Often women with unexpected pregnancies, face a myriad of decisions – decisions that will affect them for the rest of their lives. Commonly, when men and women facing unexpected pregnancies decide that they are unable to take care of the child they are convinced or persuaded that abortion is the only option. Unfortunately, they are often ill-informed of the damaging physical, emotional, and psychological side effects of abortion. Adoption, on the other hand, is a positive choice for mothers and babies. In addition adoption is great gift to husbands and wives with medical challenges, such as infertility, who feel called to raise children and are encouraged by the Church to “give expression to their generosity” through adoption. (CCC, 2379).
The Church promotes adoption not simply because of its physical or material benefits for the birth mother, child, and adoptive parents, but because adoption is a fundamental characteristic of our faith. With faith and sacrifice, Mary and Joseph overcame their fears and made a covenant with God and each other to raise Jesus. This is an important reminder to all Christians that we are, first and foremost, children of God. God entrusts parents with the duty to care for his children, just as Mary and Joseph cared for His Son.“
Facts & Figures
With the legalization of abortion, adoption began to be promoted as a "burdensome" option and one that continued to "enslave" women to childbearing. By 1975, five years after Roe v. Wade, the rate of adoption had dropped by 50%.3 Certainly, the gift of a child in a marriage - whether by conception or adoption - involves responsibility and sacrifice, but abortion carries with it an even greater burden - the death of a child and a wound to a mother and a father of that lost child. Adoption is a viable, life giving alternative for those facing unplanned pregnanacies
Below is information on the adoption process and services offered by Catholic Charities KC and Catholic Charities US:
- When an adoption plan is chosen, the birthparent(s) may help select the adoptive family for the child and may select an "open" or "closed" adoption.
- An open adoption involves sharing of information between the birth family and adoptive family and possible ongoing contact between both parties.
- A closed adoption means that no identifying information is shared between the birth family and the adopting family.
- In an open adoption, birthparents decide how much information to share with the adoptive parents and how much involvement they will have with the child and adoptive family. Birthparents may opt to meet the family before or after the baby is born, share letters and pictures throughout the years and have ongoing contact, if desired.
- Specific adoption laws vary dependent upon the state and county in which the adoption takes place. For the adoption process, Catholic Charities utilizes attorneys who are experts in the field of adoption.
- In Missouri, a birthmother and birthfather have the same rights and responsibilities for their child. If the birthfather cannot be located, the agency and attorney will still be able to work with the birthmother in making an adoption plan. If the birthfather is opposed to the adoption, he will be required to retain an attorney to represent his case in a court of law
- Expectant parents who are considering an adoption plan are encouraged to learn as much as possible about the adoption process, as early as possible. This allows more time to consider their options and decide what is best for them and their children.
- Catholic Charities can help parents explore their options and provide this information, as well as the continued support necessary for parents to make the best possible plan for their children
- Pregnancy counseling helps expectant parents resolve their immediate physical, environmental, and emotional needs and challenges. Counseling enables expectant parents to make decisions with regard to their own and their child’s future.
- Prenatal and Parenting Education assists expectant parents as they prepare for the birth of their child and can provide additional supports to those who have chosen to parent their child.
- Labor and delivery counseling helps expectant mothers prepare for her time in the hospital to help ensure that she has a positive experience.
- Post-placement counseling services are offered to help expectant parents who make an adoption plan with the feelings of loss and grief and to help them achieve their goals and develop their full potential.
- Information and referral services guide expectant parents to the appropriate community resources to meet immediate and long-term goals such as medical service, residential placement, and educational placement.
- Catholic Charities also offer outreach to expectant fathers to encourage them, including those who do not share a positive relationship with the child’s mother, to receive the full range of services the agency offers
Educational Materials on Church Teaching
Respect Life Programs
Respect Life 101
Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC): Adoption
Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC): Respect for Human Life
Evangelium Vitae: The Gospel of Life (EV)
Donum Vitae: The Gift of Life (DV)
Familiaris Consortio: The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World (FC)
John Paul II, Mother Teresa, "Adoption is a concrete way to love..."
Leadership & Volunteer Opportunities
If you or your organization has expertise or an interest in the topic of adoption, or if you would like to learn how you can assist in the life-saving work of the Respect Life Office by becoming a resource for information on the Church's teaching on adoption, please contact us.