God's plans

I just read this post at Our Little Tongginator about adoption as God's Plan B when a child cannot remain with his or her biological family. The consensus seems to be that people should fight to keep biological families together and that adoption should come only after all other resources have failed. In this sense, the biological parents are the child's Plan A and the adoptive parents are the child's Plan B. (The actual post is much more nuanced, so go read it.)

One graph of this post states that it "is an absolute TRAGEDY that a child cannot stay with his or her biological family" no matter the cause and that adoption is "bandaid placed on a gaping wound." I agree with this statement, to a point. The graph goes on to reference "the sins of another who held power over the parents (whether familial or societal or political)."

That's where it loses me. This hits so close to home. I agree that in a perfect world, parents would only give birth to children they intend to love and protect, and that the resources for doing that would be available. But if God's plan for a child in this real world is that he stay with his biological family, where does that leave the adoptive parents who have poured their souls into loving a child (or the child who is as cherished by his adoptive family as any biological child) when biological parents come calling months or years after the adoption? Is it a sin to fight reunification with the biological family when sometimes you forget that you didn't push your adopted child from your own womb?

For five long years, I attempted to maintain an open relationship between my son and his biological father, but I had to end it. Why? Because he put our son in danger by taking him to a hotel room with his crack-addicted wife (who'd been cheating on him for months) to reconcile. He was supposed to return Javi to our home at 6 pm on a Friday night and it was 11 pm before we finally found our baby and got him home (after hunting and begging and calls to the police). Four years have passed since then and I continue to deny him any visitation with my son until he hashes out with us what he did and earns back our trust that our son is safe with him. He doesn't think he should have to do that and says he simply made a mistake on the night in question. He says I am a bully, that I over-reacted to the night in question, and that it is wrong to keep him away from his child. Who's right?

Then there's my sister, Javi's biological mother. She has benefited from the same open relationship, until I found out she was sneaking gifts to Javi from his biological father and coaching him to keep it a secret from us. My son doesn't keep secrets well and eventually told us, crying the entire time because he thought it was bad to betray these people. I confronted my sister is a calm sit-down session and she called him a liar and a manipulator. A full month later, Javi broke down and told me the rest of the story. She was also squirreling him away to talk to his biological father on the phone -- all while telling him that if he told us, he'd get them all in trouble. I gave her the opportunity to 'fess up and she threw her barbed-wire lies at the very child she gave to me to love and protect. She had the chance for understanding and she chose selfishness instead. So I've shut the door on her. Is it wrong to keep her biological child away from her?

So you can see why I'm torn. If you'd asked me on December 24, 2000 whether my son should be reunited with his biological parents, I would've said yes. Ask me that question now and I'll give you a million reasons why it's wrong. The #1 reason is that their biological child is our son now. They terminated any rights they had to him. Does that mean I'm using my "power" to keep him away from them? Should I ignore their continuous screw ups in the name of keeping a biological unit together? Is it sinful and selfish to stand my ground? Should I encourage and facilitate their presence in his life simply because of biology? Maybe letting them in won't scar him for life -- but what if it does?

Obviously I have felt strongly that Javi's biological parents have a role in his life (though if I had to do it over again, things would be different), and I'm willing to accept that God has a plan for my son. However, I can't believe that He would want me -- or any other adoptive parent -- to play so fast and loose with an innocent child's heart in the name of biology or our perception of His will. Do you?


  • Gucci Mama

    Just stopping by from the Ladies Blogger Society - love your blog! This post fascinated me; it's a perspective I've not heard before. For what it's worth, I think you're doing exactly the right thing. He is YOUR child and you have to protect him. He clearly needs that protection from his biological parents. Maybe in the future when he's older, and if the bio's have cleaned up their act the door can be opened again, but I applaud the way you handled the situation. I don't think you could have or should have done anything differently. ;)

  • Katie Jones

    First of all, about your situation - yes, I think you're doing the right thing in keeping Javi away from his biological parents. YOU ARE HIS MOTHER, and keeping him safe - regardless from whom - is your job.

    Now, for the linked post... I have a problem with her idea, but I almost have a hard time conceptualizing the problem because she just says everything so nicely. Here is just another example of why it is very hard to reconcile traditional religious ideas such as "God's plan for my life" with reality. The problem of evil in the world is just that - a problem, and not one that I or the lady originally posting can solve. However, as a very pro-adoption person, I feel uncomfortable saying that adoption is a Plan B. That almost seems to trivialize the whole process and the love between adoptive parents and adoptees. I bet this will be rolling around in my mind all day...

