A few years ago, we were foster parents with Bethany Christian Services. We did “cradle care” which meant we’d have a newborn or infant living with us while the birthmoms tried to figure out if they were going to keep the baby or give him or her up for adoption. We had five little ones with us over a span of 2 years.
Each situation was unique and brought a new story into our lives. One birthmom was older than I was, another was a carnival worker who told me she’d been raped. One baby came to us after her birth dad and his new girlfriend had cared for their (cocaine) baby for a month by giving her water and, occasionally, chocolate milk. Potential adoptive parents chosen by the birth parents would come to visit the baby at our home; each of them had been through years of grief as they’d been unable to conceive a child even with medical assistance. All of them became a part of the life of our family during that season of time.
The one birth parent situation that particularly staggered me was one where the mom was 16 and the dad was 15. The birth mom drove the dad to our home to come visit their baby since he was too young to have a license. It was a little bit surreal. But they were sweet, wise kids who wanted to give their child the gift of a better life than they could. The girl attended a high school program just for expectant moms, and told me during one of her visits that out of the dozen plus kids in her class, she was the only one considering adoption for her baby. The rest of the girls were going to raise their children on their own – some with the help of their families, some not. In a world where abortion has been the standard answer to the question of teen pregnancy, and where most of those who choose to have their babies choose to keep and raise their children, this young couple was making one of the most counter-cultural decisions imaginable.
They signed the papers, placing their beautiful child in the arms of a waiting, stable family.
Last night, Bill and I saw Juno, a movie about a situation very similar to this, but with far better dialogue, thanks to the mad skills of screenwriter Dakota Cody. She told the truth about how some babies come to be these days, what its like to be so out of sync with the rest of your peers if you’re a pregnant teen mom. At a deeper level, she addressed the more universal theme of what we’re all of us looking for in life. If you’ve seen it, I’d love to hear your thoughts.