My Parents Adopted Me After I Survived an Abortion

Opinion   Melissa Ohden   Nov 4, 2013   |   5:56PM    Washington, DC

“They were called to be his parents, and I was just blessed to be a part of it.”  These were the sentiments that a birthfather shared at New Life Family Services of Minneapolis, St. Paul and Rochester, Minnesota’s recent banquet in October.

As I first watched the video of adoption stories, along with the rest of those in attendance, and then later, had the opportunity to speak to this birthfather, I was struck by his simple but thorough assessment of making an adoption plan for his son, alongside the birthmother.  Now involved in ministry, himself, this birthparent was blessed with a son and blessed to share in God’s greater plan for him.  As I reflected upon his words, I couldn’t help but think about how this is a perspective that is not often expressed or is even repressed by others in our world today.

Far too often, I hear adoption being talked about as an undue burden on birthmothers (and birthfathers are by and large not even recognized in such discussions).

When it comes to dialogue about adoption, I’ve had insults thrown at me, as an adoptee who searched for my biological family.  “It’s because of people like you [who go searching for them] that people don’t want to make adoption plans.”

Far too often, I’ve heard the words, “I could never give up my baby.  Who would give up a baby? I would rather abort them.”

I know those last words are hard to read.  Trust me, they have been hard for me to hear and read over the years.  But unfortunately, we live in a world where abortion is seen as the normal, expected response to an unplanned pregnancy, while adoption is seen as the abnormal, burden-laden response.

I want to change that.  As much as I want to abolish abortion, so, too, do I strive for adoption to be seen through a different lens—a lens like the birthfather that I met in Minnesota.  I want adoption to be seen through a lens like that of the countless birthmothers that I met in my two nights in Minnesota and that I’ve met across the U.S., who, whether they whisper to me their secret status as a birthmother or proclaim it loudly, always do so with a smile.

As an adoptee, I know that adoption blesses adoptive families.  How lucky are my parents and siblings to have me?! I’m only half-joking there.

Yes, my adoptive family has been blessed by me, but I have been doubly blessed by them in return.  I also know that adoption is not easy for any member of the adoption triad (birth parent, adoptive parent, adoptee).

From my particular vantage point as an adoptee, I know that there are struggles with feeling unwanted or unloved, given up, not being “good enough” to keep.  There are questions about who you are, where you come from and how all of that adds up to where you are going.  There are concerns about whether to search or not to search for your biological family or parts of your history.  Likewise, each member of the adoption triad faces struggles and concerns.

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But as an abortion survivor and an adoptee, I am here to tell you that adoption is the option that everyone can live with.  Everyone.  The birthmother, the birthfather, the extended family, THE CHILD.

Adoption is not the solution to abortion, but it is an option to consider when faced with an unplanned pregnancy, and it is one that there needs to be more conversation about in today’s world.  Through the efforts of pregnancy centers, pro-life organizations and adoption agencies in raising awareness of adoption and it’s positive impact, and more importantly, the courage of birthparents like the that man I met in Minnesota who have made the courageous, selfless decision to make an adoption plan and then speak publicly about it, I look forward to a more open dialogue about adoption in our world.

Take advantage of Adoption Awareness Month this November, and have the conversation, in person with people or via social media and the Internet.  Together we can change the lens of how abortion is looked at and talked about in our world.