An anti-nuclear epidemic

June 19, 2008 at 10:52 am (Random thoughts)

A terrifying epidemic has swept over a small Massachusetts high school.

“We see this has a serious public health urgency,” said Dr. Lauren Smith, medical director for the state Department of Public Health. “We stand ready to support the Gloucester community to develop an appropriate . . . response to what is clearly a significant problem in their community.”

And to make matters worse it appears as though the school is doing nothing to try to stop it…

“It is very clear that the board is not in favor, and will not support, contraception in the school,” Dr. Orr told the Boston Globe. “There is an epidemic at the school.”

What horrifying sexually transmitted disease is destroying this quaint little fishing town?

Syphilis?
Gonorrhea?
Herpes?
AIDS?
Maybe it’s a new incurable disease?

If you guessed pregnancy give yourself a gold star.

Teenage pregnancy.

A topic that scares the begeezes out of people.

But does it really fit into the category of “epidemic”?
While it’s true that the word may be an appropriate description of something widespread the most common understanding of the word “epidemic” is in relation to contagious disease that spreads rapidly and widely.

Does that sound like pregnancy to you?

What has caused this outbreak?

A lack of access to birth control? Some are using this story as a rallying cry for more readily available birth control.

A lack of education? Others are using it to critique the recent “Glamorization of young unwed mothers” in movies.

Or is it simply good old fashioned peer pressure? A pact made by young girls who think that babies are cool.

(I think the primary cause of pregnancy is sex but I couldn’t find any links that proved that argument so I digress.)

As a youth pastor this is a topic that concerns me very much. There are few phone calls I dread as much as the, “Pastor Daniel, our daughter is pregnant” phone call.

But why is that? What is it we are so afraid of when it comes to teenage pregnancy?

The girls are too young?

Too immature?

Not qualified?

Incapable of raising a child?

Dr Lauren Smith even goes so far as to blame the “health risks” involved with teenage pregnancy…

“There are far more health risks to adolescent pregnancy than there is taking birth control,” Smith said. “Pregnancy among young girls is not something that doesn’t have its own consequences.”

While all these things may be true, naivety towards responsibility sounds kind of trite when compared to an agonizing and accelerated death, (as in the normal association of the word epidemic).

I think that teenage pregnancy is the result of a larger problem that our country faces. That being the de-emphasis of the nuclear family.

That which ought to be praised and esteemed as the ideal of American existence is instead ignored at best and mocked at worst.

In case you don’t know what I mean by “nuclear family” I direct your attention to wikipedia.

The term nuclear family developed in the western world to distinguish the family group consisting of parents, most commonly a father and mother, and their children, from what is known as an extended family. Nuclear families can be any size, as long as the family can support itself and there are only parents and children (or the family is an extended family.)

(I’m assuming that the “most commonly” part was added due to the advancement of the radical homosexual agenda so feel free to replace “most commonly” with “always”.)

Since the American dream is described so beautifully in the Declaration of Independence as, “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” shouldn’t we, as a society, aspire to promote within our education system the lifestyle that makes people the healthiest, wealthiest and ultimately the happiest?

Brace yourself, because that just so happens to be the nuclear family.

This Pew research poll finds lots of correlations to happiness (without presuming that one causes the other). Among them are…

good health

education

income

political affiliation

religious practices

and of course marriage and family.

The fact is that the rich, healthy, republican, church going, married with children family is the happiest group in the country (which happens to rank as the 23rd happiest country in the world according to this study). And yet the nuclear family is only the third most common household arrangement in the country. Imagine what might happen if we actually promoted marriage and family?

And all this brings me back to the point of this entry. In order to avoid getting the dreaded phone call that dozens of Massachusetts youth pastors have gotten this past year I want to make sure that in my life and in my teaching I emphasize the value of the nuclear family.

Let’s face it, teenage pregnancy is so scary because we know how much it hinders the opportunity to achieve happiness. It’s nearly impossible to have a strong marriage, good education and decent income when a girl has a child before getting married.

And that’s the great irony of it all because it is the want for happiness that gets them pregnant to begin with. The want to be loved, valued, appreciated, admired, cared for. We all want these things, but we foolishly pursue them on a temporary basis when all of those things can be experienced in a much fuller, more genuine and long-term sense if we would just be patient.

