Dear Derek: I’ve written you four letters already, and it occurs to me that, although I’ve talked about how we adopted you, I haven’t said all that much about what being adopted actually means. We should think together about this before I finish these letters.
It’s natural, I think, that you should wonder about that—about why you’re adopted, whether it makes any difference, and whether it makes you a different sort of person. Obviously, we don’t plan or intend that children should be adopted. We expect that children can be cared for by their biological parents, and usually they are. That’s a good thing. Those biological ties are important, because human beings are bodies. We’re connected to each other by bonds of kinship and descent, in which a child is a kind of bodily image of the marriage of a man and woman. If we pretended this was not important, we’d be thinking of ourselves as more like angels—bodiless spirits. But we’re not made like that.