Chapter 12: Keep vs. Parent

This has been weighing on my mind lately but I’ve been afraid to put it into words for fear of misunderstanding or misinterpretation. Let me preface that every woman has the right to parent their child and if they can, we support them. Money does not play a role in how well a person can parent a child. 

When I hear the phrase “keeping my baby” the first thing that comes to mind is the Madonna song “Papa Don’t Preach.” The next thing that comes to my mind is the fact that the entire phrase “keeping my baby” completely rubs me the wrong way. Let me tell you why.

“Keeping my baby” insinuates two things. First, that the opposite of keep is generally thought of as giving away. However, when parents choose adoption they are not giving away a child nor giving up. Nothing is given but love – unconditional love which displays that the parents will break their own hearts to provide their child with more than what they can give them or the feel the child should have in their life. We love these women SO MUCH and want them to know that they aren’t giving away or keeping anything. This isn’t a transaction. This is a lifelong commitment made out of love. Second, that the child is a baby. Yes, at the moment that child is an adorable, chubby-cheeked baby. Yet, babies don’t stay babies forever.

Parenting describes when parents decide to raise their child. They are choosing to sacrifice their life, their everything to give their child all the opportunities this life can offer. Money should not be a deciding factor in parenting. There are plenty of ways to support a woman who chooses to parent their child. Nor should money be a reason for choosing adoption. Again, LOVE is everything and choosing to parent is never wrong. Never. I never want an expectant parent to feel that we believe otherwise. We just want you to know how much we love you and support you in your decision.

When people learned of our failed adoption money was one of the first questions we were asked about. Not how much our adoption was costing, but why we didn’t offer money. Our response is two-fold. One –  if at any time she had expressed she couldn’t provide basic needs for herself, we would have worked with our attorney to ensure that her needs were met. And two – we NEVER want an adoption to feel like a business transaction. These are real people, not a walking uterus. I would hate to know that someone chose to place their child for adoption because of financial gain. Everything in my being revolts against it. Can you imagine, placing your child and days or years after the fact feeling regret because you gave in for money? Bryce and I both feel that money is a necessary evil – and shouldn’t be muddled with something as sacred as adoption.

When the time comes to make the difficult decision to parent a child or place for adoption, the decision isn’t thought of as a matter of “keeping a baby.” Choosing to parent a child for the next 18+ years is a life-long commitment. That baby won’t stay a baby for long. The reality that your life will change forever is enormous. My wish is this: parents considering adoption seriously and prayerfully evaluate their life and the future life of their child and make a decision that brings them peace. We will love you and the decision you make.

I in no way intend this to sound as if Bryce and I are fit to parent while others are not. It is my prayer that whomever reads this will understand the sincerity of this post. Becoming a parent is a huge decision and cannot be taken lightly. This is simply something that has been weighing on my mind. I hope that the gravity of parenting a child is felt by everyone – whether married, single, young or old. I hope that the love Bryce and I feel toward every woman considering adoption is felt through this blog, our letter to expectant parents, and our actions.

We feel such love, such overwhelming love to birth parents. One day we will meet “the one.” The birth parents will not just be birth parents – they will be our family. Families are not contractual agreements to send photos every few months. Families are love – during the ups and downs, the crazy and the sane. Families are forever.

Birth Mothers