adoption · Down syndrome · special needs parenting

The Next Step in Pro-Life

This weekend marks the 45th anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision which legalized abortion nationally. I am not even going to attempt to discuss the law, rather, I’d like to examine the next step.

What happens after birth?

What happens when children are born with disabilities, and in an instant a parent becomes a caregiver?

What happens when a parent gets addicted to opioids or dies of an overdose?

What happens when parents hurt their children because of human frailty, or neglect, or substance abuse?

What happens when children have enormous medical challenges?

What about services and support for people living with mental illness?

And so much more.

Wouldn’t robust support of families caring for children with exceptional needs be pro-life? Would women be less likely to terminate a pregnancy with a child who has a prenatal diagnosis of disability if they knew that access to everything their child would need to thrive would be available and affordable?

Wouldn’t it be pro-life to fund research and resolution for opioid addition? And while we’re at it, there are record numbers of children in foster care at present, in large part related to opioid addition, being a foster parent is, in my humble opinion, the most stunningly beautiful example of pro-life imaginable.

Do you get what I’m saying here?

There are dozens of ways to embody a full-circle, lifelong pro-life stance without even bringing abortion into the conversation.

But it’s hard.

It’s easy to talk about changing a single law, and to carefully hand select politicians who have a certain box checked on their platform. But if that’s your stance, can you answer what should happen after the children are born?


But wait, is it right to separate a child from their ancestry for life? Biology is enormously important, and while infant adoption is sometimes necessary, far too often it’s a lifelong solution to a short term problem when better solutions for both the child and parents are available.

I don’t claim to have answers, in fact, it’s the questions that overwhelm me.

But as a person who has spent my adult life focused on the children who are already born, the ones with disabilities, the ones whose parents are addicted, the ones who have been orphaned, the ones with mental illness, the ones with so little support. I have come to believe that if everyone who made sure that they voted for the pro-life candidate took a step or two to care for the children once they’re born that it would transform everything. We have the ability and the obligation to fill in those vast gaps for the children who are already born.

adoption · Uncategorized

5 Things I Think You Should Know About Adoption

Oh man, it’s Adoption Awareness Month. I had no plans of writing about adoption, but then I realized that there are things that I do wish more people understood about it, so I invite you to sit down with me, maybe grab a cup of tea, and consider this:

  1. I have a legal certificate that says that I gave birth to my adopted child. Now mind you, he was born in a different state, I had no knowledge of any of it until over a week later, yet our government sees fit to create false documentation that lists my husband and I as parents…saying that I gave birth in a hospital I have never set foot in, in another state with a doctor I have never seen. I was alarmed when I first saw this, and still am today.
  2. An adopted person’s original birth certificate, the one that lists the mother who did give birth and the biological father, is permanently sealed in 44/50 states in the United States. That means that an adopted person will never be able to access the truth about their birth in those states.
  3. I am often called a saint for adopting a child with special needs. Please understand that I simply wanted another child. In fact I coveted another child. Because of the makeup of our family, we decided that adopting a child with Down syndrome would be a good fit, but the bottom line is that I was desperate to have one more child, and adoption was the method we decided upon. The reasons were convoluted, but fulfilling the desire of my heart was in no way saintly. In fact I was pushy, determined and tunnel visioned in my desire to adopt a child. Coveting will do that to a person.
  4. Speaking of that, I don’t for a second believe that God chose me to be Ben’s mom. For that to be true, God would have planned for another woman to conceive, carry and deliver a baby and for them to be torn apart for life in order for me to be that baby’s mom. I have no desire to believe in a God who would authorize a lifelong separation between parents and their child in order to hand pick a certain mom for a child. If this confuses you, this is a brief article that explains a theory that people remember losing their biological mother in a very real way for life after adoption. Why on earth would God do that? It probably sounds like a quaint notion until you dig in and think about it, which is exactly what I’m suggesting you do.
  5. Don’t assume you know anything about an adoptee’s biological parents. Stereotypes do everyone a disservice, including you.

This post is simply to get you thinking. Twelve years ago I had many preconceived notions about adoption, many of them have been challenged and examined over and over in that time. If something in this post makes you uncomfortable, please know that is has made me uncomfortable too, and that’s why I think it needs said.


Adoption Musings

This month we come up on 10 years since we took placement of Ben. We believed we had adopted a “completely healthy” baby with Down syndrome,  and considered our family complete.  I probably said many times that I felt called to adopt him, but a good chunk of that sense of calling was simply a pervasive longing to have another baby.  Truth be told I would have preferred another pregnancy, but my husband was traumatized by Alex’s birth  (which is a story for another day), so I finagled another way to get a baby which we both could agree on; adopting a second baby with Down syndrome.   This is why I find great irony when people place us on a pedastal for adopting a special needs child, it was really just a means to an end.  I got my baby.

As if it hasn’t been obvious, Ben wasn’t the healthy baby we were told to expect. Within his first 2 years if life he had 4 serious diagnoses and had been hospitalized 10 times.  This wasn’t what we had planned when completing our family, but as all families do, we did everything we could to make him as safe, comfortable, and healthy as possible.   Now, 8 additional years later we have another dozen or so hospitalizations under our belts, and an extensive laundry list of physical and mental health diagnoses.

I’m frequently lauded for parenting him, but I wonder what people think the other options are.

Parenting Ben has given us bigger challenges than we ever thought we could manage.  Thousands of moments have taken us past the end of our resources, physical, emotional, mental, and financial; yet somehow we have always rallied. I don’t know if we borrow our resilience from him, or him from us, or if we somehow miraculously multiply a finite resource as the bread and fish in the Bible.

We are not special people or parents, we are ordinary people, ordinary parents.  Our circumstances have forced us to rise to the occasion, because that’s what parents do.

I should also address his birth parents, and all of the assumptions we hear about them.

Don’t get me started on that, just know that I hold Ben’s parents in high regard, and anyone who would like to armchair quarterback their decisions is begging for an earfull from me.

Suffice it to say, I am uncomfortable with the vast majority of kind things people say about us.  I find us shamefully fallible people just making it through each day, some mkre successfully than others.