Posts Tagged ‘Adoption’

This weekend Craig and I slipped away on Saturday afternoon to take in a matinee.  Blind Side is a movie I NEVER would have picked in a million years . . . if I hadn’t already known the remarkable back story. As it was, it was so compelling I scarcely noticed the football.

The gentle giant (played by Quinton Aaron), found wandering in the frigid Memphis air, is picked up by the Tuohy family (Tim McGraw, Sandra Bullock) who proceed to take him home, feed and clothe him, pay for a private tutor, and teach him the business end of a football. Out of the thousands of kids who languish in the system, or worse, this kid gets a chance . . . and, despite all odds, he makes the most of it. Today he is offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens (NFL).

Perhaps not surprisingly — the issue is raised for us in the first few seconds of the movie — not everyone see the “rescue” as a good thing. Some even hint that the “poor black jock” is simply being exploited by his adoptive family, who only want to offer him up to their alma mater.  What other reason could a wealthy white couple have for taking in a poor black homeless kid?  This kind of cold-blooded generalization is articulated all too well in the following article by Steve Sailer entitled “The Next Liberal Fad: A ‘Stolen Generation’ of Black Children?”

Reviewing Blind Side and Precious, Steve Sailer observes, “These two films help us understand the common denominator of the demands increasingly heard in the media for mandatory preschool, longer school days, shorter summer vacations, and universal post-high school education. They flow from the inevitable logic of the following syllogism:

What isn’t clear to me is what, exactly, is the preferred PC alternative. Leave Michael on the streets to find his way back to the Projects, so he can die like the rest? Sure, the Tuohy’s offered Michael opportunities he wouldn’t have had if he had stayed with another family in the projects — and in many ways, I’m sure his life would have been easier had he been able to stay with the family friends who’d originally had him placed in Briarcrest. We’ll never know, since that option was not available to him.

Ultimately the standard has to be “best interests of the child.” And sadly, those interests must sometimes be prioritized because there are simply no options to cover them all. Had the black family in the beginning of the movie continued to raise Michael in their home, it is likely he would never have been drafted to the NFL . . . although he could have.

And yet, the reality was that Michael’s choice was not between a black family and a white family. It was between a white family and NO family, since neither his father (who had disappeared) or his mother (who by her own admission could not care for him and did not even want to see him) could care for him.

Can anyone seriously argue that being raised by the Tuohy’s was less desirable than returning him to the gang in the projects, to be devoured by gangs and drug peddlers, not much better than animals themselves? Of course not.

Nuture vs. nature. In the world of adoption, it’s never an either-or proposition. To thrive and reach his full potential, a child must have both. Invariably, it involves the kind of support for which Michael Oher became famous: an instinctively protective “I’ve got your back.” And from that position, it’s very easy to turn a “blind side” to everything else.

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Today at The R House I came across this letter from a birthmother to her child, explaining the way she came to decide on adoption. Mrs.R’s post “Another Reason I Love Open Adoption” is a compelling one. And I wanted to pass it along in case you’re interested in reading about open adoption. (I believe Mrs. R is a foster-adoptive mother.)

Bottom line: The birth mom in this letter had a loving, supportive friend made it possible for her to weigh her options — all her options — completely and without judgment.  You can read the story here.

Like many young moms, she started out vascillating between motherhood and abortion. Only gradually, as she learned more about adoption and realized how unprepared she and the child’s father were for parenthood, did she find the courage to reconsider her original position.

It’s not often you find such selfless courage. May God bless her for it.

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A Mother’s Pain

teresa_avila_berniniToday is the feast day of Teresa of Avila, one of my very favorite saints. This sixteenth-century Spanish noblewoman is patroness of writers and migraine sufferers, perhaps best known to us for three things: reforming the Carmelites, writing The Interior Castle, and her cheeky retort to being summarily dumped in a stream by her horse. Looking up to heaven, she cried, “If this is how you treat your friends, Lord, no wonder you have so few of them.”

Oh, yes, and her poetry. In Spanish, of course.

Let nothing trouble you,
let nothing frighten you.
All things pass away, but God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
She who possesses God, wants for nothing.
God alone suffices. 

Sometimes motherhood hurts. Sooner or later, we all get knocked on our butts in the proverbial stream of life.

For some women, the labor of motherhood begins even before the first labor pang — especially for those who are “reproductively challenged.” The examinations. The tests. The failures. The ache of longing unfulfilled. The burn of impertinent questions. The regret of the empty cradle.

