This post is the second of a series of posts during this #prolife week.
By: Kimberly Harrell, Program Director, Center for Adoption and Pregnancy Services, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Arlington
When we say “Right to Life,” what does that mean? I took a look at the mission statement for the National Right to Life. It states that they intend to: “protect and defend the most fundamental right of humankind, the right to life of every innocent human being from the beginning of life to natural death.” They go on to say they will “promote respect for the worth and dignity of every individual human being.” As we approach the March for Life, I can’t help but think about how adoption impacts this important movement.
Over the past 20 years, I have journeyed alongside countless women and families who have had their lives touched by adoption. This has been my experience…
Here are the top 5 ways adoption supports the Right to Life:
- Adoption provides an alternative to abortion. For many women experiencing an unintended pregnancy, they not only need an alternative to abortion, they also need an alternative to parenting their child. Not all women who become pregnant are ready to be a parent.
- Adoption supports the life of the woman experiencing an unintended pregnancy. While an unintended pregnancy is no longer the crisis that it used to be, these women need support. Knowing they have solid options reduces stress and gives them hope. When they choose adoption for their child, they experience one of the most selfless acts a human being can demonstrate. This is a flawless example of showing respect, worth, and dignity for human life.
- Adoption enhances the life of an unborn child. Before a child breathes its first breath, there are people at work ensuring that a plan is being made for his or her life. The conception of a child is never a mistake and adoption is sometimes the avenue intended for a child.
- Adoption allows older children to have a chance at a forever family. Many older children languish in foster care, hoping to become a part of a permanent family. These children have the right to a life filled with security and love. Adoption provides them with the future that they have dreamed of.
- Adoption is an avenue for prospective adoptive couples to grow their families. When a woman decides to make an adoption plan for her child, an adoptive family steps in to meet that need, and inherently becomes a supporter of the “Right to Life.” Both parties are blessed, while the birth mother finds the right family for her child.
The “Right to Life” extends beyond the unborn. Adoption not only impacts the lives of the unborn but birth parents, children, and adoptive families throughout their lifespans. At its very core, adoption promotes respect for the worth and dignity of every life it touches.
Kimberly Harrell, M.Ed., LPC, NCC, is the program director at the Center for Adoption and Pregnancy Services, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Arlington. She has more than 20 years of experience working with those whose lives have been touched by adoption, including birth parents, adoptees, adoptive parents and adoptive families. Kimberly is also in private practice in Centreville, Va., where she works with individuals, families and adolescents. Her passion for working on adoption-related issues continues in her practice.
Kimberly has written a number of articles on the importance of support for birth parents, including “Meeting Birth Parent Needs for a Successful Adoption.” She also speaks to groups of mental health professionals to educate them on the adoption-related issues they may encounter in their practices. She holds a Masters in Education from Virginia Tech University.