As most of you know, many fundamentalists are involved in missions around pregnancy crisis centers and anti-abortion centers. Many of them feel called to defend one of the most important quiverfull rule: Children are a gift. Now, I don’t want to go into the whole pro-life/pro-choice debate here; this isn’t about abortion. This is about adoption.
Adoption in itself is something wonderful that should have your full support. It includes a mother who takes the responsibility for her child by giving it away and gives it away convinced that this is the only right thing to do, a family who has the wish to adopt a child, and hopefully, a happy child and finally adult in the end. That’s the perfect scenario of how it should work.
But a lot of fundamentalists don’t see it that way. Once you approach those “counselors” who are actually fundamentalists (of course, not all pregnancy crisis workers are fundamentalists!), they will talk you out of abortion at any cost. That’s step one.
Step two is where my personal issue comes in. Step two is to convince the woman to give her child up for adoption. Of course they’d never admit that this is the ultimate goal of the entire fuzz.
A lot of times, those women who approach these counselors are in a tough situation or at least not in the perfect situation. Maybe they’re young, or don’t have much money, maybe they’re in a tough personal situation due to death of a loved one or a breakup, due to sickness, you name it, it happens.
Instead of acknowledging the fact that these women are actual very responsible, smart people to seek help and counsel, they’ll be talked into believing that they are not being fit to raise the child. Whatever her issue is, it will be used against her. And not only that, heavy pressure will be put on her in case she actually wants to raise the child on her own as a single mom. She’ll be shown statistics of the devastating effects of growing up with only one parent, she’ll be shown exaggerated lists of monthly expenses, she’ll be shown pictures of “perfect” families looking to adopt – typically rich, fancy, happy movement families – and at times she might even be introduced to them without even agreeing to an adoption (yet). Or even worse, the counselor him/herself is looking to adopt and will make it out to be God’s guidance that they found each other.
Whatever it is, it’s a fact that the movement doesn’t believe in single parenting. And to avoid more single parents, adoption is the only – THE ONLY – way they feel like they accomplished their mission. Having a woman leave happily with her child is failure to them. A child raised by a single mom is like spreading the heroin directly on the kid’s breakfast toast. They won’t give up because they believe that God sends these women their way so they can talk them into adoption, have the baby adopted by a movement family and the outcome is yet another mighty warrior for God’s kingdom. Come to think of it, it’s almost like having as many babies as you can before you die from some cruel pregnancy-related issue. It’s like every single baby they deal off into the movement is their own baby, their own creation, their own addition to the kingdom.
I read a heartbreaking story on a fundamentalist blog. It was the story of a 20something year old who got pregnant and initially wanted to raise it herself. She went to see a counselor so she could find out how to do this, and this counselor – by God’s grace a member of a fundamentalist group – convinced her that her idea was stupid. She ended up giving the baby away, which, as she said, pains her much until this day, but “she knows this is what God wanted her to do”. Sounds like a line to me. I’m not saying it might not be true, but it just doesn’t feel right.
Not every woman who gives her child up for adoption is happy with it. Some realize that they should’ve kept it. For some, it would’ve been easier to raise it on their own than to give it up. For others, this isn’t true, and that’s perfectly ok.
I feel this is an issue that needs to be addressed much more. Whatever each individual woman choses must be her own decision, one that she herself can live with. The fact that she’s seeking help shows a great amount of responsibility and mature behaviour. If the ultimate decision is not to keep the baby and to give to a different family to be raised, she must know what she’s signing up for. All of that talk about how it’s going to have a great life and family and all the financial support it needs is just distraction from the real issue at hand: The empty birthdays, the lone mothers day, the guilt some women feel when they have a baby later on, one that they keep. All of those are facts that are withheld from these mothers in order to convince them. All they’ll hear are those great stories of young women who gave their babies to christian families, and how happy they are about it. You don’t hear about the tears, the pain, the longing. It’s so easy to convince people when all you tell them are the good things.
I guess the end of the story is that adoption is something that should be encouraged, but if a woman is doubtful and you have to show her 500 different papers about how bad keeping the child would end up being, it might not be the decision that’s right for her.