I hope that you are both challenged and encouraged by this post.

If you’re unmarried look at the good, strong marriages around you and seek the things you can emulate.

If you’re married, embrace your spouse and children as a tremendous blessing and source of happiness.

If you’re a child living at home, honor your parents and be grateful for them.

No matter what your living situation is, you can certainly find a way to honor and promote the nuclear family. After all it is the only true cure for this terrible epidemic we are facing.

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21 Comments

  1. danielbalc said,

    While I said…

    It’s nearly impossible to have a strong marriage, good education and decent income when a girl has a child before getting married.

    I should balance this with the large number of people I know personally who have managed to accomplish these things in that situation.

    In one of the articles someone blames the success of the school’s assistance with teenage moms as the root of the problem. (The school offers child care while the mother is in school).

    A similar argument could in fact be made in many church settings… Girls see how the church can rally around to support and assist a teenage mother and figure the same will be done for them.

    It’s kind of a catch-22 when you think about it. You certainly don’t want it to appear to be an acceptable practice, but you still want the young mother and child to have a good life.

    I know several of my readers who have been through this. What do you think is the best reaction for a society, school, church, family or individual to such a situation?

    One thing that really disturbs me is how negatively they speak of caring for the infants or the infants themselves. The child AND the care of the child ought to be spoken of highly. Yes we should be realistic rather than idealistic (raising children is difficult) but opinions such as this from psychotherapist Linda Perlman Gordon of Chevy Chase, Md…

    “Having to be a selfless parent is totally contradictory to the development of a teenager,”

    and this from Demie Kurz, a sociologist who co-directs the University of Pennsylvania’s women’s studies program

    “There should be a responsibility to portray a young person who makes a reasonable choice to have an abortion, or take the morning-after pill,”

    Just promote a devaluing a human life and a suppression of natural human instincts, especially the maternal instinct.

    I’m really interested to see how the new NBC reality show “Baby Borrowers” depicts this subject…http://www.nbc.com/The_Baby_Borrowers/

  2. Aunt Beth said,

    Daniel,

    I read your post after reading the story in my paper this a.m. You did a great job presenting the issues surrounding unwed motherhood. I think unwed motherhood is a different concept from teen pregnancy and the lines distinguishing the two have been blurred by society. Historically, there have been many teen mothers who were married, committed, had strong family values, and weren’t part of the “epidemic.” However, American culture currently expects immaturity in teens (male & female) and the age where responsibility is expected has been retarded to sometime after college. Unwed older mothers aren’t stigmatized at all. They are seen as responsible, able to handle it, and making a lifestyle choice. Yet we know empirically (through God’s word), through research, surveys, and anectdotally, that kids fare better with fathers and mothers (and grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc…)..

    My experience as a teenager included witnessing four of my friends face “crisis” pregnancies. Three were “churchgoers,” and one was completely unchurched. All three who were raised in Christian homes kept their babies. The unchurched girl gave hers up for adoption.

    Twenty-five years after witnessing these events, I hold a deeper admiration for the girl who had the baby, recognized the complexity of the situation, and made a choice that left her with deep emotional pain and gave her child the opportunity for a nuclear family life. Ironically, it was the lack of a support network that contributed to her decision to be this unselfish.

    As an adult I’ve seen several couples who married while the girl was in her teens and a few who have had children while the girl was still 18 or 19. Three of these cases stick in my mind. One unsaved couple found out they were pregnant with twins and, sadly, chose to abort them because they wanted to finish college before becoming parents. Two other couples (one saved and one unsaved) were ecstatic at the news of their pregnancies and in both cases, they appear far more mature than unmarried, non parenting “kids” their age.

    Like you, I’ve witnessed the success stories of teens and single moms that raise fine children with lots of family support ,and I’m sure some of them have done a better job than certain nuclear families. But I’ve also seen several kids grow up without a nuclear family and they have a lot of baggage, pain, and rejection issues. It’s also not a coincidence that prisons are filled with fatherless men.

    Again, this is a great post Daniel. BTW – Baby Borrowers looks absolutely reprehensible to me. The thought of turning over children for this social/educational/entertainment experiment is horrific. Give them those dolls or dogs or even pigeons.

