By Gayle Fidanzo, Executive Director, Choice Adoptions
“I am grateful for and wholeheartedly affirm Christian zeal to care for children in the womb through the political process. Let’s match it with Christian zeal to care for women with unwanted pregnancies and to foster and/or adopt vulnerable children in our homes.” ~ David Platt
Whether you agree with the above statement or not, here’s something we can all agree with:
Too many children are neglected and abused in America and end up in foster care. Our society is broken, and in order to save it, we must care practically for women with unwanted pregnancies, and we must prevent children from spending one day, much less their entire childhood, in foster care.
Why are so many children growing up without the basic necessities of human flourishing? Why are there 250,000 children in foster care in one of the most sophisticated and progressive nations in the world?
Put yourself in the place of a young woman who is staring at the two lines of a pregnancy test.
Maybe she’s in school.
Maybe she’s homeless.
Maybe she's addicted.
She could have been reckless when she hooked up with a boy from school.
She may be in a domestic violence situation or in the sex industry somehow, trafficked or otherwise.
Maybe she’s about to make partner in her law firm, but doesn’t believe in abortion.
She may be sitting two seats down from you in church; she may be in your book club.
Maybe she’s still finding her way in the world and not quite ready to be the parent she wants to be someday.
Confusion, moments of sheer happiness, all-consuming sadness, and dread all rush in at once.
Soon a decision must be made.
Will she parent? Or will she depend on a family member to do that?
Will her baby end up in foster care?
Will she terminate her pregnancy and not tell a soul?
Will she excitedly go to the hospital to deliver only to be told she can’t take the baby home because when they did a blood test, the baby had drugs in her system, or because she is homeless, or because she is struggling with mental illness? Do these things mean she is not a mother? She never intended to allow her child to go into foster care and now she seemingly has no choice.
Will she consider adoption?
Who can she trust? Who can she tell? You?
Adoption is one solution that helps young women, helps babies, and makes our world a better place for children to grow up in.
What is adoption anyway?
It’s a choice. In an open adoption a young woman with an unexpected pregnancy receives the care and support she needs in order to BREATHE.
Once her immediate stress is reduced, she can make a decision. She begins a relationship with an advocate, a paid Choice staffer who has a counseling or a social work degree and a heart as big as the ocean. The young woman and her advocate get to know each other. They share life. She can call her advocate at any time day or night to talk, to process, to cry, to laugh, to scream. She will be heard.
If she needs help signing up for health insurance, her advocate helps her do that. If she needs help to get out of a violent living situation, her advocate helps her make a plan. If her cell phone is in danger of being shut off, her advocate pays the bill. If she needs help telling her family of her pregnancy, her adoption plan, or anything else, her advocate will go with her and sit beside her during that tough conversation. Her advocate will explain the laws about birthfathers to her. Does she have to tell him? Does he have rights? Does she have to name him? Her advocate has the answers. Her advocate will help her find a loving family to adopt her baby, and one that will love her and want to stay in relationship with her and the rest of the birth family forever. But only if she wants that. She gets to decide. The choices are all hers. Her pregnancy is suddenly doable and she has more resources and tools to succeed.
Choice Adoptions has 40 waiting adoptive families who are home studied and trained to invest in the life of an expectant mother with wide open arms and hearts. From the first moment she connects with a Choice advocate, and for as long as she wants, she is supported, loved and empowered to make hard decisions. It’s life-changing for most of the young women who choose to work with us. In fact, adoption changes everyone. Adoptive families are able to build the family their hearts have been aching and longing for. Birth mothers are able to build a bright future for themselves by finishing high school or college, or by getting out of a bad situation. Babies and children are able to bond, attach, experience safety and stability by being loved by both their adoptive family and their birth family. And we as a culture are able to keep more children from ever spending one day in foster care. That’s our goal.
I leave you with just a few questions:
1) Do you know someone who has been adopted?
2) Do you think it could have been handled better?
3) Do you know someone right now with an unexpected pregnancy?
4) Are you a resource for them?
5) Do you think that someone extremely close to you, maybe even a mother or a daughter, friend, or cousin has ever experienced an abortion and never told anyone? Or maybe they placed a baby for adoption and you never found out?
Help us eliminate the shame and guilt surrounding an unwanted pregnancy and surround all of our mothers, daughters – all of our sisters – with love, acceptance, and practical help. We will put your financial donation to good use to reach more women in crisis. But we aren’t asking for your money. We’re asking you to take a good look at what’s happening around you, and help us spread the word that there is free help for mothers and babies that isn’t dependent on government handouts. Let’s do it for the sake of our neighbors and friends and the future of our children. Babies, women in crisis and children are in desperate need of genuine help.
Frederick Douglass said that “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” And it’s true. You cannot give a child back their childhood. You cannot undo trauma once it is experienced, you can only alleviate the harm. It is far more effective, cost effective, and fruitful to do everything in our power to give ALL children the kind of start and the kind of future they deserve.
If you are pregnant and need support, here are pregnancy resources:
9 Things to Know About Adoption In Oregon and Washington
You may also like some of these great adoption resources: