Saturday, November 30, 2013

        "This adoption is irrevocable." With those words the judge pounded his desk and declared to the world that we were now the legal parents of a girl we had taken into our hearts and home almost two years prior. Nothing could have prepared us for the joy that we felt at that moment, as we became parents for the fifth time, this time by way of adoption.
        I am the last person I ever thought would adopt a child. I didn't even want children after my abortion over 20 years ago. I felt unworthy of being a mother. After working in an abortion clinic, where I participated in thousands of first and second trimester abortions, I was determined not to have children. But here I was, married with children, being asked to help a young mother and her baby, and I knew God wanted us to say "yes" to this child.
         We became involved in Ava's life simply to help her parents, who were struggling to care for her. She was only seven weeks old. An acquaintance's daughter was going to be entering drug treatment and we were asked to take the baby for 90 days. DCF was already involved as the baby had been born early and drug-addicted. We had no idea we would be adopting her almost two years later.      I cried the first time I saw Ava. She had been neglected and was so tiny, she still looked like a newborn. She cried a lot and was difficult to comfort. My usual ways of calming babies didn't seem to comfort her. She screamed hideously and thrashed in her crib. She was more easily startled than any baby I had cared for. This went on for months. Her intense screaming during the night left us frazzled and stressed out, wondering why she couldn't settle.
        Visits from social workers became part of our regular schedule, while visits with her Mom and Dad were sporadic. We hoped that her mother would take advantage of the help being offered to her, but the difficulties in her life seemed to make it impossible. She loved her daughter, but deep down inside I think she knew she couldn't parent her.
        After about 18 months, the courts decided that they would terminate the parental rights of Ava's birth parents. The plan then shifted from reunification to adoption, and the choice to adopt Ava was an easy one. By then she was calling us Mama and Dada, we thought of her as our daughter, and our four other children and extended family were besotted with her. We couldn't imagine life without her. It took another six months, but just after her second birthday, on National Adoption Day a few weeks ago, we were officially a family of seven.
        I know that we would not have adopted our daughter if we were not prolife. Being prolife has shown us that we are to do everything God asks of us, even taking in the children of others. Since joining the prolife movement about four years ago, I have been astonished by the lengths people go to in order to hep mothers and children. Adoption, fostering, and helping mothers in need is much more prevalent amongst my prolife friends than in my former prochoice world. When I worked at Planned Parenthood, there was no empathy for the child and no kindness toward a mother wanting to give birth to her child. Abortion was seen as the responsible choice for poor women, drug addicted women and victims of abuse.
       Forced birthers, fetus fetishers, women haters - all prolifers have had these words slung at them at some point. "You don't care about babies after they are born," the claim, "you only want to control women and force them to have babies." This rhetoric from proabortionists is a common refrain. I believed all of it when I worked for Planned Parenthood. I believed the lie of "every child a wanted child." I thought abortion was a responsible choice. I didn't understand that a child's worth wasn't determined by a mother's choice. I now understand that every life, every child in the womb, has inherent worth and dignity that comes from God. I am grateful and humbled that He chose our family as Ava's forever family.

We are now a family of seven.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dear Cinic Escort

Dear Clinic Escort,

Today I saw you, with your bright orange vest emblazoned with ESCORT on the front and back. You refused to make eye contact with me. I saw your gritty determination as you grabbed arms with that young woman and whispered in her ear, "Ignore them," you said, "Don't look at them, they are here to intimidate you, to scare you. I'll keep you safe, don't worry." You walked quickly, head up, steel in your eyes, never letting up your grip on her arm. Her head was down, following your lead, mutely keeping up with your fast trot to the abortionist.

You ushered her in through the doors and soon emerged, alone, smiling at us triumphantly, a glimmer of malice in your eye, a smirk of arrogance and joy at having bested us - another woman you saved from the anti-choice fanatics. You rejoin the other escorts, laughing and joking, until the next car pulls up, and your face resumes the mask of the militant soldier, ready to do battle for women's reproductive rights.

As I watched you I wondered, have you ever been inside the clinic? Have you ever been in the waiting room, filled with the silence of trepidation and fear? Have you listened to the stifled tears?

Have you ever been in the counseling room? This place, where instead of asking questions and listening, the worker masks the truth, or outright lies about the third life in the room, the life growing inside the woman's womb? Have you seen her sad and scared eyes? Have you asked her why she is there? Do you know if she is being pressured or forced into this abortion, if she is safe at home...all the questions she won't be asked inside the clinic? Does she know about all of the help available to her if she keeps the baby? Does she know how many couples would love to adopt her baby?

My dear Clinic Escort, have you been there for the ultrasound, where you can see the fully formed baby kicking its arms and legs? Have you heard the worker tell her it is just a bunch of cells? A blob? A product of conception? Have you been with her, holding her hand as she screams in pain, ignored by a doctor who doesn't even know her name? Have you heard the suction machine, watch as the blood, tissue, and body parts flow from her body into a cold jar? Have you heard the sound of the currette scraping her uterus? Have you seen the body parts - an arm, a leg, a piece of a rib cage, poured into a baggie as though it were scraps of meat?

Have you sat with her in the recovery room as she stares off into space, desperate to get away from this place so she never has to think of it again? Have you been with her through the depression and the anxiety that plague her after the abortion? The breakup of her relationship? Have you helped her through her drug addiction, her binge drinking? Have you been there when she is unable to bond with her children? When her marriage falls apart? Will you be there when she attempts suicide? Will you be at her funeral when she succeeds?

Dear Clinic Escort, look into my eyes. They have seen things you could never imagine. Things that have made me scream in the middle of the night. Things that are never discussed in the intellectualized, feminist world of abortion rights. Because while you see a job well done when you usher her through those doors, her nightmare is just beginning.