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Is Adoption the Answer to Abortion?
Which side of the Roe vs Wade argument are you on?
If you’ve chosen a side, I invite you to read this post.
This post is about Adoption, Abortion, Politics, Child Abuse, Foster Care and more. These are subjects close to my heart. I spent the first few weeks of my life in a foster home. As I understand it, my biological grandmother pushed my mother to put me up for adoption. It was the early 1960’s. They arrived from the Carolina’s in time for her to give birth here in Miami. Everything was arranged in advance. I’d be taken from her in the hospital so that she’d never have the chance to bring me home. My brother, possibly a half-brother, had been born 1 ½ years earlier. It seems our mother wasn’t very good at mothering. My brother’s care fell to his grandmother, who from what I’ve learned, was too busy with her own children to take care of any more. He was taken to Miami and given to the orphanage at the age of 3 months. I believe there was another born after us but I’m not able to get that confirmed. And the only way I’ll ever be able to meet my brother is if he makes an inquiry into his own adoption and I don’t even know if he even knows he is.
I was raised by Italian and Swiss adoptive parents, but actually, I learned when I was about 30 years old that I am ¼ French and ¼ Polish from my mother’s side and ½ truck driver (they claim she was hitch-hiking). I’m not so sure about that though because after reading the report I received, I can’t be sure the pregnancy wasn’t actually due to one of my mother’s step-uncles. – - Does that sound like a not too good maybe sad story? As opposed to knowing absolutely nothing, to wondering whether they were teenagers in love who weren’t allowed to keep a baby, or whether it was rape and all the thousands of thoughts in between that I’d had for the better part of 30 years, that not too good sounding sad story was music to my ears, because now I knew something.
Have you ever given any thought to the children in orphanages or foster homes that don’t get adopted? I mentioned that to a friend of mine once and she wasn’t even aware that homes are not found for all the children. Many people are not aware. I want to acknowledge that there are many loving, caring adoptive and foster parents, but the fact is, there aren’t enough of them.
The very mention of abortion rights almost always provokes strong emotions, some heartfelt, but others self-righteous and hypocritical, from both sides of the issue. There are protests going on in Washington D.C. even as I prepare this post and the subject is often debated with vicious attacks (verbal and otherwise). I’d been putting off doing this post because the issue is so polarizing and political and this is not a political blog, but this is not really a political issue, it’s social and it’s spiritual and it’s personal. I think if people took a closer look at adoption and looked at the abortion issue from all angles, solutions would emerge that we could come together on. This post is to offer a closer look at adoption and abortion… as I see it. I’m not an expert with a degree in this field, but it is forever a part of my experience.
When I hear someone referencing an unwanted/ unexpected pregnancy so casually say “Just put the baby up for adoption,” I just cringe. Here are some stats:
“The Orphan Foundation; removing the barriers to adoption”
- There are 143,000,000 orphans in the world
- In the US, 25% of foster children become homeless
- 30,000 leave the system every year without getting into a family
- 56% of foster care children enter the unemployment ranks
- 27% of the emancipated male children in foster care end up in jail
- 30% of the emancipated females in foster care experience early parenthood
“___% of the emancipated…” Do you know what that literally means? At age 17-18, an orphaned child becomes emancipated, released from the states foster care system. These are teenagers, never having been adopted, never having any one person in the world not associated with the agency ever say to them “You matter”, “I want you to become a part of my family”, “I want to share my life with you, educate you, guide you”, “I’m offering you love… and I want you to know you are lovable”. These children will never receive a “Happy Birthday” greeting card from back home signed “Love, Mom and Dad” as they find themselves out in the world alone and there’ll be no phone calls from home on the holidays.
Congressman Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee is reported to be on a taped recording telling his pregnant girlfriend to get an abortion, and while still married to his wife. The hypocrisy here is that he runs on an anti-abortion political platform.
Others who have an anti-abortion position do adopt and foster. Two congress people that I’m aware of are John McCain and Michelle Bachman. I could not be further from them politically, but they have “put their money where their mouth is” on this issue.
