I have volunteered in the pro-life in various ways for the past 12 years, and it’s always secretly bothered me how everyone seems to treat adoption as not merely tolerable, but positively good.
I think of bumper stickers like, “Adoption: The loving option” and ones that change “b” to “d” and “r” to “p” in “abortion” to spell “adoption.” I think of the number of times I’ve heard people at rallies mention how many abortions Planned Parenthood performs and how few adoption referrals they make. I think of the signs I’ve seen, and the conversations I’ve had. Adoption, good. Abortion, bad. It’s that simple.
Honestly, I do not see how we can say that abortion is murder without saying that adoption is abandonment. Abandonment means, “to give up to the control or influence of another person or agent” or “to give up with the intent of never again claiming a right or interest in.” This is exactly what happens in adoption: the natural parent or parents give up their right of parentage to another, either an institution (orphanage, agency) or a person. It is done with the intent to no longer claim a right or interest in the child. Even in cases of open adoption, the natural parent has no rights over the child.
Most will draw a distinction between what is widely accepted as abandonment, namely, giving birth to a child next to a dumpster, and adoption. Yes, the former is a graver evil, but is not this like the pro-choicers who say that a woman should not self-abort, but rather have a doctor do it? In other words, let’s institutionalize it. Even in cases of private adoptions or Baby Moses Law drop offs (the worst form of adoption), it is still institutionalized by the state.
I will say that there are some moral cases of adoption, but they are few: if both parents are dead, and if both parents are physically or mentally incapable of providing for the child. (Child abuse falls in a different category altogether.)
In the case of Moses in the Bible, this could have been a moral adoption. The mother was saving the life of Moses in the only way she believed possible, though there may have been other alternatives that would have been morally sound. Further, simply because Moses’ mom did it does not make it a good thing. Jacob cheated Esau twice; the fact that he because a great man as a result does not make his actions good.
None of these cases are the same, however, as a mother giving her child up for adoption because she believes she can’t take care of him, because he will be a financial burden, because she won’t finish college, etc. The reality is this: the child is given up because he is an inconvenience. The mother or father walks away from responsibility. If every life is a gift from God, that gift was given to the natural parents, NOT to the adoptive parents. It is not their child, and it never will be their child.
In short, it is every child’s right to be raised by his or her natural parents. Deprivation of that right is a grave injustice.
Hopefully I have not enraged anyone too much. This is something I’ve been talking to my wife about for a very long time, and she told me to post here…God help me if I’ve kicked a hornet’s nest.