Alternate Title: Why Pee-Wee Herman Was Never Cast as Darth Vader
A couple of years ago when I was with my mom she introduced me to a woman we ran into. My mom and this woman briefly chatted about their families and what was new in their lives and then the friendly exchange was over. My mom turned to me after the woman was out of earshot and quietly told me “She used to date dad when they were in college . . . before he met me.”
WHAT? The thought of my dad dating somebody other than my mom totally weirded me out. Then I got to thinking, What if my dad had married this woman instead of my mom? Would I even exist if that were the case? I suddenly felt strangely resentful towards this virtual stranger. Don’t get me wrong, this woman was nice and lovely and actually had quite an impressive resume- Harvard educated, college professor with numerous publications, etc. but she just wasn’t . . . well, she just wasn’t MY MOM.
This week I came across three different blog posts which resonated with me because they all share a common theme that happens to stir up a lot of thoughts and feelings inside of me, similar to what I described when I met my dad’s former girlfriend. I’ve come to call this theme (or debate, if you will) “agency versus destiny” and I’ve written about it at least once before, in this post. The blog posts I read which got me back on the “agency versus destiny” train of thought are these:
Blog Post #1- A certain birthmother shared the experience of meeting up with two of the adoptive couples whom she considered placing her baby with. The keyword here is “considered”; she didn’t actually end up placing with either of the couples although they were both fantastic families and would have made great parents. Instead, she placed her baby with the family she felt was right.
Blog Post #2- I came across a clip on a friend’s blog who happens to be a big fan of both Michael J. Fox and Eric Stolz of Stolz playing the role of Marty McFly in Back to the Future, before the role was offered to Michael J. Fox. As I watched the footage I kept thinking- “It just doesn’t feel right.” The directors were spot on when they said that it’s not necessarily that Eric Stolz is a poor actor (I happen to love his touching performance in MASK) but rather that Marty McFly just wasn’t the right role for him- it was a role much better suited for Michael J. Fox.
Blog Post #3- Adoptive Momma wrote about finding the “right” child for your family- even if that means saying “no” to other possibilities . . . and not feeling guilty for doing so. I couldn’t help but make the comparison of what people go through when they search for a spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend and try to find Mr. of Mrs. Right. Just because somebody wants to get married, for example, doesn’t mean they should go out and marry the first person that comes along. On the other extreme, they shouldn’t have any unrealistic expectations of perfection, either, because they’re obviously not going to find it. The best solution, in my humble opinion, is to search for someone who they are compatible with and then fully commit themselves to that person.
The same thing goes for adoption: Just because a family is trying to adopt, doesn’t mean they should adopt just any child- but rather their child. In other words, a child or children whom they are compatible with- even if (and this is the hardest part) it means HAVING TO WAIT FOR THE RIGHT TIMING AND THE RIGHT CHILD.
The frustrating part about going through the adoption process (domestically speaking, at least) is that now days a child’s birthparents are the ones who choose which family to place their child with, and rightly so. In other words, my family’s future is totally in the hands of someone other than myself. It’s a very out of control feeling to know that my desire for a child is solely dependent upon another person’s agency.
Why don’t you just adopt an orphan from another country or a child whom is legally free for adoption from the foster care system? Yes, I can hear some of your thoughts through the computer screen. Impressive, eh? As for adopting internationally, cost is the biggest factor and as for adopting a legally free child I have actually searched through photo listings- numerous times- but as of yet I have never found “my” child.
There are so many orphans and children in the foster care system and a few (relatively speaking) women out there with unplanned pregnancies who are looking for a family for their child and there are so many couples and families who are waiting to adopt. It seems so unfair.
As pragmatic as my solution may be I, for one, know that I wouldn’t want my destiny left to random chance. And I certainly wouldn’t want anybody to choose a spouse for me, except for, well . . . ME!
AGENCY is the key factor at play. But besides agency, there can also be another really big factor at play when it comes to something as major as creating families or deciding whom to marry. That factor- IF we choose- is the hand of God.
But what about disrupted adoptions and failed placements- do those situations arise from “destiny” or the will of God? Because those seem like awfully cruel things for everyone involved to go through. I don’t claim to know the answer to that question, but I can tell you this: Birthparents have the right to change their minds just as adoptive couples have the right to choose how, when and whom to adopt.
The big question I have in all of this remains: Will our next child come into our family because God has a hand in things or will the next child to join our family do so as a direct result of someone’s agency- either from a birthmother choosing to place with us or, in the case of foster care, as the result of a parent’s tragic choices which results in having their child taken away?
Am I the only prospective adoptive/foster parent out there who wonders things like that or am I just way too over-analytical?
Whatever the case, this is what I believe (using the Eric Stolz as Marty McFly example I shared at the beginning of this lengthy post):
I think that God is the Ultimate Director. He knows which roles are best suited for which actors. However, I also believe that actors can choose which roles to accept or reject, just as birthparents can choose to place or parent and decide whom to place with and adoptive families can decide which children to adopt.