“Why don’t you just adopt?” Well-meaning people say this often to those who have used or are considering reproductive technology to conceive because of infertility or a troubling genetic history. The question implies that adoption is the simplest, most loving, and least selfish choice. Wouldn’t it be a better use of resources to adopt a child who needs parents rather than paying fertility clinics to help make a baby? If a couple really wants a child, should they really put their desire for a biological child over the needs of living, breathing children who could use a home?Read the whole thing, then let me know what you think.
These questions rely on what theologian and ethicist Paul Lauritzen has called the “myth of unwanted children.” Lauritzen, in Pursuing Parenthood, writes that “even to talk about ‘unwanted children’ may be misleading in situations where a woman is
relinquishing a child not because she is unwilling to care for her child, but because she is unable to do so. . . . To speak about ‘unwanted children’ is to fail to take seriously what is perhaps the most compelling reason women relinquish children, namely, poverty” (p. 126).
For every mother who weeps in relief as her child leaves for a better life, another mother weeps in anguish that she felt compelled to make such a choice. As Christians called to care for “the least of these,” we are also called to help create healthy societies where mothers aren’t forced to relinquish children because they are overwhelmed by poverty, violence, and chaos. Given that our Scriptures frequently remind us that our treasure is not to be found in wealth, we need to guard against believing that a well-off parent is by default better than a poor one.
Beyond these tricky dynamics of wealth and wanting are other reasons that adoption is far from a simple solution.
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