The often overlooked 3rd option for pregnancy…adoption.
Getting that positive pregnancy test result is not always welcome news. A woman/couple may have 100 reasons why this is not the right time to parent, but it seems like there is rarely discussed another option besides abortion. Medical providers, pregnancy centers, activist groups and even social workers focus on parenting or abortion as a woman’s only choices when facing an inconvenient/unplanned/unexpected pregnancy. We focus on preventing abortions but never even mention the 3rd option, adoption, and explain all the benefits and resources available during and after adoption.
The world has an overall negative view of adoption. Now those of us touched by adoption with positive experiences seem to be the minority, but I don’t think this is actually the case. I think our voices have not been loud enough. It goes back to the old business example about word of mouth advertising…give a customer a positive experience and they will recommend you to friends and family if they can and that’s great to build a business, but have one negative experience and that one customer can ruin you. They will blast that experience out on social media and tell anyone that will listen and your business is destroyed. I think a lot of that has happened in our society in regards to adoption.
Tell 5 people you want to adopt and I can almost guarantee you that at least 1, if not 3, will tell you a negative adoption/foster experience they know about. (I also found out this happens when you tell people you are getting married. I heard about 15 stories of ruined cakes, bad weather and every other wedding horror story you can imagine) I don’t think these people intend to rain on your happy moment. I think they are just relating the only way they know how and unfortunately, that is usually a negative story. We need to be loud and proud and tell all our great stories as much as we can. We all have a difficult journey to adoption parenthood, but that doesn’t mean it was a negative, nightmare experience, and many of us go through it multiple times, in multiple ways.
I know choosing adoption is not the easiest, or most convenient choice. You won’t be able to hide the pregnancy (usually, but I have heard situations where it happened) and you may not have a lot of support from family or friends. Most people do not understand what adoption truly is now. It’s not a shameful secret where your baby is snatched away and you never have contact again. Usually there is a degree of openness that is determined by both families. We need to help educate people about this. An adopted child can still be a major part of their birth/biological/first family’s lives. There are many resources for the mother during her pregnancy and after. She does not have to face the situation alone if she has no support structure at home.
This issue isn’t as sexy as other hot button topics, but our politicians should help reform the broken systems that create the bad situations and give this community a positive voice. We all need to be the force for change.
Personally, I am very blessed to have a great relationship with my little guy’s first mother. We text nearly everyday about him and whatever is going on in our lives and we see her about every 2 weeks. Adoption can be, and often is, a beautiful thing. Let’s spread the word and share our stories. We need to bring about change and reform. We need to bring adoption into the light and let others see that we don’t need to be ashamed of our choices. It’s all about love and the children.