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Many people who think abortion should be legal, or feel that abortion should be a “woman’s right” do not feel or want to believe adoption should enter the conversation.
Some pro-lifers or people in general feel strongly that a woman should NEVER place her child with an adoptive family.
And others feel as though everyone considering abortion should just start making an adoption plan.
Let me interrupt this extremely divided world to throw down some real talk.
Life is a miracle.
Not every situation we find ourselves in is easy.
Love is not easy. Saint Gianna’s words about love hold a lot of truth:
“One cannot love without suffering or suffer without loving.”
We live in a culture that thinks we should avoid and eliminate all suffering. But that is not how we are designed.
Abortion causes suffering to the unborn and to the mother. It often causes suffering to the father, the grandparent (even if they are the ones who strongly suggested it in the first place). Some people embrace healing. Others do not. A large number of abortions are done today with the idea that the child is suffering so this will end his or her suffering.
Adoption causes suffering. It is often a choice made with a very heavy heart. It is not easy. It has been chosen in some cases under coercion (like some abortions).
Neither is ideal, but:
If we want to make abortion unthinkable, we need to be open to learn more about adoption.
We, as pro-lifers, need to be more educated about adoption.
Some pro-life volunteers still look down upon the idea that a woman is considering placing a baby with an adoptive family. Other pro-life advocates think they know who SHOULD place a child with an adoptive family.
We need to provide more support to women who are considering an adoption plan and to the women who have already chosen one.
We need to seek out birthmothers or first moms to volunteer at pregnancy resource centers. We need to ask them to share their stories and listen to what they think women facing unplanned pregnancies need.
We need to remember that adoption should always be an option. We also need to learn a lot more about that option.
Adoption: 5 Myths Every Pro-Lifer Needs to Stop Believing
Myth #1: Adoption Is Not a Solution for Abortion
First of all, we all know it is not a “universal alternative to abortion” like one article suggests – but we do KNOW it is an alternative.
Let me re-assure you that adoption does save lives. Callie Jet, Founder of Talk About Adoption, shares her story:
I walked away from my scheduled abortion procedure that day because I heard the truth about ADOPTION.”
Not only did Callie walk away from her abortion appointment because she heard about adoption, she started an entire organization because she believes whole heartedly that:
“parenting and adoption are the only rewarding options for an unplanned pregnancy”.
See more about Talk About Adoption on their website
Many people will tell you to stop talking about adoption. If Callie’s testimony isn’t enough, Mother Teresa has some things to say about the topic too:
I will tell you something beautiful. We are fighting abortion by adoption – by care of the mother and adoption for her baby. We have saved thousands of lives
Now, let’s talk about foster care since I feel lots of people want to talk about that when we as pro-lifers bring up adoption.
Here’s a quote from an article titled: “Adoption Is Not a Universal Alternative to Abortion, No Matter What Anti-Choicers Say”
Currently, there are close to 400,000 children in state custody; only half have permanent plans for placement. Meanwhile, employees in protective services are underpaid and overworked, treading water to try to ensure that all of the children in their care are happy and healthy. Anyone who believes that adoption or foster care is a natural solution to growing restrictions on reproductive rights is kidding themselves.
Here’s the truth I don’t ever hear: domestic infant adoption often prevents that 400,000 number from going up.
There are many women who had abortion appointments, canceled them and placed for adoption.
Some of those women were not going to legally be permitted to parent. Some of these women were leaving the hospital without their babies – even though they would have been legally allowed to parent. Those babies would have entered “the system” – but, the choice of adoption prevented that.
How come we don’t ever talk about that? Do you doubt that happens? Don’t. It happens. Trust me.
Myth 2: There is nothing you can do to lower the average cost of adoption
Pro-life groups, organizations and pregnancy centers have the capacity and the ability to lower the average cost of domestic infant adoption. How you ask? Great question, let me explain.
The average cost of adoption using an agency is around $35,000. The average cost of a private or independent adoption is around $12,000.
These are average costs. Some adoption agencies charge around 50 grand to match an adoptive couple with an expectant mother that chooses to place. Some states allow potential adoptive parents to pay birthmother expenses and these numbers go up further. Most adoption agencies do not include the cost of an adoption attorney in their cost.
Yes, adoption is expensive – but it doesn’t have to be.
