God Doesn’t Do Adoption ~ The King Solomon Version

A few weeks ago in Gospel Doctrine class, we covered  the wisdom of King Solomon.  One of the “talking points” of the class study guide is this: “Two women take a child to Solomon, who wisely determines which woman is the mother of the child (3:16–28).”

Judgement of Solomon

“Judgment of Solomon” by Gustave Dore

Now this story is of particular import to me because it was used as a scriptural example and justification for relinquishing my daughter for adoption. After all,  a “real” mother would sacrifice her own “selfish wants” to parent her own child. A “real” mother would love her baby so much she would let him or her be raised by some other woman. Within the past few days, this same reasoning has been applied again to the John Wyatt case – if he really loves his daughter, he would “do the right thing” and let her be raised by someone else who claims to be her parents.

Just to refresh your memory, I have copied the entire text of this particular scripture, straight from the LDS edition of the KJV Bible.

1 Kings 3

16 ¶ Then came there two women, that were harlots, unto the king, and stood before him.

17 And the one woman said, O my lord, I and this woman dwell in one house; and I was delivered of a child with her in the house.

18 And it came to pass the third day after that I was delivered, that this woman was delivered also: and we were together; there was no stranger with us in the house, save we two in the house.

19 And this woman’s child died in the night; because she aoverlaid it.

20 And she arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while thine handmaid slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom.

21 And when I rose in the morning to give my child suck, behold, it was dead: but when I had considered it in the morning, behold, it was not my son, which I did bear.

22 And the other woman said, Nay; but the living is my son, and the dead is thy son. And this said, No; but the dead is thy son, and the living is my son. Thus they spake before the king.

23 Then said the king, The one saith, This is my son that liveth, and thy son is the dead: and the other saith, Nay; but thy son is the dead, and my son is the living.

24 And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king.

25 And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other.

26 Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it.

27 Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof.

28 And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the awisdom of God was in him, to do judgment.

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An interesting bit of history:  this story is the first recorded and published legal decision in all of the history of legal jurisprudence.

Hmmm…. The first recorded instance of a legal decision has to do with family law. Interesting.

So we read the story and the class started discussing how brilliant Solomon was and what it must have been like for him to come up with his decision. But I, being the constant questioner, the habitual wonderer, the inquisitive child, went wait just a second. (Mind you, this was in my head – I don’t usually raise my hand in Gospel Doctrine to point out things like this because that would bring down the fury and wrath of the LDS culture upon my head for merely questioning a policy of the church – not doctrine – but a policy. If there is anything you DO NOT do in the LDS faith, it is question, even honestly, a strongly held cultural practice. I mean, have you ever tried to suggest that green jello might be good with something else other than shredded carrots in it or that gasp, it might be  good just all by itself? But I digress, back to the story.)

I thought to myself, “Did anyone else catch that?”  And I went back and re-read the story again. Yep. There it is. I flipped to the front of my scriptures to make sure I had the correct LDS-sanctioned version of the Bible. Yep, I do. I flipped back to 1 Kings 3. Yep, it’s still there.

Who did King Solomon, in the wisdom of God (see verse 28) send the baby home with?

Was it his natural mother?

Or was it the woman who was so desperate for a child that she was willing to steal the baby of another woman and lie about being that child’s mother?

Oh. That’s right. King Solomon was wise enough to see through the ruse of falsified birth records AND to send that child home to be raised by his NATURAL mother (verse 27).

But wait just a minute…wasn’t that natural mother a single mother???? Oh and waaaaaaaaaaiiiiittt a second here – wasn’t she not only a single mother, but a harlot as well (verse 16)?

HANG ON AN EVER LOVIN’ SECOND: The wisest man in all of God’s creation, in a decision that has been heralded throughout time as a brilliant move of legal jurisprudence, sent that baby home with a SINGLE MOTHER who was a prostitute???????

Certainly there had to be at least ONE woman in all of Israel that was married, wealthy, and childless who “deserved” to be a mother, who knew all of the basics of child nutrition and discipline, who had started saving for the child’s education, who had a support system in place that would exist for the next 18 years, who knew of all the community resources available to help her, you know – the kind of woman who could answer all the questions from LDSFS the “right” way. King Solomon probably had a lot of them in his court! Why didn’t he just tell the natural mother that if she really loved that baby, she would let some other (presumably) more righteous, more wealthy woman raise her son? It’s about love, you know, and if she just loved that baby enough, she would let him be  raised by someone else.

Because King Solomon, in all of his wisdom, understood the bonds of a natural family. King Solomon, in all of his wisdom, understood that societal position or wealth did not entitle one woman to take another woman’s child.