  3. danielbalc said,

    That is brilliant commentary Aunt Beth.

    I especially like this comment…
    American culture currently expects immaturity in teens (male & female) and the age where responsibility is expected has been retarded to sometime after college.

    It’s so true. What ever happened to trying to raise children to be as responsible as possible? But it goes further than just expected irresponsibility in children to expected irresponsibility in men. This is the greatest catastrophe in our culture. Men are actually expected to be less responsible and more childish than women. Huh?

    I also like that you brought up the fact that we praise single moms provided they’ve graduated college. How backwards is that?

    As for Baby Borrowers being reprehensible, I don’t know about that. The actual parents are there the whole time watching and are permitted to jump in at any time, which is a good safe guard. That being said I don’t think I’d volunteer my child for the “experiment”. And yet I’m interested in the premise, like I was interested in the premise of the “kid town” show (which I watched one episode of). So even though the concept is interesting to me I doubt I’ll watch the show.

  4. Aunt Beth said,

    I watched Kid Nation and while I was entertained I felt like it was putting kids into emotionally charged situations without the support and guidance of parents to help them each day. I would never let my child (no matter how capable) be in that situation. Of course, when I say child I’m referring to a pre-teen or young teen. I could see some 16 year olds handling it for a time and I would probably sign up some 17 and 18 year olds.

    While watching Kid Nation I thought that the one child who stood out as having the most emotional stability was the openly Christian boy. I can’t remember his name, but I felt like it was obvious that he had someone to turn to for support. Other kids were tested to the breaking point (and sometimes past it) and the peer pressure to stay was intense.

    As for Baby Borrowers, I’ll probably tune in also. I read the review that gave all of the “this is the safest place on earth for any child” and “the parents will have the ability to intervene at any point.” But really, does perfectly safe situations without intensity of any kind make good television? No way. The reality market is built upon intense interactions and altercations. Is this the place for a child? Not for my child.

  5. itsasecret2u said,

    Whenever this “epidemic” is examined, there always seem to be at least a few people who take the “If only birth control were more readily available to teenagers” stance. Two officials have even resigned over the fact that the school board is not willing to make contraception available at the school in this case. Am I missing something here? Isn’t “birth control” available at every major drug store and most grocery stores?

    As far as what parents, the church, the community, etc. should do about unwed and/or teenaged mother… well, that’s tricky. Like you said, Daniel, you don’t want to appear in support of such things to the point of condoning it. On the other hand, you don’t want to be ostracizing these young women (and men), especially when there is true repentance there.

    One thing I see over and over in teen parent situations (as well as unwed mother situations) is the (grand)parents stepping in and bailing them out. How often do you see Grandma raising these little babies? This just continues to allow the young mom to avoid responsibility. The idea that teenagers are not selfless or mature enough to raise children has some validity to it… but that is a cultural problem, not a physiological one. If parents refuse to enable selfish behavior, their children will be forced to grow up.

    One of the most valuable experiences of my young adult life was the first six months of my oldest son’s life. I was 18, very newly married, and had no help. All grandparents involved in the situation were still working, my sister was busy in college, and all my friends were still graduating high school and going away to school. I had lots of emotional support because my family and my husband’s family are great that way, but I think I had a total of one day of help from my mom, who took a vacation day when my son was about two weeks. Beyond that, it was me and Shane alone all day until my husband got home. I had never held a baby before I held my own. He was colicky, didn’t want to nurse, and had health problems. It was the hardest (and possibly most depressing) time of my life – but also the most important. I was abruptly forced out of the teenager “me-mode.” Teenagers WILL grow up – but only if they have to.

    I made a million parenting mistakes in those days (I only make thousands now). I’d probably be horrified if I could look back on those days with the experience that I have now. But it was what it was. My son survived; my marriage survived. 8 years later we are still dealing with the consequences for the path we chose (or rather stumbled upon). It’s hard to support a family around here without a college education and with only one income. But God has been gracious and I never regret the decision to keep my baby and marry his dad.

