I have awesome readers

I have awesome readers October 17, 2012

So yesterday, I posted a prayer request from a reader concerning a West Indian woman (in the UK) who was contemplating abortion.

Immediately, not one but two readers stepped up asking to contact the person posting the request and offering to take the child. I forwarded the offers on to the reader who made the prayer request. He writes back:

Dear All

My jaw hit the desk!

My wife was speaking with her pregnant friend until after midnight last night. She said while she was speaking to my wife, she felt so much more at peace. My wife got her to say she’d stay home, with an offer of some help. I’ve passed the message on.

Your generosity is truly breathtaking. Thank you.

“Inasmuch as you did it to the least of these, you did it to me.” Well done you guys! May your prayers (and action) be remembered in your favor on That Day. Thanks be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

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  • SD

    I really hope this woman chooses life. But – as a mother, it REALLY rubs me the wrong way when people offer to “take the child.” How about offering financial assistance instead, or pointing her towards some resources that will help her provide for her child? It drives me nuts when people think adoption is the only alternative to abortion. I think many women who have abortions desperately want to keep their children but don’t know how they can possibly provide for them. I would personally be suicidal if I ever gave a baby up for adoption, and I am VERY pro-life and would never even consider abortion.

  • SD

    I just went and read the original prayer request, which I had not seen, and now I’m even more disturbed that someone would try to “take her child.” I had thought she was a single woman with no children, but it turns out she is living with the father of the child and has other children. How will her other children feel if they know one of their siblings is given away? Would they be afraid they will be given away too? And how will that child given up for adoption feel when he finds out he has an entire intact biological family out there?

    Abortion is NEVER the answer, but I’m praying this woman finds a way to keep her child.

  • Marthe Lépine

    I agree that abortion is never the answer, but I tend to agree, up to a point, with SD, that too much emphasis is being put on adoption. Although I recognize the generosity of those readers who have offered to help by taking care of the child, to me it seems quite true that there can be other kind of help. I often get the impression – and might even have heard on a couple of occasions – that many anti-abortion people, because “resources are limited”, think that it is necessary first to win the fight against abortion before resources can be used towards other things that could help mothers and children, such as better jobs and working conditions for women, better day care to allow women to hold full-time jobs or upgrade their education, and many other measures that would alleviate the poverty that is increasingly becoming a “women’s issue”. Well, with that attitude, the fight against abortion will never end.
    Another attitude that I find rather disturbing is a tendency to look down at single mothers. It is very very hard to truly apply the principle of “hating the sin but loving the sinner”. Some people seem to always keep in mind that the women who are raising children on their own, if they are not widows or victims of a divorce, are somewhat less deserving. As if at least not having aborted their children was not a point in their favour… One woman in a combox (I do not remember if it was in Mark’s blog or someone else), actually said that the unmarried single mothers had a choice, had chosen to have sex outside of marriage, and therefore should just live with the consequences of their choices. As if their children had had the same choice. A couple of times I felt the need to reply that, yes, a woman might have had that choice, but soon after she made another choice: to give life to a child instead of aborting him or her. It may seem basic to us Catholics, and for other Christians, but in our day and age, unfortunately, it is no longer so obvious for millions of women who have been raised with different values. Remember that we are probably now in the middle of the 3rd generation of women following your country’s infamous court case. Even in our developed countries, a lot of women have been raised and educated by people who did not accept the Christian outlook, particularly about pro-life issues, and we cannot blame a woman for trusting her own mother, her relatives and her teachers and being convinced that they told her the truth? (By the way, they told her the truth as they themselves believed it, e.g. they were not necessarily guilty of lying.)
    To conclude, what I want to say is that in addition to struggling to put an end to abortion, it is very important to make efforts to fight against the poverty of women and children. Whether we want to accept it or not, poor single mothers will probably always be with us. Instead of simply rejecting them as “feminist ideas”, it is necessary to continue to work for such things as “equal pay for work of equal value”, and better economic opportunities for women. In an ideal world, all women would be stay-at-home married mothers, but it is simply not the reality.

  • Irenist

    A number of commenters above have brought up some important nuances. As for me, I’m just profoundly grateful for the outreach to this woman, and will pray for her and her family.

  • I have to agree with SDs first post as well. It would be one thing if the woman said she is looking to adopt a child out.
    I believe in adoption and am a birth mother. When people got wind of the fact that I was pregnant (I was very young), people started coming at me with requests and demands. It was heartbreaking and overwhelming. Adoption is extremely traumatic (albeit sometimes the best option and I don’t regret it) but should be an option fully initiated by the mother.

  • I can appreciate the concern but at least for my part I was simply responding to the prompting of the Spirit. I agree about other forms of support and I hope to hear more from Mark’s reader about ways we can make that happen.

    • James H, London

      Dan, you were right to do so. I’m the poster of the original request. SD, what you’re saying is unworkable as a personal option. There is a lot of practical and financial help out there for women in her position (the one I was referred to more than once was the Good Counsel Network http://www.goodcounselnetwork.com/), and the family could even get a new state-provided flat, quite easily.

      But, that’s not the point. The fact is, she was being pressured by her mother into having the abortion (and her mother was angry that she didn’t go through it after all), and the combination of pressure and panic was pushing her towards something that she as a religious person would regret for the rest of her life. If she could get free from her panic, it would make all the difference. One of the ways of reducing that panic was to hear that others were offering support, and that others knew it was the wrong thing to do, and were willing and eager to help. Dan’s offer was invaluable.

  • Marthe Lépine

    When a couple goes through a divorce, it usually happens that one parent has custody and the other pays some regular amount of money to help the parent who has custody. I think the correct word is “alimony”. Would it be a possibility for someone (or a group of people) who could afford it to arrange to pay such an “alimony” to this mother in distress, to help her support this additional child? Instead of adopting the child as a parent, they could be considered as some kind of godparents… And even visit the family once in a while if they live in the same area.

  • Marthe Lépine

    This just occurred to me: Are there groups that do this already? If not, this could be considered as another “wing” of the pro-life movement: A godparent system, made up of people who could adopt children but instead could commit to support one child while this child stays with his/her mother, while at the same time get involved with that family as a Catholic godparent would with a relative’s child. Something similar to those “Adopt a Granny” programs that exist in some areas (at least in Canada).

    • SD

      I think that’s a great idea! My husband and I sponsor a child through the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging.

  • Faith Bowman

    Excellent and well thought out responses!! My line of thinking follows these posts. Please check the thread on Mark’s FB page regarding this matter.

  • Marthe Lépine

    To SD: Right| That kind of thing is already been done for children in developing countries. Maybe those resources could be expanded or supplemented to help prevent abortions by arranging for support for the children. Not just social assistance, but a more personal support as if the people supporting the children were members of his/her extended family. Further down the road, the examples of those people could bring the single mothers to make changes to their lifestyles… with support, of course.

  • Julie

    God bless those people who offered to “take the child.” If she was planning an abortion, someone adopting the child is a much better option than death. Their hearts were in the right places. I do pray that the mother gets all the help she needs and that she can raise her child with little worry and lots of love.