  • Bibliomama

    I don't have any personal experience with this, but I've thought about it a lot. Who's right? You are. In a less perfect world, your son would have been raised by those biological parents, who can't get past their own selfishness and damage to do what's best for their child. That would have been plan B, not him ending up with someone who thinks about what's best for him before what's best for them. I'm sure your stance must make your relationship with your sister incredibly difficult, but this is what parents do -- they put the child first. Those news stories about courts who award custody of a child back to his biological parents when the child has lived with someone else for years? They make me livid.

  • Courtney

    I think this could go either way, a child can be living with biological parents and have a hell of a life wishing he had a plan b, and situations like yours where he has a plan. how on earth are we to know what Gods Ideal plans are and are not. God didnt believe that Ashlyn living with us was an ideal plan and instead decided she was best in heaven. Of course I would rather her be here and be plan b but who is to say what is best, God and his doing is not really are to speculate and assume his ideal plan is biological parents. i think you are amazing and hopefully one day his biological parents are able to step up and be a little more involved but you will always be his parents, God Bless people like you who are willing to step in bad situations and give a child a life that is a picture of a home.

  • Kelly Miller

    Thanks ladies for such thoughtful responses.

    @Gucci Mom - I think my problem is I do sometimes feel selfish about my stance because the biological parents *have* turned their lives around (to a degree) and could legitimately raise a child without scarring him. They are still selfish and still put themselves first, but many people do that and still raise healthy kids.

    @Katie - Yes! She's so nice. And the thought isn't necessarily "bad" -- it just assumes so much and really only takes into account the initial adoption. What about all the gunk that follows along. International adoptions are a little "cleaner" that way -- there aren't usually biological parents living in the same town.

    @Bibliomama - They make me livid, too! I brought my son home from the hospital and have loved him fiercely ever since. If biological parents get their crap together, should I just give him back to them? I'm not a perfect parent, but that's my kid we're talking about!

    @Courtney - You are so wise and I love hearing your perspective. You are right -- there's no way for us to understand something so grand as God's plan. I am going to go hug my babies and stop trying to figure out what's way beyond my comprehension.

  • a Tonggu Momma

    I was planning to write you an email, but then I saw this post. So glad I did!

    I should probably explain that I wrote that sentence with a China-adoption perspective in mind... by that, I mean that a great many Chinese adoptees were abandoned not by their first parents (birthparents), but by paternal grandparents. Culturally, the paternal grandparents make decisions within the family... if they say the child will not be raised by the family, then the child will not be raised by the family. That was the situation in my mind as I wrote that statement regarding familial pressures, since sometimes Chinese parents wish to parent, but are not allowed to do so. Sometimes grandparents will even abandon a child without the parents' knowledge. And then, afterward, the parents are left feeling helpless because, if they come forward searching for their child, the relative who DID abandon the child could be punished.

    It was not in my mind at all to consider ongoing contact with a first family (not that I am opposed to it, just that I was thinking of China and abandonment as I wrote that statemnet). I would never to presume to tell a parent what is right in your situation... so many factors I have no knowledge of, including the most obvious question of the child's safety. Further contact is something I believe each parent should prayerfully consider and then make a decision (keeping in mind, of course, that the child will grow up to have an opinion on it as well). It's not my place to say one way or the other.

    Blessings to you!

  • suzannah | the smitten word

    i read her post and left a lengthy response there.

    while adoption may be a "band-aid on the gaping wound" of global poverty, addiction, abuse, teen pregnancy, etc--it is a mischaracterization of adoption's positive effect on the individual children who get to have parents who love and care for them. that's no band-aid--that is what every child needs (and what God wants for them.)

    you are caring for your son and protecting his heart from unsafe influences--even if they are biological. in a perfect world, of course intact families are best, but this world is far from perfect. loving safe homes are best, regardless of biology.

  • The Drama Mama

    I'm not reading her post (yet). I had twins when I was younger. I worked hard for the first 4 months of their lives to take care of them. I wanted far more for them then what I would have been able to give them as a single, teenage mom. My parents adopted them. THere was only one moment in their entire lives that I ever tried to take my rights back. It was out of pure selfishness. I have always been in their lives though, but I know that my parents would have never allowed me to take the twins anywhere, even if it were only for a couple of hours. I think it's great that you try to maintain an open relationship with Javi's bio parents, since you really don't have to. He is YOUR SON. Period. Just as my twins consider me their sister, your sister is his aunt. That's all the right she has to him now. If I were in your shoes, I would be doing the same thing you are. God bless you, Kelly, for being there to bring up this little boy and giving him a better life. I thank Him every day for providing my twins with a better life and allowing me to still be a part of it.

