The U.S. House of Representatives voted Wednesday to ban federal funding of abortions. While Republicans are cheering their leadership in passing the bill that is supported by current public opinion, the Democrats and the White House are portraying this as evidence of an extreme social agenda, limiting women’s rights to reproductive health.
Lost in the midst of the arguments between choosing life and choosing abortion is the often-forgotten third choice of adoption.
Adoption provides a woman with the right to choose not to parent a child she is not ready to. It provides an opportunity for infertile couples who may not otherwise ever have the ability to become parents of a baby. And most importantly, it provides a clear possibility of a life filled with choices for the child, apart from the moral debate on abortion.
“It is disheartening that adoption is lost in the whole pro-choice and pro-life debate. Especially when it is a choice that can provide everyone involved with a positive outcome,” says Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P., author of So I Was Thinking About Adoption, a book geared toward women facing an unplanned pregnancy. “I still speak to teens today who have never heard about the choices they have with open adoption. It’s amazing that they are aware of all types of birth control, morning after pills, and sexually transmitted diseases but have no clue about the realities of adoption.”
The open adoption choices Caldwell refers to are the opportunities that women have to customize their own adoption plan. “Nowadays they can choose the family for their child and even meet and speak with them. They can choose how things go at the hospital. And they can choose to have ongoing contact through email, letters, visits, SKYPE, texting… the possibilities are endless! The result is an adoption triad made up of the birth family, the adoptive family, and the child who are all connected for one purpose – the best interest of the child.”
Caldwell expects that President Obama will step forward to veto the ban if it passes the Senate, even though he has voted for similar bans when he was a senator. She remains hopeful, however, that somehow open adoption will enter the debate.
“You only have to look at the abortion statistics and the number of families waiting to adopt in this country to see that if only a fraction of those women made different choices, it would make a difference to so many,” Caldwell says. “We’ve come so far in so many areas of women’s health, it saddens me as both an adoption professional and adoptive mother that we aren’t sharing the truth and possibilities about open adoption as a pregnancy option.”
While critics point to the number of children languishing in the foster care system, Caldwell sees that as yet another strong argument for her case.
“Had these parents had the option of adoption explained to them, many may have chosen it prior to the involvement of Child Protective Services. In fact, at Lifetime Adoption Center we receive many calls each month from women who have had children removed and are interested in making a permanent adoption plan for their children. However once the government is involved, mothers often have little say or ability to make these decisions,” she reports.
In an effort to provide accurate information on adoption choices that women have, Caldwell offers her book as a free download for anyone interested at www.FreeAdoptionBook.com.
“I just want women to know and understand what adoption is and what it isn’t. It isn’t right for everyone,” she admits, “but just having the knowledge is a powerful step in ensuring the debate surrounding this issue takes adoption into account as a viable option for an unplanned pregnancy.”