The other month my spouse and I received a packet in the mail from our adoption agency. It came in a large, white, important-looking envelope—a hopeful envelope. Maybe something good is about to happen, we thought.
National Organization for Marriage board chair John C. Eastman recently called adoption a “second-best option” for children. He was speaking to the Associated Press about Chief Justice John Robert’s position on the rights of same-sex couples: “Certainly adoption in families headed, like Chief Roberts’ family is, by a heterosexual couple, is by far the second-best option.”
The comment reveals less about adoptive families than about Eastman’s willingness to jettison religious tradition for political gain.
Millions of unwanted children around the world languish either in foster homes or "foster warehouses"—bleak government-run institutions where they are ignored by an indifferent staff. Many who survive become street children, enduring a jungle-like existence in the major cities of developing nations. An estimated 40 million children live this kind of life in Latin America alone.
Father Ron meant well. He would never have intentionally excluded some children from his sermon. It was Wednesday mass, and the congregation was primarily children—kindergartners through eighth-graders—with a sprinkling of teachers, administrators and parents. The text was Colossians 1:15: Christ is “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.”
Alicia Swaringen of Eugene, Oregon, received heart-swelling news the morning after the deadly January 12 earthquake in Haiti: Sthainder, the four-year-old boy she planned to adopt, was safe. And then it hit her.
The other day my husband, Ken, and I splashed and swam in a pool, then ate burgers and drank iced tea at a barbecue hosted by our friends Ann Marie and Patricia. We are pleased and proud of the honorary titles “Uncle Ken” and “Auntie Rachel,” bestowed on us by this couple and the children they are raising. I’m also thankful for permission to tell their story, which has taught me much about what the apostle Paul calls “a spirit of adoption.”
Dear Derek: I wrote last time that being adopted makes you different, and so, of course, in an obvious way it does. But I also hinted that we still had one more thing to think about in order really to get the proper theological perspective on adoption.
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.