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Outraged at Planned Parenthood? Support foster kids.

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I’m going to be honest– I read a transcript of one of the Planned Parenthood videos, but I can’t bring myself to watch it. I just can’t. There are some things I have a very tender heart about and to listen to a woman talk about dismembering babies while she eats lunch. . . it’s too much for me.

It all feels very personal when you realize the babies they’re talking about could very well have been your children. I have 6 kids and to the best of my knowledge ALL of them were unplanned pregnancies– 4 were other women’s and 2 were my own. My four adopted kids were born into less than ideal circumstances. All of them had mothers who attempted to parent for some amount of time, but were not able. These are difficult stories both for the women who lived them and for the children who carry them. But my beautiful sons and daughters have LIFE. They were wanted and chosen and loved. And for that, I am forever grateful to the women who gave them life when they had every legal option to go visit a Planned Parenthood clinic and have those children torn limb from limb for the crime of being inconvenient.

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There are people who would have cheered that decision– one less foster child, one less burden on the taxpayers, one less kid in need of services, one less single mother. I have had someone ask about my foster child’s story, look into his beautiful brown eyes, and then tell me if her daughter ever came to her pregnant, she would tell her to abort. It was the most angry and dumbfounded I think I’ve ever been towards a stranger in a grocery store.

I know many of us feel upset and revolted at the recent revelations about Planned Parenthood. It is also tempting to think the solutions are over our heads and out of reach. What can we do? Picket? Write letters to our representatives in DC? Boycott companies that support Planned Parenthood? It all feels. . . toothless. It feels ineffective. There are good things to do to support alternatives, to encourage a culture of life, to make a financial impact where we can. I also want to encourage you to consider a way I’ve found to make a real, meaningful difference– become a foster parent.

When I read articles about how we can encourage a culture of life, I often read about adoption. Yes– adoption is a great alternative to abortion, but I think it’s an oversimplification. The reality of domestic adoption right now is that we have waiting lists for every healthy baby that a woman chooses to place for adoption. Infertile couples are willing to spend amazing amounts of money on lawyers and agency fees to vie for the few babies who are placed each year. We don’t necessarily need more people to be willing to adopt the healthy infants that agencies are working with. There is no reason for any pregnant woman in America to think her healthy infant would be unwanted or undesired. (I also think painting it as adoption vs. abortion does a disservice to the many birthmothers who never considered abortion. They loved their babies and had the maturity to know they weren’t ready to parent. They need to be honored and respected for that and when we talk about it as though the adoptive parents are the rescuers from the woman who would have just killed her baby if we weren’t there. . . that doesn’t sit well with me.)

So let’s think about what would happen if we shut down Planned Parenthood or legislated away all access to abortions. Would all those babies that are currently being aborted end up being placed for adoption? No.  Many many many of them (but obviously not all) would end up being raised in homes where extreme poverty is an issue, domestic abuse is an issue, homelessness is an issue, mental health problems are an issue, or substance abuse is an issue. These would not likely be the healthy, happy infants you see on pro-life billboards. These are future foster kids.

There is a very negative perception around adoption in many of the homes were adoption would be most beneficial. It is seen as giving up on your child or failing as a mother. Women who grew up in homes where domestic violence and substance abuse are the norm may feel that’s a fine way to raise a child. They see people all around them raising kids in the same devastating environment and they aren’t choosing adoption, so why should I? They may not have the maturity to see they aren’t ready to parent or the social support to choose adoption. Many won’t have the desire or ability to change their situation for the sake of their child. If they don’t have access to abortions, they will choose to parent and that experiment is likely to end poorly.

You want to tell a woman considering abortion her child would be loved and wanted? Then be a foster parent who loves and wants the child for however long is needed. Support foster parents. Find ways to connect with foster kids. Volunteer, financially contribute, BE THE SAFETY NET these kids need when their mother’s decision to choose life doesn’t go the way she hoped it would. We can’t just wring our hands about how our society is going to hell in a handbasket based on the latest revelation from Planned Parenthood. People, GO GET THE HANDBASKET. THERE’S A CHILD IN IT.

Not everyone can be a foster parent. I get that. And honestly, there are plenty of people providing foster care who shouldn’t be, which is why we need more quality, passionate, educated people to get involved. If you’re upset that we seem to live in a time when people don’t value the lives of the unborn, you’ve got to match that passion with a passion for the born children who are treated as “less than” by our society. Nothing shuts down the “pro-life people are hypocrites” argument faster than then pro-life foster family. So if you can’t be a foster parent, find a way to support them.

