When being open to life takes you into the unknown
I’ve always been pro-life. When I was in grade school I was even part of a “students for life” club. We prayed outside of abortion clinics, stuck tiny crosses in the ground as a visual example of how many children are aborted every year, and collected goods for pregnancy centers. Being pro-life was easy. I’ll admit that I often felt pride for the good works I was doing to help and support the cause. After all, being pro-life is all about protecting the babies right?
Being pro-life became more of a challenge in my college years. I once had a friend ask me theoretically what I would do if she asked me to drive her to get an abortion. I responded that I would never drive her there, but I would be there praying for her and for the baby because I love her and know the consequences are hard to live with. I told her that I loved her and would always pray for her child. I was pro-life after all, and for me that meant loving her and the baby.
Later, as a married woman who was open to life but faced infertility, being pro-life took on a whole new meaning. Anger would rise up in me when I would hear about someone choosing abortion. How could they throw away something that many people so deeply desired? Do they have any idea how much longing and pain I’ve endured to have a baby? I would do anything to be able to feel life growing in my barren womb.
When we started the adoption process, we faced up to our pro-life viewpoint in black and white. What sort of child or situation would we be open to? After several amendments to our home study, my husband and I decided we had to be pro-life in all of our actions. After all, if I were carrying a baby myself, it would be a “yes”, no matter how difficult, no matter the complications. We were open to children affected by disease, medical fragility, different races, drug use, both genders, multiples and so on. This step of faith tested if we were truly pro-life or just pro-“perfect”-life. How could I claim to be truly open to life and yet say “no” to imperfection?
Adoption has brought us two beautiful children, both with difficult stories. One even has several siblings who never made it to birth. We have been truly blessed, and very humbled. Our openness had brought us a beautiful family. I was content. My husband was content. We did not see what was coming.
It happened within a 90-minute time span: I got a phone call asking if we could be a safe space for the time being, and then 1 hour later she was standing there in my living room, looking up at me with her big, beautiful eyes. Scared. Confused. I’m sure she saw the same emotions in my own eyes. We had nothing for a 6 year-old girl. We are not foster parents. In fact I had even told God that I had decided to never foster. Previously, when asked whether we would “foster to adopt”, I had said: “To be a foster parent, you have to have a heart for reunification. I would never be able to put my heart through that.” Nevertheless, we said yes, because we asked ourselves that same question: “Are we truly pro-life? Then how could we turn her down?”
So here we are. Currently we do not know where this road will lead. This whole process has been a walk of faith with Christ. We have zero say in this process. Zero options to create the future we want for this little girl. Luckily, I feel Christ next to me through every meeting with social workers, conversations, and all the emotions. I’ve felt him hold me near when family voiced their negative opinions on our “fiat” to this situation. Extremely negative and horrible judgment came our way when we shared that two more little feet were added to our home. 9This has shocked me more than I’ve let on. I thought as Catholics we are supposed to support life regardless of the circumstances, regardless of the age, regardless of our own ideal timeline. Why were people being so rude?) But God is in the midst of it. To watch God put beauty into the broken pieces is a miracle. Where we humans break, He restores. Deciding to implement our pro-life stance in our decisions has brought a deeper beauty and richness to our life. I would never in a million years have envisioned the family I currently hear playing in the living room.
So, sister in Christ, I have a question for you that I’ve been faced with over and over again:
are you truly open to life? Or are you only open to a life that fits your view of the life you wanted? What areas of your family building process are you still trying to control? What have you said no to? What are you not open to? Ask God to show you a different way, open your mind to the “imperfect” situations. God has more in store for us than we can ever imagine for ourselves. Be pro-life in word and action.