Do you believe God has a play in infertility/adoption?

This is the tenth question in the series: “Anti-adoption month: 30 answers to 30 questions on adoption” [link].

The following question originally appeared on Yahoo!Answers:

How many of you believe God has a play in infertility/fertility/adoption?

Answer: Here are some questions in return for those who claim a religion-based advocacy for their adoption:

To what degree would you consider yourself a passivist, as opposed to being an activist? By this I mean to say, to what extent are you willing to ignore a hurricane and then ascribe the movement of leaves in the wind to God? Do you think that adverse conditions on the planet such as poverty, sickness, “orphans” just happen, have no cause? Do you believe that this is punishment? Such are the thoughts of the pyromaniac firefighters of the world, spraying gasoline on a conflagration of their own creation.

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: “The poor deserve their lot in life”. Will you not lift a finger to help another soul on this planet unless it benefits you directly? Are your prayers only to make you feel better about yourself and to give you the sense that you’ve accomplished something when in fact you’ve accomplished nothing, or worse? This is not a judgement, but a series of serious questions to search one’s soul. It is an effort to reveal the rather Calvinist underpinnings of modern-day evangelical thinking as well as “Western” capitalism, and to question them.

In both the Qur’an and the Bible, advocacy for the orphan is an invocation, but also a metaphor for taking care of the most vulnerable members of a community. The focus on the object of the invocation is misguided when the intention of the one acting is the subject; i.e., on the one acting; on the one with agency. This is an egregious hypocrisy. The origins of the Qur’an and the Bible come from a part of the world that is not based on the nuclear family, but on extended family and community. This manifests itself in the way that orphanages are viewed and maintained, as well as the manner in which adoption is viewed, both of which are completely different from their “Western” counterpart, except where neo-liberalism and capitalism have made their inroads with a growing bourgeois class that looks to the “West” for its inspiration.

It becomes rather disturbing, then, that such notions of community and family found in both Holy Writs from within the culture of much of Anglo-Saxon and “First-World” consumerist society are mutated into selfish, solipsistic advocacy of hypocritical and salvationist ego trips. They manifest themselves in the colonialist language of prospective adopters who preach adoption as an act of faith, as well as in web sites that advocate for adoption, and which list categories such as race and gender of the child, along with a price list. This is not much different from the days of slavery (also defended as “of God”), when newspapers did the same thing.

I defy anyone to defend how this is in any way valid of any believer or person of faith. What is most problematic is that the religious invocations concerning the orphan (in the historical sense of the term, not in the current-day fabricated sense) are usually combined with similar references to the mother of the child, the widow, etc. Yet advocates of this idea that God chose them to adopt only take what they want from the list, and ignore the rest. This is not valid.

I would suggest looking into making your passivist attitude more activist, along the lines of the Liberation Theology movements, both from within Christianity and Islam. For perhaps this is the true calling, as opposed to kidnapping someone else’s child. It is interesting that such advocates of adoption always seem to ignore foster care—they want that brand-new baby, at whatever cost. If you truly wish to advocate for children, then you would do all in your power to make sure that their lives are complete within the family that God provided them. Thinking of others requires we deny ourselves. How many people of faith, looking to adopt, truly act in this way, worthy of the words they preach?

As is written:

AND I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts. —Malachi 3:5

THUS saith the LORD; Execute ye judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place. —Jeremiah 22:3

BUT NAY, nay, [O men, consider all that you do and fail to do:] You are not generous toward the orphan, and you do not urge one another to feed the needy, and you devour the inheritance [of others] with devouring greed, and you love wealth with boundless love! —Al-Fajr, 89:16-20

AND devour not one another’s possessions wrongfully, and neither employ legal artifices with a view to devour sinfully and knowingly anything that by right belongs to others. —al-Baqra:187

[AS FOR your adopted children,] call them by their [ascendent] fathers’ names….and if you know not who their fathers were, [call them] your brethren in faith and your dependents. —Al-Ahzab, 33:4

NONE are their mothers save those who gave them birth. —Al-Mujadalah, 58:2

Peace and blessings; as-salaamu aleikum.

