What is natural selection?
Natural selection is the idea that the fittest survive and pass along their traits to their offspring.
This is the science memory sentence that brought tears to my eyes last Friday. It’s part of the memory work that our Classical Conversations co-op introduces each week in the elementary years. The tutor asked the children if they knew what a trait was. Most knew and explained that it’s like getting your green eyes from your father or your dark hair from your mother. That’s what did it that’s what brought the tears to my eyes.
My daughter, adopted from China, who sat in that class, has no way of knowing from whom she inherited her traits. And in that moment it seemed very unfair. I had to walk out of the room and dry my tears.
Her beautiful strong body, gorgeous black almond shaped eyes, and long dark shiny hair, all traits passed on through the genetics of an unknown parentage. My son too with his happy expressions, kind gentle heart and slight build, traits passed on from people he does not remember.
What an injustice to be ripped away from your mother immediately after birth to spend the first year of life in an orphanage to then be ripped away from your country and heritage and placed in a family with unfamiliar traits. There are consequences to the disruptions in nurturing. To varying degrees all orphans suffer attachment issues, altered brain chemistry, delayed development and emotional trauma.
I had little understanding of that when we were in process to adopt my two youngest children. Oh I knew that my children from China were abandoned and I had read much on parenting adopted/hurt children. In a cursory way I understood their loss of family was an injustice of the Chinese culture. I’ve come to understand in a deeper way though how hurt and loss always precedes every adoption and carries over into the new family. I’ll never know completely, personally, how that loss feels yet I experience the effects it has on my children.
My daughter was abandoned as a newborn girl, my son as a weak sickly child of 11 months. One might say that my daughter was one of the fittest, but you couldn’t say that of my son. According to natural selection he shouldn’t have survived.
I don’t understand why suffering has to precede adoption. The injustice my children’s lives began with is just a small sampling of the atrocities of our broken world. As a Christian I know we live in a fallen world and I can’t get too caught up in the “why God?’s” .
This is what I do know: God is a redeemer, a healer, an advocate. He places the lonely in families(Psalm 68:6), He defends the cause of the fatherless(Deuteronomy 10:18), He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:3), He raises the needy from the ash heap (Psalm 113:7) And He adopts all who believe, grafting us into His eternal family giving us all a hope and a future.
But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;[a]
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
Natural selection has little to do with my children’s survival. God’s steadfast love and redemption has everything to do with not only their survival but their living full happy lives.