“You should be thankful you weren’t aborted.”
I’m never quite sure how to respond when people say this to me. Throughout my life I’ve heard this more times than I can count. I’m 47 years old and I still have no idea why anyone would say this out loud. The truth is, my mother never considered abortion. And, neither did I.
These hurtful comments are made even more often now that I’m giving a counter cultural response to the adoption narrative. Adopted people are at no higher risk of being aborted than non adopted people. This is what society has been programmed to believe; that adoption saves a life! Had a child not been adopted, they surely would’ve died.
Let’s break this down for those who are confused: When every single woman discovers she’s pregnant she has, in most states, a window of time to determine her plan of action; abortion or pregnancy. Once she’s made her decision that window closes. Abortion is no longer an option. So, it should never be mentioned again. The alternative to abortion is parenting. Not adoption.
Very rarely will a mother carry her child to term, bonding for 9 months, then want to give her baby away. She’s now faced with how she will raise her child. I can assure you, in most cases, adoption only becomes an option when she feels she doesn’t have the support she needs to parent. To say that adoption “saves a life” is false, and If we are being completely honest, it would be more accurate to say that adoption ends lives.
The attempted suicide rate for adopted people is 4 times greater than that of a non adopted person (link) Additionally, adopted people are over represented in both mental health and substance treatment facilities. (link) So, if everyone would start to process this logically and truthfully we would see clearly that Family Preservation is what saves lives. Children staying with their mother saves lives.
The Pro-Life lobby group is hell bent on this narrative. We see pro-life protesters outside of clinics waiting to pounce on vulnerable women, offering to adopt their babies. This is offensive on multiple levels, but I’ve heard story after story of mothers who, once they were told they didn’t have support to parent, tried to figure out if it was too late to abort. Do pro lifers hear this? Women would rather terminate than be forced to give their babies away.
Having only one choice -a forced adoption- isn’t having a choice. I often wonder if the Pro-Life Movement and the adoption lobby groups share the same bed. We do know that evangelical Christians are the largest lobby group for adoptions today. As long as they continue to conflate the two issues we will have misinformation perpetuated by a society that would rather believe the fairy tales than the truth. But, what a brilliant marketing tactic by the adoption industry: ‘Adoption saves a life!’ They know where their bread is buttered.
I was recently watching a video by Amanda Woolston, author of The Declassified Adoptee (link) . She addresses this issue, the underlying message and the damaging effects they have on the adopted person. She challenges people to first ask themselves if their remark is a “systematic, persistent denial of the adopted persons right as a human being to exist as a normal person.” When you say to an adopted person that they should be thankful they weren’t aborted you are denying them a right to normalcy. Never mind the fact that these statements are completely untrue.
Words matter. Especially for the adopted person who struggles to feel satisfaction or approval from others. The only way to deconstruct the lies woven throughout adoption is to speak in truth. I know the risks involved, but lives depend on it.
Photo credit: My favorite photographer, Anne Heffron