Friday, January 5, 2018

Blog Jump Start Week 3: Something from the Drafts {If Pro-Lifers Don't Promote Adoption, Who Will?}

Linking up with Donna for Challenge #3 of the Jump Start Your Blog series.  This time, the challenge was to publish something that has been hanging out in our "Drafts" folder.  This is a post that I wrote in 2014 that I never published.  But considering that the anniversary of Roe v. Wade is approaching, publishing it now, in light of Donna's challenge, seemed timely.  Thanks, Donna!

A few months ago, I packed up several bags of baby clothes and took them to a local pregnancy resource center that is always looking for donated items.  This particular pregnancy resource center does wonderful work, is 100% pro-life in their cause, and has helped hundreds of pregnant women locally and probably thousands nationally.  I love supporting them and their work.

While handing off a few donated bags of clothing, I spoke to the very kind and friendly woman who volunteers at the center.  I know her fairly well; she is very pro-life and leads her church's Respect Life Committee.  She donates her time to the pregnancy center, so I have tremendous respect for what she does and who she is.

Considering the fact that my husband and I are waiting to adopt, I thought maybe she would be a good one to share this fact with, since she meets many women facing crisis pregnancies on a weekly basis.  So we talked, and the conversation went something like this:

Me:  We've been waiting to adopt for almost a year now but our approval ends in about 6 weeks and it's not looking like we'll get  a baby.

Her:   Oh, if it is God's will, it will happen.  Why don't you think you'll get a baby?

Me:   Well, it takes a long time, and some couples never get chosen. There just aren't enough babies available domestically for couples like us who want to adopt them.  It makes me sad because I really wanted another baby after we adopted our son, and I don't think biologically that is going to happen now.

Her:   Yeah, when you get around 40, you need to start thinking that way.

Me:  Actually, I'm almost 45.

Her:  Oh!  Well by that time, you really don't want to have another baby!

Me, somewhat awkwardly:   I would love to have another baby.

Her:  What about going to another country to adopt a baby?

Me:  We don't really want to do that and aren't in the position right now to do the travel necessary.  It is also often much more expensive.  But a lot of Americans do go overseas to adopt partly because not many babies are available domestically.

Her:   You know, we almost never get a client [pregnant woman] who is thinking about adoption.  I think last year all year, we only had one client who said she was thinking about adoption, and in the end, she didn't do it.

Me:   It's unfortunate that adoption isn't promoted more but sadly, it has a lot of negative stereotypes. Just the phrase "giving your baby up" suggests that the birthmother is giving away someone who she doesn't want, which implies that she is a terrible human being and incredibly selfish, when really, choosing adoption can be an act of extreme unselfishness.

Her:   Oh, we never use the phrase "giving up the baby"; we try to say, uh, well, what we say is, well, we just say "give your baby life."

Me:  Oh yes, give the baby life, but why not give it even more? Why not ask them if they have thought about adoption?

At this point, I shared a little about our personal experience with our son's birthmother and her parents and how much love they had for him, so much so, that they chose adoption for him.  

After we parted, I reflected on this conversation.  As pro-life people, we are well versed in the "Choose Life" mantra.   We put it on our bumpers, on our t-shirts, on our billboards, and on our Christmas cards. This is a wonderful thing to do and has no doubt changed hearts and saved lives.   But what happens after many women choose life?   Do their babies live in homes free of domestic abuse?  Can they give their baby a father who guides them and protects them?   How many of these babies will end up available for adoption anyway in 8 or 10 years because they have been placed in foster care and their parents couldn't properly care for them?

I totally get why a birthmother would not want to consider adoption.  A single-mother is considered a hero in our society (true, many are), whereas, a mother who chooses to place her child for adoption is more likely to be viewed as "avoiding responsibility" or "thinking only of herself". And then there is the grandparent factor.  Many adoptions are stopped by grandparents who step in and say "I will raise your child" which makes them the de facto parents, but then who fills the doting, spoil-them-rotten role of the grandparent?  They say "don't you dare give up MY grandchild" for adoption.   How could anyone, especially an already extremely stressed and exhausted birthmother, handle such pressure, even if she was considering adoption?

I myself have never had to make that decision and so I can't say that I would be able to choose adoption if I were the one facing a pregnancy for which I was unprepared.  But I do think that if I heard positive and encouraging stories regarding adoption, if I lived in a society where choosing adoption was held in high regard and considered a very loving and unselfish decision, if I had the encouragement of my parents and my friends (and pregnancy resource center workers), then I would be much more inclined to give it some serious consideration.  Unfortunately, this is not what most birthmothers experience today.

Back in November, which was National Adoption Month, I waited for at least one pro-adoption story in our diocesan newspaper.  There were none.   But the month before, October, which was "Respect Life Month", there were weekly stories about various pro-life efforts around the diocese.  

As Catholics, we are very good (and rightly so) about promoting the "Choose Life" message and helping the mothers who make that choice.   And I was pleased to see that the theme of this year's March for Life was adoption. However, unfortunately the  "Consider Adoption" message still needs some serious marketing and as pro-lifers, we shouldn't hesitate to share it.   That message too, will save lives, and might even make a few lives better.

1 comment:

  1. Our family, also, has been blessed by adoption. My sister and her husband adopted our niece a little over five years ago. We can't imagine life without her. Adoption does seem like a natural extension of the pro-life movement. It speaks wonderfully to the commitment to ALL lives being important. I wonder why the church and pro-life organizations don't mention more about it.

    Great post! Thanks for sharing!