Yesterday, Kevin wrote a heartfelt response (make sure to read all the comments!) to Adoption, Destiny and Magical Thinking, a blog post on the New York Times’ website. The author, researching a book on magical thinking, was pointed towards adoptive parents, and their propensity to rely on magical thinking as a way to describe how their family was formed. For various reasons, many families believed their adopted child was brought to them by destiny or as a part of God’s plan.
Personally, I believe adoptees come to their families through a conscious, deliberate process called adoption. While each adoption story is interesting in its own unique way, I don’t believe divinity or destiny played any part. Instead, the key actors are things like class, gender, race, and privilege. Much like the word “colorblind” is used to ignore racism, “destiny” and “God’s plan” is used to erase the root of all adoptions – Loss. Everyone in the adoption story starts in the negative; a mother loses her child, a child its family, adoptive parents acknowledge the loss of a biological child (whether by nature or choice).
So, here’s my uncomfortable question – If you and/or your partner are unable to have children biologically, does that mean it’s destiny or God’s plan that you not parent? Does God just skip over this fact? Is adoption just convenient way to ignore your destiny or is it a divine alternate path? Does everyone who wants to be a parent get to be a parent? I really, truly do not know the answer to this question. I’m no longer a practicing religious person, so I can’t pretend to know what’s on God’s mind. Also, I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to grant or deny parenting privileges to people, but I do wonder if people, namely adoptive parents, do believe someone or thing does have that authority, what does it mean when the first or natural means to having a family is denied?