Reference: Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor, by Leonardo Boff

Islamic Liberation Theology: Resisting the Empire, by Hamid Dabashi

We drink from our own wells: the spiritual journey of a people, by Gustavo Gutiérrez

Selected works of David Smolin

The Child Catchers Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption, by Kathryn Joyce

Islamophobia and Adoption: Who Are the Civilized?, by Daniel Ibn Zayd

Debate Tactic: There is no argument to be made with those who do not seek to discuss the topic at hand. To understand is that any faith that allows for an individualistic mentality, the salvation of self as a paramount duty, and which is able to make allowances for the inequalities of current economic and political systems (Calvinism, Wahhabism, nationalist Hinduism, for a few examples) need be challenged economically and politically; they are functions of neo-liberalism and capitalism, and will disappear once these systems themselves have been challenged successfully. On a side note: Recent revelations suggest a link between transgenetic crops, pesticide use, and infertility. Can we imagine anyone comfortable in their class position boycotting Monsanto in the name of their “right” to have children? Why or why not?


About Daniel Drennan ElAwar

Adoptee, rematriated.
This entry was posted in Q&A and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Do you believe God has a play in infertility/adoption?

  1. INFERTILITY—–GENISIS 20-18. For the LORD had fast closed up ALL the wombs of the house of ABIMELECH, because of Sarah Abraham’s wife. 1 Samuel 1-5,6 .But Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the LORD had shut up her womb. And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb. Hosea 9-14 Give them, O Lord: what wilt thou give? give them a mis-carrying womb and dry breasts.

  2. FERTILITY—-Deuteronomy 7-13. And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb. Job 31-15. Did not HE that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion US in the womb. Psalm 139-13,15. Thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Isaiah 44-2. Thus saith the LORD that MADE THEE, and FORMED THEE from the womb. Genesis 29-31. And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, HE opened her womb.

  3. Brent Snavely says:

    >Can we imagine anyone comfortable in their class position boycotting Monsanto in the name of their “right” to have children? Why or why not?<

    Nope. Because, you know, money can purchase a kid on the open market…

  4. A few years ago I attended an adoption conference. One of the papers was the “role” that God played in the adoption process. I believe it was the topic of a dissertation. Anyway, the presenter, wan adoptive mother herself, had researched websites, lists, etc, and done some extensive survey work on the topic. She was pretty floored by it. She said that nearly everyone, no matter what their religious beliefs (Christian, evangelical, Jewish), believed that “God” had intervened. Respondents believed that the child and the parents were “meant” to be together as part of God’s plan. Atheists and agnostics followed that route, too, only submitting “fate” or some other word for God. The latest absurdity in this topic came from the Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare which tonight published a prayer request for PAPs suffering from PSTD due to “their” children being taken from them when they lose in court. Such is the topsy-turvy world of adoption.

  5. Pingback: ICWA-Induced PSTD: Give me a child lest I wake up screaming | The Daily Bastardette

  6. It’s such an offensive trope. It has a counterpart as regards slavery. In the New Yorker, there was an article on Michele Bachmann. It referenced one of her ideological mentors, who wrote that slavery was actually beneficial, because it brought the slaves out of their “pagan” ways. There’s no arguing with this kind of insane non-logic that is so much tied to an individual’s ego and worldview based on self and selfishness. It just leaves me speechless.

  7. dmdezigns says:

    I hate when someone tells me “God” intented for my adopted children to be raised by me. Bullshit. If God is all powerful and all knowing, why didn’t he just put them in my womb? Why did he put them in another woman’s womb, forcing her, the father and the kids to deal with loss before they even started their lives? No, “God” didn’t do this. Humans made choices. Sometimes freely, sometimes with no education, sometimes with coercion. I can’t belive in “God” if everything that happens on earth is “his will.” That means rape, murder, cancer and all other pain are created by him and are his intent. No, God hand no hand in this. Infertility is just like any other medical condition. It’s a natural part of life. It happens just like cancer and accidents happen. I don’t believe God plans for people to hurt. He created a world. It has natural laws and natural consequences. That’s all that’s happening. Pretending it’s God’s will just allows people to think they own something they don’t. And that it’s okay to take someone else’s children even if they don’t want to give them up.

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