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Rock Bottom Blessings is Karen Beattie’s autobiographical description of finding the hidden blessings in the losses that everyone faces in life.
The rock bottom for Mrs Beattie was losing her job and her dream of adopting an Ethiopian baby.
Mrs Beattie married at the age of 40. She and her husband were both in the grip of delayed dreams they wanted to fulfill while life still gave them enough time to do it. They heard their life-clocks, ticking away the time they had to do these things.
For her husband, the delayed dream was a career change from journalism to counseling. Since his new wife had a well-paying job, they couple decided he should pursue this dream. He was accepted into a good school and received a scholarship to pursue his studies.
At the same time, the couple began trying to fulfill Mrs Beattie’s delayed dream of having a baby. After infertility treatment and two miscarriages, she accepted that she would not be able to have a baby herself, and immediately turned to international adoption.
The couple ran head-on into the spider’s web of government regulations and expense which has grown up around these adoptions, but moved ahead with the process, anyway. Then Mrs Beattie lost her job, and the financial wherewithal to adopt along with it.
Ultimately, they were faced with a decision as a couple as to whose dream they would go for: The husband’s dream of changing careers, or Mrs Beattie’s dream of international adoption. They chose to go for the career change.
I won’t spoil the book by telling you what happens next. What I will do is say that the needs of children are being lost in these adoption regulations.
While we debate what are essentially red herring issues such as whether or not homosexual couples should be allowed to adopt, we ignore the overwhelming adoption issue, which is the red tape and expense we have hung on this process. This spider’s web of regulations often make it impossible to place children in loving homes.
The truth is, children languish in situations which are destructive to them as human beings while their potential parents grieve because they can’t adopt.
Private adoptions have become fraught with the peril of emotional devastation for adoptive parents. So much so, that many people simply won’t try it anymore. I personally know a couple who arranged a private adoption, only to have the birth mother change her mind later and take the baby away from them.
This is hell for the adoptive parents, and hell for the baby.
I do not want to see young women coerced into giving their babies up for adoption. But neither the birth mother nor the birth father should be able to change their mind after the baby goes to the adoptive home. I also think that we need firm limits on how long parents who have had their children taken from them for drug addiction or mistreatment of the children will have to demonstrate changes in their lives. If the parents do not care to change, these children should be placed for permanent adoption so they can have a chance at life.
This is a difficult issue for the simple reason that social workers are sometimes ham-handed in removing children from homes. I know of instances where this was done for trivial or even bogus reasons. Other times, they leave children in abusive situations so long that the children end up getting killed.
There is one thread running through all of this: The needs of the children come last in our system.
We have developed a “rights based” system of government in which children are not given the power of “rights” of their own to defend themselves.
Mrs Beattie’s book is a small window on this world of adoption. That is not the book’s primary focus. The main storyline of the book is Karen Beattie’s attempt to grapple with the disappointments of her life through her Christian faith.
Don’t be bitter. She admonishes herself at one point, which is good advice for all of us. She struggles to understand how God can love her and still deny her the gift of children.
All in all, the book is an interesting read. The narrative moves well and keeps you interested as you wait to see if this good woman will be able to realize her dream of adopting a child.