These are just some thoughts on abortion & adoption. Those two words are just two letters apart. Yet there’s a world of difference between the two procedures.
(After all, one is meant to end life, while the other is meant to enrich it.)
Abrazo sometimes gets confused calls from females seeking abortion services. The only service we provide and the only option for which we can vouch is adoption, though.
Abortion is the act of terminating a pregnancy, whether voluntarily or involuntarily. This choice can only be made prior to birth.
Adoption is the act of transferring a child legally from the care of one set of parents to another. This choice can only legally be made after birth.
One adoptee, mother and former abortion patient, Mindy Stern (click Mindy’s name to read her essay in its entirety) speaks to the dilemma that potentially leads to either act:
All children should come into this world wanted and prepared for, and all women should be free to make the choice that is right for them. That should be our goal; impossible to achieve but worthy of its effort.
Melissa Ohden is another adoptee with an experience worth sharing. She survived an unsuccessful adoption and was adopted without her mother’s consent. (Click Melissa’s name to read her account of learning her truth and meeting her birthmom, years later.)
Who Speaks for the Children?
Either way, though, in both abortion and adoption, neither fetuses nor babies have any say in the matter. Who speaks for those at the center of these decisions?
Plenty of others try to speak for them, of course. Lately, politicians seem to be arguing most loudly over abortion rights and adoptee rights. And yet, few seem to be addressing the root causes of either issue, such as poverty, lack of sex education, limited birth control access, addiction, abuse, etc.
Adoptees have their own opinions as to whether their mothers should have chosen abortion or adoption. Yet to expect those who have survived abortion or adoption to serve as a poster child for either is unfair at best, and exploitative at worst.
And yes, there are those who believe that abortion may have been a better option, given how their lives turned out. (Please don’t judge, if you’ve not walked in their shoes.)
You can have been spared the indignity of being aborted, have grown up in the best of families, and yet, struggle with a lifelong sense of not belonging anywhere.
Similarly, you can have been raised in the biological family into which you were born, and go through life wishing you’d been adopted, instead.
The only “happily-ever-afters” in real life are the choices we make to be happy, whatever our circumstances. (And that’s more easily said than done, for most of us.)
What We Do Know
In 25 years, Abrazo has worked with countless women who experienced abortion before placing a child for adoption. Our agency also knows birthmoms who have opted for abortion after having placed a child for adoption. We also know women who have become loving moms or mothers-who-adopted after having aborted, or after having placed.
This is what we know, though: neither abortion nor adoption is “easy.” Both change a woman’s life in ways that others cannot see and should not judge… as does parenthood. Either decision may result in deep regrets. (And yet, so can parenting, frankly?)
Neither women who place children for adoption nor women who terminate their pregnancies became pregnant by themselves. And most lack/ed adequate support from their sexual partners, regardless of which process they pursue/d.
Closing abortion clinics won’t de-legalize the morning-after-pill. Denying women the means to choose abortion doesn’t ensure that adoption will become more popular. Banning adoptee rights doesn’t ensure that more women will choose not to abort. (If you’re scratching your head trying to make sense of this paragraph, there’s one Texas senator with a pixie hair cut and an axe to grind who’d love to persuade you of this bias.)
Speaking for Our Agency
At Abrazo, we do get calls from females trying to decide between aborting and carrying a pregnancy to term and placing the baby for adoption.
Adoption enables children to be cared for in homes that truly want them. Our adopting parents have undergone great scrutiny in order to become parents intentionally.
Abrazo’s adoptions have enabled thousands of children to thrive, despite the limitations that faced their birthfamilies.
We believe in life, and we believe in open adoption. We also believe that each mother-to-be should be empowered to make her own best, informed decision. This includes truths that adoption agencies may find it hard to discuss, like the fact that open adoption is not legally-enforceable under Texas law. Or that adoption can result in grief and/or trauma that may impact adoptees and/or birthparents for life. And that adoption does not guarantee a better life, only a different one.
To be a parent who opts for adoption requires personal sacrifice, courage, love, and an ability to have faith in future outcomes beyond one’s control.
We know thousands of happy, healthy adoptees whose birthparents did not choose abortion. We’re infinitely grateful for each of them (and for all of their parents, too.) And if they wish to share some thoughts on abortion & adoption, we’ll gladly hear them out– but we won’t presume to speak for them, because by listening, we’re sure to learn a whole lot more.