I am an Olympic blubberer. Whenever I read the news stories or watch the competitions I need a box of tissues nearby. The drama of the competition, the heartbreaking falls, the soaring successes and the inspiring narratives all reduce me to tears. The 2012 Summer Olympics tugged at my heartstrings with so many stories, but none more so than the bronze medal winner in the shot put, Reese Hoffa. When the reporters put the microphones in his face seeking a comment after the medal ceremony, he took advantage of the platform to extol the virtues of adoption.
Hoffa’s life story has been told many times. He was placed in an orphanage when he was four years old. His mother was barely sixteen when she gave birth to him, her second child. She tried to raise the two children but had no money and no family support, so she did what she thought was best for her children and gave them up for adoption. When speaking of his biological mother, Reese says, “I have to say thank you very much … For her to make a decision to give the best life I could possibly have, I’m sure that took incredible courage on her part.”
The Hoffa family adopted Reese when he was five years old. They were a faithfully Catholic family who already had four children. They gave him love and nurtured him to success. He graduated from the University of Georgia and has participated in three Olympic games, finally winning a medal in London. The Washington Post reports on Hoffa’s desire to encourage others to consider adoption:
I think that’s very important to me, to show a lot of parents out there looking to give kids homes, that we are great people that we want to do great things but we just need a home to do that in. If you’re a loving, caring mother or father, looking for a child, adoption is an incredible option. I’m definitely testament to that.
Think about that. In his third Olympics he wins his first medal and the first thing he does is to urge parents to consider adoption.
His message is sorely needed. The fertility industry is a multibillion-dollar industry centered on immoral technology that preys on the desires of couples to have their own biologically related child. Yet, in the United States there are at least 115,000 children in foster care awaiting adoption. Imagine if more infertile couple sought to promote life by generously opening their families to these children instead of relying on medical technologies like in vitro fertilization that turn children into commodities to be bought and sold.
Mother Angelica, founder of EWTN, said, “God from all eternity chose you to be where you are at this time in history to change the world.” God calls each of us to a unique role in salvation history. When a couple finds themselves unable to conceive a child, perhaps their role includes being an adoptive parent.
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Most adoptive parents will not raise Olympians like Reese Hoffa or Scott Hamilton. Their child very likely will not be an innovator like Steve Jobs. He or she may not be a successful entrepreneur like Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas. Each of these famous figures was adopted. But every child, no matter his potential for worldly greatness, is a precious gift made in the image of God and deserving of the unconditional love of a family. Long after Reese Hoffa’s bronze medal is forgotten, the fruits of his win will endure if it spurs even one child to be adopted into a loving home. That is the pro-life legacy of London 2012.