Thursday, October 8, 2009

Another Catholic Approach to Single Motherhood

"Restoring those who are broken from sexual sin and who desire to live life differently — a life focused on Christ — is a burden the church must share. What an awesome opportunity for a spiritually mature woman to come alongside a single mom as a mentor and friend.

A regular time together praying and studying God’s Word will help her mature in her walk with the Lord. Allowing her opportunity to observe life as you live it — meal preparation, family time, and providing wholesome conversation and wise counsel on a frequent basis — can provide teaching moments that will benefit her for a lifetime. Introducing her to a small group or class in the church where she and her baby are welcomed and plugged in will be vital to her restoration.

These are just a few examples of things the body of Christ can do. Staying connected with young couples or single moms who have chosen life should continue beyond the celebration of the child’s birth if we truly desire to fulfill the law of Christ in bearing one another’s burdens.

You will find it is not a burden after all, but a tremendous blessing as your family line extends to include these precious souls as part of your own."

From the 40 Days for Life blog.

11 comments:

Melanie B said...

How beautiful.

Pentimento said...

Isn't it?

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

I read this the first time you posted it, Pentimento, and have waited this long to comment because I wanted all my thoughts as clear as possible.

I can't say I'm on totally board with the idea that the best option for single mothers is to keep their children rather than to give them up for adoption. The possibility that they will someday get married and be able to give their children a complete home is rather low--which is why the long-term plan the article is suggesting is that a single mother find a mentor in a spiritually mature woman who is married.

I think the greater act of mercy is not the welcoming of a single mother and her baby, but a single mother's giving up her baby up for adoption so that he can have a better life. This is the ideal that should be striven for, and the scenario suggested in the article should be the Plan B.

Pentimento said...

Enbrethiliel, I actually agree with you. But the climate here in America is very anti-adoption -- I don't mean on the part of prospective adoptive families, but on the part of women in a position to place their babies for adoption. There are strong social taboos in poor communities against "giving up" one's flesh and blood. Certainly I agree that most families interested in adoption are in a far better position to parent than most poor young women facing crisis pregnancies. But to admit this opens up a Pandora's box of tricky social questions. Who decides the fitness of a parent? In extreme cases, the courts do, but poverty and youth are not benchmarks for parental unfitness, nor should they be.

I haven't mentioned this yet on the blog, but my husband and I are doing the home study paperwork for an adoption right now. We hope to adopt locally, in our community. Nonetheless, we recognize the bizarreness of the equation: you, birth mother, are not in a position to parent, or at least so it seems. We, adoptive parents, are. So give your baby to us.

Placing a child for adoption is a huge sacrifice of love, and anyone who does it willingly -- i.e., without the state stepping in to remove children, which unfortunately happens all too often -- is a hero in my book.

Pentimento said...

Also, Enbrethiliel, the possibility that a single mother will get married, at least in the U.S., is actually not low at all. According to a 2001 study by Deborah R. Graefe and Daniel T. Lichter, 82% of white women with a non-marital birth eventually marry, as do 62% of Latina women and 59% of black women.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

A personal bit of trivia: After my mother and my sister's father broke up, my grandfather tactfully suggested that she emigrate to America. =P He said that American men would be more understanding toward a woman with two illegitimate children by two different men!

Now, I'm also quite touchy about judging anyone's fitness to parent--and have known many wonderful counter-cultural parents get in trouble for doing their job. For all the noise I make about this in general, I'm the biggest flake in the world when it comes to "special cases." Yet I don't see what it to be gained by dropping a certain social standard that worked better than the one we have now.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

PS -- Prayers for the adoption! (Or for your discernment.)

I had no idea it was so difficult to adopt locally in America, especially since Americans are adopting hundreds of babies internationally. (Oh, that's why . . .)

Pentimento said...

Thanks very much for the prayers, Enbrethiliel! We are longing for more children and I'm not sure whether I can have more biologically. I've always felt drawn to adoption, too -- an aunt of mine placed her first child for adoption (she was an unwed teen mother) and later adopted two more children. Her birth daughter came back into our lives about fifteen years ago and she is one of the family.

And you're right, it is hard to adopt domestically, mainly because of the ethos I mentioned above surrounding placing children for adoption. The culture has more and more turned against adoption and towards single mothers winging it. The availability of abortion has also taken its toll, though there are also strong taboos against abortion in poor communities in the U.S.

It's much more expensive to adopt internationally, but there are many more children available. In the U.S., there are a million waiting families, and only about 50,000 babies placed for adoption annually.

Pentimento said...

Oh, and your grandfather was probably right about your mother's chances at marriage being higher here, based on the statistical evidence. :)

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

I once told an American friend about my experience volunteering at an orphanage. One of the regular workers there told my friends and me that it often takes up to three years for the paperwork for international adoptions to be cleared by the Supreme Court unless someone is bribed to make the process go faster. The couples adopting babies never know that they're also paying bribe money (though they might guess it); but it's really all for the best. Sigh!

The red tape is definitely one reason international adoptions are so expensive. =(

Well, if the bias against "giving away" one's own flesh and blood also translates into less abortions, then I'll grudgingly consider it an ally!

Pentimento said...

I think there's corruption in lots of countries. In some cases it's overt. My friend's cousin, who's of Armenian ancestry, adopted an Armenian baby, and the authorities were quite frank with her about things like lost paperwork that could be found for a fee.