Thursday, November 1, 2012

Adoption, Pregnancy, and The Tower of Babel

Genesis 11:4  They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”
I've been thinking a lot lately about pride.
Pride in my life and pride in "Christian" circles.
It's not really a secret that I am proud of my little family.  This vacillates between a good, healthy kind of pride and the sinful kind of pride that "goeth before a fall."

I think families and the building of families are a huge source of pride in Christianity.  And sadly, it's pretty permissible  given our Biblical excuses. After all, didn't God tell us to be "fruitful and multiply" and "children are a heritage from the Lord?"

It's easy to see the pride in pregnancy.  I won't go into it in huge detail, but pregnancy and labor and how healthy you were and what you did and didn't do during pregnancy, or how easy it was to get pregnant, or how hard it was to get pregnant, and then the delivery stories (egads!) become a huge badge of honor or achievement for mothers.  (This is not limited to the church but becomes accentuated in Christian circles oftentimes, because motherhood is "the highest calling"* and that "the miracle of giving life to someone is one of the greatest accomplishments of man."**)

In adoption, I've noted that we often have pride over adjustment and attachment...or what types of needs we are open to parenting, or how many kids we can procure through various means.  Or even about what kind of snarky comments we received and how we respond to them.  Please don't misunderstand.  I wholeheartedly believe adoption is a beautiful way to build a family.  But it shouldn't be an identity badge for parents.  Yes, you parent differently and yes, your family looks different.  But you shouldn't be fighting for viability as a parent all of your days.  God placed your child with your family.  He believes you capable of parenting.

It's like we Christian parents are setting up our families like the tower of Babel----to make a name for ourselves, to be seen by everyone.  We care about what people think.  (I'm learning this myself each and every day, when I deal with my child who is a bully to other children.  It's more appropriate in Christian circles or parenting circles in general to have not had a child who ever went through "that phase" or to have the child who "was always the victim, so the other kid deserved it."  It's tough to swallow my pride and say, "Yes. I'm the mama of the boy who made your child cry today.")

How can we destruct our towers of Babel?  Brick by brick.
We can recognize that our family can become an idol.
We can be vulnerable.
We can keep our mouths shut every now and then.
We can take down sources of pride in our lives: our children's accomplishments and developmental milestones are not always of the utmost concern to God.  He cares about their hearts.
We can reconstruct our towers/families on a proper foundation: God's word and what is close to His heart.
We can model humility to our children.  We can be servants to struggling families we know.
We can refrain from judgement.
 We can view family in a broader sense of the word: our Christian family, God's church---our brothers and sisters---and affirm and build our Christian family up, instead of constantly building ourselves up.

This is hard.
But it will be worth it.
Join me in building your tower as a testament of God's mercy and His grace.

*Please note this as a fallacy commonly believed.  Motherhood is not the highest calling.  The call to repentance, followed by the call to sanctification through obedience and daily surrender would be the highest callings we can have as Christians.
** I may not be a well-studied scholar, but I believe that Jesus stressed over and over the importance of "if you love me, be a servant" or "if you love me, obey my commands" and not the importance of procreation. 

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