Choices. Walmart vs. Target. McDonald’s vs. Burger King. The Office vs. Parks and Recreation. Marvel vs. DC. Paper vs. Plastic. Adoption vs. Abortion. Sometimes, choices can be overwhelming! And sometimes, choices can be major life choices. Like the decision of whether to go to college or start your career after high school. Whether to start a savings account or apply for a credit card. Or whether to buy your own car or to use public transportation. Every decision you make impacts the next decision, and each decision shapes your life.
The same could be said of adoption vs abortion. Having an unplanned pregnancy can be one of the biggest dilemmas in your life. The choices before you are gut- wrenching. None of the choices seem like good ones. The mental anguish set before you may seem unbearable! There may be multiple voices you hear that influence those choices: family, friends, clergy, your boyfriend/husband, news media, social media. Each one of those voices may be telling you to do something different. You may feel that you are pulled in a million different directions. But the bottom line is that those voices don’t have to make the decision you have to make: to seek abortion or to seek adoption. This is a choice you have to make. Yes, you shouldn’t have to be alone and you should seek advice, and you should include your significant other in the choice. But the choice will come down to what you decide to do. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Scars vs. Wounds
What is the difference between a scar and a wound? Both are an indication of trauma and injury. Both are an indication that there was pain. However, there is a difference: a scar indicates a past injury, but a wound is an ongoing injury that has not healed yet. So, if you are considering whether to place your child for adoption or to have an abortion, I empathize with your position. One way or another, you have suffered trauma. The question is do you want to heal? If you choose adoption, you have an opportunity to heal; the trauma is merely a scar. If you choose abortion, healing is still needed and may never happen; it is like an open wound.
According to liveaction.com in a study published in June 2020, of women who had abortions through an abortion pill…
77% regretted their decision.
77% reported negative changes in their lives afterwards.
60% reported feelings of anxiety and isolation after their abortion.
38% reported having feelings of depression as a result of their abortion.
In other words, their abortion did not make things better, it made things worse. It is still an open wound.
On the other hand, adoption allows for healing. No, it doesn’t make what happened in the past go away. The abuse and abandonment that may have resulted from a bad relationship won’t disappear. But what adoption does is to help you to heal from those disappointments. Yes, the scars remain. But you can now look at those scars and say, “I’ve experienced pain, I’ve become a stronger and better person through those experiences. I’ve healed.”
“Giving to” vs. “Giving up”
Mary Hines, a birth mom who placed her child in a loving adoptive home, once said, “Adoption isn’t a birthmother’s rejection, but an unconditional love that inspires her to put herself last and do all she can for her baby.” There is a misnomer that women “give up their child to adoption.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Women who choose adoption are not giving up. They are “giving to.” They have made a brave decision to face mocking and scorn and the stigma of being an unwed mom for the prospect of placing that child in a loving home. There are few greater forms of selfless love than making a life plan for your child so that she/he can have the fullest life possible.
Choosing an adoptive family takes thought, preparation, courage, and intestinal fortitude. Searching through adoption profiles, making sure that the family’s lifestyle matches your own, and meeting that family and starting the legal process of adoption is no easy task. You will need support, guidance, and wisdom. But most importantly, you are not giving up. You are showing unconditional love for your child.
Freedom vs. Suppressed Guilt
Let’s talk about the “800-pound gorilla” in the room: abortion may be the best way to cover up a mistake that you want to keep secret. If anyone ever found out what you did with your body, your life could be changed. If anyone ever found out that you were pregnant things would get even worse. In reality, getting an abortion compounds one secret upon another. Perhaps there are people that would not agree with your choice to abort: your parents, your boyfriend, or his parents. You may feel guilty with either the decision you made to get pregnant or the pregnancy itself. But keep this in mind: the guilt arises from the fact that you got pregnant, you are not guilty because of the child herself. The pregnancy may be a mistake, but the child is not.
On the other hand, when you place your adoption you are free from this guilt. Free to tell the truth. Free to make decisions for your child that benefit you AND your child. Free to move on with your life. Free to make better decisions in the future. It’s like a great weight has been lifted from you! You can breathe again without fear if someone knows your secret. It doesn’t matter now because they know that you had the courage and strength to do the right thing. You are free!
Responsibility vs. Stagnancy
There have been times in the past, when I’ve left a job, I was asked to pick a replacement. That was an awesome task. Know that I was no longer willing or able to do the job, that I had the opportunity to choose someone to take my place.
