Sunday, 28 October 2018 14:25

Making the unexpected choice

A 20-something couple comes in to ThriVe Metro East for confirmation of pregnancy. They admit this: They are not ready to be parents. There has been no prenatal care and they have no insurance. Moreover, they are struggling with substance abuse and are recently homeless and jobless. Their world is crashing in around them.

The potential birth mom thinks she may be “feeling movement.” All the pregnancy options and educational brochures are explained. The couple voices adoption and states everyone around them would support this decision.

Everyone would also support abortion.

No one would support a decision to parent — no way. Except the potential expectant father, who looks up from the pamphlets and says, “Well, I would be willing to parent. I told you, I’ll do whatever.”

“Whatever.” We hear this so many times from the expectant dads. ”I’ll do whatever … whatever she wants.” They seem to think they don’t have a voice or an opinion to share, or one that matters.

An ultrasound is performed, the couple finds the pregnancy is much farther along than they thought. They now only have a few short weeks to decide the outcome of this pregnancy. Panic sets in. There is gasping and tears and profanity. Urgent calls are made, drug treatment options are sought, resources of all kinds fall into the couple’s hands.

An appointment is made with an adoption agency for that same day. Time is of the essence.

Next step: The couple reads over profiles of potential adoptive couples. With nervousness and guarded excitement they plan to meet a few couples. One couple stands out in

particular; they have many common interests and share similar desires for parenting a child.

In the meantime, appointments for drug treatment, adoption counseling and high risk maternal visits are happening weekly.

The days following are filled with raw emotion as they are bonding with the baby girl in the womb. The delight over the touch of her kicking. The internal struggle continues as they try to imagine placing this child in the other couple’s hands. They reason that this couple will be able to give baby the very best of everything. Everything they cannot.

As the final day approaches, anxiety increases over the adoption decision. A new question is voiced. “What would it look like if we did try to parent?” Discussions ensue with the adoption worker and the available grandparents. Support and encouragement are offered by both. There are no easy answers. There are no guarantees. The couple could relapse. Post adoption grief could also cause relapse. Everyone counts the cost.

The birthing plan is set. The couple will see the baby alone upon arrival. The birth mom desires to breastfeed. The birth couple wants to be alone with baby girl for first 24 hours. The adoptive couple will be on stand-by and are aware of birth parents struggle and indecision.

The precious baby girl is born healthy with minimal withdrawal symptoms. The birth parents are overjoyed and in awe. Tears and discussion continue over the placement of this baby. By the dawn of second day, a parenting decision has been made. The birth parents have decided to parent. It is bittersweet, as they also sense the weight and loss that the adoptive parents are going to feel.

Choosing life is an equally difficult decision in any unplanned pregnancy.

Editor’s note — This unsigned article was submitted to the Office for Pro-Life Activities and Special Ministries for publication in Catholic Times during October, Respect Life Month.