My friend David has already written an excellent analysis on the recent study showing that women find abortion less traumatic than giving a child up for adoption. If you haven’t read it yet, please do so.
I agree wholeheartedly with what he is written. I just felt compelled to add to it based on my personal experience. First of all, it is sadly absolutely true. I have been part of the conversation about several unwanted pregnancies and Abortion is always offered as option A. I’ve even seen many deeply religious, pro-life people pressure their own daughters to have abortions. Some did it because they feared the scandal and embarrassment. Some were concerned that their daughter’s future would be ruined by an unplanned pregnancy. Some just didn’t want to get stuck raising the kid themselves. But of all the parents I’ve known in this situation, only one suggested adoption. Why is that? We criticize liberals and atheists for their refusal to acknowledge the sanctity of an unborn child, but how many church going Christians do the same thing?
Many years ago, I had a roommate that found herself pregnant. She was single, and already had one child out of wedlock (that she was abusing and neglecting). She told me that the had an abortion once before. I could not in good conscience encourage her to have another, but I knew that she had no business parenting another child. So, I suggested to her that she give the baby up for adoption. “Oh, no. I could never do THAT!” she replied. Get that? She had no problem having an abortion or keeping a child she couldn’t care for, but giving one away to a loving family was unthinkable.
I’ve written before about meeting my birth family. But I left out the part about how much trauma my adoption caused. It was painful of course for my mother. She once told me that my step-father found her crying because it was my birthday, and that’s when she told him about me for the first time. It was traumatic for my sister, who was 11 when I was born. That’s old enough to understand that Mommy was pregnant and came home from the hospital without the baby. My great aunt said to me “If you had been mine, we would have all starved together before I allowed you to be adopted.” WHY? Why was placing me in a loving home with 2 parents such a horrifying thought to this woman?
We must change this thinking.
Abortion advocates criticize the pro-life movement by asking “Who is going to take care of all these unwanted children?” The truth is, there is no shortage of parents willing to adopt. WANTING to adopt. Alabama set a record in 2018 for adoptions out of the foster system. Americans travel to other countries to adopt. White families have no problem adopting children of another race. I have a friend who adopted a daughter from Mexico (in addition to her 2 biological children,) another who adopted 3 children from Africa (again, in addition to his biological children.) I even know a minister and his wife who adopted a 3 year old HIV positive daughter from Ethiopia after having 3 biological children. There’s even a waiting list for parents wanting to adopt babies with Down Syndrome. So, there’s absolutely no shortage in people willing to adopt.
What we have is a shortage of women willing to give up a child for adoption.
I’ve known dozens of people who were adopted, and dozens more who adopted kids. And sadly, I’ve known many women who openly admit to having abortions. I know exactly THREE women who gave up babies for adoption. One is my own mother. How sad is it that more women are willing to “shout their abortions” than “shout their adoptions?”
Why is this? Well, for one thing, there’s still a stigma on adopted children in this country. Maybe you don’t notice if you’re not personally touched by adoption, but it’s there. How many times have you heard someone make a comment like “That kid MUST BE adopted” because he doesn’t look like his parents or siblings? I had a previous co-worker say it about the boss’s son who was kind of a dork. I don’t know if the boy was adopted or not, but WHY WOULD YOU EVEN SAY SOMETHING LIKE THAT? Did he not realize how offensive that was? A bunch of college friends said it after meeting the sister of a mutual friend. My friend was short, brunette and a little chunky. Her sister was tall, blonde and gorgeous. I happened to know that they both WERE adopted. But again, WHY MAKE A COMMENT LIKE THAT? Many siblings look totally different. My mother had 4 biological sisters and none of them looked alike.
I didn’t grow up with my siblings, but I understand it’s a common insult to convince one he was adopted. My husband told his younger brother that when they were kids. Have your kids ever done that? And what is the response of most mothers? To yell at the kid that told the lie and reassure the other kid that it’s not true. What if instead she replied “Well, as a matter of fact, NO. You weren’t adopted. But there wouldn’t be anything wrong if you were.”
The pro-life movement is on the offensive now. Abortion restrictions have passed in several states. Public opinion is becoming pro-life. But there’s a difference between being “pro-life” and being “anti-abortion.” We can pass laws, but we must also work harder to change hearts and minds. We must do more to show our concern for life at all stages – even AFTER birth. We must do more to support mothers and children. To quote Katherine Jean Lopez, if we change hearts and minds without changing the law, it won’t matter. If we change laws without changing hearts and minds it won’t help.
But no matter how many laws we pass, abortion will still be an option in many parts of the country. And if we don’t do more to encourage women to choose life over death, adoption over abortion, precious lives will be lost.