On Loan

On Loan October 24, 2010

My friend adopted a little girl from China. She says that she and her husband had waited for years for a chance to adopt even though they gave birth to their son. They had wanted a sibling for him. The day finally happens and they fly to China to pick up their beloved, much awaited little girl. When they got there and began to read up on their daughter, they began to get really uncomfortable. For starters, the little girl had been with her birth mom for three weeks. During those three weeks the mother exclusively breastfed the baby. The mom also wrote down all those little details that every parent does. The exact date, hour and minute of birth, her size and weight, her personality features, her likes and dislikes, how she liked to be held. The more they read, the more they began to understand that they were adopting an illegal baby. No, not illegal in that she was on the black market, but illegal in that the mother had this second baby without the Government’s permission. The Chinese Government literally had taken this baby from the mother and forced the child into adoption! The “orphanage” said that when they received the baby, the little girl refused to eat, refused to smile, refused to respond. The baby grieved being taken from her beloved mommy.

The more my friends learned the more horrified they became. My friend went off to pray and asked “God, is this right? I am taking this little girl from her mom, her home, her country, and her language.” The answer she got back was “the decision has been made.” She realized even without her the baby had already lost her mom and her home and even her country–a country that would place the baby up for sale. She realized that her job was to care for this little girl on behalf of the mother. She said she feels that her child is “on loan” to her and she feels the very heavy weight of responsibility on her shoulders.

I told her that even though I haven’t adopted, I can relate to her feeling that her child is on loan to her. I remember the first time my daughter received ashes on her forehead during Ash Wednesday services and it was a chilling reminder that she is not “mine.” She is in my care, but she is her own person who one day will return to God. My job is to love her to pieces and educate her. My friend’s story is a more obvious example of this heavy responsibility all parents share.

In the meantime, please say a prayer for all mothers who have had their children taken from them.

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  • Cindy

    It’s so sad what the mothers in China have to endure if you have more than your quota. What a sick world we live in, in so many ways. I’m glad your friend decided to keep her, and I am glad that she prayed and came to the decision that the child is on loan. It’s a very beautiful thought. I will certinaly say a prayer for all the mothers out there. I was just watching womens gymnastics and watching the Chinese, and how they take the girls from their school at age 3 1/2 and train them for the Olympics. You are picked and told you are going to be a gymnast. Taken from your family. Then I thought about how baby girls are treated, and I reasoned that maybe it’s not so bad, considering the fate of other young girls in that country.

  • This is a powerful and thought provoking post. I agree with you in that all children are “on loan” from God. I recognize that feeling myself and find it amazing and powerful and an awesome privilage and responsibility.
    I will say a prayer for mothers whose children have been taken. They are on my mind a lot.