Why Do You Go to Church?

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John Vachon 1942 or 1943 Church near Junction City, Kansas

I’ve noticed recently that a good number of people at the church I attend have been pretty much mentally absent while being physically present at our services.  I don’t mean in the way that they are just preoccupied with something, I mean that they seem to just be there.  They play on their phone or sit in the service for a few minutes and then go talk to someone out in the entryway about things completely unrelated while still “Checking-In” to church on Facebook (or any other social media).  Naturally, this has caused me to begin to focus on the question “Why do people go to church?”  It seems like an easy, light question. . . . but it isn’t.  At least it isn’t in MY mind because I want to know the REAL “why” and not just the basic off-the-cuff answer.

So, if you guys who are reading this don’t mind, leave a comment and let me know your “why” and feel free to direct others to visit and share their answers as well.  Any and all answers are welcome and there will be no judgement.  I’m ready to get this conversation rolling!  (My “why” will be posted in a few days on another post I’m working on.)

 

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Untitled (as of right now)

Every parent has to have conversations with their children that are inevitable. I am sure a few popped into your mind when you read that. I bet they included the ones about whether Santa, The Tooth Fairy, and/or The Easter Bunny are real. I’m almost 100% positive that “where do babies come from” also flew into your brain. But what about those conversations that not everyone has to have? Those that only single parents (or those of adopted children) have to have with their children. Those conversations about where they came from- not the mechanics of where, but the “who” of where. Those conversations where you sit on your bed with an 8-year-old boy who is crying because he “[wants] a dad.” What about those conversations? For a bit, it is enough for him to be told by others, “Your mom is just so awesome that you don’t need a dad.” For a while, that honestly works and he will be happy about the fact that his mom is so awesome she can be a dad, too. He will actually respond with this when asked where his dad is. “I don’t have a dad because my mama is so great I don’t need one.” For a while, that answer is enough.553656_3557747458609_1191736414_n

But then it won’t be.

At some point, a few years after the initial realization that most children have 2 parents, this answer won’t be enough. He won’t believe, anymore, that his mom is Super Woman and that she’s so awesome that no dad is needed- because one IS needed. We live in The South, so at some point he is going to be called “son” by someone who is male and isn’t his dad. This used to not be paid attention when he was younger, but now it rings as loud as bells in Notre Dame Cathedral. He notices that other dads come and coach this or that sport. He notices that other dads are present during Life Group get-togethers on Sundays. Even when we think he isn’t listening, he hears people, out of love, tell his mom, “He REALLY needs some male influence. You know, guy time.” There’s nothing that can be said in response except “Yeah. I know.” Sometimes, “I know, but I can’t do anything about that.”

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What do you tell an 8-year-old boy who is upset because someone was joking with him and meant absolutely zero harm said, “I’m your daddy now”? What do you say to an 8-year-old boy who has never been able to call anyone by that name? You can tell him it’s ok that he doesn’t have one because there are so many wonderful men who care about him and love him so much. You can say that, but it’s not going to make it any easier- it isn’t the same. It shouldn’t be. It wasn’t designed that way. We weren’t created to have children and raise them singularly. We were created to live as families. Man + woman + children = family. Dad + mom + children = family. He knows he has a mom so where is his dad? “Why don’t I have a dad?” “I don’t know, baby. I can’t answer that question for you right now.” How do you tell an 8
-year-old that, for some reason, the man who would be his dad truly doesn’t care for or love him? You don’t. You never say that. You stall until you think he’s mature enough to understand an explanation for a situation that shouldn’t have happened in the first place. But how do you know that he will be able to handle being told something that could alter his feelings of self-worth for the rest of his life? I don’t know. I am hoping I can avoid being honest about that forever, but I know I won’t be able to. At some point, I will have to tell him that his “dad” chose a life without him not once, but thrice.

Until that day comes, though, I will continue to be Super Woman. I will continue to force myself to sometimes live uncomfortably and to go without things in order to make sure that I can be there for his school performances, parties, or sports practices and games. I will continue to only work jobs that will either allow
me to work only when he is in school or that will allow me to have him with me. I will continue to do this because he is already missing out on so much, and I refuse to give up time with him just to make myself more comfortable- to be able to travel, shop, go out to eat, go to movies, etc. I will continue to wear the same unfashionable clothes for oh-so-many months or years in order to save to be able to do little extra things for him. I will take 6 years to finish a 4 year degree. I will continue to take him to church multiple times a week and to Life Group- even if I will end up stretched for gas, water, or phone money as a result. I will do all of this to make sure that he knows that I see his worth even though someone else didn’t. I will do all of this to make sure that he knows Who he ultimately belongs to, to make sure he is surrounded by people who will help instill this truth in his heart, and to make sure that he knows that though his earthly father failed him, his Heavenly Father never will.