In the first recorded act of jurisprudence, the wise and brilliant King Solomon ruled in favor of family preservation.

So here is yet another scripture reference that I believed supported my decision to relinquish my daughter for adoption, but now with the clarity of the years, I realize it was telling me the exact opposite. In every case so far, except for Moses because he was about to be killed by the directive of his future adoptive father, God has ruled in favor of family preservation.

Oi. I think I need some Tylenol now.

Love,

M.

P.S. As an interesting sidenote, when you click through the link for the cross reference to “wisdom” in verse 28, it takes you to a scripture from 2 Ne 21:2 in direct reference to Jesus Christ, the Great Healer and Physician, The One who can mend a broken heart and a broken life.

“And the aSpirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of bwisdom and cunderstanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;”

Sooooo…the folks who do the cross-referencing with the Book of Mormon thought this instance of King Solomon’s wisdom which ruled in favor of family preservation was important enough to reference to the wisdom and understanding that Christ possesses.

Hmmm…interesting. Very interesting.

God Doesn’t Do Adoption ~ The Jesus Was (NOT) Adopted Version

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

Wanna know what really chaps my proverbial hide? The claim that “God chose adoption for Jesus”, ergo adoption is a holy, Godly thing.

Uh, Jesus wasn’t adopted folks. He was raised by Joseph, yes. But Joseph was his step-father. And guess what else? He was raised by his mother.

There was no adoption that took place. An “adoption” would mean that Joseph had publicly shamed Mary by telling the community that the child was not his and then married her any way and “adopted” Jesus as his own.  However, we know this isn’t what happened  (please refer to  Matthew 1:19-20 for the story of the angel appearing to Joseph and telling him he needed to wed Mary in spite of the fact that she was pregnant with some other individual’s child).  Because Joseph did the angel’s bidding and married Mary instead of “putting her away privily,” the locals all assumed that Joseph was Jesus’ “real” father. Remember, this was one of the locals big beefs with Jesus during his ministry on earth. They had a tough time accepting him as the Son of God because they had known him his whole life as merely the son of Joseph, a carpenter from Nazareth.

But Joseph knew the truth. Mary knew the truth. And Jesus knew it as well.

Even at the tender age of 12, Jesus understood Joseph’s role in his life as his step-father. Remember that time Mary and Joseph accidentally left Jesus behind in Jerusalem after Passover?  After an entire day of travel, they realize he was missing & they could not find him among their extended family or his friends.  (Can you imagine their prayers that night? “Dear God – we seem to have lost your Only Begotten Son in the flesh.  You probably already knew that but if you wouldn’t mind, please keep him safe and let him know how much we love him. Amen. P.S. Please forgive us – we promise to pay more attention to his whereabouts next time we head into town.”)

Three days later they find him at the temple in Jerusalem, talking with the learned men who were astonished at his answers and his understanding.  Like any mother, Mary was upset with him about staying behind without letting her know where he was.  Now pay careful attention to Jesus’ response to his mother. He says to her:  “How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49).

Not Joseph’s business.  His Father’s business. Jesus distinguishes the difference, even when others don’t.

(Side note: Isn’t it delicious irony that Jesus pointing out who his real Father is appears at the end of the very same chapter in Luke which the “Jesus was adopted” crowd likes to quote? There’s something so piquant about it, wouldn’t you agree?)

But back to the matter at hand. Even God appreciated and respected the mother/infant bond. He didn’t send his only begotten Son in the flesh to be raised by anyone other than his “birth” mother.   Certainly there were more “capable” women in Israel to raise the Son of God – someone married, more mature, financially secure and had a college fund set up for her future child, someone who knew all the ins & outs of child development, nutrition and discipline, had a support system that would be in place for the next 18 years – you know “worthy”  – someone who could answer all these questions the “right” way.  However, Jesus was not secreted away after his birth to be raised by another woman claiming to be his “real” mother. Mary raised him. Jesus stayed with his natural mother, his first mother, his mother.  With this kind of example of family preservation, why is it so difficult for some people to grasp the vital importance of attempting everything possible to preserve the original family unit – a mother and her baby?

If family preservation was in the best interest of the only begotten Son of the Father,  I think we are safe to assume it is in the best interest of all of His children whenever possible.

So Ms. Feverfew, when people start in with the “Jesus was adopted” thing, you can now discuss it with them logically and with scriptural backing.  God didn’t cho0se adoption for Jesus – God chose family preservation.

Much love and belief –

M.

P.S. And don’t even get me started with the “Well, Moses was adopted” thing right now.  That would take several chapters for me to address…