Wading into the turbulent waters of social issues rarely accomplishes much for conservatives or liberals. Tell someone how you feel about abortion, and you're likely to get scorched by verbal napalm from one side or the other. Social issues are a topic I promised largely to avoid when I began writing opinion columns a few weeks ago.
But it's pretty hard to argue against the benefits of some of the alternatives to abortion — namely adoption — regardless of whether you call yourself pro-choice or pro-life.
About a year ago in April, I had the rare opportunity to witness one of these alternatives in a way closer than ever expected.
My wife and I met a young woman — girl, really — in Indianapolis who had just turned 18, was for all intents and purposes a single mom of a 1-year-old and was pregnant with a second child.
No doubt a host of irresponsible behavior led to the situation this girl and the 17-year-old, soon-to-be birth father now faced. But it was what they decided to do after making some poor choices that resonates in a very powerful way.
Realizing that neither her personal life nor finances were ready for another child, the girl made a very adult decision, contacting a prominent Indianapolis-based adoption law firm. The young folks were shown a list of profiles and narratives prepared by several adult couples, most of whom were having trouble having children of their own for whatever reason.
The expectant birth mother also learned state law allows for a certain threshold of financial help for medical and living expenses during pregnancy — paid by a potential adoptive family.
The young folks quickly picked out a profile of a would-be adoptive family — a couple from Crown Point that already had twin 9-year-old boys but was unable to conceive a third child they so desperately wanted. Photos of the would-be adoptive family's sons happily shooting down water slides, fishing in the backyard pond and enjoying other family time was a big seller.
A meeting between the birth mother and the possible adoptive parents ensued, and a legal match was made. A year ago today, the young birth mother held the hand of the adoptive mother she barely knew while giving birth to the most beautiful little girl you could possibly imagine.
Little Isabella, or Izzy as her dad is fond of calling her, is now doing quite well, living in a family with great love and hopefully boundless opportunity awaiting.
My wife and I owe a lot to the girl — young woman, really — who made the brave decision to carry this child and pursue adoption as an alternative. You see, Izzy is our daughter, and we can't imagine life without her. It's very personal.
But personal or not, it's a possible solution to a social issue I hope we all can embrace.