In the cultural/social climate of 2019, few women choose adoption as an unplanned pregnancy option. Abortion or parenting are the more popular choices. Disinformation abounds with lines blurred between foster children and adopted children. Many young people know little about adoption and what it looks like today.
As one studies the changes in the culture over the past 75 years, a most obvious cultural shift is that single parenting is commonly accepted today. Often people end up single parenting even if they were once married due to the high frequency of divorce. Finances can be challenging, but not impossible with many forms of social services to assist a single parent. Therefore, the question begs an answer: “Why would I consider going through a pregnancy, becoming attached to the little one in my body, and then hand it over to someone else?”
There are similarities between adoption and abortion. Someone unprepared to parent can be relieved of that responsibility — by either choice. However, the glaring difference is that the baby is given life in adoption. In abortion, that little one, his or her God-given purposes, gifts, and talents are extinguished forever. An abortion decision is permanent and final with no replacement possibilities.
Today there are many dimensions and opportunities in making an adoption plan. The doors have opened to biological mothers/fathers to have more involvement in their child’s future if they so choose. The extent of contact can be predetermined in the initial stages of planning. Perhaps a young mom will decide she only wants to receive updates and photos so she knows how her child is developing. Or maybe, she desires an open adoption in which she will spend time with her child, giving that child knowledge of who she is from the beginning of life. Some people feel that it is in the best interest of the child to grow up with an understanding that they have only one family, those who are responsible for raising them. Yet, having some contact with biological family has worked well for many adopted children and parents.
Adoption has evolved over the years. It was once done in secret to protect both the biological mother’s future as well as the adoptive family’s. Legal rights of the biological mother were severed upon the decision to place the child into an adoptive home. The adoptive couple became the legal parents/guardians and even birth certificates were changed to represent the new family unit. In the early 20th century, it was common to hide an adoption from a child who was often never told the truth about his or her biological family. Then, after “surprising truths” were discovered as the child became an adult, there was an emotional toll to resolve. By the middle of the century and beyond, social practices evolved. Adopted children were usually told “their stories” before they were even old enough to understand the meaning. Adopted babies learned that they were special and chosen by their adoptive parents. They were taught that their birth parent loved unselfishly by choosing parents who were better prepared to parent.
In 2019, adoption still provides many opportunities for a parent who feels she is unable to parent. Yes, grief and loss may accompany carrying a child full term and relinquishing parenting to someone else. However, the child is alive, the parent can become involved, or in the least of contact, have the satisfaction of knowing her child is thriving. In abortion choices, there may be initial relief, but there can be also substantial risks: emotionally, relationally, spiritually, and even physically. And, that one little life has ended. Forever.