One of the wonderful things about the Open Adoption Interview Project is all the new blogs to follow. One of the awful things about the Open Adoption Interview Project is all the new blogs to follow. I’m obviously going to have to spring clean my Google Reader so I can fit some new ones in. One I found last night via the project was a relatively new blog called Tears of/and Joy. While Anne, the writer, has been part of the adoption triad for a couple of years she has been blogging just a couple of months. Anyway, I was reading this post of hers called Losing My Religion, about how their mixed faith family was considered to be an impediment to adoption by adoption agency workers, and I thought ‘I’ve never shared how we came to match so quickly’. The two things are related. You’ll have to go to Anne’s blog to read her take on their situation and how religion is considered by adoption agencies, but I thought I would share an important part of our story. I actually wrote most of this as a comment on Anne’s post, but what the heck.
We’re atheists. There I’ve said it. Shock, horror. I’ve actually had people gasp when I’ve shared this. There are actually quite a lot of us out there and most of us are perfectly nice people. Atheism is not paganism and we’re not heathens. Actually, we’re humanists which is what I’ve started saying rather than atheist, as it is a more accurate description and because there is such a negative connotation with atheism for many. What is humanism? As far as we’re concerned it comes down to this- We don’t believe in the supernatural. This earth here? This life? This is what we have. We have do the right thing this life time for others, for ourselves, for this place, no do overs. We are compelled by reason, by logic and by our humanity, which we believe is inside pretty much all but some total psychopaths, to do so. Not by some super natural being.
I worried that our atheism/humanism would be a major road block to adoption. There were agencies that wouldn’t even consider us. In the end, being atheists/humanists was one of the main reasons why Big Mama, first mother to our son Fox, considered us.
We had our home study done by a local home study agency. The agency isn’t a matching agency and does no marketing to expectant parents, just home studies for foster and adoptive situations and pre and post placement counseling. We were planning to sign up with one of the big open adoption agencies on the West Coast. We didn’t qualify (not Christian, not medically infertile) for most local agencies and we were not willing to work with agencies who wouldn’t work with same-sex couples and weren’t focused on open ethical adoption. Big Mama approached our agency looking for potential adoptive parents who were atheist or agnostic or just not super religious just as our home study was making its final stops through the court system. We had been very upfront in our home study interviews about our beliefs. Prior to our application we had debated waffling about being spiritual (you can be without being religious I believe) or something and didn’t feel it was an accurate representation. We settled on saying we were humanists/atheists and explaining our families religious leanings. When we questioned the home study social worker as to whether being atheists would be a stumbling block to being matched she gave an honest response, that for some expectant parents it would be, but that it would appeal to others and some just wouldn’t care; that it was important to be honest as the adoption triad is an ongoing relationship. We spent a fair bit of time explaining what humanism meant to the social worker as she wasn’t familiar with it. In the end it was that frank conversation about humanism and atheism that meant our names were put forth as one of a very short list to Big Mama.
Just a note, Big Mama wants Fox supported to explore and come to his own conclusions about faith, but to know and understand no matter what route he decides that kindness to fellow humans and this place we live in is valued highly. This has always been our parenting philosophy, that our job is to support and guide, but not dictate. So that is where it started for us. A call, “We’ve got an unusual situation. An expectant mother has approached us. She is wants to find a family for her son that isn’t religious, but maybe agnostic, atheist, just not religious. She wants potential adoptive parents who really want a fully open adoption.” A few other things too, but really that is how it started. I realize that for some who see adoption as a way to bring souls to the Kingdom of Heaven this placement is a disaster, but our journey, our charge is quite different, to be loving, stable, supportive parents to a child and loving, open and supportive family members to his mother (first mother) and sisters (plural – Big Sis and Bean).
We were to have our second visit today, but Big Mama’s car wasn’t up to the drive, so we’re going up to see her in the next few days and, like her, I’m excited and nervous all at the same time. The last visit, when Fox was less than two weeks old, was both beautiful and heartbreaking. This visit will be shorter than we had originally planned for today, but we’re already talking about our Solstice visit. I’m hoping for a beautiful visit again, and wishing for less pain in goodbye. A girl can wish. Right?
And because this post needs a photo and this photo, or rather the very fine shirt that was embroidered for Fox, should be seen. I present to you,
Reformed Blastocyst by a most talented and gracious friend ML.
Oh how my science geek rejoices at this.