How you can learn to love your birth mom

July 24, 2017

I remember exactly where I was when I felt grateful for what my birth mom did.

I’ve always been thankful for my life, and I’ve always known that what my birth mom did was an incredible thing. My adoptive parents—the people I call Mom and Dad—have done a great job of making sure I knew that what my birth mom did was extraordinary. The selfless act of giving me up, of making sure I was raised in a loving home with two godly parents has been elevated in our home.

What she did was a big deal. It is a big deal. But I don’t know if I’ve truly believed that in my heart of hearts. I do now, though.

I love birthdays. Mine, yours, anyone’s. I think birthdays are important, and I enjoy planning the celebration for friends and family as much (if not more) than I enjoy being celebrated. The first birthday I celebrated after I graduated college and had moved away from home for my job was just a couple of years ago. It hit me as I was driving home from celebrating that if it weren’t for my birth mom, I wouldn’t get to have birthdays or celebrate anyone’s birthday. She gave me the opportunity to have birthdays.

It almost seems like it’s commonplace in our culture these days to have abortions. I hear about it often through conversations at work or by just reading something on the internet. It absolutely breaks my heart. And lately, my heart has turned toward my birth mom. How in the world could she have done something so incredibly selfless? Only through God’s grace.

I don’t think it’s easy to have a heart turn positively toward your birth mom. Sometimes, sure. But, lots of times, there are many questions turning in our head. “Why did she give me up? Did she not want me? Was I a mistake?”

I know a lot about my adoption, but I don’t really know my birth mom’s side. Through God’s sovereignty, I’ve been able to speak to my birth dad about some things, but to be honest, those questions still plague me. And if I keep asking them, my heart turns bitter toward her. I can easily get mad at her for what she did in giving me up. Society—and my flesh—would back me 100 percent if I decided to have this attitude all the time. I would be supported in my frustration and anger, my annoyance and pain, and my pity parties.

But, I don’t follow the path of society. I don’t say this lightly. The Christian life isn’t easy, and we will have tribulations. For some of us, that’s cancer or a miscarriage or growing up in a single parent home. I’ve had my fair share of troubles. My life has been good, but it hasn’t always been easy. Coming to a place where I can truly say I love my birth mom, where I am so incredibly grateful for what she did, and where I do not have anger in my heart when I think about her wasn’t—and still isn’t—easy.

Just like I imagine it was hard for her to give me up. I don’t have children yet, but I’ve been privileged to love two boys as “nephews” and other children as my students. I wouldn’t for one second want to give a single one of them up, and my love isn’t even a mother’s love.

What my birth mom did was radical. And what God did in my heart the night I started to truly become grateful for my birth mom was just as radical.

It’s okay to wonder why your birth mom gave you up.

There are times when I wonder if I’ll ever meet my birth mom and have the chance to say these things to her. For years, all I wanted to do was have a conversation with her, face to face, and ask her why she did what she did. I wanted answers, reasons, and facts. Now I just want her to know that I think what she did was brave, selfless, and courageous.

Like I said, this wasn’t an easy place to get to, but I do think this a place all adoptees who love Jesus and may be struggling with their attitude toward their birth mom can get to. Here are four things I’ve found helpful as I’ve learned to love my birth mom—even from a distance.

  1. Pray for her: You may not even know her name, but the beauty of serving a God as big as ours is that he knows. He knows the number of hairs you have on your head, so I can guarantee that he knows your birth mom’s name. If you’re thinking of her or just wondering why she did what she did, give it all to the Lord. You don’t know how he’s going to use that, but I know that my prayers for my birth mom helped change my attitude toward her—even when I didn’t know my attitude toward her needed adjusting.
  2. Go to counseling: Seriously, going to a godly, Christian counselor in regards to my adoption and my relationship with my birth mom was one of the best decisions I could have ever made. There are good Christian counselors out there who have been gifted with wisdom from the Lord and are willing to walk through the tough questions you may have.
  3. Ask the tough questions: I think those questions need to be asked. I think it’s okay to wonder why your birth mom gave you up. It’s helpful to process those questions with people who understand what it’s like to be adopted and with those who don’t. Just don’t stay in that spot. Wrestle with the feelings, seek godly counsel, and keep living your life.
  4. Thank God for your life and what he’s given you: My mom recently told me I needed to count my blessings in regards to a hard situation I’m walking through. It wasn’t necessarily the advice I wanted to hear in that moment, but in reality, it was some of the best she could give me. I fully believe that thankfulness changes a bitter heart. So, if your heart is angry or bitter, thank him for what he has given you—and maybe what he’s saved you from. Think about what your life could have been like if your birth mom didn’t place you for adoption, and thank him for rescuing you from that. Maybe your life, adopted or not, is still hard—but there are plenty of things you can be thankful for, I’m sure.  

