So, earlier today, I was talking to Lisa Anderson, a friend of mine. Lisa Anderson, of Grace’s Table – a ministry that is walking alongside teen moms and helping them in a very lonely, scary and difficult time. If you haven’t checked out Grace’s Table yet, please do so.
I asked Lisa, what are the three main “issues” that would cause a teen mom to face the difficult choice of either putting their baby up for adoption (their difficult choice) or losing their baby to foster care (not their choice). She said that there are three things:
- Economics – no one to provide for them, no dad who is willing to step up to their responsibility, parents who either aren’t willing or aren’t able to help and no job. It’s a tough road to walk even if you have income, even more so if you don’t.
- Homelessness – if you have no where to live, it’s hard to care for a little one. If you have no where to live, it’s hard to get a job. If you have no where to live, it means you have no one who “has your back.”
- Depression – If you are dealing with either economic stress (see above) or homelessness (see above) or even worse, both, then you are more likely to suffer from major debilitating depression. The kind of depression that makes it very difficult to care for a baby. The kind of depression that makes it very difficult to find and keep a job.
Lisa said that if the teen moms she works with have two of the three, that puts them at high risk of losing their baby to the foster care system. If a teen mom has all three of them, that puts her at a very high risk of losing her baby to foster care or deciding, “I can’t do it” and giving their child up for adoption.
Now I want you to listen very carefully. I am very much pro-adoption. I have two adopted children. But I am only in favor of adoption when it is absolutely necessary. I know there are situations where adoption is absolutely necessary – then let’s find a new family for the child as quickly and as well as possible and move on in the process of healing their wounds and growing and achieving their potential.
But it makes me really sad to see children go through the trauma of abandonment and adoption if they don’t have to. If their parent(s) could have kept their family together with a little help, then that’s what we should be doing.
If Mom could have kept her family together if someone had provided them with a roof over their head while she found a job, then that’s what we should be doing.
If Mom could have kept their family together if someone had helped her learn a skill and get a job so she could provide for her baby, then that’s what we should be doing.
If Mom could have balanced all of the responsibilities of being a teen single mom because she had the help of a counselor who was willing to walk with them through the valleys that they are in, then that’s what we should be doing.
Unwed teen moms, let’s be honest, they have made mistakes. But haven’t we all? And if I recall correctly, Jesus doesn’t tell us to just love those who are perfect. He doesn’t tell us to only love the church leaders. Nope, He tells us to love the prodigal son, the IRS agents, the street women. It doesn’t matter to Him and it shouldn’t matter to us.
Two out of three – imagine would it would be like if we could drop that to 1 out of 3? Or none out of 3?