Choosing an adoptive family for your child is similar. There is nothing as great as caring for another human being. To know that someone depends on you is an incredible feeling! Taking responsibility for someone else gives purpose and meaning to your life. If you are in an unplanned pregnancy, your feelings can overwhelm you and you may not be able to see the future. You may not be in a position to take care of the child you are carrying. That’s okay. Someone else can. Taking responsibility for your actions and choosing someone else to raise your child is a sign of vulnerability, maturity, and growth.
Choosing the alternative keeps you stuck in your trauma. The problems that led to your pregnancy may not be solved, they may not go away and in fact, may be compounded. Confronting your past mistakes, whatever they may be, and dealing with them head-on is the best way to go. Past abuse, poor relationships, addiction, need to be dealt with. Sweeping those issues under the rug won’t make them go away. As a matter of fact, ignoring them will stunt your emotional growth and make you stagnant. Adoption will not necessarily make all bad decisions go away, but is a step in the direction of maturity.
Now that we’ve discussed the emotional, moral comparisons between adoption and abortion, let delve more into detail about the differences between the two.
Types of Adoption
Adoption is the transfer of legal and physical custody of a child from the birth parents to another set of parents. It is permanent. A legal adoption is guided by attorneys and/or an adoption agency, and is finalized by a judge in the county court in which the adoptive parents reside. Let’s look at a few different types of adoption.
Foster care adoption. Foster children are placed in care because of the birth parents’ inability or unwillingness to care for their child. The vast majority of children in foster care do get reunified with their parents, but some do get adopted by their foster parents. Some women facing crisis pregnancies would rather abort than face the prospect of their child ending up in foster care. The bottom line is that foster care is better than abortion! This option is scary for some birth moms because of horrible stories we heard in the news about foster care. While there may be anecdotal evidence of a few bad apples out there, the overwhelming evidence and my 15 years of professional experience working with foster parents shows that they are some of the most caring, loving, sacrificial people in the world! Also, birth parents have the opportunity to have supervised or unsupervised visits with their child. Foster care offers the prospect of working on your issues while your child is in foster care. Foster care offers hope. And in the end, foster care is better than abortion.
Private infant adoption. This type of adoption takes careful planning by the birth mother once she finds out she is pregnant. An adoption agency is recommended to help choose an appropriate family for the child, though it’s not necessary. An attorney helps to file all legal documents and facilitate the adoption finalization.
Open adoption. Open adoption is not the end, it is just the beginning! Open adoption gives birth parents the opportunity to stay involved in the life of their child after the adoption is finalized. Ask your attorney about a Post-Adoptive Communication Agreement. This is a legal document that may be enforceable in your state, outlining how, when, and where contact is to occur.
Types of Abortion
Finally, it would be a disservice without revealing the ugly truth about abortion. Within abortion a baby’s heartbeat stops. Her brain waves stop. Her circulation stops. Her life ends. There are many different types of abortion, but I will focus on a few. Please note that some of these videos are graphic.
First trimester medical abortion. This type of abortion is done within the first ten weeks of pregnancy. Also known as “The Abortion Pill” RU-486 is very common and very inexpensive. The pill blocks the hormones in your body that stabilizes the uterus, cutting off blood and nourishment to the baby, who then dies within his mother’s womb. The 2nd step is to take another pill to then force the dead baby out of the mother’s uterus. The cramping that accompany this type of abortion can be very intense. Bleeding can occur, on average for 9-16 days. Side effects can be abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, and heavy bleeding. Please note that RU-486 can be reversed if done so immediately.
Second trimester surgical abortion. Another type of abortion is called a Dilatation and Evacuation Abortion (D&E), which is usually administered between 13 and 24 weeks of pregnancy. D&E is a surgical procedure in which an abortionist dilates the woman’s uterus and then uses surgical tools to dismember and extract the baby’s remains.
Third trimester induction abortion. This type of abortion if performed at about 25 weeks to birth. At this point, the baby is almost full term and can survive outside the womb. In short, the abortionist induces cardiac arrest of the baby while still in her mother’s womb.
There are many other types of abortion, including D&C Abortion and Partial Birth Abortion. And of course, in 2019 in New York City, Governor Cuomo passed a bill into law, allowing late term abortions, right up until labor and delivery.
Given the major differences between adoption and abortion, wouldn’t you want to give your baby life? Even if you don’t choose adoption and choose to raise your baby yourself, you are choosing life! Please do more research as to what abortion actually involves.
If you have already made the choice to abort, seek out post-abortive depression counseling. If you are “abortion-minded,” or in other words, thinking seriously about abortion, search for a Pregnancy Resource Center and they will support you and point you in the right direction, free of charge. If you are considering adoption, start by searching through adoption profiles; there is a family out there for your baby! Choose life for you and your baby! You won’t regret your decision!