When Christians talk to me about adoption, they often cite Moses as the ultimate example of how awesome adoption is. I am always…shocked…by this line of reasoning, because I have read the Moses story a lot, and have yet to figure out how it fits with our modern day version of adoption.
So let’s recap the story, shall we?
Evil Egyptian Pharoah decides to kill all Israelite baby boys. Moses is born, but instead of being killed, his loving mama puts him a basket and floats him on the river. An ancient “safe haven hospital” drop-box, if you will. But loving mama doesn’t just leave him there to die, no, she has his older sister Miriam hide in the bushes and make sure he is okay. Because, after all, they dropped him off at what appears to be a strategic location and not the Egyptian-dumpster.
Evil pharoah’s lovely princess daughter went to the river to bathe and finds a helpless baby floating there, and takes compassion on it. Note this princess wasn’t looking for a baby, she just happened upon it (another point against modern adoption as a service to provide babies for people who want them, versus finding homes for children who need them.
Older sister Miriam sees princess with baby, approaches, and says she knows of a good wet nurse (Moses’ own loving mama) and asks the princess if she wants the services. Princess accepts because Gerber formula doesn’t exist.
Loving mama raises Moses in the home of Pharoah. Let’s say she was his wet nurse for the average weaning of 4-6 years. Maybe Moses wasn’t allowed to call her mama, but I am guessing he knew, even if he had to keep it secret. He knew he was in Israelite, which is shown later in the story.
At some point loving mama probably had to be separated from Moses as he was weaned and she couldn’t out herself to the Pharoah as his mother. Moses grows up, sees Pharoah treat “his people” poorly as slaves and ends up killing one of his adoptive clan people an Egyptian) and then hightails it out of town. He then hears from God Almighty and goes back, to rescue the Israelites…his biological family.
Plagues ensue, he helps curse his adoptive family and death comes to firstborns on the land in retribution for what the Egyptians did to the Israelites. He is reunited with his biological family and leads them to safety. Kinda the ultimate adoption-reunion story, and could be made into a Lifetime Movie.
And kind of a modern-day-adoption nightmare. I mean, how well would it go over in today’s media for an adopted kid to kill their adoptive family and then go back and live with their biological relatives as a hero?
So, perhaps, Moses should stop being held up as the gold standard for modern adoption.
You are completely right! Not exactly a warm and fuzzy tale worthy of a hallmark card. I have noticed that people have a tendency to wear rose colored glasses when it comes to some bible stories and hear just the parts they want to. I was raised Baptist and my husband was raised Catholic…seems to be fairly common across the board.
Poor Moses, he had to be the most frustrated man in existence. Had to kill his adoptive family, lead his people into the desert, tries to share wisdom with them and they end up worshiping false idols.