The War on Adoption

When you hear the word adoption, what's the first thing that comes to mind? Warm-hearted couples taking in a needy child? Noble-minded single mothers giving their child the best chance in life? These are the positive images traditionally associated with adoption. But today prochoice forces are painting a far different picture: a dark, foreboding picture that shows adoption as heartless and traumatic. If you think I'm exaggerating, consider what happened recently in a California school. According to Time magazine, a teacher told her class, "Adoption is the worst thing you can do to a child." Better to abort the child, she said, than to give it up for adoption. Traditionally, women who gave up a child were comforted by the confidence that they were choosing the best course. But today that confidence is often shattered. One pamphlet called Adoption? Abortion? warns women that if they select adoption, they will "live a life filled with pain, worry, anger, wonder, and mourning without end." A book called The Dark Side of Abortion insists that mothers who choose adoption are "seldom at peace"—that they suffer "a limbo loss," never knowing "if the children they bore are dead or alive." An article in Mirabella magazine portrays private adoptions as the exploitation of poor birth-mothers by greedy middle-class couples, who shop for newborns in a "shadowy and competitive adoption bazaar." Why is adoption suddenly receiving such bad press? The answer has nothing to do with the facts. Statistics show that most adoptions work out well for everyone involved. Instead, the answer has to do with the politics of abortion. In a National Review article called "The War on Adoption," Marvin Olasky points out that for abortion to be widely accepted, it must become a guilt-free operation. That means women must be convinced that they had no choice, that under the circumstances they had to have an abortion. But adoption is a reminder that every woman does have a choice, that there was a road not taken. For abortion to be guilt-free, a woman must be convinced that the fetus is her own property, entirely subject to her needs and interests. But adoption is a reminder that some women have the strength of character to put aside their personal needs for nine months and consider the needs of their baby instead. For abortion to be guilt-free, women must be convinced that there are no viable alternatives open to them. But every adoption is a reminder that there is an alternative, that there are loving couples on waiting lists for children of every race, color, and physical condition. There was a time when everyone knew adoption was a brave and loving thing for a single mother to do. But today a battle line has been drawn, a war has been declared. You and I can no longer rely on the benign image adoption used to have. If we want to discourage abortion, we have to actively defend adoption. We need to convince young women that in many cases adoption truly is the most loving choice she can make.


Chuck Colson


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