Poem – adoption, alone

We are all adopted. We are all lost, drifting.

No matter how your parents
are related to you
biologically, legally
makes no difference.

We are all just trying to find our way home.

People who are dying often say they just want to go home,
even if they are in their living room at the time.

We all want to go home. We are all lost.
We all crave belonging.

The gang member, the biker, the kid in the black trenchcoat,
all are trying to find themselves.

We are all shuffling, rubbing up against each other
saying the secret passwords of our tribe
hoping they will let us in.

Every one of us suffers from a little bit of abandonment

now and then

every one of us
wonders where we fit in.

Even when we are
with family
we know
deep down
we are all faking it.

We all have to find our way
out of here
and back to where we belong.

We all have to find ourselves.

We look to others to do it.
We hope to see our own reflection
in them.

We join clubs, we go to conventions,
and momentarily
we feel home.
we feel that we are understood.

But when we get back from the meeting
back from the show
we are left
by ourselves, alone again.

If we are not happy
by ourselves
we cannot truly be happy
with others.

We are all faking it,
this connection.

We are always trying to go home
By going somewhere we are not.

Book addiction

You might be addicted to books if you understand this –

That feeling to get when your book runs out before your lunch does, and you forgot to bring a back up.

When you finish a book and you don’t want to start another because you are still in the world you were reading.

That delightful feeling when you find a new-to-you author who has a lot of books in a series. Finding a series means you don’t have to get acquainted with new characters.

That feeling when you really love a book and you realize there isn’t a series, so you will never learn anything more about those characters.

Not wanting to finish a book because you don’t want it to end.

Always having a spare book in your car just in case.

Having more books on your to-read list than you have time.

Going to used book stores when you are on vacation in the hopes you will find a new favorite book.

You have library cards in vacation places you visit regularly.

You talk about book characters as if they were real.

You have flashbacks of what book you were reading the last time you were in that restaurant.

You get your friends to read the same books you are reading so they will understand what you are talking about.

You have an understanding with your spouse that you will both be reading books when you go out to eat.

Snake parents

Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:9-12
9 Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? 10 Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him! 12 “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.”

It certainly sounds like everyone was certainly very nice back in Jesus’ time. No child abuse then! Life isn’t that easy now. Plenty of parents are abusive. “Dysfunctional” is the new normal.

So how can you possibly even approach the idea of God the Father if your own father was a jerk? There are plenty of parents who give their children stones instead of bread and snakes instead of fishes. We read about them in the paper. We hear about them on the talk shows. They are the reason we have a Department of Human Services.

No wonder people don’t believe in God. They can’t possibly believe in God when their own parents abuse them. Their visible example of parents is horrible, so how can they get the idea of an invisible parent? If God is bigger and greater than your parents, then who would want a bigger and greater example of terrible?

Perhaps this is why so many people who call themselves Christians feel that “God hates…” (fill in the blank). God doesn’t hate. God loves. Perhaps they heard their parents tell them they weren’t worthy, they weren’t valuable, they weren’t loved. So they took the next logical step and decided if their own parents acted like this, then God did it more so.

But this isn’t God. God seeks us out. God searches for us, individually, like the lost sheep, like the lost coin, like the lost son. God cares about us personally and deeply.

It might be helpful to throw away the notion of God as being just like our parents, but more so. God is love, perfected. God created us because we are needed. None of us are accidents. We are all wanted.

Let us hear the words of Jesus in Luke 15:1-24

First He tells us about the lost sheep.
1Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. 2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” 3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

Then He goes on to tell us about the lost coin.

8 “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Then He tells us about the lost son.

11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. 13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. 17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. 21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate.24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.”

Jesus tells us three stories, but they are all the same story. They are the story of God’s relentless, unfailing love for us. God is constantly seeking us. God is above and beyond our human conception of love. God is the source of love, and the source of us.

Know that you are loved, beyond measure.

On adoption.

I’ve met some people with some pretty unhealthy ideas about adoption.

I know a lady who became a grandmother accidentally. Her son and his girlfriend learned that they were expecting. I had written that “he got her pregnant” but that makes her a passive agent. It takes two to get pregnant. They had sex before they were able to handle the possible repercussions. They might or might not have been using birth control – it doesn’t matter now. She got pregnant. It happens.

It happens a lot more than it should. It is stunning that America, a nation that has free education, that we are so ignorant about how to not get pregnant. It isn’t rocket science.

Having sex is like playing Russian roulette with your life. It can be fun, or you could die from a sexually transmitted disease. Or you could end up pregnant, which will end life as you know it. The risks are too high to play the game if you aren’t ready to deal with the consequences.

According to the CDC, the amount of unintended pregnancies in the United States is nearly 50%. Also according to the CDC, women who get unintentionally pregnant are more likely to be very young, unhealthy, and undereducated. They are already at a disadvantage and getting pregnant puts them even further into the hole.

Let’s go back to the couple from the beginning. They are both in their early 20s and they fight constantly. They don’t make enough money to support themselves, so they live with the boy’s parents. The girl’s parents do not provide any money or support at all. The son works in fast food and the girl works as a part-time bartender. They share a car. This has gone on for over a year. The tension in the house is to the point that the grandmother goes for counseling now.

It doesn’t have to be this way. I suggested adoption and the grandmother recoiled at it. No – this was her grandson. Strangers won’t be raising him.

This can’t be better. I’ve never seen this child smile. Just because he is with his birth parents doesn’t mean they are the best for him. It doesn’t mean they are qualified to be parents. They still need parents themselves. They are too young, too immature, and too selfish to be good parents.

I knew another lady who said that if she ever got unintentionally pregnant, she would have an abortion rather than put the child up for adoption. She admitted that she didn’t like the idea of a stranger raising her child. So she would rather kill it. This makes no sense at all.

I think for some people, putting their child up for adoption is like admitting they made a mistake. Their pride gets in the way of making a good decision for the well-being of their child.

Adoption provides a loving home for a child. Adoption means that the child is welcomed and wanted and provided for. Adoption means that the child has the best possible chance of a happy life.

Putting a child up for adoption isn’t a mark of failure. It is putting your child first. It is pride to keep a child in poverty and misery just because you are too stubborn to admit that you can’t do it all.

The weird part about the grandmother in the first example is that she adopted her son, the one who is a father now. She understands what adoption is like from the other side. She understands how long adoptive parents wait, and how relieved they are when they finally get that call that tells them they have a child. She understands all about the background checks and the tests that prospective adoptive parents go through.

Adoptive parents aren’t strangers. Sure, they are strangers to you, but they have proven their merit. It isn’t like the adoption agency pulls some random person off the street and hands them your child. There are a lot of tests involved.

The tests that prospective adoptive parents go through should be mandatory for anybody who thinks they want to have children. There are physical exams. Psychological exams. Financial exams. They are tested and probed in every way possible to determine if they would make fit parents. They are tested to see if they have what it takes in every way possible.

Love isn’t enough to raise a child. It takes a lot of money and a lot of maturity. Sometimes the best thing you can do is admit that you don’t have enough of either. Why compound a problem by making it worse?

Ideally, there would be no unintended pregnancies. Ideally, everyone would get pregnant only when they are ready to. Until that time comes, adoption is a loving response.