Pro-life. What does this mean? As Christians, we believe it means that all life is precious—from the womb to the tomb. Every single human life is valuable because God stamped each one with His own image (Gen. 1:28).
Since The Abortion Act came into effect in 1967 in England, Scotland, and Wales, roughly 8.7 million of God’s image bearers have been murdered in the womb. That’s about 4,000 babies killed every week. Sadly, Northern Ireland legalised abortion recently as well.
We believe abortion is wrong. It’s evil. It should stop today. And it breaks our hearts because it breaks God’s heart. But I need God’s grace for the ways that I’ve broken His law too. Every day I’m thankful that because of Jesus’ death on the cross, I don’t face the judgment and condemnation I deserve. I’ve never had an abortion, but I’ve done shameful, harmful things to others of which I needed to repent and turn away from.
Recently, I’ve been reading a lot about abortion, and it has been very much on my heart. About a year ago, we adopted a precious baby girl, who at birth weighed just 1.5 lbs. We currently live in Scotland, where the law states that abortion is legal up to 24 weeks.
At 24 weeks gestation, a baby inside the womb is around 1.5 lbs. Our daughter has quite a few medical issues—I spend most of my days facilitating and fighting for the growth of her (still) tiny little body and the development of her brain. And when I think that she, at her birth weight, could have been ripped apart limb from limb, it makes me weep. I will always, always be thankful that her biological mother chose life for her.
As a Christian and an adoptive mum of two amazing girls, I’ve given a lot of thought to what we can do in order to stop abortion. Our church has a big desire to help women who find themselves with an unplanned pregnancy. There has been discussion about counselling and crisis pregnancies centres further down the line. This is wonderful, and I pray it will be a possibility.
However, there is also action that can be taken now, and that is to offer an alternative to abortion in the form of adoption. We are fighting so hard for children inside the womb, which is right, but are we fighting as hard for children outside the womb? The mandate for protecting the voiceless and the vulnerable does not limit itself to being anti-abortion. Indeed, it is impossible for Christians to be pro-life without being pro-adoption.
I don’t know of anyone who would say they are actively against adoption. In fact, everyone I’ve spoken to would say they’re pro-adoption. But how many Christian families in the UK do you know who have actually done it? In Scotland alone in 2018, there were 14,738 children in the care of their local authority. 57% returned home to their parents. Only 7% were adopted. That leaves 5,305 children in just one year in foster care, secure units, homeless, or some other temporary accommodation.
Christians, we are fighting for children to have the right to live. These 5,305 children have made it past birth. What will we do for them now? The bigger picture is that there are significantly more children in care than families willing to adopt, and if our desire to see abortion stopped came to fruition, the number of children in care would increase.
Current trends in the UK suggest that this is the point at which Christians bow out and let the world take over. Right now, non-Christians are doing a better job at orphan care than the UK church. Simply put, the world should never be living out God's design better than His people are.
Our desire is to bring the gospel to the issue of abortion. How fitting that, at the heart of this gospel, is the reality of adoption. “In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will” (Eph. 1:5). And so our approach to adoption is not mere charity, it is mirroring the very thing that saved us from hell.
Not A Back-Up Plan
Perhaps you have biological children, and so assume adoption is not for you. Perhaps you think of adoption as a back-up plan if it turns out you can’t have biological children. Or perhaps you are experiencing fertility issues and adopting seems like an admission of failure, like you’re giving up and having to admit that biological children are just not going to happen. Adoption seems like a plan B, and who wants a plan B for something as precious as one’s own children?
Will adopted children ever feel like ‘your’ children? I want to speak sensitively about fertility issues. Although this has not been our personal experience, we have walked and wept with numerous couples through infertility, repeated miscarriages, and ectopic pregnancies. The pain is real. And a pat “well there’s always adoption” does nothing but pour salt in the wounds of an already broken heart.
But what if adoption was never intended to be a plan B? What if adoption is something so much bigger than fulfilling a desire in us to be a parent? What if it didn’t have anything to do with whether we could have biological children or not? That’s precisely what the gospel shows us. Praise God that adoption was not God’s ‘plan B’!
This is part one in a two-part series on abortion and adoption. Part two will be published next week.