The Religion Decision
My son will not be baptized.
I felt strongly about baptism from our very first talks regarding religion and our new family. Both my husband and I were raised in Catholic households, we attended Catholic schools, and were occasional church-goers growing up. Much of my own relationship with religion during my childhood and adolescence was filled with feelings of shame, guilt, and inadequacy. And there was no way I was going to put Luca, our son, through any of that. Besides, I couldn’t allow myself to indoctrinate him into a religious group with strong and unwavering views on homosexuality and the definition of family.
Please don’t get me wrong, I DO have faith. I believe in basic Christian values, in mutual love and respect for one other, and that perhaps there exists some omnipotent being or mysterious energy source that is responsible for our creation. I always enjoyed the stories of Jesus Christ and his messages of love, peace, and forgiveness. I fully intend to pass on these stories and values to my son, along with other tales I’ve learned from various faiths. And if one day Luca wants to join a religious group, I will definitely support his decision – a decision I refuse to make for him.
As my infant grew, so did the discussions around the fate of his soul. During the many visits to our parents’ homes we heard subtly voiced concerns that we were denying our son access to the pearly gates and neglecting to rid his soul of original sin. I tried very hard not to show my anger towards these ridiculous claims but it wasn’t until I turned off my defensive, religion-deflecting force field that I realized what our families were truly asking for. They all love Luca very much and want the opportunity to celebrate that love. After all, in our families it’s always been through a religious event that we take the time to celebrate one another. Our families didn’t get a chance to celebrate their love for our son… and I was the one denying that to them.
So began my quest for the middle ground. Surely there had to be a church out there more interested in celebrating family and love than fear and repenting our sinful existence. After some digging, I found a wonderful Christian missionary church that claimed to be all about community, generosity, spirit-filled experiences, and an authentic love for oneself, each other, and God. This church offered a service called a “Baby Dedication." My curiosity was peaked. After meeting with the church pastor, I booked a date and told our family about it.
We received an overwhelming response of joy and the desire to attend Luca’s Baby Dedication. Our families, friends, surrogate, donor and even our neighbors were there! The dedication was focused on love, gratitude and community. We thanked God for the wonderful gift of our son and we vowed to take excellent care of him. Our family and friends were asked to declare their intentions to show love and understanding to our son, to help raise him, and to support us as parents. One of the powerful messages that the pastor offered was that all humans are created in God’s image and we each reveal an aspect of God on earth. God selected us to be Luca’s parents and selected Luca to be our son. It’s now our job to learn and nourish the part God’s image that we see in him.
At that moment, I remember feeling the power of those words and as I held back a tear, I looked around the church at all our friends and family. These were the people that have always loved and supported us. These were the people that chose to be a part of Luca’s life and have committed to help him grow into a good person. This gathering is the force behind what faith is all about. This commitment to family, to loving and helping each other, and to celebrate life’s incredible blessings is why we connected. I feel truly blessed and grateful that my family and this church helped open my eyes and heart to an experience I would have otherwise never considered.
+ Photo credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/be/Christ_Statue,
_Capa_Fatucama,_Dili,_East_Timor_(314067362).jpg [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons