I was 4 when my father ran for Congress as a pro-life Democrat. He was just my dad, but as he stood for the unborn, I saw courage. Now as a married 28-year-old mother of three, I don't see myself as courageous, just obedient, as I too am compelled to raise my voice to protect life.
After receiving a master's degree in social work, I became director of a private adoption agency. Working with the adoption community, I recognized how much the adoption process needed reform. I saw how complex the adoption process is, its weaknesses and room for improvement. I saw many doing great work; I also saw many abusing the system. I saw the inordinate burden placed on parents, and the unnecessary delays, inconsistent standards, and frequent failure to meet the needs of both parents and children. As I tried to alleviate the burdens, I grew frustrated. Buoyed by his Spirit, I envisioned a way to decrease the inefficiencies and to make adoption the most viable, humane, cost-effective, and prevalent choice for mothers with unwanted pregnancies.
In the spring of 2011, after months of preparation, I launched Adoption-Share, an independent and highly complex website meant to connect and link together all qualified parties involved in the process: birth parents, adoptive parents, and licensed private adoption entities, such as agencies and attorneys. The site functions much the same as Facebook, but is restricted to those interested in adopting.
Simply put, Adoption-Share is a connector. It allows women who are considering adoption for their children—born but mostly unborn—to communicate with both those seeking to adopt and with licensed adoption agencies. For expectant mothers who are abortion-minded or perhaps resistant to adoption due to preconceptions of what it entails, Adoption-Share is an innovative, confidential, and non-intrusive way for her to explore this option and connect with a licensed agency in her state.
As I began to champion adoption, seeking support from both those who share my same views on life and those who do not, I soon found that when it comes to "options counseling" in the United States, we are not having a complete conversation. When a woman is confronted with an unwanted pregnancy, most will think in terms of only two options: parenting, or abortion. With an estimated 3,300 abortions occurring daily, and only about 50 private adoption placements taking place in this same time frame within the United States, it is time we begin to see adoption as a viable, systemic, and bipartisan solution to abortion.
As someone who is passionate about life, it is easy for me to point out the plank in my pro-choice brother's eye, noting that if one purports to present all reproductive options to women with unintended pregnancies, then all three choices should be presented, not just abortion, when the pregnancy is unwanted.
It is much more difficult to see the plank in my own eye when I look at myself and those who share my views. But I see that we are not much better when we are only focused on being against abortion. There was a time in my life that I could not see beyond the big red flag of Roe v. Wade. I marched in pro-life rallies and voted for pro-life candidates thinking this was enough. To be sure, this work is important. But are we really for life if unwilling to help bring unwanted pregnancies to term for women who do not want to parent? Could we make Roe v. Wade obsolete by raising adoption awareness? I think so.
In 2 Corinthians 1:20, Paul writes, "For all of God's promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding 'Yes!' And through Christ, our 'Amen' (which means 'Yes') ascends to God for his glory" (NLT). Jesus told us that he came that in him we would have "life abundantly." That's Christ's promise. But it won't be fulfilled by merely posturing ourselves against abortion. The body of Christ must have an important role in being for life by promoting and teaching others about adoption. Without it, we're doing an injustice to mothers and, ultimately in some cases, to their children, who risk birth into homes of neglect, resentment, and abuse.
It's so rewarding to know the many children who have been born; the many birth mothers who are living in peace today; and the many couples who have become parents. I will continue to work on breaking down the obstacles, strongholds. and idols associated with adoption. In all honesty, is there really any other viable option available to parents who for whatever reasons cannot parent their children? Adoption can be the 'Yes!' witness of Christ as the One who made and loves us all.
Almost a quarter-century later, I share a special bond with my father. I now know the tension he felt, distrusted by those in his party who rejected his pro-life stance, and mocked by fellow believers who judged his faith as inauthentic because of his party affiliation. What a difference could be made if we who believe Jesus would dwell on whatever is good, whatever is pure, and whatever is worthy of praise. How much greater would be our "Amen!" that ascends to God for his glory.