"God intended for children to be raised by their biological parents."
I'd been walking with a friend, during my early twenties, when he dropped this emotional bomb on me. Or maybe it's better to say that the pin to this particular grenade had been pulled in my heart decades earlier but that, in that moment, it exploded in my heart. Though my feet kept moving, the gears inside me ground to a halt. Shrapnel swirling, the brazen claim felt both like an assault to my identity and a blow to my theology.
"Ummm . . . what?" I asked, a bit stunned.
My friend knew that I'd been given up for adoption as an infant. And he also knew that I believed the positive story I had been told about my journey.
Throughout my childhood I'd been assured that my birth parents had relinquished me because they loved me. When my adoptive parents divorced when I was six, my new stepfather told me he loved me more than anyone else loved me. Desperate to believe that God had not failed me, and clinging to the hope that I was worth loving, I hadn't dared imagine that God might not have ordained my bumpy ride.
In childhood, when friends' jaws would drop after I detailed the colorful cavalcade of parents in my life—birth mom, birth father, adoptive mother, adoptive father, stepfather—I'd always assure them, "There are just a lot of people who love me."1