Christians and the “Silver Linings” In Adoption

This November has hit some regions of the country like a freight train. The frigid air bears down on us along with the seasonal colds, asthmatic coughs, and the reminders to get our annual flu shot. The stores have begun to line their shelves with overpriced trinkets imploring us to spend our hard earned money, while Christmas tunes quickly lose their intended holiday cheer as they are overplayed and mix like oil and water with flaring tempers and overestimated children (and adults!). These are truisms for many of us in the Western world. Adoptees can’t help but notice yet another tell-tale sign that the holiday season is almost upon us; National Adoption Awareness Month. November brings an onslaught of articles written primarily by adoptive parents exclaiming how wonderful/different their lives are, now that they’ve added to their family via adoption. Churches engage in Orphan Sunday and this year brought the first annual social media World Adoption Day, coined by a Hollywood pastor. All of this publicity is great for adoptees, right?

For adoptees like myself, November seems to feel more and more commercialized, and shallow filled with half truths, triggering words being flung around carelessly and uninformed do-gooders hoping to save a child before any more harm is done. This has led to a collective desire for adoptees to share our truth and help temper the discourse. Adult adoptees around the country have banded together to add our voices via the #FlipTheScript campaign where we seek to discuss adoption’s complexities and ethics without the ensuing label or admonishment that we must also be anti-adoption or ungrateful to our parents.

There is a fierce trend within Christianity to justify any negativity in adverse or difficult situations by focusing all efforts on any extractable silver lining. After watching Closure, many Christians have assigned my birthmother’s poverty, and my birth father’s drug use to be “clouds” in my life which were remedied by my having been adopted to a middle class family. They’ve decided that the doctor’s (incorrect) diagnoses moments after my birth of the likelihood being high that I’d never walk, was a surefire dark cloud for my life, which great relief was felt by a cheering audience when seeing the footage of my basketball moves and beating my husband in a game of one-on-one. This steadfast focus on these aspects leaves some adoptees wondering if there was something inherently wrong with them from birth, and with very few places to respectfully address this confusion.

I’ve struggled with some of the adoption language primarily heard within evangelical christian circles, and have addressed that in an article I wrote, published today at Christianity Today’s Her.meneutics.

2 thoughts on “Christians and the “Silver Linings” In Adoption

  1. I just read your article at Christianity Today. As a Christian and new adoptive parent (two children through international adoption), I found your words and perspective to be extremely valuable to help understand what our adopted children might be feeling. And you are so right – the voice of adopted parents is so loud, yet the voice of adoptees is relatively quiet. Thank you for trying to change that and thank you for pointing out why so many of the cliches we hear in adoption circles are actually harmful to adopted children. There are so many blogs, etc. where an adoptive parent can get ‘advice’ or ask questions or share an opinion or child-rearing method but I’ve come across very few from adopted children (for a variety of reasons, I’m sure). As a parent, I want the best for all my children (biological and adopted), and you’ve inspired me to seek out the voice of the adoptee more than I have.

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