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What Do We Really Deserve

I am in a few groups on Facebook dedicated to finding people. More specifically, they are dedicated to the search by adoptees (people who have been adopted) to find their biological families. We (adoptees) are able to talk with others who have lived experiences similar to ours. Trust me when I say that there are more scenarios than you could ever imagine- but the great thing is that there is at least one other person who has experienced things in the exact same way as you.

When I first began actively searching and using these groups, I mostly read posts on the pages. I wanted to see what these people were all about. I wanted to see what they were capable of doing. Were these pages a scam or could the people actually help me? There were posts by people looking for old high school friends, a parent who was known but had become absent, and people asking for help with different types of record searches. The ones I focused on, and that were the most numerous were the ones made by adoptees.

Many of them focused on the search- “My name is ____. I was born in ____. I know “this,” “this,” and “this” about my birth parents.” Those were the majority of posts. However, there were also some from adoptees “ranting” questions like “why.” That “why” can cover sooo many different things. The “why” that stuck out the most were ones that read similar to this:

Why does my biological mother/father/aunt/uncle/sister/brother not want anything to do with me? Why do they keep saying that they do not wish for contact? I deserve to know why they did what they did. I deserve an explanation. I deserve to know where I came from and why they didn’t want me. They have NO RIGHT to keep this from me. They’re being selfish.

The author of those types of posts and those commenting really shocked me with how venomous and resentful they were. They harbored so much hatred and contempt for people they only shared DNA with. It blew my mind. I realized that I might actually be in the minority in my way of thinking. Here is a shortened version of my story.

I found out I was adopted while at our church in Corinth, Mississippi when I was about 5.. I think.. The age range would be from 4-6 years old, so 5 sounds good. I found out. I asked Mama and Deddy about it. I don’t remember their answer, but apparently it was enough for me at the time. There has never been a time that I got angry about it. “Man! The lady who gave birth to me needs to just come clean about it. She needs to just tell everyone what went on and that she gave me up. I deserve to know why she made that decision. She’s such a selfish person! I can’t believe she didn’t want me,” never entered my mind. I’ve never felt anger, resentment, entitled. Never have I EVER felt that way. Even once I found out that I have a younger brother who was kept and not put up for adoption, I never felt that way.

One of my very best friends once told me that I amaze him with my self-awareness and the fact that I can so clearly remove my “self” view from a situation to see the bigger picture. I guess I have always been an empathetic person. I always felt and knew that there had to be a reason and a situation that I may never understand that lead to my adoption. The thought that people just put their children up for adoption because they can never occurred to me, but it seems that it had to the people in some of those groups. People who grew up in kind, loving, and supportive (financially and emotionally) homes harbored A LOT of hatred and I don’t understand why.

Yes, these women gave birth to us. Yes, we were raised by people who are not biologically related to us (in many cases.) No, we don’t know our biological history and biological familial backgrounds. No, we don’t know our medical history. No, we don’t DESERVE to know. We have a WANT and DESIRE to know, but knowing or not knowing is not going to have a bearing on whether we survive or not. These people have every right to refuse communication with us. We are strangers to them and they to us.

The actions of our First Mothers wasn’t personal toward us, but the result of a specific situation. These women, for whatever reason, created us, carried us, gave birth to us, and then gave us the best gift they felt they could give us: a hopefully loving home with parents who would give us the world. They gave us life and opportunity. They did not abort us and throw us away as trash. I imagine one of the hardest things someone can do is give a child up, regardless of the situation. Every day, asking similar questions to those of the adoptee: What is she/he doing right now? Is he/she alive? Successful? What if my child was placed in a home that turned out to be detrimental to them? His/her hurt would be my fault, but had I not made that decision it would have been worse.

I absolutely hate the fact that so many people feel hurt by their adoptions. Many of us, including myself at times, struggle with a feeling of abandonment that we can’t explain. The feeling just comes up out of nowhere surprising us because we can’t remember a situation where we were actually abandoned. It really breaks my heart. It breaks my heart that adoption even has to exist, but oh boy! am I glad that it does. I am so glad that there are people who look past “we’re blood” and see “even though not by DNA, you ARE mine.” I am so thankful that there are people who can love, without restrictions and love with everything they have, children who might not know love otherwise. I know that each situation is different, but I just wish that people would err on the side of empathy and kindness rather than that of blame, venom, and accusations. That’s all.