Now, some states do not allow adoptions to occur without the help of an agency. However, agencies do not need to charge over $35,000 to help a couple adopt (especially if the couple and the expectant mother found one another without the help of an agency).
Some states allow private or independent adoptions to occur without involving adoption agencies at all.
Most adoption costs with agencies go toward employee salaries and marketing and networking that goes into finding women who are considering adoption.
A crisis pregnancy center often runs on volunteers and women who desire to choose life are going there for help and guidance. Many pregnancy centers are a part a larger pro-life group that is working hard to show abortion minded women that they can choose life. Many of them will enable women to see that not only can they choose life, but they desire to choose parenting.
But, there are some cases where a woman will ultimately decide not to parent. Those women could be connected to couples within the pro-life community who feel called to adopt.
This connection saves couples tens of thousands of dollars. And on top of that, the pregnancy resource center truly offered help to those who choose life and are discerning parenting and adoption.
I could write a whole post on this, but for now . . .
if you want more about adopting without an agency? Read Pursuing an Adoption Without An Agency: What We Did Right
Let me talk more about that in the next myth.
Myth #3: Pro-Life leaders are properly educated about Adoption
The truth is, there is a lot the general population does not know or understand about adoption.
Mothers who chose to place their children with adoptive families are slowly emerging and speaking out. Some felt very coerced into the choice. Most feel judged and shamed.
Couples who choose to take the adoption route learn a lot when preparing for their home study. Adults who grew up in multi-racial families have just recently started sharing their stories that address challenges no one thought to address a generation ago.
Almost no one truly understands that”open adoption” is a very broad term and that two “open-adoptions” can be very, very different.
If your pro-life agency, group or center has a conference this year – they should have an adoption related speaker. They should have adoption speakers every year and at many training events. The truth is, adoption is extremely complicated. There are many viewpoints. There is plenty to learn.
If you would like me to come speak, let’s connect! See how on my About page!
Does your pro-life group know the adoption laws in your state? Does your crisis pregnancy center have a volunteer or advocate that once placed a baby with an adoptive family? Are volunteers still saying “give up” instead of “place?
Here is my concern: when abortion becomes more and more unthinkable, are we as active members of the pro-life community ready to support adoption?
I want us to be.
Myth #4: People only want to adopt healthy babies
Let me introduce you to Special Angels Adoption Advocates.
Myth #5: Coercion and other ethical issues surrounding adoption are things of the past.
It is true that a long time ago many women who placed their babies with adoptive families did so unwillingly. I would say it happens less often now – however, there are still many ethical concerns that we need to be very aware of when it comes to adoption.
Personally, I have learned a lot in the past 8 years about how the line of ethics is skirted and crossed within adoption agencies. I am not anti-adoption agency, but I have found that independent social workers and adoption attorneys label some agencies as ethical – which means some they view as unethical. I’ve learned that even ones considered ethical do things like advertise counseling to potential birth mothers but in reality “have them sign a paper” which stated counseling was offered. In my opinion, and I hope in yours, that should NEVER be the extent of counseling someone discerning an adoption plan should receive from an agency. And again – that was an ethical agency!
This reason alone makes me want to invite and encourage crisis pregnancy centers to reach out more to women who want to seriously consider adoption. Women choosing life need the counseling, guidance and support from centers that work to empower women to parent if that is their desire. Pro-life advocates can and will help them to truly see what help they can receive and what help they will need to seek elsewhere. The adoption world needs these centers to get on board and be educated.
As for ethical issues, you don’t have to take my word for it. The organization Arrow and Root recently published this blog post 3 Things to Ask an Adoption Professional.
This article is not for potential adoptive parents but for women considering an adoption plan for her unborn child. The goal of this post is to help the expectant mother find and work with an ethical professional.
I also suggest following adoptwell on Instagram. I have more resources for you . . . again, another post or course session!
Would you like me to come speak at your pro-life conference? I’d love to help your group start prepping for a nation and world that shouts their adoption plan rather than something else! Let’s talk! More details here: About Amy Brooks
Stay tuned. I could write a blog post on each of the myths. I’m thinking and praying over creating a series on the blog, a course or a resource guide for crisis pregnancy centers and pro-life advocates.Let me know what you want and need . . . and sign up here to stay connected!