Christians grieve divorce like a death. They view it as family destruction, a broken covenant, and they mourn the loss a family will face. They offer counseling and resources in order to restore the marriage. The church community rallies around in support. They are very serious when it comes to saving a family from separation.
Matthew 19:6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together let no man separate.
I see adoption the same way. Adoption decisions are in line with that of divorce, creating brokenness for future generations, without permission from their children. What would happen if Christians started viewing mothers and babies as a family unit; a dyad? Perhaps they would be hesitant to divide this miraculous bond, recognizing it as something worth fighting for.
I’m confused by the inconsistency in the church’s response to these two situations. Perhaps it’s that one family was created by what scripture defines as sin? I don’t know. I’m scouring verses trying to determine how the viability of one family is more important than the other, and why The Church doesn’t see them with equal value.
I think it’s important to take a closer look at church doctrine in order to better understand how these inconsistencies present themselves in detrimental ways for expectant (unwed) mothers. I keep going back to the role of husband and father. Does this carry any significance when Christians respond to a woman in crisis?
Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is head of the church, his body, and himself its Savior.
Christianity is a patriarchal institution. Men hold church leadership positions and are instructed to be the spiritual leaders and head of their home. Do Christians fail to see an expectant mother and her baby as a family because she is without a husband? Does this invalidate ‘family’ status? Are any other non traditional family constructs deemed acceptable?
Deadbeat dads are considered reprehensible when they walk away from their family responsibilities, yet a young, single mother is expected to do the same thing in adoption. It’s seen as selfless and brave to give your child to married strangers simply because there’s a man in their home. If she were to have a ‘shotgun’ wedding then adoption is no longer mentioned. Adoption is the Christian abortion. It’s the termination of a family, without terminating the unborn. It’s their solution to an unexpected pregnancy, but only for an unmarried mother.
Shame. While single motherhood is acceptable today, there are pockets of our nation where social stigma and shaming still exists. I see this frequently within the confines of the Christian Church. I’ve seen, most often, the mothers who have come out of the church are the ones who were told that their child ‘deserved better.’ What’s ‘better’ for a child than their own mother?
They also believe by supporting a young, expectant mother they are condoning immoral behavior. It’s fear. It’s not likely their support will produce a wild outbreak of pregnant teens in the church body. I don’t know many girls who want to be pregnant let alone have a baby, stretch marks, late night feedings, school, work, living at home, with no social life.
Are we punishing them for their sin?
Pregnancy and being a young, single mother is temporary. Adoption is permanent. I would’ve needed support for exactly 6 years. Within 6 years I was married and able to provide a solid, loving home. You can never get your child back. You can never replace them with more children, and your family will be fractured for generations. And, let’s not overlook the pain inflicted on a voiceless infant in the process. They always want their mother.
I believe when The Church understands that all families are stronger together -like their response to divorce- they will fight for them, providing support, and display the same level of compassion for each family in crisis. The mother/child relationship is a sacred covenant which should be protected. Adoption always destroys at least one family.
*Photo credit by my favorite photographer, Anne Heffron
*This post is in no way shape or form judging those who divorce, and neither should the church. The post was inspired by conversations around my Facebook post on the same topic and is a compilation of insights from myself and others.