There was a post on another site a while back asking whether anyone, when discussing the adoption of our child, suggested or claimed that it was “meant to be.”
The original question concerned the role of “God” in bringing families together through adoption — i.e., whether there is any comfort to be found in believing that a child’s adoption was part of “God’s plan.”
I realize I might offend here, so I apologize in advance. I am not a religious person, so I’ve never really considered or given much credence to this thought.
I’m not going to explore how I think the fundamental premise of the question is rather dismissive of the adoptee experience, as well as the role of the child’s first parents. Or how any god that would will or enable such suffering — i.e., the separation of a parent from his/her child, of a child from his/her mother and father, or of a parent from any child s/he longed for — is not one in which I choose to believe.
I know some people take real comfort in religion. Honestly, sometimes I envy that sort of faith. But I can’t share it.
Still, the question got me thinking about something that has been said about our adoption.
In my last post, I mentioned how I used to say that we were “lucky” to have met K when we did. Luck isn’t the right word, for so many reasons. I just felt so fortunate. Yet I know that our good fortune meant loss for others. This is the inherent paradox of adoption — the joy and the pain.
In truth, I never wished that on anyone. Even when I so desperately hoped and wished for a child, when I so longed to hold a baby in my arms, when I’d cry myself to sleep wondering if I would ever love a child of my own, I never wished the anguish of separation on any mother or father, or child.
Yet this is how families are formed through adoption.
When we chose to try to build our family through adoption, we knew that if we ended up as parents, it would only be because someone else could not. We could not become parents on our own. Someone would have to choose us as parents for their child. The magnitude (and the uncertainty) of that thought was so overwhelming. Maybe it would happen, maybe it wouldn’t. There was no guarantee that we would become parents.
We knew we could only control so much. We could be honest and ethical. We could be authentic. We could open our hearts or we could put up a defense. We could release our intention into the universe and see what returned. We could say yes to a potential situation or we could say no. But the rest of it, well the rest of it was really out of our hands.
In life, and in adoption, some take comfort in the belief that their God is watching over them, perhaps even guiding them. Some believe it is truly a matter of fate or destiny. Others throw it up to luck, chance or circumstance.
We put our faith in the universe. Only the forces of nature had held such sacred ground in our own hearts and souls. Yet nature had also worked against us for so long, or more likely it was we who struggled against nature. Still, despite the years of infertility, losing our son half way to term, all of it, we did believe that we were “meant” to be parents, somehow. We had to hope that someone in an impossible situation might consider us to become parents to their child, if they were truly unable to themselves. We had to believe in the possibility that such a situation, while impossible for someone else, would be “right” for us, for all of us.
We were hoping to meet someone who wanted the same things we did for a child. We were hoping to meet someone who was free from pressure, who ideally had more options than ambivalence. We were hoping to meet someone with whom we shared some common interests, someone we would want to call family.
And we did. Relatively quickly.
Was it random luck? Fate or destiny? Mere circumstance?
At the time we called it synergy. The timing was such that it was impossible to ignore. Plus it didn’t feel random. In fact, we found each other through various means (i.e., family, friends, professionals, midwives, internet). If K was determined to place, it seems we would have found each other one way or another. We believed, all of us, that some force in the universe allowed us to find each other at this critical crossroads in our lives. Somehow our paths intertwined at that very moment.
So, is that belief any different than believing in “God’s plan” or fate or destiny?
Yes, of course, to me. But how?
As I said in my last post, our daughter’s birth grandmother has shared her belief that “luck” had nothing to do with us finding each other, that the stars were simply “aligned” and that the “universe unfolded” just as it should have.
Does this mean that her daughter, K, never had a choice, that she was “meant” to place her child with us? No. I don’t think that’s what she means at all.
At any point in K’s process, she could have chosen another path. K had support, guidance, resources. Yet once she decided what she wanted for her child, she set on a course to make that happen. K has a way of manifesting reality like I have never seen.
Somehow, she found us.
Somehow, we found each other.
Although we came into each other’s lives at that moment in time, we still knew well that we might not be this child’s parents. That would be K’s choice. She had many along the way.
And that’s where I think the fundamental difference is.
But is it simply predetermination versus free will? I think there is a distinction between suggesting that someone’s God has preordained the conception and placement of a child before s/he is ever born, and the notion that natural forces in the universe (i.e., the stars, moon, tides, energy, etc.) with which we are inexplicably linked may help guide or hinder our actions, perhaps depending on whether we act in accord or discord with those forces.
Then again, maybe I still believe that sometimes random shit just happens.
Wait, bear with me here.
When our son died, I never believed that it was “meant” to be, for any reason. I loathed that whole line of false comfort. I didn’t believe that some God was responsible; I had no God in which to place my faith for healing. I didn’t believe that our son’s soul was simply not ready to join us. I didn’t believe that I was being punished for some past misdeed. No, not everything happens for a reason. The reality is, it was only “meant” to be because it happened. My son died because my body failed him. Why did the conditions arise that led to my womb’s inhospitable habitat? Probably a mixture of biology, chemistry, environment, history and poor medical practice. Was it “God”? No. Was it the stars or fate? I don’t think so.
It was only “meant” to be because it happened.
When we talked with K about the path that led us to adoption, there was no sorrowful regret. There was only what was. When we discussed what led us to each other, we agreed there are no coincidences. We talked about how each decision along the way has far-reaching and often unforeseeable consequences. Every action a reaction. Each of us had made choices along the way that somehow resulted in our paths crossing at that particular moment in time, just as we were in effect searching for each other.
Yet whatever brought us together, be it fate, luck, coincidence, or some universal synergistic force, ultimately K was still the mistress of her plan. It was she who decided that we should become our daughter’s parents, and we who embraced such a tremendous honor.
Becoming parents to our daughter was only “meant” to be because it happened.