Your pet evangelical gate-keeper isn’t the sole arbitrator of the Christian faith: there is more complexity and beauty and diversity of voices and experiences within followers of the Way than you know. Remember, your view of Christians, your personal experience with Christians is rather small sample size: there are a lot more of us out here than you might think. A lot of us on the other side of that faith shift, eschewing labels and fear-tactics, boundary markers and tribalist thinking.
We might be tempted to justify inaction because, after all, our kids aren’t doing anything wrong; it’s not their responsibility. But it is precisely here where we need a revolution in the way we conceive of our relationship to others. We are all each other’s responsibility.
With that thought, I crammed all the pain and emotions and memories into a box. I tossed the box into a bag and wrapped the bag in duct tape and rolled the whole wad with a steel chain. On this chain, I clamped a lock whose key had been thrown away. And I buried it in my memory. This is going to be my secret and now no one ever has to know.
When I first heard about open adoption — the mother chooses the family by looking at family books and letters, then communication and learning to trust each other, then a child who moves from one mother to another, and in some cases, letters and meetings in the following years — I was scared. I wanted to be the mother, the only mother. I didn’t want the complexity and ambiguity of it all. But a good friend of ours told me something that changed our minds. She also didn’t want to try open adoption at first. And then she realized this: it’s all about having a story for your child. “Your birth mother loves you, and she realized she couldn’t take care of you the way she wanted you to be cared for. She made the hardest decision she has ever made, for your sake. And she chose us to be your family.
When I was 6 years old, my sister and I were abducted by a stranger. He was not a monster. He was not disgusting. He was a young, good looking guy in Jordache jeans who simply walked up to us in the parking lot of our apartment complex and said that he was catching bunnies in the woods. There was no fear. There were only two little girls talking the whole way about how we weren’t allowed to have pets in our apartment. There was some scheming about how we could convince our mom to keep the bunnies. But other than that there were no alarms going off in my head. There was no, “Hey little girl, do you want some candy?” which I knew to run from. There was just a walk with a guy who looked like he could be a camp counselor and we talked and laughed the whole time. There was no hurry. There was no grabbing us, or screams for help. There was just a walk filled with laughter and the possibility of bunnies in the woods, and this might be the best weekend ever.
The study was conducted by Susan Waterson, a professor of behavioral psychology at the University of Massachusetts and the author of zero books, because, Waterson says, “another book at this point would just be cruel.” In the course of seven weeks, Waterson interviewed a hundred and twenty-seven families about their reaction to articles that begin with a wryly affectionate parenting anecdote, segue into a dry cataloguing of sociological research enlivened with alternately sarcastic and tender asides, and end with another wryly affectionate anecdote that aims to add a touch of irony or, failing at that, sentimentality. “I wasn’t looking to prove there was too much of this content,” Waterson said. “I’m a behaviorist, not a sociologist.
The idea behind diversity is not that everyone gets their fair share of the Jerry Seinfeld webisode pie, it’s that theoretically, if we’re choosing comics based on their relative merit, the natural result should roughly approximate the diversity of the field and, if it doesn’t, maybe there’s a reason for that. The “quota” isn’t the object of the exercise, it is one measurement of it. It’s something to think about, and if Jerry Seinfeld did think about it, there is no way he would conclude that there are only two black comics worth getting coffee with, or one female comic. He would conclude that, for whatever reason, he missed something.