November is National Adoption Awareness Month, a month that is set aside to draw attention to the countless young boys and girls in foster systems who are in need of forever homes. You can learn more about the needs within the foster system here. We at the Care Center want to take some time to draw attention to the world of adoption, but in a slightly different way.
Our clients who find themselves in an unplanned pregnancy are faced with a decision to make: should they carry-to-term and parent their child, carry-to-term and place their child for adoption, or have an abortion?
I can’t count how many times I’ve sat with women as they agonized over this decision. Often the idea of adoption is not a viable option in their minds. Adoption carries with it a certain negative stigma. Visions of Lifetime movies come to mind, painting pictures of abandonment and neglect.
To many, abortion seems like a better option than adoption. Rather than carrying a pregnancy for nine months and then enduring the pain of placing that child into someone else’s arms, it seems easier and less painful to go ahead and end the pregnancy early.
Being in the midst of an unplanned pregnancy can be overwhelming, and abortion often seems as though it is the quickest and most effective way to “solve the problem.” However, for the woman or man experiencing this pregnancy, there is no easy option: all choices in front of him/her will be difficult, painful, and require some sort of personal sacrifice.
How Are They Similar?
So how are abortion and adoption similar? Think about it this way:
Both options allow you to pursue personal goals and plans. Maybe you’re concerned about finishing your college education or your career. Continuing towards these goals is possible with either option.
You will not have to parent before you are ready. This is a concern for many women in unplanned pregnancy, and it’s completely valid. Both options allow you to choose to not be a parent.
Both options allow you to live independently. This concern is connected to the two listed above. The prospect of being a parent can be overwhelming because rather than just being in charge of yourself, you now have another life to care for and look after. Both abortion and adoption allow you to continue your current lifestyle of independence until you are ready to take on the responsibility of parenthood.
But Are They Really So Similar?
So are abortion and adoption equally beneficial options for a woman who does not want to parent her child? I don’t think so. Because while there are similarities, there are also drastic differences. Consider these:
Adoption ends in life. Abortion ends in death. This is the most evident difference between the two, but also the most uncomfortable to address, and rightly so. Both options are incredibly painful in different ways, but adoption ends in a future for an unborn child, whereas abortion ends the future of that child’s life.
Adoption allows you to plan for your child’s future. Abortion is final; the decision can’t be reversed. Throughout the adoption process, you can interview and choose who the child’s parents will be. You can make sure your child grows up in an environment that you approve of and in which you are confident and secure. As mentioned above, abortion eliminates any future your child could have. Think about it this way: your child’s life was unplanned. Your child’s future doesn’t have to be.
Adoption allows you to have contact with your child and know how he or she is growing and developing. This isn’t possible with abortion. The world of adoption has changed much over the years, and open adoptions are becoming more and more common. You can have a say as to the level of openness in your adoption. This will look differently for every birth mother. There may be monthly visits, a few visits a year, or just mail exchanged with pictures and updates on the child’s life. With abortion (this may be self-evident, but it’s worth saying) this relationship is not possible. You won’t get the chance to know your child or see your child grow and develop.
Adoptions can be more affordable than abortions. I hate to even bring up money when talking about something as important as an unborn human life, but it is a real factor in the decision-making process and so I want to at least mention it. Many adoption agencies are so invested in birth mothers that they will cover costs for all maternity care (including delivery and post-delivery care for the baby) and will even assist in other areas as needed (housing, job searching, or other financial needs). Abortion can be very costly and of course gets more expensive as the pregnancy progresses.
So What Now?
If you are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, don’t be deceived: there are no easy options in front of you. All your choices will, to some extent, be difficult, painful, and require some sort of personal sacrifice. Anyone who tells you differently is not being truthful or entirely forthcoming.
Yes, the decision you must make is difficult. But by definition, the fact that you have to make a decision means that you have options before you. We at GPCC are here to help by walking with you through this process and giving you accurate and truthful information so that you’re fully informed.
The world of adoption is largely misunderstood, but we hope that drawing attention to its comparison with abortion is helpful when weighing the two options. To learn more about adoption and what it might look like for you, check out Bethany Christian Services. And of course, you can also give us a call to speak with someone about the options available to you. We’d love to walk alongside you so that you can face your unplanned pregnancy fully-informed and without fear.
Mary Holloman is the Communications Assistant at GPCC. When she’s not at the Care Center she’s probably chasing her 20 month old, spending time with her handsome hubby, or serving at Lawndale Baptist Church. You can follow her on her personal blog at www.AllMySpringsBlog.com.