As I have mentioned before, my husband and I are currently in the midst of the adoption process to adopt teenagers from foster care. Other than on this blog, my foster care/adoption application is the first place that I have publicly stated my non-religion. Under religion, I wrote 'none'. My social media is free of anything incriminating. I haven't even joined any private atheist or agnostic groups because I am afraid someone, somehow, will see it. Basically, despite some of my closest friends knowing about my deconversion, it is still a secret.
The problem with being a none in the adoption community is that there are a lot of Christians in this community. It makes sense since many are anti-choice, champion the mandate to take care of orphans, and believe themselves to be adopted by God. This is one of the reasons why my husband wants to adopt. This does not bother me at all. What does bother me is how hard it is to find a parenting book that doesn't quote scripture. A book that doesn't imply that if you just raise your adopted son or daughter up in the Lord, everything will be all right. Books and websites that don't freak out over porn or sex.
We have signed up to attend a conference at a local church that is supposed to help teach attachment and connection with foster and adopted children. The presenters all have PhDs in psychology and have written a number of books. That sounds great. This doesn't: "designed to help adoptive and foster parents, ministry leaders and professionals better understand how to connect with “children from hard places” in order to help them heal and become all that God desires for them to be." I grew concerned about signing up. Is this going to be two days of listening to people tell me that God has all the answers and I should just pray? The material doesn't appear to be contingent on faith. After reading a number of faith-based books that were supposed to be psychologically sound and scientifically proven, but are Bible heavy, I think I have reason to be concerned.
So I started looking around on the internet for other non-religious adoptive parents. There aren't many out there, let me tell you. Even fewer with a mixed-faith household like mine. Now, to be clear, my husband also shies away from most of the religious bullshit. We made it three chapters into Parenting with Love & Logic and abandoned it because of the constant Bible-quoting. When we complained, our Christian friends were confused. Why don't you like this Christian parenting book? Because it quotes the Bible? What? I, of course, was ambiguous, but my Christian husband was a little more blunt. We aren't missionary adopting. We don't want to raise them up in the Lord. We want to provide them with a stable loving forever home that they won't be kicked out of on their 18th birthday.
So here is yet another thing that will forever tie me to religion. When we adopt, I must accept the fact that most of my foster care/adoption support system will be faith based. They will do what my mother does and encourage me to pray when I am having a bad day, rather than offering actual helpful advice. Or the people who say that I must be blessed for wanting to do this. I think I must decide now how I will handle this. I certainly won't lie and say that I will pray when I won't be. I don't want them to think telling me 'God is in control' is in any way an acceptable answer when I am struggling. And I don't want to lead them on. How long can I keep this secret? Will I be able to or will circumstances eventually force me to tell people that I don't pray and don't believe in a god.
Beyond my own petty concerns, I do wonder why there aren't more non-Christians adopting. After all, the number one reason for adoption is infertility, and infertility has no favorites when it comes to religion. Is it because Evangelicals have spent the past three decades pushing adoption on their parishioners as something akin to sainthood? Is it because we live in a predominantly religious nation in which people tick off the Christian box even if their faith is barely a part of their lives? Is it because they are part of religion that encourages the care of orphans? Is it because we live in such a rich nation that people can actually afford to drop $40,000-$100,000 adopting a baby from China? (foster care adoptions are nearly free by the way) I don't have answers to any of those questions.
This is a personal, but secret, blog archiving my deconversion from a Christian to a non-believer.