Tag Archive: catholic


i met James at an improv group class i sometimes attend in Philadelphia and he was the first one to jump into sharing his adoption story. even though the story is pretty hectic, it seems like James has somehow come through it really positively without having any major adoption issues. Thankx for sharing, James:

Well basically I’ve known I’m adopted my whole life. It was never some shrouded family secret. In fact the entire process was made very transparent to me as a kid. That’s not to say that I knew all of the darker details until much later.

Essentially the story goes as such: my birth mother, who was relatively young at the time she got pregnant (around 20,) was schizophrenic. She was very naive about sex and wound up in a one night stand situation with a man she hardly knew. When she became pregnant she and her parents went back and forth about whether or not she was going to have the baby. They were a Catholic family and they heavily pressured her to not have an abortion.

Ultimately when I was born my birth mother decided she wanted to keep me. Social workers, however, felt that she was not mentally equipped to raise me. Thus at the age of 2 weeks I was put into a foster home.

I was placed with a family of four who were absolutely wonderful. You often seen foster families depicted as abusive or terrifying, but I lucked out. They became my family for 2 and a half years! What I now know from having unlocked my adoption records is that my birth mother refused to relinquish her parental rights until that time. She was given chance after chance to prove she could be responsible.

It’s really a tragic story on her end. She ended up meeting and marrying a man with whom she conceived another child. He was mentally well, and it seems like she would be able to get custody of me…but then he died suddenly from a blood condition. Now she had not one but two children whom she could not take care of.

The other sad thing is that by the time I as 2 1/2 and her rights *were* fully terminated, my foster family – who had been planning to adopt me all along – realized that their son was developing a problem with cocaine. They felt it would be irresponsible to split their focus on another child, so they allowed another family to adopt me. That’s the family that raised me.

People get very confused, but I always say that I look at it as having three families: my birth family (the woman who actually gave birth to me,) my foster family (who raised me to age 2 1/2) and my adoptive family, IE: they with whom I spent my entire life.
For the first 15 years or so of my life I had very intimate ties to my foster family, often staying with them several times a year for holidays and such.

I don’t have a lot of adoption issues. A lot of adopted people want to know why they were given up, but even before I knew the answer to that later in life I never really wanted to know. I unlocked my adoption record when I was 19 because I wanted to know if there were any medical issues in my family history.

What I found out is that along with the birth half-sibling I mentioned above, my birth mother went on to have two more children later in life who were also taken into the foster system. So in total I have three half siblings out there in the world. That’s sometimes hard for me to think about because I have absolutely no idea how to track them down.

It’s fascinating to me that people consider adoption taboo even in 2012. We should be much more focused on solving the problems within the foster care system than on the weird stigma associated with being adopted!

so this teacher of the law comes up to Jesus and says, “So what is the most important command in the law?”

it’s a trick question and yet Jesus floors the gang of them by summing up the whole law as “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your mind and with all your strength. and love your neighbour as yourself.” [paraphrase, Matthew 22.37-38]

and since then, christians through the years have been well known for hating gay people, and people who have abortions, and the Catholics, and people who drink and do drugs, and those who live together, and black people, and people who run sex shops and so on…

is it just me, or are you thinking that maybe that’s not EXACTLY what Jesus was going for?

in fact, in John 13.34-35 He repeats the command/expectation/inspiration/mission when He says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.”

THE CHRISTIAN TATTOO

how is it possible that for the most part it often seems as if christians are known for what they are against, rather than what they are for? we placard, we burn down, we email petition, we march, we ban, we exclude, we look down upon and we gossip, among other things, against all the evil sin that surrounds us in the world (and retreat once more to the safety of the church bubble we have created)

and yet the mark of a Christian, our tattoo as it were, is meant to be love. be known by the love you have for each other. in fact, before we even get to the rest of the world, that’s where we stumble isn’t it? cos we can’t even love ourselves? because we all belong to different demonisations, sorry ‘denominations’, and let me tell you why my church is better than your church, or why you have it wrong, or how you should be doing baptism or communion or singing or dancing or not dancing or whatever…

[at this point i glance over my shoulder and see Jesus fashioning a whip together]

fortunately though, Jesus doesn’t give up on us. and fortunately Love, true sacrificial life-transforming redemptive love is contagious. in Corinthians it concludes the love-is-a-choice list with ‘Love never fails’ – it makes mistakes, it gets it wrong sometimes, it messes up horribly… but it never fails. and that is exciting!

so it can begin with you. and me. let’s commit to being known by the love we have one for another. for those we disagree with. for those who do things we don’t understand or even find downright offensive. for those who sin and don’t even seem to notice and care.  for those who do church differently from us. let’s wear the tattoo of God’s love. let’s be salt and light. let’s be ambassadors, and a fresh fragrance and aroma of Christ.

let’s be followers of Jesus (and not just christians!)

after all, wasn’t it Him who, while suffering a torturous agonising death, called out, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

go.

do.

be.

[Love never fails!]

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