And to the birth moms out there, please know this: I think what you have done is incredible. You have a strength that blows me away. Please don’t buy into the lie that you were a coward for not raising your baby. You are a champion for seeing that what you could give your child wasn’t the best, and you chose to do what was best for your baby—even if that meant not raising your child, yet still giving your child life. Thank you.

Article 12: The Future of AI

We affirm that AI will continue to be developed in ways that we cannot currently imagine or understand, including AI that will far surpass many human abilities. God alone has the power to create life, and no future advancements in AI will usurp Him as the Creator of life. The church has a unique role in proclaiming human dignity for all and calling for the humane use of AI in all aspects of society.

We deny that AI will make us more or less human, or that AI will ever obtain a coequal level of worth, dignity, or value to image-bearers. Future advancements in AI will not ultimately fulfill our longings for a perfect world. While we are not able to comprehend or know the future, we do not fear what is to come because we know that God is omniscient and that nothing we create will be able to thwart His redemptive plan for creation or to supplant humanity as His image-bearers.

Genesis 1; Isaiah 42:8; Romans 1:20-21; 5:2; Ephesians 1:4-6; 2 Timothy 1:7-9; Revelation 5:9-10

Article 11: Public Policy

We affirm that the fundamental purposes of government are to protect human beings from harm, punish those who do evil, uphold civil liberties, and to commend those who do good. The public has a role in shaping and crafting policies concerning the use of AI in society, and these decisions should not be left to those who develop these technologies or to governments to set norms.

We deny that AI should be used by governments, corporations, or any entity to infringe upon God-given human rights. AI, even in a highly advanced state, should never be delegated the governing authority that has been granted by an all-sovereign God to human beings alone. 

Romans 13:1-7; Acts 10:35; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 10: War

We affirm that the use of AI in warfare should be governed by love of neighbor and the principles of just war. The use of AI may mitigate the loss of human life, provide greater protection of non-combatants, and inform better policymaking. Any lethal action conducted or substantially enabled by AI must employ 5 human oversight or review. All defense-related AI applications, such as underlying data and decision-making processes, must be subject to continual review by legitimate authorities. When these systems are deployed, human agents bear full moral responsibility for any actions taken by the system.

We deny that human agency or moral culpability in war can be delegated to AI. No nation or group has the right to use AI to carry out genocide, terrorism, torture, or other war crimes.

Genesis 4:10; Isaiah 1:16-17; Psalm 37:28; Matthew 5:44; 22:37-39; Romans 13:4

Article 9: Security

We affirm that AI has legitimate applications in policing, intelligence, surveillance, investigation, and other uses supporting the government’s responsibility to respect human rights, to protect and preserve human life, and to pursue justice in a flourishing society.

We deny that AI should be employed for safety and security applications in ways that seek to dehumanize, depersonalize, or harm our fellow human beings. We condemn the use of AI to suppress free expression or other basic human rights granted by God to all human beings.

Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 8: Data & Privacy

We affirm that privacy and personal property are intertwined individual rights and choices that should not be violated by governments, corporations, nation-states, and other groups, even in the pursuit of the common good. While God knows all things, it is neither wise nor obligatory to have every detail of one’s life open to society.

We deny the manipulative and coercive uses of data and AI in ways that are inconsistent with the love of God and love of neighbor. Data collection practices should conform to ethical guidelines that uphold the dignity of all people. We further deny that consent, even informed consent, although requisite, is the only necessary ethical standard for the collection, manipulation, or exploitation of personal data—individually or in the aggregate. AI should not be employed in ways that distort truth through the use of generative applications. Data should not be mishandled, misused, or abused for sinful purposes to reinforce bias, strengthen the powerful, or demean the weak.

Exodus 20:15, Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 40:13-14; Matthew 10:16 Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 4:12-13; 1 John 1:7 

Article 7: Work

We affirm that work is part of God’s plan for human beings participating in the cultivation and stewardship of creation. The divine pattern is one of labor and rest in healthy proportion to each other. Our view of work should not be confined to commercial activity; it must also include the many ways that human beings serve each other through their efforts. AI can be used in ways that aid our work or allow us to make fuller use of our gifts. The church has a Spirit-empowered responsibility to help care for those who lose jobs and to encourage individuals, communities, employers, and governments to find ways to invest in the development of human beings and continue making vocational contributions to our lives together.