Christians, the statistics are out there. If one family in every church became a licensed foster family, every foster child in America would have a place to call home tonight. ONE FAMILY in your church. And that family should be surrounded by a network of families who get background checked so they can provide respite care, or provide meals when new kids come, or teach Sunday School and do the nursery with an understanding of the unique needs of foster kids, or are informed enough to ask good questions and offer real support. That’s the kind of church I attend. It’s a church with less than 200 people that doesn’t just have one family involved in foster care. Over the past 6 years we have had 12 families get their foster license. That means roughly 20% of the families at our church are or have been foster families. That is what a culture of life looks like– it looks like the Sunday I went to drop our foster child off in the nursery and there were more foster or adopted kids than biological kids there. I’ll never forget the meals, the clothes, the handmade blankets, the tangible acts of support (the man who called me from the diaper aisle at Target to ask what size diapers a newborn wears since he’d never bought them before) each time we’ve brought a new chid into our home. And the bittersweet tears I’ve cried as our pastor has prayed over children who are leaving their foster families to be reunified with the parents AND as we’ve celebrated the adoptions of children who have found their forever home within our community.

So be angry at Planned Parenthood. Be frustrated, be revolted, be heartbroken that children are literally being torn apart with such total callousness. And then use that passion to do something. Do something to prove everybody wrong who believes there are unwanted children in this country. Do something that expresses love to kids in rough situations and families who need help. Do something that would communicate to women in crisis that their children would be loved either by a safe adoptive home, or by a foster family who could support her while she figures this whole motherhood thing out. This hashtag activism and outrage via social media isn’t fixing the problem. Let’s do more. We are not just picketing or protesting, but doing something proactive to value the lives of children that society sees as throwaway kids. They are so much more than that. They are worth more than the value of their parts.

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28 Comments

  1. Excellent post. Thank you. –foster parent of medically fragile children, adopted mom of 12

  2. Pingback: 3 Points on #PPSellsBabyParts - Mere Orthodoxy | Christianity, Politics, and Culture

  3. Abortion is wrong and terrible, but I do not know which is worse, aborting them or abusing them after they are here.

    • rips my heart out too. this reason is why it is paramount that the church step up to the plate and bring healing, love, protection and justice to vulnerable children. in my province alone (I am Canadian) there are over 10 000 foster children with not enough loving homes, many of these children go to hotels to live. 🙁 we cannot look the other way…………… God help us stand in this impossible gap

    • I can tell you from experience that they are apples and oranges. I have two nieces and nephews who were given life and abused and now are adopted and loved beyond. I’m so grateful their birth parent chose life even though she is in jail today.

    • Oh precious lady. Don’t you realize the choice is between murder and possible redemption? As a foster mother whose taken in 12 children I know that God can redeem and does redeem terrible situations but we must be willing to step in and be his hands and feet.

  4. thank you for putting words to what was on my heart and more. xo

  5. Watching all the news, it never occurred to me to think further down the line to the potential results. As a foster (now adoptive) parent my thoughts had not even gone there.

    I think this is a great encouragement and alternative to just complaining. I know of counties that are do short of families that only in the worst cases are kids removed.

    That said, I would LOVE to see people become more involved, supportive of families in need, hopefully to help keep the kids out of foster care. While I think there is a need/place for it, even better is to avoid the trauma of removal and separation in situations where it could be avoided with additional support.

    Now off I go with renewed energy to complete those projects I have been putting off … just in case the phone rings. It always seems to happen with things are on the verge of Crazy.

  6. Unfortunately I know a family where be coming foster parent wrecked their lives. They had hoped to help babies in need and wound up being completely defamed.

  7. Pingback: Thank You Planned Parenthood For Giving Me the Courage to Say I'm Pro-Life - For Every Mom

  8. Beautifully said. Thank you.

    Have you heard of Safe Families for Children? They’re a nonprofit doing almost exactly what you describe: equipping churches to equip families from within their memberships for shorter-term foster care. They step in to help parents who are in danger of losing their kids to state custody, but haven’t yet. A brilliant organization that doesn’t require so much commitment to become a foster parent. http://www.safe-families.org/

  9. This is beautiful. I cried. A cultural for the child in need. A church dedicated to care for those who need help, not just the children but parents stuck in cycles of despair that see God’s love through others caring for their children and encouraging them. We are on this road, and hope that our foster son’s adoption will be finalized soon, but we are so far from the culture, a church dedicated to this call. More families taking up the chance to be apart of children’s lives. We are hoping to be a part of that culture too. Beautiful words, thank you.

