The Case for Adoption
I’m going to write flat-out political in this post, so if you want to skip it now, here’s your chance. Don’t say you weren’t warned…
January is Right to Life Month. This Sunday, at least in my church, it’s Sanctity of Life Sunday. On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court handed down their decision on Roe v. Wade, simultaneously with a companion case, Doe v. Bolton, that a right to privacy under a due process clause under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, extended to a woman’s decision to have an abortion. But I contend that abortion isn’t always the only option or even the best option. And, yes, it’s because I’m adopted; it’s also because I have an up-close and personal perspective on these issues.
In 1954, my Mother, Charlotte, was raped. I’ve checked and double-checked and triple-checked this, and feel confident that this is true. So. There it is. In 1954, had the United States had legal abortions, it would be doubtful that I would be here. Remember, one of the rallying cries of the Pro-Choice movement is that women who have been victims of sexual assault “must abort” because raising the product (the child, i.e me) of such a heinous crime would further traumatise the victims and trigger all sorts of psychological, emotional, and spiritual issues. While I don’t doubt for a nanosecond my Mother suffered, dearly and terribly, I also don’t think rape is always, only, a reason for an abortion. I have to admit, in Charlotte’s case, she seems on paper to be a prime candidate. Her Mother died when she was eleven years old; her Father died when she was seventeen. She was living with her Sister, who was dating a married man. I don’t know if her Sister knew she was dating a married man; but this is the man who is my Father, nonetheless. What the rest of the story is, no one seems to know…or they haven’t said. At the end of the day, Charlotte decided to go stay with her Grandmother in Chicago, away from curious people and prying eyes, I would imagine, even though her boyfriend (later, her Husband), who was in Korea at the time, assured me that after he married her, he would have wanted me and treated me as his own. He also reiterated to me, several times, that Charlotte loved me; loved me dearly, and didn’t want to give me up. In my experience, a Mother’s Love pretty much overcomes everything, even rape.
In any case, Charlotte had me in Chicago, and I was adopted by a great, wonderful, loving family. I had a wonderful life. I still have a wonderful life. And I have to think: had this happened to Charlotte in another time, another place, or had we had different laws, would I be here? And if I weren’t, neither would my Daughters. That’s two women who have brilliant lives and important careers. And nether would my Grandsons. That’s four more young men: six people in all, across two generations, so far. Do the math. If each of my Grandsons has two children, that’s eight more people; if they each have two children, that’s sixteen. Add it up. My loss could equal the loss of 31 people. Doesn’t sound like much, until you multiply it by the 58,586,256 who have been aborted since 1973. Just to be coldly, cynically, practical: if we hadn’t aborted 58+ million people, who would have added about 100 million people to the population, would Social Security be bankrupt? Would the election, somehow, look different…each year until 1998 (when those children would have been born would have voted this past election)?
So. Why not adoption? When I worked at a Crisis Pregnancy Center, the reasons I heard ran the gamut from:
“My child would be adopted by abusers!”
“I don’t want strangers raising my baby.”
“What if traffickers sell my baby?”
“If I can’t raise my child, I don’t want anyone to raise my child!”
“He’ll end up being an addict/abuser/gansta just like his Dad.”
“No! No! My Dad (a Pastor/Priest) would lose his job if anyone found out!”
Seriously. And my favourite: “My prom dress won’t fit.” Absolutely. Better to kill the fetus than any of these things happen.
It may be that I’m not giving Charlotte enough credit. I’ve heard mixed opinions on this; that she would/would not have carried me to term. At the end of the day, it’s hard to say. Having a baby is definitely hard work, and you’re never the same, whether you keep the child or not. But, at the end of the day, abortion is never the right answer either. Regardless of whether someone will admit it or not, abortion leaves its own physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual scars. Ridding yourself of a potential nuisance, and dealing with the procedural pain, hormonal upheavals of an ended pregnancy, anniversary syndrome, of wondering, “what if…”, and possible PTSD; OR adoption with the same wondering “what if…”, anniversary syndrome, post-partum stuff, and all of that…yet you can know your child is safe and healthy… Indeed there are no easy answers, whatsoever. But dead is dead. And if endangered animals have a right to life as eggs or what have you, why aren’t human children treated with the same respect, if for no other reason, than the potentiality of what they could bring all of us at some future date?
Yes, my feelings run high about this.
Anyway, I believe in life. I believe that it is a gift. I believe in adoption, if one is unable, unwilling, or uncaring enough to raise the child given them, then, please, let someone else do it for you. So many people have so much love to give. Let them give it when you cannot.