Is Adoption A Better Way?

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In 1967, the law in the UK changed allowing, in effect, abortion on demand. At the same time the number of baby adoptions dramatically decreased and single parenting became more socially acceptable. There are now more than 500 abortions every day and less than 300 baby adoptions per year.

Society's myths
There are so many myths in our society about adoption. Some believe that no caring mother would ever consider "giving her child away"; others think that couples adoption could never love a child as much as the birth parents and that the children themselves would suffer from being adopted.

Every day we see women at the 150 pregnancy crisis centres affiliated to CARE who are struggling with the crisis of an unexpected pregnancy. Many feel unable to parent but adoption is not even considered. It seems abortion is their only choice.

Psychological effects
Last year the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said there are no psychological effects after abortion. Our experience tells a different story. We see women struggle with their abortion experience for years. Whilst some initially feel relief after an abortion, others wake from the anaesthetic distraught at the realisation of what has occurred. Painful feelings of guilt, shame, anger and grief are sometimes pushed down only to resurface later.

Having had an abortion as a young woman, Jane kept her feelings skilfully hidden until her son reached his teens and she could no longer watch over him all the time. She was terrified that something awful would happen to him and though this would be punishment for her abortion. She had never before expressed these feelings of unresolved built. Suffering from depression, Jane also suffered marriage problems as her husband became increasingly frustrated with her irrational behaviour.

Jane's story
Yet Jane's abortion would be recorded as one with no last effect. She says that if she had been helped to consider adoption she would have been able to provide her child with a family and have peace that she had done the very best she could.

God wants every child to be conceived by parents in a loving and committed relationship as defined by marriage. But where that doesn't happen we need a redemption plan - it could be adoption. Adoption is, after all, a metaphor that God uses to describe our new relationship with him. It is not second best. Psalm 139 says that all our days are planned before we are even born. For some birth mothers and their babies, adoption could be part of that plan.

A pregnant teenager, frightened, confused and depressed had tried to keep the pregnancy a secret but had eventually told her mum. Together they came to one of our centres. She later wrote: "You sat and listened to me, my story and concerns. You advised me, discussed options and were just there for me in my time of need." The centre worker was able to support her whilst they saw a social worker regarding adoption. She had a daughter and says, "I am so glad that I never gave in to the people who wanted me to abort. I lover her so dearly. She is now with a couple who have become a complete family. They truly love her and can give her what I could not. Its not been easy but I know I have done the right thing."

Adoption is never an easy choice because it involved pain and sacrifice as the mother puts her child first. The decision should always be based on internal values and never purely on external circumstances. At the centres we want to give her the opportunity to explore all her options and come to her own informed decision.

It is so hard for a woman to even consider adoption when our society is so against it. One young woman said she could tell her friends that she had had an abortion but she could never say that she had placed her child for adoption. A survey published by the Daily Mail revealed that teenagers believe adoption to be "a worse evil than abortion". We live in an age where many believe that the right decision is the one that makes you happy and that if a choice causes pain, it must be the wrong one. Many decide to abortion in the belief that they will avoid pain. How grateful we are that Jesus endured pain for our redemption! We can support those birth mothers who choose to embrace pain in order to give their children life.

At CARE we are working towards seeing adoption reflect God's heart for the birth mother, child and couple adopting. We long to see adoption handled in such a way that it reveals a prophetic picture of our own adoption by the Father as his chosen child.

Freephone national helpline CAREconfidential 0800 028 2228

Credits: CARE Centres Network

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