Friday, February 18, 2005

Abortion - the new adoption?

1970 was a great year to be an unwanted fetus.

Take it from me. I remember swimming around with my little webbed feet basking in the warm darkness that was my support pod. Something didn’t feel right. The muffled voices I hear aren’t soft and soothing. And the stress vibes – wow! Yet I’ve made it this far; that’s a good thing. There are rumors – cells love to gossip – floating around about embryo’s that never make it this far. The Big Flush, if you know what I mean. None of that for me though. Just like Diana Ross – I’m coming out.

And I did.

Not unlike the 175,000 other adopted children that year, I made my way from womb to caring family. Never before, or since, did you have a better chance of going from big mistake to happy household. The Supreme Court would legalize unrestricted abortions on January 22, 1973.

1970 was the high-mark for adoptions in the US.

Here are some figures to chew on:


  • The number of children born to single mothers has doubled since 1970.

  • The number of illegitimate births has nearly tripled since 1970.

  • The number of abortions has increased by twofold since 1973 (the first year statistics were kept).

  • The number of adoptions has decreased since 1970. They have stayed relatively constant from year to year (ranging between 118,000 and 127,000 since 1987).


It seems to me, that the majority of unwanted pregnancies are choosing between:

  1. Abortion.

  2. Raising the child in an unhappy environment.


Why is this?

Here’s my uneducated theory.

Abortion is a ‘do over’. It’s like a giant reset button on the video game of life. “Damnit, Mario got smacked down by a mushroom on level 1, hit the reset button, Billy.” Other than the moral leftovers, there’s no evidence of what occurred. Healing begins in the parking lot of the clinic – added bonus for not having to wear maternity clothing!

Adoption on the other hand is like quitting – and nobody likes a quitter. You’ve got the added bonus of knowing there’s a creature out in the world that could eventually find its way back to you – which sounds an awful lot like every horror movie ever made. Who wants to end up on Maury Povich having a tearful reunion with Frankenchild? Not this guy!

There are some that are unfit to raise children, yet still don’t choose adoption. These fall into several categories:

  • “It’ll be a great excuse to kick this annoying crack habit I have.” demographic.

  • “Whoohoo, I smell a welfare increase!” demographic.

  • “Eeeeny, meeeny, miiiiny, moe… pick the father by his toe!” demographic.

  • “I hit her, because I love her.” demographic.

  • “I’m not the father type, I’m more the have sex and leave type.” demographic.


All these proven winners can’t seem to see that raising a child in their version of Shangri-la is not going to result in the next American Idol winner, let alone bring about world peace (which I believe in my heart of hearts that an American Idol winner will do someday – one song at a time).

Enough rambling, if there’s anyone out there I haven’t offended, I’d like to hear your opinion on the matter.

Why isn’t adoption chosen more frequently?

9 Comments:

At 11:16 AM, Blogger Jim Cota said...

This is truly one of the great mysteries. I have several friends (at least four couples immediately come to mind) that have been trying to have kids to no avail. All are educated, employed, and good people. Most have gone through some degree of humiliating procedures (and a vast amount of money) to become pregnant. Of those that are now considering adoption, almost all are looking to babies born outside of the U.S.

Things that make you go, "Hmmm..."

 
At 11:20 AM, Blogger Critical Darling said...

Yes, I often ask the same question.

My baby was adopted by a great family just last year. My reasons for choosing to not raise my baby myself didn't include not knowing the father, having a pesky drug addiction, being too poor or not 'wanting' my baby. Quite simply, I didn't think my child would have the best quality of life possible with me and I didn't think I was mature enough or mentally stable enough to raise him on my own.

Many people seem to think that giving up a child is exactly that..giving up. But, I tend to believe that I love my child a lot more than someone who stubbornly raises their child in an environment that isn't going to give them the best life possible. Adoption was the hardest thing I have EVER had to do, but it was also the bravest thing I've ever done, the best decision I could ever make and the thing I am most proud of.

I think most of the time adoption is simply too much of a hassle. It isn't. Sure, people are going to give you funny looks as you waddle around in your maternity outfits, but that's their problem isn't it? Why make it yours?

 
At 12:08 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Jim: You bring up a significant point, and one that I should have added to the original post. Of the adoptions that have taken place over the last 5 years, a growing portion of them have involved children outside the US. So while the overall adoption numbers have stayed constant, the number of US children up for adoption has sunk even lower.

critical darling: I commend you on your choice. Hopefully others will see the strength you display as a trait worth emulating.

 
At 10:00 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

Great post Mike! The summer of 69 must have been a very active time! I too was adopted, however not as an infant but rather a four year old in 1968. I came from a family of 6 children all who ended up in the foster care system. Only 2 of 6 were adopted the youngest of the bunch. As destiny would have it, and after thousands spent on fertility treatments, adoption became an option for me and I now have two awesome little boys because of it. I adopted from the state and my children each come from homes that were hardly ideal. It seems to me that when adopting couples want perfect little babies with no memories and no strings attached. We all hear horror stories about how birth mothers in the US often change their mind and end up on your door-step wanting their baby back after a bond has been formed. Adoption has changed drastically since you and I found families. Now it's all about open adoption, pictures being swapped and occassional visits. For some people that disrupts their vision of creating a "normal" little family. By adopting overseas you virtually eliminate that risk. No one shows up on your doorstep wanting to stay for dinner. Sure the price is steep but your family remains intact with little interferance. I agree with you abortion does seem to be the new birth control of our time. Knowing that, I thank God my boys slipped through the cracks of that option. I just wish they didn't have to suffer all the crap inbetween. Life is full of choices, not all of them so black and white.

 
At 3:40 AM, Blogger PA said...

Of course, you aren't really ackowledging that a "do over" is a human being being murdered. For most, this is the issue... it has little to do with social problems beyond that.

And yes, the other side of the coin would be "hey, maybe if I have sex... I should know there are consequences."

 
At 7:49 AM, Blogger Mike said...

Michelle: Thanks for the post. And you’re right. Things are much different now than when we came through the adoption process. I’m glad to hear that adoption was a viable option for you – it sounds as if you have two wonderful boys.

PA: Nope, I’m not .acknowledging that at all. There are some things you just have to leave for the reader to decide for themselves. Although I couldn’t disagree more that this has nothing to do with today’s social problems.

Considering that adoption was my topic, I didn’t feel obligated to delve any further into abortion. If at some point I’m feeling masochistic, perhaps I will.

And finally, while it certainly would be wonderful if couples ‘looked’ before they ‘leaped’, I doubt this will ever happen. Since sex, and the quest to have it, does not seem to be a rational endeavor (or even a sober one), logical thinking will never be the answer to this dilemma. Great idea though.

 
At 9:45 AM, Blogger Keely said...

Great post.

 
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