  10. how about we preach prevention….and birth control

    • Sylvia, we have been in the public schools for years and it doesn’t stop it. Those are tools the public has used because we’ve become too lazy to step in a do something about it ourselves.

  11. What a great article! We have been foster parents for ten years and each child has been precious to us, every life valued. Thank you for your article.

  12. It’s great to encourage foster care, but fostering is one of THEE hardest jobs ever. We have been foster parents to multiple kids…misunderstood by one county…lost the kids who we were almost ready to adopt, joined another agency, fostering new kids…and now maybe lose both of them back to their parents. After you pour your heart and soul into these kids and watch them transform into healthy, happy kids, it is VERY hard to watch them go back to homes that you do not think are fit or healthy for them. It is much harder to actually be a foster parent than it sounds…and like someone else commented above, some counties are not at all for their foster parents and end up hurting people and kids who were doing a great thing together but because of the bureaucracy, the county gets mad and turns things upside down. Lost of great foster parents get hurt in the system and parents who are not capable of raising their kids keep getting second chances even when they almost kill a child they have/had. It’s a very screwed up system most places.

    • MM,
      Very true. It is the hardest job ever. I too am a Foster mom and we’ve had adoptions fail and had some super crazy hard trials. (We have to deal with not only the county but two Native American tribes as well…they don’t have to cooperate with Federal rules.)

      I can only share with you what I learned recently. I asked the Lord, “please tell me the secret to do Foster care and do it without fear because I can’t do it on my own.” After our little boys adoption failed he whispered to me “Christ in me (and him) is the hope of glory.” I felt the Holy Spirit prompt me to have us baptize our little ones into Christ as soon as they come into our home, we give them a Bible verse and pray it over them DAILY and claim many Bible verses as promises, and we believe that God is now their daddy and no matter what happens, Christ lives in them and He is their hope for a glorious ending.

      Since then, the adoption is now starting to proceed again, another child is looking more positive toward adoption, and we got some major victories from one of the Tribes. I hope this will encourage you to look to Him and know He is God and he will carry you through.

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  14. Oh this is beautiful! I really want to do something for these kids and families. As soon as I have this baby and quit my FT job I’m looking into CASA or some ways I can help kids and families. Maybe foster ourselves as soon as we are able. Right now praying for all!

  15. Thank you for the excellent post. I am glad to have found your blog, and look forward to your future posts. We are new foster parents, we have had our little girl for four months and are enjoying being foster parents immensely, despite the difficulties! The hardest part so far has been dealing with the unknown, as well as feeling alone on this journey, as we know very few who are foster parents. It is my goal this fall to reach out and join a support group. Reading your blog also helps remind me that we are not alone!

  16. We were foster parents for 17 years for these very reasons. Adopted 2

  17. Sure, you can bash Planned Parenthood based on some adulterated video clips, taken out of context, or you can recognize some fun facts about this organization that does a HUGE amount of good:

    1) No one at PP responds to a regular unintended pregnancy with “you should get an abortion.”
    2) Out of all the services PP covers, only 3% is abortion related.
    3) Absolutely NO abortions performed at PP are publicly funded.
    4) Many PP centers do NOT perform abortions.
    5) PP provides screenings for breast, cervical, and ovarian cancer, HIV and STDs, and just basic pregnancy.
    6) PP also provides birth control pills, condoms, emergency contraception, and sex education to those in need.
    7) PP also provides basic health care to women AND men for those who can’t otherwise afford it.
    8) PP has helped prevent around 516,000 pregnancies each year. Not terminate. PREVENT.
    9) If PP is defunded, millions of people across the country will be left without a basic health care provider.

    As of 2010, every $1.00 invested in publicly funded family planning services saved $7.09 in Medicaid and other public expenditures that otherwise would have been needed. The cost savings is likely even higher now 5 years later.

    Fostering children is great. Adoption is great. But it’s not for everyone. Prevention of unintended pregnancies works even better.

    More fun facts about publicly funded family planning services: http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_contraceptive_serv.html

  18. Good word! This brings up a lot of points that a lot of people don’t understand or don’t want to hear. Thanks for your insight! #iloveunbornbabiesandtheirmoms
    Mother of 7, forever grateful foster/adoptive mother of 1. If God is willing, I would love to do it again!!

  19. If one person from each church in Americ 00004000 a adopts one child out of foster care, then there would be no foster care! UTF8 If one person from each church in America adopts one child out of foster care, then there would be no foster care!

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