I must also acknowledge that there are those people who would like to adopt but don’t qualify for various reasons. In 1985, when I was still married and our son was just 3 years old, my husband and I applied to adopt one of what was termed the “unadoptable” children. I believe today they say “special needs”. That meant they were harder to find homes for because they were not infants, or had siblings also up for adoption with them, were mixed race, had been exposed to drugs or alcohol in-utero, were handicapped in some way, etc. Many of these children were considered hyperactive (which today might be diagnosed as ADHD), or they’d been physically or sexually abused and almost always mentally and/or verbally abused. These were not just children given up for adoption at birth, but children who were removed from their homes and taken away from their parent(s), often due to abuse and neglect.
My husband and I asked for a girl since we already had a boy and we asked that she be younger than our 3 year old son. That’s it. Our family was racially mixed so race or any history of abuse, nothing else mattered. We just wanted to provide a loving home for a little girl. Ultimately, we were not allowed to adopt. The agency wanted to show us photo albums to choose from and then meet the children. I couldn’t do it. I refused to pick my daughter out of a catalog of children. The agency said it was important that the child “fit in with our family”. That’s not the way “God” does it I told them, there’s no interview process. (That’s not the way science does it either.) Picking one child meant not picking hundreds of others and I wouldn’t/ couldn’t do it.
Basically, I “cut off my nose to spite my face”. We were not able to adopt because I would not choose. I was in my mid-twenties. I would’ve handled it differently today, but it is what it is. When I was very young, my adoptive parents had always told me I was chosen from a line-up of babies they looked at through a window. Yes, that was the story. I already knew by the time I was 4 years old that I was adopted. I don’t remember how or when I was first told. They said they picked me because of my blue eyes, that all the other babies had brown eyes. I know they were trying to make me feel special, but they made me feel different. It never ever made me feel special. I was sad for all the brown eyed babies left behind. It’s amazing how things we experience as children stick with us.
An Analysis of Interest in Adoption and a Review of State Recruitment Strategies
“On any given day in the United States, more than 100,000 foster children are waiting to be adopted by someone who can provide a permanent, loving home. While they wait, these children often live with foster parents, with relatives, or in group homes or institutions. Extensive recruitment efforts have been undertaken at the state and federal levels to identify homes for these children. Yet many children still wait a very long time for a new family.”
As we all know, there are many people who want to make abortion illegal. There is a lot of talk in this country in defense of the unborn child. Although much of the talk is heartfelt, many people seem to genuinely feel they have a God given right to tell every woman what she should and should not do with her body, regardless of circumstances and often based on their own religion. I hear many of these same people frequently refer to the US Constitution (for various reasons you’ll be familiar with if you watch cable news in particular)… the same Constitution that grants “freedom of religion”, but somehow that doesn’t translate for them that a woman’s choice for her body and her fetus is simply not their business. And I’ll add here, as we saw in the last election, some of whom don’t know a thing about reproduction. – Pro-choice does not imply pro-abortion, although most pro-life anti-abortion people honestly don’t see it that way.
It appears to me that many people who are pro-life are part of a large number of people in this country that also want to discontinue government social programs that help the poor, hungry, uneducated, sick and homeless. They don’t want their taxes going towards birth control pills and such, apparently even cancer screening. There seems to be little to no understanding that investments like that lead to less tax money being needed in the long run, to say the least. There is such an overriding negative attitude about not wanting to help people that “don’t help themselves” as they see it, that it leaves them almost no room to acquire an understanding of, well of life itself and circumstances under which many people live, or simply survive.
How many pro-life activists are willing to financially support the children they demand be brought into the world? Or how willing to adopt these children are they? Does the concern for the children continue or does ones interest stop after the political fight is waged? These things aren’t typically discussed in the debates waged on television. How does one justify demanding more children be brought into this world when one looks at the reality of current circumstances? Or perhaps not everyone is looking at the reality. As stated above, “On any given day in the U.S., more than 100,000 foster children are waiting to be adopted.” The population of the U.S. is approximately 623,184,000. Approximately half of that population is “pro-life”. Where is the care and concern for the children? “Children” being what becomes of the embryos and fetus’ so much concern is expressed for.
