December 7, 2012

Faith, Hope and Charity / David Siler

Adoption: A choice we can all live with

David SilerI can only slightly imagine what St. Joseph must have gone through when Mary told him about her being pregnant.

I can hear him asking, “OK, let me see if I’ve got this straight …” He must have struggled immensely since we know from St. Matthew’s Gospel that God sent an angel to Joseph to help him to believe that Mary’s pregnancy was a work of the Holy Spirit and to take Mary as his wife.

Regardless of all of the circumstances surrounding Joseph’s coming to accept and then embrace Mary’s pregnancy, he would later become the adoptive father of Jesus.

Although not his own biological son, Joseph would create a two-parent family for Jesus where he could thrive and grow. We don’t often think about Jesus as an adopted child since most of his life that we know about was Jesus as an adult.

Another “adoption” that we read about in Scripture is our own when St. Paul tells us in his Letter to the Ephesians that “in love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ” (Eph 1:4-5). The “us” that Paul describes here are those of us who are followers of Christ.

Adoption has a strong and rich history. However, it has lost favor in our American culture.

For instance, in the United States today, among all unmarried women who carry their child to term, less than 1 percent choose to place their child for adoption. This is compared to a rate of 9 percent prior to 1973.

Today, when unmarried women become pregnant the choice almost always comes down to abortion or single parenting.

Although I am always in favor of the latter choice that means life for the child, it cannot be true that 99 percent of the time single-parenting is the better option for the child. I realize that some of the time the biological parents are later married, but this remains rare.

The choice to place a child for adoption is by no means easy. In fact, it is incredibly painful and beyond courageous.

However, it can be very empowering to be in the position to actually choose the parents to raise your child. Although not required, today most parents who place their child for adoption choose who will be their child’s parents, and many choose to maintain some level of contact with the adoptive family.

When the pro-abortion crowd talks about “choice,” we can throw out a whole slew of choices. There are just as many of us who believe that parents should be encouraged and supported to make choices that empower them, and allow the child the chance to become one of these “adopted” sons or daughters of God.

I encourage you all to become advocates for adoption. Almost all of us, at one time or another, are aware of a young woman who becomes pregnant in less than ideal circumstances.

You can show that you care about her and her child by referring her to one of our Catholic Charities pregnancy and adoption agencies so that she can explore her choices at and

Remember, adoption is a choice that we can all live with.

(David Siler is the executive director of the archdiocesan Secretariat for Catholic Charities and Family Ministries. E-mail him at

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