The Holy Family and adoption

Wishing you a blessed and holy Christmas

As we prepare to welcome the Christ child, born of a virgin, I find myself reflecting on this incredible real-life story.

God asked Mary to allow the Holy Spirit to conceive a child – Jesus – within her, and to be his mother.  For all time Jesus has existed as part of that great mystery, the Trinity.  Yet, he needed an earthly mother and father – parents to love him and guide him; a family in which to belong while here on earth.

That family came about because of Mary’s great “yes” and St Joseph’s incredible faithfulness.  St Joseph could have chosen to ignore the message too.  He could have abandoned Mary and the child Jesus.  But he didn’t.  He stood firm and protected them both.  A beautiful expression of fatherhood.  A beautiful expression of adoption.

In today’s world, (especially here in New Zealand), adoption has become almost a “dirty word”.  Many people no longer see the beauty in the giving and receiving of a precious child.  Many don’t see how necessary it is for children to grow up with a mum and dad and to know that they belong in a strong family unit.

The great love of adoption has been forgotten.

As we celebrate this Christmas, let us remember how wonderful adoption really is.

May we remember all the selfless mothers who have given life to their babies and have chosen adoptive families for their precious children.  Their love is not forgotten.

May we remember those who have been adopted, those who have had beautiful lives and those too who mourn for the lives they didn’t have.

May we remember the adoptive mothers and fathers who have said “yes” and have loved and cherished their adoptive children, allowing them to know the love of a mum and dad and what it is to belong.

Jesus needed a family – a mum and a dad – while here on earth.  So does every child born into this world.  Adoption is key in our building of a culture of life.  Let us pledge to do more in the coming year to promote adoption as a very real and beautiful option.

 

 

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The heart of a mother: bearing witness to a child’s life

Mother and childThinking about Mother’s Day had me looking at quotes about motherhood.  I came across a huge number of beautifully illustrated thoughts from various people.  But then, then there was this…

“Was it the act of giving birth that made you a mother? Did you lose that label when you relinquished your child? If people were measured by their deeds, on the one hand, I had a woman who had chosen to give me up; on the other, I had a woman who’d sat up with me at night when I was sick as a child, who’d cried with me over boyfriends, who’d clapped fiercely at my law school graduation. Which acts made you more of a mother?

Both, I realized. Being a parent wasn’t just about bearing a child. It was about bearing witness to its life.” 
― Jodi PicoultHandle with Care

This beautiful quote made me think about motherhood and adoption and bearing witness to a child’s life.

Adoption is one of the most beautiful, heroic, selfless acts a mother can make for her child when circumstances mean that she is unable to provide all that her baby needs at that time.

The agonies that she must face, and the fear of what must come when she hands the child she has nurtured in her womb to the waiting arms of adoptive parents must defy words.

But at the same time, the peace she must feel, knowing that she has, and still does, love this child beyond measure must give her hope.

Placing her child for adoption, does not make her any less a mother.  Indeed, she has displayed a great act of selflessness, loving her child more than herself.  Loving, nurturing and protecting her child from it’s very first existence.  And this is what a mother does.

She chooses life for her child, despite enormous obstacles, pressures and fears.  She chooses life for her child over and above her own wants and desires.

A birth mother bears witness to her child’s life when at its most vulnerable, most defenseless.

And the adoptive parents, lovingly chosen by the birth mother (and possibly birth father), gladly receive this new responsibility of parenthood.  All their hopes and dreams of loving beyond themselves becomes a reality and they love this child unconditionally.  They understand the gift of life and they bear witness to it.

Today I want to acknowledge all mothers, including birth mothers and adoptive mothers.  You are amazing, selfless women who know life’s greatest joys and sorrows.  But above all you know how to love.  You are nurturers, you are protectors and you bear witness to the preciousness of all human life.

Thank you.

 

 

 

Babies are a gift from God

babys-feet-with-blossomThere’s nothing quite like welcoming a new baby, and to celebrate their baptism. That warm, fuzzy, joyful feeling just gets better when you know just how close that little one was to being aborted.

Yesterday, on Respect Life Sunday, we were privileged to be a part of the family that came together to welcome one such precious wee girl into the Church and into the world.  So many prayers had been sent up to heaven that she may live.  So many hours were spent by Clare and Colleen, being a friend to this little one’s birth parents, as they struggled with their situation.  What a celebration it was!

But this story gets even better.  because this little girl’s adoptive parents have much to teach all of us about how children are a gift from God.

They had long come to understand that they would not have children and it no longer occurred to them to pray that they would be blessed in this way.  “She is a real gift, we did not ask, she just came to us” is what her mother told me “that is what a gift is”.

This beautiful little girl, who came so close to death, is a real gift.  A gift to her parents, who love her beyond measure; and a gift to the world that we might know just how precious our children are – both born and unborn.

Changing the “career beneficiary” mentality in New Zealand

BabyOnce again beneficiaries having more children just to get a larger payout has come under the spotlight, as new information released under the official information act, shows that 21.2% of parents of babies born last year were on a benefit.  While some people genuinely do need to have assistance from the government because of their circumstances, this should not be the norm.  Unfortunately, being on the DPB, for many, has become a “career of choice”, as it is an easy way to obtain money.  The very fact that children should be seen as a commodity is deplorable, however, efforts to curtail the ever increasing problem of “career beneficiaries” cannot be centred around contraception and abortion as many espouse.

Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood in America wrote in her Birth Control Review  “More children from the fit, less from the unfit — that is the chief aim of birth control.”  Margaret Sanger believed in eugenics.  She believed that the poor, the minorities, the disabled and the “mentally defective” should be eradicated from society.  When we, as a society, suggest that the solution to beneficiaries having more children, is contraception, abortion and sterilization, we too are saying that we need to eradicate whom we see as “unfit”.

Yet, there needs to be a change in behaviour amongst those already receiving benefits, and the young people who see living off a benefit as a choice that they can legitimately make.

While there are many things that can be done through education, so that people have the skills to obtain reasonable jobs, the ultimate solution exists in a complete societal change in thoughts and behaviour.

We must teach our young girls and women that their bodies are not something to be given to just anyone.  Too often intercourse is engaged in at a whim.  The sex education in our schools has taught young girls and boys that sex is a recreational past time, or at best, something you do with someone you like, and that it is okay to experiment.  This kind of thinking does not teach our youth to respect themselves or each other.  Expecting a high standard from them, where the expectation is that people wait until they are in a committed relationship (ideally marriage), before embarking on a sexual relationship is paramount.  This is not simply an old fashioned ideal.  It is an expectation which greatly benefits society.  Our youth need to know that there are consequences to their actions, and when one engages in promiscuous or “serial monogamy-type” sexual activity, the consequences not only include sexually transmitted infections and broken hearts, but another human person.

We must also make adoption a viable option once again.  It appears that girls and women facing unplanned pregnancies believe that there are only two options available to them – abortion and parenting the baby.  This is evident in the fact that the number of adoptions are decreasing , to the point where they are almost non-existent, yet we seem to have an increasing reliance on the DPB (one can also see the increase in young girls choosing to parent by going to any shopping centre and watching the number of young people pushing prams).

Adoption does not have to be a forced or traumatic event.  There are many birth mothers who are extremely happy with their choice to give life to the child they conceived.  In an act of great love for their child, they chose to allow others to bring him/her up in a much more stable and secure family.  That is selfless gift of love.  Likewise, there are hundreds of thousands of people who were adopted who are well adjusted, happy citizens, who do not bear a grudge and are thankful for the gift of life that has been given them, and who contribute extensively to society.  There are also a great number of overjoyed adoptive parents, thankful for the opportunity to love and shape a precious child’s life.

Adoption, when viewed by the wider community as a good in this present age, will go some way in combating the dependency on welfare.

These solutions will not be popular.  But the truth is often difficult for some to bear.  If we are serious about helping beneficiaries come off the benefit;  if we really do want to stop the cycle of having more children in order to obtain “free” money, we must install in our youth self-respect.  Install in the men respect for women.  Show people how to have pride in themselves and their families. Teach our youth to take responsibility for themselves and their actions.  Offer adoption as a real alternative to unplanned pregnancies.  Then, over time, a change will occur.  It will be slow, but it will be worth the effort.  Let us really invest in our people, put them first, take the sticking plasters away and empower them to be the best people that they can be.

Respect Life Month – Day Twenty-Eight

large family“Marriage and conjugal love are by their nature ordained toward the begetting and educating of children. Children are really the supreme gift of marriage and contribute very substantially to the welfare of their parents.” (Paul VI, Guadium et Spes #50)

  • If you are married, consider whether God is asking you to have one more child. If you are infertile is adoption or fostering an option open to you?

Lord God, from You every family in heaven and on earth takes its name.  Father, You are love and life.  Through Your Son, Jesus Christ, born of woman, and through the Holy Spirit, the fountain of divine charity, grant that every family on earth may become for each successive generation a true shrine of life and love.  Grant that Your grace may guide the thoughts and actions of husbands and wives for the good of their families and of all the families in the world.  Grant that the young may find in the family solid support for their human dignity and for their growth in truth and love.  Grant that love, strengthened by the grace of the sacrament of marriage, may prove mightier than all the weaknesses and trials through which our families sometimes pass.  Through the intercession of the Holy Family of Nazareth, grant that the Church may fruitfully carry out her worldwide mission in the family and through the family.  We ask this of You, Who is life, truth, and love with the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Proposed Adoption Legislation Discriminates Against Traditional Families

New born babyIt has become extremely difficult for married couples, husbands and wives, to adopt a child in New Zealand. Those approaching adoption services to seek information on how they can become adoptive parents in this country are actually steered towards “lifetime fostering” or legal guardianship only. There is a distinctive anti-adoption attitude and policy coming from the only accepted legal and political adoption service in New Zealand.

We applaud Prime Minister John Key for having “great sympathy” for those wanting to adopt. However he is seriously misguided in his support for adoption legislation being radically changed for same sex couples, even if it is only for the initial reading of that legislation. He declared on national television that as long as the child is loved it doesn’t matter what the sexual orientation of the parents is. This is another anti-traditional family move by the government, lawmakers, and decision makers in this country to break down the traditional and natural family of mother, father and children.

I am very concerned that we as a nation are failing to promote open adoption as a viable and successful alternative to abortion for those facing an unplanned pregnancy. We have a government, that many middle class family people elected to run this nation, which is clearly siding with so called gay-rights.  Children are not a right, they are gift.

Sadly the very families who elected John Key are discriminated against and marginalised when it comes to opening their hearts, homes and family life when they are trying to adopt a baby or child in need into their family.

Any law which opens the door for adoption of those in a civil union opens the door for the continual discrimination of the traditional family.

Adoption is an Answer to Abortion

adoptionThere 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.