This image has been floating around the internet for some time now and it has, of course, resurfaced during the annual abortion war that takes around the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. It is a challenging image because it seems to, in a single stroke, expose the hypocrisy of “anti-choice” conservatives who are more interested in telling pregnant women what to do than actually providing for their poor and unwanted children. Of course, this is not entirely accurate since at least 25% of people consider adoption and 2% of people actually do. That second number more than doubles among Christians. Not only that, research has shown that presenting adoption as a viable and socially acceptable option dramatically increses the chances that pregnant teens choose it. Perhaps the problem is that people do want to adopt, but that many are unwilling to offer their child for adoption.
Not so fast. Unfortunately, there are also statistics that reflect poorly on those who supposedly want to adopt. There are indeed claims that wait lists are unreasonably long and children difficult to find, but even a quick search can find people claiming and even offering adoptions in as little as 2 months. Unfortunately, many of the delays are simply due to an unwillingness to cross certain boundaries like race and disability. Now, many of these statistics are concerned with adoption of already born children who have been orphaned, but much of the same reality carries over to the question of adoption as an alternative to abortion. Just a comparison of the annual abortions to adoptions shows that most women prefer to abort the pregnancy than to go through the difficult process of adoption. Is it our fault? In some ways, yes.
But I am actually not writing this to promote adoption as the solution to abortion
Even though I think the percentage of Christians who can adopt is probably higher than the 5% who actually do, many of us are simply not in a position to be able to adopt a child. From what I see on the faces and hear in the voices of those who condemn us a “anti-choice, anti-woman,” a large part of the problem with our approach to abortion is how they perceive our attitude toward them. It is my belief that many, if not most, women are unwilling to choose adoption because they already feel orphaned along with their child. The fact is that we Christians should have such a love that people in difficult situations detect that they have already been adopted by us. Indeed, it is the logical extension of the fact that we have already been adopted by God.
“In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved. “(Eph 1:5)
Paul tells us this in order to give a sense of belonging. More specifically, he wants us to know that we belong to God’s plan; we are a part of God’s provident design for the world:
“He has made known to us the mystery of his will in accord with his favor that he set forth in him as a plan for the fullness of times, to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth.” (Eph 1:9-10)
And part of that plan to sum everything up, a surprising portion of it, is our involvement in it. So many women choose abortion because they feel they are unprepared for this child, are afraid they cannot afford it, or fear the changes to their life and dreams. Our response is often that God will provide. Indeed, we do believe that God provides what we truly need, buy there is a part of that providence that we often forget: He really likes to do his providing through us, his servants.
It is hard to ask a woman in a crisis pregnancy to trust in God’s providence, or even in our own generosity, when they’ve never felt provided for before.
When they think of Christians and pro-lifers, it is too often that they think of republicans and conservatives. Would that the witness of our lives instead made them think of us a generous, kind, and ubiquitous. would that every poor neighborhood knew Christians working to alleviate poverty; that every troubled teen or frightened college student knew of Christians who cared about their hopes and dreams; that every woman looking for freedom and happiness could remember at least one Christian who was happy and free in their holiness rather than their careers and education.
So, yes, we should work to end legal abortion. We should strive to teach others the value and dignity of every human life. We should promote adoption as the better option to abortion. But, most of all, we should live and love in such a way that it is obvious to all that we, and they, have been adopted by providence