Turn on any news channel and it won’t take long to hear something about the pro-choice/pro-life debate. Here in Texas, the conflict has been especially tense as our government seeks to regulate abortion clinics. Running alongside this debate is a growing group of people who are raising awareness of the adoption aspect of abortion, and we’ve seen an increase in churches who are choosing to support families who want to adopt in ways they haven’t before. “There is no such thing as an unwanted child!” is the rallying cry, as they seek to send the message that abortion isn’t the only option when an expectant mother does not want to parent.
Along the same vein, recently there is an increased awareness of the ethical intricacies of international adoption. As many countries have either slowed considerably or completely shut down, we see sad reports of unethical practices, child trafficking, and agency fraud. Those who are blowing the whistles are sometimes labeled as “anti- adoption” and are accused of not caring about the orphans waiting in difficult circumstances. “There is no such thing as an unwanted child!” is stated again as some fight to make adoption overseas easier, faster, and without limitations.
Self confession- sometimes the debate is exhausting. Sometimes in the evenings, once the kids are finally whackamoled into bed, after dishes are done and I finally sit down, I have good intentions of reading and educating myself on all these issues, but then I fall asleep watching The Office reruns. It’s easy for me to boil this down to a simplistic view of being prolife=support adoption in all situations. I am prolife…but I think it’s important that we look at what that means.
I believe life is precious and orchestrated by God. I believe we are charged with protecting life, advocating for those who can’t advocate for themselves, and living in a way that places life above other things. So what does this mean for me?
It means that I realize that life isn’t simply brain and heart function. It means that I follow His example of not only protecting life, but protecting abundant life. It means that I put others ahead of myself and my desires…and this may mean I put another person ahead of my desire to parent. I believe this means that adoption isn’t the first or only option we offer to expectant mothers, and we love them enough to support them in emotional and practical ways so that they might be able to choose to parent. It means that when we are matched with an expectant mother, we make a choice to make sure she is counseled about her choice, even if it means she may change her mind. It means that we don’t make promises about open adoption that we aren’t sure we can or don’t intend to keep. It means that if we agree to a certain level of contact, we honor that commitment. It means that after we bring our child home, we are Christ-like in how we talk about birth parents. It means that if a child is removed because of abuse or neglect, our first goal should be that there would be full healing for the birth parents and the family can be reunited. It means that we don’t see birth parents as a means to an end.
With international adoption, it means that we do not choose an agency that promises to get us a child faster than anyone else and has little to no accountability. It means that we take every measure possible to make sure that the child’s story is accurate. It means that we choose to become educated about the problem of child trafficking, because for some, our families are the face of international adoption. It means we work to increase domestic adoption within countries, because we acknowledge that staying in a country of origin ultimately is less traumatic for a child. It means we ask questions and demand answers. It means that we make a commitment to pray through each step, and trust that one of those steps may be to stop.
Prolife can’t simply mean protecting the unborn. It has to mean a respect and reverence for all life, including birth families. Prolife can’t just mean that we believe the child in a womb is precious. It has to mean we believe the woman intent on aborting that child is precious. It has to mean we believe the doctor performing the abortion is precious. It has to mean we believe the politician that voted to make it possible is precious. Because while we may mean it when we say there is no such thing as an unwanted child, the truth is that in His eyes, there is no unwanted person, and no person that is less precious to Him. The man over the ocean that sells his child, the woman down the street who abuses drugs and leaves her child hungry, the woman who works tirelessly at the crisis pregnancy center… the caste system is our creation, not His.
Luke 6:32-33- “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much!”
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This post was also published at http://www.mercyfoundministries.com