02/20/2014 11:22 am ET Updated Apr 22, 2014

I Believe in Paradoxes

I don't have a problem with God being able to create a rock that's so heavy He can't lift it. I'm a pretty logical guy, for the most part; and paradoxes used to drive me crazy. Then my wife and I started adopting children.

I used to reject the fact that my children could hate me and love me at the same time. If anyone tried to force them to choose one side or the other, they would claim to do so and usually on the less desirable side. Still, it wasn't convincing. Of course when they were little, we understood that they could love an infant sibling enough to give them the last drop of their own blood, but hate them sufficiently to shove their infant seat off of a chair and onto the floor in an attempt to permanently dispose of them.

Like any parents, we taught our children that they didn't hate their siblings; they loved them. And love didn't allow aggressive behavior. Perhaps we would have been wiser to teach them to control their anger rather than attempting to prove that paradoxes couldn't exist.

We have been taught our whole lives that paradoxes are
the Loch Ness Monster. They simply can't exist.

Many times adoptive parents feel like they are alone in defending themselves when teens rage. But I watch biological parents in the same boat, struggling to convince their children that they should only love them (contradictory feelings can't exist at the same time because after all, that would be a (gasp) paradox!). Biological parents bemoan months of pregnancy and hours of labor trying to justify mandatory feelings of love and appreciation from their offspring. They talk about long hours of work and sacrifice to provide material things and even more importantly; educations. If adoptive parents go to the same desperate arguments of work and sacrifice, they often unfairly take it to another level.

When an adoptive parent starts talking to their child about how much money they spent to adopt, they have blown past the ethics barrier without even tapping the brakes. Unfortunately, the next step is often to mash the gas pedal while barreling towards the wall. They try to prove that they are the parents most worthy of love (and exclusive love) because of the wretchedness of "birth parents" that didn't care for the child. The confusing thing to me is that such parents are surprised when the car and everyone in it are destroyed when that collision happens. I even watch them crawl from the twisted metal on the opposite side of the wreck from their child, while crying out and demanding appreciation after causing such a catastrophe. Who could blame the injured child for spending the rest of their lives trying to prevent others from being maimed in the same way?

One of the greatest successes we have achieved in our family of adopted and biological children is that we embrace paradoxes. I know, it sounds weird. We have been taught our whole lives that paradoxes are the Loch Ness Monster. They simply can't exist. Well, I'm here to tell you that nothing has brought our family more peace and understanding than good ol' Nessie.

In my family, we believe in paradoxes.

A fundamental paradox that we base our family relationships on involves the mourning for the disintegration of the first families to the children who joined our family by adoption. I love all of my children equally and I can't imagine our lives without a single one of them. I wouldn't trade them for anything! Still, each one of those children is a member of my family because of a tragedy; a horrific tragedy that caused people, including my children, indescribable pain. Had such a tragedy not occurred, my family would not be the same. It would be less. I would be less. So, should I wish those tragedies had never happened; or should I be happy that my children are in our current family? Yes.

I can be horrified at what my children and their first parents experienced. I can (and I should) cry for all of them. I can wish that it never happened. At the same time I can feel happiness of religious revival proportions that my children are in my family. I can do both of those things at the same time because in my family, we believe in paradoxes.

I can even ask God why my children had to suffer so much while thanking Him for sending them to my family. I know it's a paradox, but I'm still trying to figure out how He can create a rock so heavy that even He can't lift it.