Wednesday, April 08, 2009


I read Mel's article about being infertile at Passover. It definitely rings true. But there is another aspect that she did not mention that strikes me as someone waiting to be an adoptive parent.

The story of Moses is an adoption story. Jochebed, Moses's first mother, could not parent Moses due to unacceptable surroundings. She did the only thing she could to save her son that she loved so much - she gave him up. He was brought up in the home of the Pharaoh and was loved and never wanted for anything. She also found a way to help raise him, in that she was able to become his nurse and teach him the ways of his blood. He truly identified with the Hebrews/Israelites -- the people of his genetic origin. He becomes their leader.

One of my favorite authors, Orson Scott Card, who also happens to be Mormon and to write about the bible a lot, has these fictionalized versions of old testament stories. I enjoy learning about the history of religion and enjoyed reading these historical novels, but when it came to the one about Moses -- Stone Tables -- I couldn't get through the beginning. I couldn't get past the adoption aspect, the birth mother, the mix between two peoples. Moses is truly of two peoples -- the Egyptian royal family that raised him and the Hebrew family that gave birth to him and saved him by giving him away.

This isn't talked about much at the seder, but along with all of the infertile women of Jerusalem and all the themes of spring and re-birth and birth that are everywhere in the seder, I am thinking of Moses and what it was like for him to live in two different worlds.

This is the predicament of all adopted people. They have one foot in two different worlds. One foot is with their genetic origins and one foot is with the family that raised them. I can't really imagine what it's like. I know that it's different for each individual that lives with it. Unfortunately there never seems to be a really good answer about how to deal with such situations. I just know that they come up and that people try to make the best of the situation as they can. Sometimes that works, and sometimes it doesn't.

I know nothing in this world is certain, but one thing that is always certain seems to be blood. That just never goes away no matter what. And it's just so difficult to sort out in my head how to come to terms with the fact that our family will never have that connection.

And yes I believe that connections can be made other ways -- I do not think adoptive families are less, only that they are different. I know my niece was adopted, but I certainly do not believe she is less my niece than her sister or cousin who is related by birth. But I do know that as much a part of the family she feels, she also feels apart in some ways. And that is what it means.

But I did appreciate Heather's statement that being an adoptive family is punk rock. It is. And I like being punk rock. So I'm trying to embrace that.


niobe said...

This is absolutely brilliant. I had never even considered that aspect of the Passover story.

Kelly said...

Thanks for the link to the punk rock post, I loved that.

I've been reading you for a while, and DH and I just filed our initial papers for domestic as well, and it happens that we're in the same state as you so I will probably be following along with you in the days to come. Figured it was time to de-lurk!

And we're both totally into re-doing the house all of a sudden now as well. There is half painted molding all over my house :)

Lori said...

Great post, Rachel.

I think you explain the predicament well.

This is one reason why open adoption makes sense to me (for my family). Instead of either/or, our children experience the "and" of their two different worlds.

Kristin said...

I Honestly had never thought about that aspect of Moses' story. What a fascinating point of view.

luna said...

just catching up on my reading. I agree with mel, this is a truly fascinating post.

Jess said...

Here from the L&F...I love the connection between Moses' birthmother especially. I'd thought of MOSES but not as much of his bio and adoptive families, really.

As an adoptive mom, it IS scary to wonder what my daughter will think one day. The best I can do is let her feel like loving ALL OF US is fine and hope that the bond we have here is enough to make her love us all the same. What more is there to do?

Anonymous said...

I can't tell you how much I relate to this post. You said it brilliantly.

I might have Italian blood through my veins, but when I sit at a table with my Italian birth family, it can be strange. I do not share the customs, traditions or even identify with a lot of it. Even though I look Italian and make mean sauce, I identify more strongly with my family, the one who really mattered, my adoptive family.

S said...

I really dig this post, especially as someone who so desperately wanted to adopt from my home country (India)before we realised our system here in Oz is just fucked up and we turned to IVF, which is also equally fucked up as it turns out. I now live vicariously through my internet friends who are in the various stages of adoption. It is a beautiful, healthy way to have a family. Blood is nothing. Genetic links count for something, but nurture surpasses all.

I don't believe in the "blood is thicker than water" mentality. I basically never have. I'm the black sheep of my family. My husband is estranged from his adult biological son and my father has practically disowned me.

I know its difficult to let go, to come to terms. But I did this by thinking of it as a means to an end... parenting, in the end, was my end/paramount goal. It didn't matter to me where the genetic material of my baby/child came from. Because legally, ethically and morally, adopted children will be your children. (In our case, hopefully the adopted embryos will work)...