This year, during National Foster Care Awareness month, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for my foster care parents, who helped protect me from neglect and abuse in my biological family. It is because of their decision to take me in, despite my biological family’s litany of problems, that I am the person I am today. Unfortunately, some children are not as fortunate, spending years in care until they age out of the system.
There are nearly 500,000 children in foster care in America, and in Louisiana, there are 4,000 children in care on any given day. I believe my foster family’s continued commitment to me, my birth mother, and my family solidified my own pro-life convictions as they lived out what it means to have a comprehensive pro-life ethic.
If you’d like to learn more, please join me during one of two remaining foster care awareness discussions on Facebook:
May 14, 7 p.m., Students for Life of America
May 28th, 5 p.m., National Review Institute & Catholic Information Center
8 p.m., Louisiana Right to Life
Read more of my experience in foster care and how it has strengthened my pro-life convictions below.
May is Foster Care Awareness Month, and after spending nearly eight years in the Louisiana Foster Care system, I understand personally how important both foster care and adoption are to the pro-life cause. I met my foster family at the young age of 16 months with nothing on but a scrappy stained shirt and holding an empty bottle. I was malnourished, a consequence of poverty, and sickly, a problem exasperated by a lack of medical care.
Thanks to my mother’s pro-life choice I was, indeed, alive when I made it into the arms of my foster family, but I was certainly not well. One could argue that my existence was stark and change was unlikely given my mother’s prognosis: She suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, a complex psychosis characterized by delusions and hallucinations.
My birth mom had a fierce love for her kids but lacked the ability to mother – that is feed, clothe and protect us from peril. Danger was present within the four walls of our home from abusive members who were suffering from mental illness, addiction and familial trauma.
Barring a miracle, my life trajectory would head toward substance abuse, chronic health problems and severe psychotic episodes. This is not a theoretical assumption; it is a well established one since most children who experience childhood abuse in this capacity rarely make it out unscathed, or in some cases, even alive. Thankfully, though, I was granted a miracle.
I found retreat in foster care and was rescued from a different kind of death than the one abortion brings. Abortion ends a human life through the use of instruments, machines, or in some cases, medical negligence, while death following childhood trauma looks like starvation, death from untreated disease, and teenage overdoses and suicides.
The bottom line is both destroy the lives of innocent children, making it imperative that the pro-life community supports foster care and adoption initiatives in tandem with working to end abortion. If we strive to be completely pro-life we must understand that we cannot stop our work after abortion is prevented.
Rather, we need to remember that the child in the womb threatened by abortion and the one suffering from social problems are both victims of a similar predator, with one commonality being they are targeted due to their vulnerable place in humanity’s hierarchy. We protect them because they are exactly some of the most defenseless humans that exist among us.