Sappho Speaks: Adoption Akin To Religion – My Hypothesis

Lectori Salutem! or L.S. (Greetings to the Reader!)

For those of you paying attention to last week’s blog, you will remember when I first let it slip that I was adopted in Alice, You’ve Really Stepped In It Now!!!!, I wrote, “I have an allegory to being born into religion and that complete acceptance, that blind faith, that so many in the religious community have.” I compared that fact of being brought up in a completely different, loving and wonderful family not genetically my own was akin to being raised Catholic, Islamic, or Jew. It was a fact I had accepted as the truth that the people who took me home from the hospital the day after I was born were my parents, the same way children born into one religion would almost always stay that religion their entire life, regardless of knowledge, life experience or morality. 

As I would age from baby to toddler, the people I relied on became Mom and Dad, the center of my world and they raised me, no question about it, as they had chosen to be my parents. It was a story in our house of how special we were (I have a brother) that our parents had waited just for us to come along and when we did, they chose us out of all the other boys and girls to be our parents. They loved us before they even met us. I grew up always knowing I was adopted and always knowing who my mother and father were because I lived with them. It was not about biology as my parents showered me with all the love I could ever imagine and came to accept them as my true mother and father even as my life experiences caught up with childhood “religion” so to speak. 

As I said I feel this is like a baby being born into the arms of a Catholic, Jew, Islam, etc. Why am I and other adoptees different than just being born, you ask? Because some people who are adopted just go through their whole lives rarely questioning the “what ifs”. What if I had been adopted by a different family with some unlucky stroke of the pen and ended up a pauper with an abusive father? What if the woman who gave birth to me, obviously for a some reason – be it financial hardship, a single parent overwhelmed and too young to start their life that way, or any multitude of other reasons, tried to keep me anyway and I grew up in the shadow of those difficulties? As you grow older the prospect of what if no one adopting you creeps into you head, just as everyone has their doubts or their days when faith abandons them. 

Just as most adopted children who were brought into a good home and even those who weren't, ones better than any of the lives I could imagine without a mother or father, the “what ifs” were not thoughts that justcame and went with me, settling for just deep philosophical discussions within myself. I have to find some answers. The percentage of adoptive children seeking out their biological parents to an actual conclusion, that is more than just a fantasy or a feeble attempt, is very low. In fact, the number of adoptive adults that seek their biological parents to fruition under any condition has absolutely nothing to do with the type of home they were brought up in at all. Studies actually indicate that it is the same statistical correlation for curiosity in a control group as it is in an adoptive adult group that ends up finding their biological parents is the same. The curiosity factor is the motivation not the adoption process. The same thing that would cause children and young adults to start researching other religions and more information on their own that was not available coming from their church but from historians.

So, why bring all this up in the first place? To explore the issue of indoctrination of religion in homes just as new mothers and fathers indoctrinated their children when an alternate biological parent existed out in the world that might have answers to basic questions of lineage, genetic diseases, and the ability to see one’s own attributes or characteristics in another human being or more and they wanted that door to remain shut. It is not that questions do not arise as children are naturally curious and they will ask the darnest things. It is the answers that will steer them to a foregone conclusion that make the adopted child and religiously indoctrinated child similar in nature.

I know now that my confliction over the years and my guilt for even wanting to know this information has eaten me alive each time I thought about it until I suddenly had a breakthrough I let myself off the hook. I was not responsible for how my desire for knowledge about my past and by biology affected my parents. Once I released myself from that tie to their emotions, my God I was what did we say? 29 years old? and I loved them my whole life. This was not about anyone replacing anyone but that was my fear of what my mother would think and it was deep rooted in something very real I may tell you some day but for today, I know she is fine with whatever I need to do to make my life complete. As I have talked to adults who have switched religions from that of their youth they went through the same sort of guilt process as they felt they were letting their family down in their quest for personal satisfaction. It wasn't until they gave themselves permission to be themselves and have happiness apart from their family that religious freedom was attained no matter what form that took.

I suggest that much like being knowingly adopted and wrestling with the “what ifs” and even more heart wrenching questions of your birth with no one to talk to about your feelings, being indoctrinated Christian (for example) while living in a world where there is an abundance of information that is not available to you about Christianity is equally difficult. You are not taught the history of the religion from any perspective other than the faithful even when the church has accepted history and science to have righted some of the Bible’s errors. Most religions feel the need for the earliest of indoctrinations which seems to keep young children from making an informed decision during catechism, in the broadest sense of the word, as to whether this is the religion you believe in. Most often you need more time to investigate its religious beliefs and practices and the history of the Church you are about to swear eternal allegiance, yet no outside influences are allowed to enter the conversation. Again, there is no one to talk to but the local minister or priest.

While most adoptees and religious people will go through their life with unquestioning faith that all is as it is supposed to be but my questions in both cases has always started with “WHY?” If Judaism is good for the Jews and Islam for the Islamic, Christianity for the Christian, and Hindi for the Hindu, then WHY should we not look for the good in all the religions? God surely is not so punishing that he would predestine the babies born to regions of the world who will never see a different text of scripture than their own to hell for worshipping the wrong way when in the end they are doing their best to worship God. 

This analogy may have exploded or hit home. I don’t know. It’s one of those things that makes perfect sense to me but I find hard to tell if I have conveyed it’s meaning. I guess we’ll see.

Much Love.

Inspired By Sappho’s Muse

All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed towardennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom.
Albert Einstein

Of all religions, Christianity is without a doubt the one that should inspire tolerance most, although, up to now, the Christians have been the most intolerant of all men.



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