Religion and Adoption

A topic of conversation over at Third Mom’s has spurred this post. The topic is the impact of religious beliefs on adoption.

The foundation of discourse among those most outspoken in the world of adoption seems to always teeter precariously on the pendulum of religious beliefs. There are a vast number of people who tend to use a platform of religion as their adoption ethics soap box. The problem with this ideology is that the word “religion” often comes with a tag of right-ness firmly attached. Why doesn’t that work? It closes the door to productive communication immediately because the egoic creation of right immediately gives birth to wrong. Any mutually productive and creative solution becomes impossible to manifest when two minds are battling for top spot on the soap box.

Take for example this string of commentary. The author Megan Bakaits states “to obtain ones original birth certificate is not a civil or human right.” She supports this argument from the basis of RELIGIOUS RIGHT. Pun intended. This author impressively managed to remove civil and human rights from an entire class of people based on her religious beliefs. Those of us who are active in adoption reform are no stranger to this ideology. I would venture to say each one of us has been beaten relentlessly with the religion stick on more than one occasion.

How do we navigate the waters of positive change?

There is a VAST difference between religion and spirituality. One can be deeply spiritual and yet not be confined by religious dogma because spirituality is not based on a man made belief structure. It does not gain it’s strength from any belief in right vs wrong. In other words it’s existence is not dependent upon forcing change in another.

On Third Mom’s blog Erin commented “Haven’t many of the greatest movements in history been rooted in religion? In American history alone, the abolitionists and later the civil rights movement were all rooted in religion. To ask for ethical reform without religion is, maybe to much to ask, because for many of us, religion is our guidance.”

Herein lies a HUGE misunderstanding. The most DESTRUCTIVE movements in history have been rooted in religion. The GREATEST movements in history have been rooted in SPIRITUALITY. Most of those who have been successful at being a catalyst for positive change have clearly understood the difference between religion and spirituality. Although most of these pioneers of positive change walked a preferred religious path NONE of them coined those who walked other religious paths as WRONG. They concentrated on our similarities, NOT our differences. They could truly celebrate diversity because they clearly understood our infinitely more important similarities. Any belief structure that deems itself the ONLY way must defend itself from all that does not believe just like it does. Any opposition must be eliminated. Fear is the motivator because such strict guidelines give birth to the concept; I must prove you wrong or I will cease to exist.

A shift in consciousness IS taking place. More and more people are turning inward for a closer look at the divine. Many on this amazing planet of ours are seeking insight NOT from the constructs of the egoic mind (right vs wrong, I am better than you mentality) but from a deeper, more intimate place within. We have come to a place in history where we can no longer buy the “one dogma suits all” ideology. Spirituality is slowly beginning to take over the strict confines of man made religion and not a moment too soon.

What does this have to do with adoption reform specifically?

When you remove the shackles of strict religious dogma and replace it with pure spiritual consciousness you open yourself up to infinite possibilities. Each action is based upon a deep understanding of our oneness.  If your actions are motivated by that deep understanding you automatically eliminate entitlement, you eliminate ownership, you eliminate fear, you eliminate secrecy and shame. Most importantly you eliminate the need for personal gain at the expense of another because you come to truly understand that to do unto others IS to do to unto yourself.

If you eliminate these elements from the adoption industry what are you left with? Ideal adoption reform.



Filed under Adoption Politics, Open Records, Truthful Musings

17 responses to “Religion and Adoption

  1. I agree that it is spirituality that has been the movement for change. Religion itself has often been destructive.

    For me, I’m a Christian. I firmly hold my beliefs and at the root of my belief system is that my belief is the ONLY truth, the Only way to salvation. Yes that is intolerant, and I really don’t care about “tolerance”. It doesn’t stop me from loving people exactly where they are, it is just the way I view things.

    I’m not religious. We don’t attend church, we worship God in our home and read our bibles, but don’t subscribe to a “religous” system. We subscribe to being followers of Jesus.

    For me I think the problem that has happened is people have used religion (and I’m using Christianity as the example here) for their own gain, and ignored the true meaning of what Jesus preached. That is where the problem with religion and adoption comes in. They take things out of context and twist things around to fit what they want.

    For example, the scriptures teach that homosexuality is a sin. But many Christians take that and make it a SUPER sin, and use that as justification to discriminate against people. That is NOT what Jesus teaches at all! He teaches love and grace, something that is woefully lacking in the American church 😦

    I got off on a tangent. Sorry. But obviously I’m passionate.

  2. Pingback: Must reads « Paragraphein

  3. Kippa

    Oh dear. Don’t get me going on spirituality 😉
    I think it’s almost as scary as religion.
    Deliver me from both.

  4. Bra-VO! I should have kept my mouth shut and let you do all the talking!

    So well said. And thank you for both the shout-out and the confirmation that I’m not off the wall on this one.

  5. And Erin, I love ya, but just want to add a thought re this: “For me I think the problem that has happened is people have used religion (and I’m using Christianity as the example here) for their own gain, and ignored the true meaning of what Jesus preached.”

    I agree on the “using religion for gain part,” but not the “ignored the true meaning of the teaching part.” You can devise a “true teaching” far too easily through interpretation, not just of Judeo-Christian scripture, but any religious tract. It is simply impossible to avoid.

    That opens the door to the risk that people who believe one way or another will impose their beliefs on others, with good and ill intent. Better to avoid it altogether.

