A woman who grew up in foster care explains why the 'adoption not abortion' argument doesn't fly.
People who want abortion legally banned frequently argue for adoption as the alternative. But it's not that simple.
Anti-abortion advocates often tout adoption as the natural alternative to abortion, the idea being that those who are pregnant but don't want a baby don't have to keep it. They can go through pregnancy, deliver the baby, and then place the baby into the adoption system.
But there are multiple reasons why adoption isn't the answer to the abortion question. For one, pregnancy and childbirth are major physical and emotional experiences with real medical risks and consequences. Abortion often is, too, but let's not pretend that pregnancy, childbirth, and adoption is a simple alternative—especially when adoption itself is fraught with many of its own complexities and potential for real harm.
It would be nice if it were as simple as delivering a baby into the loving arms of adoptive parents, but it's not. Trauma lies at the heart of many adoption stories—trauma for birth parents as well as the children placed into a system that is overburdened and broken in too many ways.
Olivia Paige grew up in the adoption system, seeing first hand how many kids are failed by it.
As someone who grew up living in multiple foster homes, Olivia Paige took to Facebook to share some insights about the adoption system with everyone who says "Adoption is always an option.":
"Let me start off by reminding you of the 390,000+ children and teens in foster care, 100,000+ of which are waiting to be adopted," she wrote. "Around 50,000 are placed up for adoption each year—these abortion bans are sure to make those numbers grow so let me share some statistics with you.
20% of teens who age out of foster care become instantly homeless, with no support system in place. There is less than a 3% chance that any of these kids will obtain any sort of degree. 25% suffer from PTSD. 1 out of every 2 kids will develop substance abuse problems. Adopted children make up only 2% of children under 18.
What about the rest of them? I'll share what it was like for me, one of the lucky ones. Someone who by no means had it easy, but had just enough love and support to make it out alright."
"The photo attached is an actual flyer that was handed out to prospective adoptive homes for several years through my teens," Paige continued. "I was never adopted. I spent a decade in foster care, bouncing between 'homes' with strangers in places I'd never known before. With no warning, a social worker would show up and tell me I'd have to pack my things (the very few I had) and leave whatever strange place I'd kept myself from getting too comfortable in at the drop of a hat. I had no say in the matter. New school, new unwanted life - overnight. There was never any telling what the next place would be like."
Paige, now 22, said that she lived in a few good places, but that she was physically and sexually abused in two separate foster homes. She'd moved dozens of times by age 18.
"I was hospitalized at 11 years old," she wrote, "due to malnutrition and a swift blow to the head, then lied to the police because I was afraid of what would happen to me if I told the truth about how I got there or why I was covered head to toe in bruises. I learned that speaking up only creates more problems. So I kept my mouth shut.
I watched a foster parent take in 5 special needs children, and a few months later add a deck, new sunroom and hot tub to her house with money from the state. She later lost her license when it as apparent that she was neglecting these children. I've seen these situations over and over, I've also lived them. I spent ten years feeling unworthy of love, unwanted and waiting for the next bad thing to happen to me. This is just the beginning of it all."
Paige emancipated out of the system at 16 and is doing well, but thousands kids in the adoption system are not so lucky.
Paige made it through the system, but the scars of her experiences still linger. Thankfully, she's found a healthy way to cope and express herself through creative photography and self-portraiture.But Paige knows there are tens of thousands of kids who won't be so lucky, which is why she feels so strongly against people using adoption as a "solution" to abortion.
Paige says she took the portrait on the left just after she was emancipated and still felt unseen. "I still felt like I was unable to see the light," she told Upworthy. "It's a very binary image—much like my view of what life was like. It was either good, or bad with no gray areas."i.upworthy.com"Do you know what it's like to log onto the adoptuskids.org website and see your name and face, year after year?" she wrote. "Knowing that nobody is in your corner. That you have no place to go. Well, I'm glad you don't and you never have to. But those kids you were so adamant about before they were born? A large number of them will.
Are these those 'rights' you were talking about? A life is not saved just by letting it be born.
Not being able to leave your foster home unless escorted by social worker or foster parent? To be unable to live a normal life? To be fully unprepared for adulthood with no safety net or support?
This isn't just *my* reality. This is the reality of hundreds of thousands of children who still face this every day, and the many more who you are signing up for this. A potential lifetime of loneliness, fear, neglect, worry and heartbreak. I dare you to say 'adoption is always an option' to any of the several tens of thousands who have been waiting patiently for years for someone to come along and give them the chance to define the word 'family'."
Some commenters asked kids like Paige if they would prefer to have never born. Their answers might surprise you.
Other people who struggled in the adoption system commented on Paige's post, and a couple of people had the audacity to ask if they'd rather have been aborted.
One person answered that there were times when yes, they'd have preferred that. Another answered that she can't speak for anyone else, but yes, she "sure as hell" would prefer that. Some pointed out that they would never have known, hence it's a dumb question. Paige herself responded, "Yes, I think that a lump of cells being aborted is better than the millions who will be born into a life like this. Absolutely." She said she doesn't wish she were dead, but also reiterated that that wasn't at all the point of her post.
"Forcing mothers to give birth under the guise of some false promise of adoption is wrong, for every party involved," Paige concluded in her post. "Nobody is forcing you to have an abortion, stop making decisions for others and stay out of other people's uteruses. This is the message I am trying to send by sharing my story.
I'll say it again, I'm one of the lucky ones. I'm not sharing this because I want sympathy. I don't need it. But those kids? They do. Their voices are unheard. And soon there will be more out there that your "hopes and prayers" will do nothing for—so please, take action now. Kids should be in homes with families that truly love them. If you're so adamant about kids being born—go through the process and adopt some yourself."
Paige said that if people want to help kids like her, they can join Big Brothers Big Sisters and look into fostering and adopting.
Let's take care of the kids who are here and need parents before pushing more kids to an already overburdened system through restrictive abortion laws.
- Yes, Ted Cruz, pregnancy can be a life-threatening condition. Especially in America. - Upworthy ›
- Just a reminder that the majority opinion in Roe v. Wade was written by a lifelong Republican - Upworthy ›
- 'It's never too late': 19-year-old who aged out of foster care adopted by her caseworker - Upworthy ›
- 'That's My Mama': Daughter finds birth mother who starred on her aptly-named favorite TV show ›
- The new digital program that's revolutionizing the adoption of teens from the foster care system - Upworthy ›
- Boy gives sister his Make-A-Wish after she saved his life - Upworthy ›
- 9 things to know about kids in foster care. Plus an unforgettable view into their lives. - Upworthy ›
- California says it will pass a constitutional amendment protecting abortion rights - Upworthy ›
- Overturning Roe v. Wade would activate 'trigger laws,' that keep struggling families in poverty - Upworthy ›
- Citing the First Amendment, synagogue sues Florida over abortion law - Upworthy ›
- Harvard negotiator teaches you how to argue more effectively - Upworthy ›
- Things people say when they lose an argument - Upworthy ›
- Things people say when they lose an argument - Upworthy ›
- Retired engineer lives on an old jetliner - Upworthy ›
- Florida Firefighter adopts baby found in Safe Haven Baby Box - Upworthy ›
- What it was like to be in a roundtable with the VP - Upworthy ›
- Principal adopts student after she was suspended - Upworthy ›
- Latinx mom tackling mental health taboos thanks to grad school - Upworthy ›