Changing the Culture of Adoption

by Mallory Fogas, owner of Arrow + Root2Parent

Adoption. It's a word heard often in the pro-life movement, but also a word that holds many emotions and stigmas. 

When you hear the word adoption, what do you think of? Who do you think of? Where do your feelings or perception of adoption come from? Take a deep breath and sit with that for a moment. 

Most likely, if you are reading this you are involved in the pro-life movement to some degree, which means you know how important a conversation about adoption is when it comes to being a valid life-giving option. 

Adoption has evolved over time from secrecy and shame, to openness and embracing one another. The narrative has shifted and in the last five years there has been an explosion in the adoption community that has caused many of the old, unethical practices, language, and thought processes to be challenged. A new dawn has come and many members of the adoption triad (adoptee, adoptive parents, and birth parents) are speaking out by sharing their stories, both good and bad. 

But, how does this influence your role at the clinic you serve in? How does it apply to the work you are doing in the pro-life community? 

You are on the front lines everyday sharing life and death options with women in untimely pregnancies, and one of the life options that is discussed is adoption. Many of the women you serve have been influenced through the saturation around them from society, and let me just say, society is not caught up on the modern and ethical adoption approach. 

I encourage you to ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the adoption culture like in my clinic? 
  • How is adoption discussed? 
  • How often is it discussed through trainings, meetings, etc.? 
  • Where is the information coming from? It is updated? Is it only from adoption agencies?

I previously worked in the pregnancy center movement for eight years, I GET IT! Trust me when I say I know how hard it is to sit across from an abortion-determined woman who only sees parenting or abortion as her two options. I know how intimidating the conversation can be. 

But, I do believe we can empower ourselves to approach the options conversation with knowledge that better reflects the new shift within adoption relationships. I believe that how we set up our organizations, how we create a culture within our staff and volunteers, the training we provide and the frequency of that training all play a huge role in the conversation of modern adoption. 

Change the culture. Change the hearts. Change the conversations.

Adoption is a heart issue and an issue of understanding. That is why it is vital to the integrity of the pro-life movement to have current, ethical and modern adoption education for the team working in your organization. That is why it’s vital to have more than an agency come in once a year to train for two hours (or less!) to meet your adoption education requirements set by the state. 

If we want to see a culture of life within our nation, we have to get behind adoption as a valid life option. It starts with us, our own perceptions and understanding of adoption. It starts with our heart and our willingness to support those who chose adoption better. It starts by listening to those who have walked through an adoption journey, with various experiences and perspectives to learn from them.

Now I challenge you with this: How will the culture of adoption change in your organization?