With adoption, we mothers experience many of the same joys other mothers experience — the thrill of childhood milestones, the warmth of a child’s affection, the satisfaction of occupied arms and hearts. However, there are times when we also experience unique challenges, and even heartache.

This week two dear friends reminded me of the silent struggles of adoption, the secret misgivings. The self-doubt. The anxieties. However much we love our children, there are certain parts of our children’s lives — set in motion by their first parents — that we cannot overcome through sheer force of will. We can love them. We can guide them. We can encourage them. We can correct them. But we cannot change who they are at the most primal level. Not with a million specialists. We cannot turn back the hands of time.

But the thing is . . . it’s okay. The God of the universe, who set those wheels in motion, who created that little life with all the gifts and challenges that are unique to them, loves our children even more than we can. His plans for them far outstretch our own. And when we come to the end of ourselves, and wonder if our best efforts will in the end be good enough, we can echo the words of that great Carmelite . . .

“God alone suffices.”

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Today at CatholicExchange.com I came across this sad story, in which a woman who had left the lesbian lifestyle to marry and raise her children was forced to relinquish custody of her adopted children to her former lover.

At every level, this makes no sense — the woman who was granted sole custody was not the legal parent of the children.  Nor was it in the children’s best interest, as they have now been denied not only their mother but their best chance to have a father as well.

Please pray for this family. These poor kids are going to need all the prayers they can get!

Montana Supreme Court Hands Parental Rights of Woman’s Adopted Children to Former Lesbian Lover

Posted using ShareThis

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jesus and the womenOne of the shortest Gospel readings is this weekend, from Mark 11:

While Jesus was speaking,
a woman from the crowd called out and said to him,
“Blessed is the womb that carried you
and the breasts at which you nursed.”
He replied, “Rather, blessed are those
who hear the word of God and observe it.”

There are times in Scripture — and this is one of them — when the Lord refers to his blood relations (in this case, the Blessed Mother) in a manner that to our ears sounds overly casual, if not outright dismissive.

“Yes, okay, my mother is blessed for having given me life …. but how much more is the one who understand the spiritual significance of my physical presence in the world. How much more the blessing abounds in the life of THIS person (of whom no doubt the Blessed Virgin Mary was one.)

This Gospel passage offers a strange kind of comfort for those whose spiritual well-being has been compromised by physical realities: the infertile, the sick, the lonely, the grieving, the suffering. Some of us have had to relinquish our own dreams and plans, in order that God would be able to fill our hands with something better. To each of us, He whispers,

“Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and do it.”

What is God asking you to do today?

Image Credit: Artist is Daniel O’Connell (d.1976). Website with his art may be accessed here.

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In this recent interview on CNS, Pope Benedict is quoted during a meeting with Brazilian bishops.

He said as divorces increase and cohabitation is on the rise, the children in these situations are “deprived of their parents’ support and become victims of malaise and abandonment, thus spreading social disorder.”

Children need concrete fixed points of reference such as having one set of parents who will always be united as a family, the pope said.

He said divorce is sabotaging the traditional sense of an extended family by creating too many “parents,” such as stepmothers and stepfathers.

I can’t help but wonder whether this “too many parents” problem could extend to adoptive families in which birth parents are involved early on in the child’s life. Only time will tell whether the “open adoption” trend will have the same effect as the presence of step-parents in families in which the parents are divorced (as opposed to widowed).

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peek babyToday on Sarah’s FB page was a link to this article in America magazine that compares childbirth and prayer. One paragraph in particular caught my attention:

“All the adorable clothes for infants, jokes about pickles and ice cream, and debates about appropriate names for children occupy the expectant woman’s mind like sitting-room company sharing a pleasant tea—until labor begins. In a flash, your visitors leave, their cooling teacups half-empty. Alone, or with a trusted companion, you may wait out the beginning contractions by reading a book or watching a movie, but you know as you have never known in your life what the main event is. Birth is the rock of motherhood. It does not easily allow diversions; it is more glorious and messy, more trying and transformative than a person might suspect. Basically, it is a lot like prayer.”

For adoptive and foster parents, this “glorious and messy, trying and transformative” encounter with new life (well, new to your family) takes place when the child arrives in your family. It can be painful. It’s almost always messy. It can leave you wondering if you’ll ever want to embark on a similar adventure (or recommend it to someone else) ever again. Not only is it hard work — but it actually involves actual prayer.

Choosing to love the creature who is, at that moment, most unloveable is perhaps the best example of loving as God loves, of becoming truly Christ-like.

How will you embrace your fiery gift today?

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