  6. mia

    Erin I appreciate where you’re coming from but I see it as contradictory to talk about firmly held, judgmental (my way or the highway) beliefs being in line with the teachings of Jesus. Because they are not at all aligned. To say your way is the ONLY way IS to use religion for personal gain. Is it not?

    Thank you for the link P.

    ROTFL Kippa…I hear you. I may not be there but I hear you. lol

    Margie it’s a really great topic. You are not off the wall.

  7. I’m going to have to respectfully disagree. I believe that religion and adoption mix quite well, and if religious-based organizations did not participate, then they are doing the young women it “condemns” a disservice.

    More explained in my new blog, if any one cares to look.

  8. “Erin I appreciate where you’re coming from but I see it as contradictory to talk about firmly held, judgmental (my way or the highway) beliefs being in line with the teachings of Jesus. Because they are not at all aligned. To say your way is the ONLY way IS to use religion for personal gain.”

    I’m not sure what you think I’m gaining by this line of thinking (and I’m not being snarky or rude, just honestly don’t get it)

    Also that teaching is something that Jesus taught, so that is where I get that 🙂 And yes, it is intolerant, and judgmental, and all those things, but it is what I believe. I love people for who they are where they are, as I think that is one of the MOST important teachings of Jesus. Because I think my way is the “right” way doesn’t mean that I’m not going to love and accept people for who they are or what they believe, though I might keep my distance from some points of view, but it is where I stand on things.

    I just see the problem come up when people take things out of context and twist them around for what they want to think. But this is turning into a religious discussion, not an adoption one 🙂

  9. mia

    Thorn I will read your blog. I don’t quite understand your comment so will try to gain some clarity from your post and then reply. Thanks for the comment!

    Hi Erin,
    I don’t take you as snarky or rude. I have read your comments enough to know that’s not how you roll. ;o)

    To answer your question regarding what you stand to gain I would say by believing in the ONLY way mentality it would stand to reason that you wish to gain being right. For many traveling a more spiritual path than a religious one being right is of no real importance. It is viewed as a manufactured “need” of the egoic mind.

    Beliefs are comprised of many factors; environment and life experience being the largest components. The connection we have with one another transcends our vastly differing beliefs. It’s much deeper than that.

    I have to run. Just got a call, my mom is in the hospital. I’m sorry if this doesn’t clarify as well as I would like but I’m going to hit submit anyway. xoxo

  10. Praying for your mom!

    And I think we are gonna have to agree to disagree on this one 🙂 Thats okay too 🙂

  11. Kippa

    Really, I’m not anti-religious as such.
    There are many religious people I love and respect.
    I recognise their religion is an intrinsic part of who they are, and so I value it in them. I just don’t like affected piety and religious zeal.
    Spirituality – well, I’m just wary of those who lay claim to it.

  12. Kippa

    Megan wrote in her letter ‘ ” Redefining kinship,” as advocated by the some of these groups, is a dangerous thing. ‘
    It sounds like she’d consider her definition of ‘kinship’ to be infinitely more spiritual than mine.

    I hope your mom is OK.

  13. jmomma

    and a big smackeroo to you!!!! I just skimmed after reading Nicole’s review. I’ll be back later.

  14. Justice

    Ok, I read most of it. Megan’s idea of “redefining kinship” would qualify as more whacked out than spiritual in my vocabulary.
    Tricky words.

    Like Erin’s “my belief system is that my belief is the ONLY truth, the Only way to salvation.” I just have to ask how can a ‘belief’ be truth? A belief is a belief, something one takes on faith, or something one is trying out. Truth seems like it would be based on experience or knowledge rather than belief. And then I want to know what is ‘salvation’?

  15. mia

    Kippa being wary is the same as saying you question it’s validity right? That’s a good thing. Questioning should be a requirement when it comes to religion and spirituality. If there is no questioning going on you get a situation like we have on our hands regarding adoption: the blind leading the blind.

    Justice I guess it could be said that if someone believes something it becomes THEIR truth. That wouldn’t be dangerous if people understood when you combine the words belief and truth the word truth instantly becomes subjective and not absolute.


    —Synonyms 1. fact. 2. veracity. 7. sincerity, candor, frankness. 10. precision, exactness.
    —Antonyms 1. falsehood. 2, 4, 7. falsity.

    Basically it’s like calling anyone who has differing beliefs a liar. Respect is lost right there and so is productive communication.

  16. People forget that abolition and civil rights movements took a long time to occur, were pushed by some unique religious groups and opposed by a majority others.

    I have been attending Quaker Meetings, and they have been generally ahead of the curve when it comes to social justice. I think they can credit their unique practice for decision making – they must make decisions in unison, not by majority rule. This allows for a passionate minority to have the space and time to work on the rest of the group until some kind of decision is made that they all can be happy with. The collaborative effort weeds out some of the dangers of being either individualistically spiritual (“I know everything or oppressive top-down religion (“You are wrong”).

  17. Kippa

    ” If there is no questioning going on you get a situation like we have on our hands regarding adoption: the blind leading the blind.”

    Mia, I completely agree.
    Fundamentalism abhors doubt, and the way so many people uncritically proclaim adoption as an unqualified good often strikes me as a kind of fundamentalism. In that sense it ties in all too well with the worst aspects of religion.
    I think we all reap the benefit of doubt if it leads us to question ourselves and each other about the rightness of our motives and actions.

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