“It was meant to be”
It has always left me with an unsettled feeling in the pit of my stomach. This isn’t how I want my children to view their adoption.
Now, hear me out, I completely understand the sentiment behind these words. It is well-meaning. It is born out of love. I’m sure I’ve even said it myself. But it might be an over-simplified attempt to find purpose in something we may not completely understand.
Here are some reasons why:
- Telling your child that it was God’s plan for them to be taken away from their biological parents indicates that God ordains pain and suffering. The loss that our children feel is real, whether they were placed at birth or years later…Loss is loss. Telling our children that God MEANT for you to live with this pain and loss paints a very dangerous and one-sided view of God for our kids.
- Using the phrase “meant to be” glosses over all that a child has lost. It’s like telling a widow “It was just his time to go.” Maybe it was. But that doesn’t help the hurting go away.
- This kind of language is not healthy for an open dialogue. If I shrug my shoulders and say “it was meant to be” to my child, I’m not creating space for him to ask questions, process his story, or grieve that loss. Our job as parents is to come alongside our children to help them understand their story, process their feelings, and heal. I don’t want to be a mom who feels threatened by my child’s pain. I want to be the one to help him through it.
- Depending on which side of the theological tracks you’re from, you might have different views than me on this issue. My understanding leads me to think that the sin that keeps our children from their first families is not ordained by God. But the beauty of Christ is that He redeems our brokenness. He makes incredible, beautiful things out of pain and suffering. He takes the sack of garbage we lay at His feet and he makes a field of daisies.
- When we acknowledge pain in our lives, we are setting more realistic expectations for our children. Yes, life is painful sometimes but guess what…God is good. God can turn our suffering, our mistakes, our brokenness into something even better than we could imagine. God took the pain of my infertility and brought my sons into my life. We needed each other.
I believe that my sons were meant to live with their first mother, but circumstances didn’t allow it. God brought us together and has woven an incredible story out of the ashes.