing their basic information is secondary and shouldn’t be given too much weight in comparison to simply giving them life.

How easy it is to make such statements without walking in another’s shoes. 

Photo Credit: Deanna Shrodes

I value the sacredness of life itself. I also know first-hand the importance of identity and a healthy emotional life. It’s not simply the bringing of a life into the world we must concern ourselves with but being in position for health thereafter.  While great emphasis is often placed on a "better life" that people claim comes with adoption, little concern is given to issues of identity as a part of that life.

Identity is one of the last things people think about in relation to a person’s health. Assumptions are made that the unknown will simply be accepted. Christians  heavily count on the person “knowing their identity in Christ.” It’s an important distinction to make that just as redemption and salvation in a Christian context have nothing to do with adoption, identity in Christ is also a separate issue. I have known my identity in Christ from the time I was very young. This was well established and truly it is only in walking closely with God that I am even still here, not to mention successful at anything in life.  

Identity in Christ  is a separate issue, not to be mixed with where one comes from in this world. 

So many times Christians want easy answers. Grappling with complex issues is not fun, and it's much easier to give a cliche than face challenges. Rather than attempt to understand or help someone, it’s much easier to pat them and say, “just accept who you are in Christ.” Chances are the person has done that. And, knowing who they are in Christ has nothing --  absolutely nothing to do with their desire to know who their earthly father is or if someone in their family has ever had glaucoma or high blood pressure.  

It should be illegal to place a child for adoption or abandon them outright without disclosing accurate basic information that includes their parentage on both sides, DNA profile and history. 

We are simply not serving the best interest of the child without it.