  • Cheri

    All I have to add to this is that just because someone has the capability to give birth to a child does not necessarily mean they are ready or able to parent a child. I lived first-hand the life of a child who had no business being with her biological parent. My step-mother (whom I stayed with after she divorced my father) was the best thing that ever happened to me! And she protected me from my bio father for years.

  • Unknown

    I gave my oldest son to my parents 4 years ago. My reasons are between me, them and God. There are days I regret and wish I could snuggle my baby back to me and tend to his every wound....and yes...it does hurt to hear him say he would rather go to Grammy when he is sick than Mommy...but I made the choice I thought & knew was BEST for him at the time...and although I have my days...I am so glad I made that choice.

    It took me getting to a place with Christ where I fully understood how he loves us and protects us and how he will do just about ANYTHING to get our attention and to keep us from harm to realize that he knew ahead of time that my son would be best cared for in the arms of his Grammy & Poppy...with his Mommy watching from the side and ALWAYS there with love.

    I am blessed to have a great open relationship with him...and he is and always will be my son...but they...are and always will be his parents.

    (((HUGS))) to you for caring for your son! God will bless you!

  • Kelly Miller

    I would just like everyone to know that I am so moved by all the love and generosity and trust that you have shown for your children, especially those who are birth mothers who entrusted their children to an adoptive family. It is such a special gift, and birth mothers are often not shown the respect they deserve.

  • Cheryl

    I don't know what makes me sicker, the article that inspired this post or what your sister did to your - YOUR - son. As a teacher, I saw first hand children who should not have been with their biological parents. In many cases, I was the one who made the call that ultimately had them taken away. It was a difficult thing to do because those so-called parents are all that child knows. But I quickly learned that giving birth doesn't necessarily make you what that child needs.

    You are an amazing woman for being a mom to Javi. You are an amazing woman for giving his birth parents a chance to be part of his life. And you are an amazing woman for protecting him from them when you realized that they weren't safe. I have no doubt that Javi knows this, and I'm sure he will forever be grateful to you for it.

  • Draft Queen

    I'm not particularly spiritual. I have issues with Faith. But I know this: I would stop at nothing to keep my best friend's son from his birth mother. At least until I feel he is old enough to make that decision for himself.

    Some people just aren't capable of caring for themselves, let alone others.

  • Amy W.

    Nothing is a surprise to God. He knew before time that your son would need you to be his mom. He knew what your son would go through with his biological parents and that he would need your strength to help him to grow up to honour his Father. Jesus tells us to care for the widows and the orphans and that is what you are doing. Don't question it- just love that God trusted you enough with this child and that He is proud of you for honouring His word and command and loving His child.
    Yes it would be wonderful if our world was not broken and people didn't hurt each other. It would be great if families could stay together and children weren't treated the way they are. It is the reality of the world we live in- not safe, not full of love to the people who need it most- children. I believe with all of my heart that God wants us to give any child we can, the gift of His hope and love- whether they are biologically ours or not. Someday we will live in that world - the perfect loving world- and when you get there, Jesus will tell you He is proud of you for the way you love your son.

  • Nina

    no. late to the game in answering but...

    growing up there was much debate as to who my father was - my mother and father were married to other people when I was concieved...I have a brother younger than me from my father's other marriage, it was ugly, I always felt rejected. because I was. when I was 7 I finally told the adults who was my father and I would be calling him dad and the other one mike. I was done with not knowing and no one giving me a straight answer. when I was 13 I made my biological father adopt me like said I will never speak to you or call you dad again if you don't. its led to me being much screwed up in my life especially with men.

    fast forward many years and I'm in a bad relationship with a crazy alcoholic, neither of which he will get help for. he asks me to marry him, I say no. we hang out...I get pregnant, he leaves (not knowing I was pregnant), I tell him I'm doing this on my own. and he says lets get married. I say no. I say get help or no contact and he'd rather not have it. he emails once in a while saying he's sad about my decision. and how unfair it is. but he's still drinking. he still has mental health issues. and I'm not going to let him hurt my son. emotionally or physically. sure my son asks now about dads and I just say some kids have them, some don't. you don't. he may be mad at me later for not letting his father in but that is his father's choice. stop drinking. get therapy so your hatred for yourself doesn't extend to hatred for your son. he won't. his choice. and I think that's best for my son. I think you are doing best for your son.

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