There has been a great shift in society’s perception of single parenthood over the last few decades. Where once it was unacceptable for single girl or woman to be pregnant (to the point where she was shipped off to another town for the duration of the pregnancy), it is now deemed acceptable for a woman (and increasingly a man) to parent alone.
New Zealand has an incredibly high teenage pregnancy rate. Many of these girls choose to abort their babies (there were 3473 abortions in 2010 in the 11-19 age group). Many still choose to continue the pregnancy and go on to parent.
I applaud the courage that many women and girls possess when they choose to give life to their child under difficult circumstances. Those who go on to parent their child often do so with incredible patience and love. It is not easy for them.
I also want to acknowledge those who have given their child for others to parent through adoption. Adoption is an incredible gift for both the child and for the adoptive family. I personally would not have brothers and sisters if it were not for the courage and great love of my siblings’ birth mothers. Their gift is something I will forever be grateful for.
Adoption has been declining in New Zealand over the decades. Today only about 100 adoptions occur each year. Yet, so many more couples are waiting to adopt.
Adoption is no longer the closed door type adoption that occured in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Birth mother’s are able to choose the adoptive family. Adoption is now open and contact is encouraged between the birth mother and the child (to the degree that is comfortable for both parties).
When adoption is seen as a good for society, for children and for families, more women and girl’s will choose to give life to their babies. There will be less perceived need for abortion. Most importantly, there will be a generation of children who will grow into adults with an appreciation for the gift of their life, given to them by their birth mother and nurtured by their adoptive families.