This is Part Ten of a series on Adoption called Everything I Want You to Know About Adoption. To see the links to each individual post in this series, click the “adoption” tab on the nav bar at the top of the blog, or click here.
I have fielded this particular question (which is really not a question at all, but more of an accusation and a judgment on the moral character of the birthmother) more times than I’d like, for sure. With one of our adoptions, I had a person in my life who said this to me repeatedly—no matter how I responded. It was emotionally exhausting, to say the least.
To be fair, most of the time when a person voices this question/concern/judgment, it comes from the heart of one who
a. Loves the adoptive couple and thinks they have their best interest in mind.
b. Has neither a heart for nor a biblical understanding of adoption—on any level.
c. Is simply trying to connect, converse or relate to the adoptive situation in some way.
So, keeping that in mind, I have thought it wise to believe the best about the person making the statement and respond in a loving manner. And yes, it is very difficult to respond in love when what I really want to do is slap someone.
Maybe it’s just me, but I have a really hard time responding in love sometimes.
And it just occurred to me that there is a good chance someone reading this today has made the exact same statement. And maybe this person is you. And maybe you think I want to slap you.
I choose to believe the best about you and respond in love.
Some Birthmothers HAVE Done Very Bad Things
But placing her baby for adoption is not one of them.
True. There are some birthmothers who, after they discovered they were pregnant, chose to abuse drugs or alcohol, continued to smoke cigarettes and eat junk, and refused to step foot in a doctor’s office for prenatal care. Worse yet, some birthmoms have abused or neglected their children. Some birthmothers are incarcerated and/or stripped of their parental rights because of this abuse or illegal behavior.
Yes. It is horrible. I hate it.
Some birthmothers have done very, very bad things.
I honestly don’t know what kind of person abuses and neglects children. A deeply flawed person, I suppose. A deeply flawed person in desperate need of God’s grace and salvation.
I, too, am deeply flawed—in different ways.
I, too, am in desperate need of God’s grace and salvation.
And so are you. And so are the people who ask this question.
So, the only thing I can do with these horrible-birthmom-scenarios is to extend grace. I must place that mom in the capable and loving arms of God. Only God knows how to handle every horrible situation.
But The Typical Birthmother is NOT Abusive and Neglectful
According to Glenda Carr, (the Christian adoption coordinator I used for Elijah’s adoption,) the typical birthmother she sees at Bundle of Hope looks more like this:
1. She is usually in her last trimester of pregnancy
2. She is typically in good health, but has had limited prenatal care
3. She does not drink alcohol, nor does she abuse illegal drugs
4. She tested negative for HIV
5. She is normally between the ages of 14–35 years
6. She is already parenting a child, normally a single parent
7. She has little or no financial support
8. She does not want foster care for her child
9. She does not want the state to help with her adoption plan and chooses a private adoption plan
10. She wants a Christian couple to instill moral values and Godly character to the child
11. She wants a happily married couple with a big extended family that is excited about the adoption and is supportive
12. She is very nervous about meeting with the adoptive family. She wants them not to think badly of her but to understand her situation.
Most birthmothers are not terrible people. At all. Most of them are not out to sell their babies or neglect their children or abuse illegal drugs.
Most birthmothers are scared. And embarrassed. Most of them realize they have made a terrible mistake in conceiving a child that they cannot take care of themselves.
Most birthmothers have no support from the birthfathers. Most birthmothers have very little support from their family and friends. In fact, most birthmothers receive significant pressure from their friends and family to simply abort the baby and “move on.”
In a culture and time where a woman can walk into Planned Parenthood pregnant and walk out not pregnant, I will tell you what I choose to call “the kind of person who gives up her baby.”
Strong. Brave. Extraordinary.
It is an extraordinary girl who chooses to accept the consequences of her decisions, even when it goes against every piece of advice she is getting.
It is an extraordinary girl who endures morning sickness, fatigue, weight gain, stretch marks, labor, delivery, recovery, leaking breasts and radical hormone fluctuations—all so her baby can have a better life with another family.
It’s an extraordinary girl who can wisely assess her situation and decide that she cannot provide a good life for her baby.
It is an extraordinary girl who can pore through information on adoptive couples and attempt to choose the best home for her little one.
It is an extraordinary girl who potentially faces every future birthday and holiday with a heavy heart—wondering if her baby is okay or if she made the right decision.
It is an extraordinary woman who overcomes unbelievable obstacles to make another couple’s dream come true.