How many of us make the choice to become educated about the social issues in our society? How many of us are familiar with what various government programs offer and what that help actually means to people? How many of us support programs that help to educate people? How many of us work to lift our fellow human being? How many of us could be putting all of our “protest energy”, from both sides of the issue, into helping others feel safe, healthy, sheltered, clothed and fed… and educated?
When I was 4 years old, I was threatened with being sent back to the orphanage. I don’t remember what I was doing wrong at the time, but to this day I remember that moment standing in the kitchen and being scolded. I remember the fear I felt. I didn’t remember being in an orphanage because I was so young, but I knew what it was… and I didn’t want to go back.
My belief is that all the experiences we have in life are for our spiritual growth, for the growth of our soul. Choosing abortion, adoption or keeping a child are all choices which offer the opportunity for growth. Whether the choices we make are seen as “right” or “wrong”, whether we ultimately experience sorrow, regret, relief, acceptance, or any of the many, many other emotions that could be associated with such a choice, or whether we go through a period of denial, all of this experience is ours, our life, our path, and that is between us and our God. It is not my neighbors “right” to step onto my path and attempt to stand between me and my God. And this is whether my God is a Christian God or my higher self or simply an oak tree in my backyard. My body, my life, my path, my growth, my soul, my God… my choice.
Can any one of us speak to why one comes into life on earth? If your belief is purely scientific, then so is your answer. But if one believes there’s something spiritual involved, how can you presume to know the purpose of another’s soul? Or if you believe a child is sent by God, are you presuming God’s intention/ plan/ purpose for the child? I’m not saying it is a matter of a child, a life, coming into being simply to be given away or aborted, but there is a purpose for each soul, for each lifetime if you believe in such. A soul associated with an infant isn’t necessarily an “infant” soul. It may be much, much older, wiser. If one chooses not to belief that, perhaps you may believe that as a soul, it is connected to its source… to God. It may be offering an experience, bringing an opportunity for spiritual growth to the mother/ the family involved. The pregnancy itself is an opportunity for growth and any “choice” the mother makes will bring an experience of one kind or another… it will bring opportunity for spiritual growth. Some of the biggest steps forward we take in life are from the most difficult and intense experiences.
I’ve never believed what anyone else ever told me to believe about God. I believe what my heart tells me, after all, that’s where God lives. I believe in a God of love so forgiveness is not necessary because there is no judgment, there is only unconditional love. These are just my thoughts but I am aware there are many different thoughts out there about God, souls, life and death. But we all have the right to have our own thoughts, don’t we? We all have the right, a constitutional right even, to believe in our own God, or not believe, don’t we?
What if religious/ spiritual organizations financially supported an adoptive family? If someone in the organization would like to adopt but can’t afford the increase in grocery bills, doctor bills, diapers, day care, or would need occasional babysitters, or maybe require an additional room be added on to their house… support them… support the child. I would think this is already being done somewhere, but I don’t hear about solutions like this in the news. How about other established organizations such as colleges, etc., is there someone among the staff wanting to adopt? Consider adopting a teen; you potentially have a whole support staff around you.
“30,000 teenagers leave the foster care system every year without ever getting into a family.”
Let us focus on finding loving homes for the children who are here now. Then we can talk about abortion and alternatives such as adoption, when we can look at it from a different perspective, from a more educated and informed perspective. Let us be a society that doesn’t abandon its children in a foster care system… or at a local fire station.
My local agency is the Children’s Home Society of Florida which provides programs like Breaking the cycle; to prevent more children from suffering tragedies of abuse, neglect or abandonment AND Preparing for independence; without CHS, teens in foster care who haven’t found forever families would be thrust into “survival mode” on their 18th birthday – the day they become legal adults, responsible for every aspect of their well-being. We provide life skills training, educational and career coaching, guidance and safe housing so teens can learn self-sufficiency as they transition into adulthood and pursue opportunities for life success. Serving more than 7,000 teens and young adults every year through such programs, we change lives.