THE TAKE AWAY
The Many Choices to Life
By Kersley Fitzgerald
"I guess we have our own Matt Walsh," the boss said as we discussed Jeff's article. I smiled, since I'd been thinking the same thing. Not quite so harsh as Walsh, of course — after Jeff sent in the second draft, he begged for the boss to sign off on it to make sure we could accept the backlash.
I stared at the wall, because I have a hard time speaking words. "I've come to believe we need both a carrot and a stick with stuff like this. We need both the harsh truth and the understanding ear."
"Have you read the Tweets that go with #ShoutYourAbortion?" another co-worker asked. "They're horrible. I don't understand how anyone could say those things. It used to be that pro-choicers at least pretended that abortion was an unfortunate option and hoped it was rare. Now they celebrate it."
"I imagine it started as shame, but to admit abortion is wrong is to admit you did something horrible. So you harden your heart in self-preservation."
Back in my office, I looked up the posts on Twitter. By that time, the hashtag had been mostly hijacked by pro-lifers, including a couple #ShoutYourAdoption tweeters. But even they mentioned common reasons for getting an abortion — no money, wrong time of life, knew they wouldn't be a good parent, rape.
I don't have all the answers. I just have my own story — the story of our family. Hopefully it will be a carrot for someone.
Besides a few moments thinking how fun it would be to tell everyone I was pregnant, I never wanted kids. Nope, nope, nope! I am a self-centered introvert to the extreme. I don't want to think about cracking open my little controlled life to accommodate someone else's needs. Marriage was hard enough — why bring a helpless, totally dependent baby into the mix? And I would make a terrible parent. Just awful. I have in my head how to do it right, but I realize it would require a lot of work. And interaction. With people.
The problem is, God also knows I am a self-centered extreme introvert, and there are some changes He wants me to make. Mostly the self-centeredness. But also the way I own and cherish the "introvert" label just a little too much. Or a lot too much.
And I knew this about Him. And I knew how really, really hard it would be. But I also knew He wanted to use motherhood to make me a better person. So Dev and I talked it over and decided one natural kid and one adopted. The natural never came, so we started the paperwork.
About half-way through our process, a woman in Thailand was in crisis. She had two daughters. The father of her youngest daughter was in prison. And she was pregnant. She knew he wouldn't want to raise a child that wasn't his. She was alone, with three mouths to feed. In Bangkok. What choice did she have?
So she went in to have an abortion. But she was too late. The baby was already too far along for her to abort. But here's an adoption agency with a social services department who can help you with your daughters and find a foster family for your son.
She kept her baby boy for two months. It took another several months before she found the courage to sign him over for adoption. Eventually, he found his way to America, to two people who were terrible parents.
I'm not just saying that. I still look back and cringe at how selfish I still was, how much I didn't understand, and how hard on him I still am sometimes. It was hard to have someone there all.the.time. To give up such a ridiculous amount of freedom. And it was a lot of money. And still is, actually.
But this little bundle of cells, given up by the mother who had first tried to abort him and then tried to keep him, taken by the mother who tried to learn how to love him, was absolutely God's instrument. He first taught me about forgiveness, as he was so ready to forgive me. And how much more I was capable of. And how to find joy in other people.
And every time I hear someone support abortion, talking about how abortion should be available to all no matter the circumstances or the cost — or especially the gestational age — the first thought I have is, "You just told me that you think my son should be dead."
Your baby is inconvenient. You don't have enough money. It's not the right time. You'd make a horrible parent. Those excuses fall really flat to me. If you are using them because inside you actually feel horrible guilt, then shout your guilt — there is no healing in hiding. If you use them because your heart is hardened and you honestly believe them, then stay away from my son. Yeah, I know it's slightly irrational, but you wanted him dead 15 years ago — how is today really that different?
I'm not going to #ShoutMyDisgust. Shoot, I'm too much of an introvert to #ShoutMyAdoption. But just think, it took a scared birth-mother, a trans-continental team of social workers, and terrified adoptive parents to save one baby. There are just as many people willing to save yours.
Gotta go. The "little clump of cells" has a cross-country race in less than an hour, and I can't miss it.
* I talked to JT about this article and let him know this is his story, and he decides if it gets posted. He understands his birth mother didn't want to give him up, and we respect her sacrifices. But he is also glad that he can use his story to show that abortion isn't the only choice.
JT in his birthmom's arms; Courtesy Holt International Adoption Agency
JT on the run; Courtesy MeLissa LeFleur
Tags: Controversial-Issues | Current-Issues | Hardships | Personal-Life | Political-Issues | Womens-Issues
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