A favourite past time of Christians is to gloss over hard things by declaring that these things are “God’s plan”. Adoption – and all the loss, the grief, the trauma, the separation, and the damage – is no exception.
So is it true? Is adoption God’s plan?
I really don’t believe it is.
I don’t believe it was God’s plan for my first mother to be alone and pregnant for the second time when she was only 18. I don’t believe it was God’s plan that she was born into a family of addiction, raised in foster homes, and then learned to fend for herself at a mere 16 years old.
I don’t believe it was God’s plan for me to separated from my mother and my older sister. I don’t believe God is in the business of broken families.
I don’t believe it was God’s plan for someone to step up to take a baby, but leave a mother alone and wounded – so they could fill their own needs. I don’t believe He is okay with adopters benefiting from a young mother going through a crisis.
I don’t believe it was God’s plan for me to be adopted by parents that would neglect and emotionally abuse me. I don’t believe it was His plan that I grow up as a lonely little girl, seeking the love and belonging I desperately needed, and having emotional damage that would never be acknowledged or tended to by my adoptive parents.
I believe God’s plan is for every last one of his children to be born into families where love and grace abound, and where they are nurtured and cherished. I believe God is in the business of people and families being whole.
“But that’s not reality, though.”
Here’s a newsflash: Not everything that happens in this world is “God’s plan”. In fact, most of it is not. So why do we call these things “God’s doings”? Are we really so simple that we can’t accept the great chasm that sometimes exists between our circumstances and God’s perfect will?
Just because it sounds nice and may feel good to believe that adoption is “God’s plan”, doesn’t make it true. It’s a lie. And it’s a harmful lie. I’ve had many people tell me that being adopted was part of His design for me. I don’t buy it. Why would His plan for one person be to grow up in a loving, secure home with their biological family, and His plan for me to begin with loss and trauma? God does not dole out good fortune to one person and less-than-ideal fortune to another; that would make Him a sick and twisted puppet master. I know it is not in His character to author harm for any of us.
Part of the enemy’s scheme is to convince us that God is the creator of our pain and hardship to turn us away from Him. The enemy doesn’t have to go any further than finding religious Christians and churches to spread this lie on his behalf. It’s sick and demonic, but it’s brilliant marketing on his part. Who better to get to spread his lies than than God’s kids themselves?
And there’s no shortage of religious Christians who will line up to spout this garbage and teach it freely. Had a miscarriage? “Well, God’s ways are mysterious, but He must have some plan for you in it.” You were diagnosed with cancer? “God wants you to learn through your suffering.” (*BARF*) That theology is a lie from the pit of hell and from the mouth of the enemy himself. God gives us life, and life abundant; He gives us hope, and a future. It is the enemy who steals, kills, and destroys (John 10:10). Don’t believe a demonically-inspired theology that will inevitably harden your heart and turn you away from the One Person who can truly help you. Because that is what that theology and the spirit behind it intends to do.
Adoption was never God’s plan for ANY of his children. And just think of the damage it causes to the heart of an adopted child to tell them that God wanted this to happen. That God authored the hurt, the trauma, the grief, and all that goes along with it. Think about it again: Why would we tell adopted children that God wanted this for them?
If you were adopted, hear this again: Adoption, and all the pain and hurt it causes, WAS NOT GOD’S PERFECT PLAN FOR YOU.
He doesn’t hurt us just to turn around and heal us. He doesn’t harm us then expect us to come running to His arms. Doctors don’t break our arm and then want to fix it – they would get charged for that, right? They’re not that stupid or twisted, so why do we think God is? (Which seems intuitively obvious, yet much Christian theology teaches this mixed-up, harm-then-heal theology.)
So where does God play a role in adoption, then?
He is the healer and redeemer. He is the one waiting to redeem all the damage done by adoption. He is the one who wants to help pick up the pieces, while he shakes His head over what messes we humans make of things when left to our own devices. He is the one who mends what was broken.
He is the one who took my shattered, orphaned soul, and tenderly pieced it back together.
He is the one who has been showing me what perfect Love is and what it looks and feels like.
He is the one who whispers to me, “I never meant for you to get hurt” and draws me into His arms, the same way we do for our kids when they experience an emotional blow at the hands of another human.
He is the Perfect Parent who has never and WILL never leave me nor forsake me. He is both mother and father, filling in the gaps and lesions I had in my heart.
He didn’t author my adoption. Because if He did, that means that He authored my mother’s wounds, my abandonment, a life of psychological abuse from a narcissistic family system, and the fact that I will never be part of a “normal” family.
He authored my redemption, when I gave Him permission.
And He wants to author yours, too. Whatever brokenness you’ve experienced.
Please, let’s stop giving the enemy free advertising by spreading his lies that make God the bad guy, turning people away from Him; instead, let’s learn God’s truth and spread that, so that people can be drawn in by His love.
God is the good guy. He is in my story, and He wants to be in yours too.
Adoption is not His plan. But healing, redemption, freedom, truth, and hope? Those are exactly His plan, which He is just waiting to carry out in each of us, if we let Him.