One of the arguments that the pro-abortion movement continually tries to use to convince society of the necessity of abortion is that with adoption, the birth parents "will have someone else raise their baby." This view is seen as simply unacceptable for their rigid ideology because all pregnancies, not just all children, must be planned. It hardly seems logical that a planned pregnancy would result in an adoption plan, and therefore all adoption plans must come from an unplanned pregnancy. The solution for an unplanned pregnancy for pro-choice'ers? Abortion.
Adoption is a very loving and generous choice for a mother to make. It entails a great deal of sacrifice and trust, and it is not to be taken lightly by the pro-life movement or by the families of a woman who has offered her child to an adoptive family.
Last week, I had the opportunity to speak with a woman for about an hour whose friend is struggling immensely due to the decision she made to give her child for adoption over 20 years prior. She recently reconnected with her child only to find out that the "good, Catholic" family experienced a tragic divorce and the girl was now a pro-abortion advocate and does not attend church. This mother is now racked with guilt, regret and despair over her decision to give the child for adoption.
She also feels that it is her "fault" that the child had such a negative upbringing. Though this mother has said that she would have never chosen abortion, she compares her feelings to those of the post-abortive woman because of the fact that she "aborted" the relationship she had with the child. The difference, however between abortion and adoption is that the woman who aborted did not just sever her relationship with the child, as happens also in adoption, but she severed the child’s relationship with humanity.
I spoke with Fr. Frank Pavone about this conversation at length, and he offered the following pastoral guidance as well as practical insight.
"The grief over what a child placed for adoption ultimately does is essentially the grief of a parent over what their child raised by them ultimately does," said Fr. Pavone. "It’s just a different form of that, because in both cases the parent blames him/herself. It’s just that [the] adoption becomes a much easier target to blame. It’s a difficulty accepting the reality of freedom, and that no matter how loving a parent is, there are many other factors at work to shape the child."
In addition to the reality that the rearing of a child does not guarantee the child's outcome, Fr. Pavone spoke strongly about the need to reform the adoption process to be more caring toward the birth mother and father.
"Another thing this brings up is that there is a need for counseling when someone makes an adoption plan, to help them in advance to prepare for the many different kinds of things that can happen," concluded Fr. Pavone.
Parents who want to use IVF or want to contracept as well as mothers who later regret adoption all suffer from this same faulty philosophy: they perceive that they have a right to the life of the child. But that is simply not true, and as I've said before, the only right you can speak of in the situation of bearing new life is the right to life of the child and the right of that child to be raised in a loving home. The parents, on the other hand, have the responsibility to accept this challenge as a part of their part in procreation, which is the greatest end of marriage, and one of the two ends toward which the conjugal act is directed. (The other is the union of the spouses.)