We deny that human worth and dignity is reducible to an individual’s economic contributions to society alone. Humanity should not use AI and other technological innovations as a reason to move toward lives of pure leisure even if greater social wealth creates such possibilities.

Genesis 1:27; 2:5; 2:15; Isaiah 65:21-24; Romans 12:6-8; Ephesians 4:11-16

Article 6: Sexuality

We affirm the goodness of God’s design for human sexuality which prescribes the sexual union to be an exclusive relationship between a man and a woman in the lifelong covenant of marriage.

We deny that the pursuit of sexual pleasure is a justification for the development or use of AI, and we condemn the objectification of humans that results from employing AI for sexual purposes. AI should not intrude upon or substitute for the biblical expression of sexuality between a husband and wife according to God’s design for human marriage.

Genesis 1:26-29; 2:18-25; Matthew 5:27-30; 1 Thess 4:3-4

Article 5: Bias

We affirm that, as a tool created by humans, AI will be inherently subject to bias and that these biases must be accounted for, minimized, or removed through continual human oversight and discretion. AI should be designed and used in such ways that treat all human beings as having equal worth and dignity. AI should be utilized as a tool to identify and eliminate bias inherent in human decision-making.

We deny that AI should be designed or used in ways that violate the fundamental principle of human dignity for all people. Neither should AI be used in ways that reinforce or further any ideology or agenda, seeking to subjugate human autonomy under the power of the state.

Micah 6:8; John 13:34; Galatians 3:28-29; 5:13-14; Philippians 2:3-4; Romans 12:10

Article 4: Medicine

We affirm that AI-related advances in medical technologies are expressions of God’s common grace through and for people created in His image and that these advances will increase our capacity to provide enhanced medical diagnostics and therapeutic interventions as we seek to care for all people. These advances should be guided by basic principles of medical ethics, including beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, and justice, which are all consistent with the biblical principle of loving our neighbor.

We deny that death and disease—effects of the Fall—can ultimately be eradicated apart from Jesus Christ. Utilitarian applications regarding healthcare distribution should not override the dignity of human life. Fur- 3 thermore, we reject the materialist and consequentialist worldview that understands medical applications of AI as a means of improving, changing, or completing human beings.

Matthew 5:45; John 11:25-26; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57; Galatians 6:2; Philippians 2:4

Article 3: Relationship of AI & Humanity

We affirm the use of AI to inform and aid human reasoning and moral decision-making because it is a tool that excels at processing data and making determinations, which often mimics or exceeds human ability. While AI excels in data-based computation, technology is incapable of possessing the capacity for moral agency or responsibility.

We deny that humans can or should cede our moral accountability or responsibilities to any form of AI that will ever be created. Only humanity will be judged by God on the basis of our actions and that of the tools we create. While technology can be created with a moral use in view, it is not a moral agent. Humans alone bear the responsibility for moral decision making.

Romans 2:6-8; Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Peter 1:5-8; 1 John 2:1

Article 2: AI as Technology

We affirm that the development of AI is a demonstration of the unique creative abilities of human beings. When AI is employed in accordance with God’s moral will, it is an example of man’s obedience to the divine command to steward creation and to honor Him. We believe in innovation for the glory of God, the sake of human flourishing, and the love of neighbor. While we acknowledge the reality of the Fall and its consequences on human nature and human innovation, technology can be used in society to uphold human dignity. As a part of our God-given creative nature, human beings should develop and harness technology in ways that lead to greater flourishing and the alleviation of human suffering.

We deny that the use of AI is morally neutral. It is not worthy of man’s hope, worship, or love. Since the Lord Jesus alone can atone for sin and reconcile humanity to its Creator, technology such as AI cannot fulfill humanity’s ultimate needs. We further deny the goodness and benefit of any application of AI that devalues or degrades the dignity and worth of another human being. 

Genesis 2:25; Exodus 20:3; 31:1-11; Proverbs 16:4; Matthew 22:37-40; Romans 3:23

Article 1: Image of God

We affirm that God created each human being in His image with intrinsic and equal worth, dignity, and moral agency, distinct from all creation, and that humanity’s creativity is intended to reflect God’s creative pattern.

We deny that any part of creation, including any form of technology, should ever be used to usurp or subvert the dominion and stewardship which has been entrusted solely to humanity by God; nor should technology be assigned a level of human identity, worth, dignity, or moral agency.

Genesis 1:26-28; 5:1-2; Isaiah 43:6-7; Jeremiah 1:5; John 13:34; Colossians 1:16; 3:10; Ephesians 4:24