    Just a note on dealing with this in the church… I have no idea what the “right” answer is there, but my experience was something like this: I was 17 and my then-boyfriend 19 when we found out we were pregnant. We told his parents first. They were totally freaked, of course, but supportive. Then my mother-in-law told us that she was pretty sure we’d have to get up in front of the church (they had attended this church for 11 years, me for only a few months) and announce that I was pregnant. I was so horrified at this idea that I decided if that were the case, I’d just stop going to church. Why didn’t anyone else have to stand up on Sunday morning and confess their sins?? However, our youth pastor had other ideas. He didn’t make us do that, but he did think we should be there while he announced it to “Ministry Training,’ which was a team of the “core” high school and college students at the church. So we did and it was horribly embarrassing. But it did at least squash all the rumors and some of the gossiping.

    Our youth pastor then had a meeting with all the involved grandparents (there are three sets) and us. He suggested that we do a shortened version of our premarital counseling, which at that church was typically 6-9 months long and I was already 2 months pregnant. I wanted to get married before the baby was born and preferably not when I was nine months pregnant. He also suggested that we NOT live with my parents right away. He said that he felt like we needed to establish ourselves as our own family, but I suspect he also knew we’d have to grow up and be a lot more responsible without our parents paying our bills and helping with the baby. We did end up moving back in around our second anniversary so my husband could go back to school, but by that time we had been raising our son for a year and a half and had an appreciation for what it meant to be adults.

    We definitely were somewhat ostracized at the church – never much by the pastors, but more so by our peers and the adults in the congregation. I think people didn’t know what to do with us. We had the only baby at the church and that in and of itself was isolating – especially because we had the “sin baby.” I think in our case this was a bad thing, since we were already repentant, mortified, and barely wanted to show our faces as it was. But I often see the opposite problem, where a young lady ends up pregnant with potential father #32 and the church tries to rally around her, despite her “so what” attitude, grandma largely raises the baby, and the young mommy never grows up and takes responsibility. I don’t know where the proper balance is here. But this is already overly-long and my three little “contagious diseases” need some attention. 🙂

  6. danielbalc said,

    Wow secret, making up for the lack of commenting in just one entry?

    Actually I really appreciate your comment and that you would share your experience with us. It’s especially beneficial (I think) for church-goers to hear it from someone like yourself who has managed to have a successful life and strong family, and what the church may have done to help in that.

    In dealing with the balancing act let me ask this…
    If you had seen a couple go before you who faced the type of ostracism that you faced do you think you might have approached your relationship differently and perhaps NOT gotten pregnant? From what i can tell that seems to be the mindset of many churches. Shame the kids into not having sex. What do you think?

  7. danielbalc said,

    So I actually made it a point to sit down and watch the Baby Borrowers last night. Here are some of the things I took away from it…

    #1 I like that they aren’t playing for anything. No money. No prizes. They are just doing it for the experience (and probably for the exposure as well but I’ll let that slide).

    #2 I do not envy there situation of being watched over perpetually. Not only by the myriad of Video cameras but also by a professional Nanny? It’s a couple with a baby… in a room with CC cameras that go directly to the actual parents… With a professional nanny in the room… and a camera man…. and possibly a boom mike operator… maybe a director, producer, makeup artist? who knows? It’s very difficult to have a sense of “reality” under that kind of circumstances, not only for the wannabe parents, but also for the infants (and later for the older kids).

    #3 I like that the couples allegedly have never lived together.

    #4 I can’t tell who I dislike more some of the couples or some of the parents… While the one girl who couldn’t receive instruction from the mom on feeding the child made me want to scream there was also a mom who insisted that her daughter not be left to cry herself to sleep. I also was really bothered by the one mom who explained why she was allowing her baby to be in this as something like… “I was a teenage mother and I had a lot of potential that I never got to employee because I had children instead and I want these young couples to learn from my mistakes.”

    I get so bothered \by mothers who think that their life was “wasted” because they had children instead of having a career. I think a life spent on a career is a bigger waste than a life spent building life.

    #5 The one who girl who wept, and refused to wear the pregnancy costume is an idiot. BUT her boyfriend is an even bigger idiot for wearing it for her. He even commented about how to deal with her emotional outbursts and how to make her happy… “I just need to lose some of my manhood and apologize.”

    Poor unfortunate soul. Girls, why would you ever want your man to have to sacrifice his manliness to appease your emotions? Why would you want your man to be less of a man? I felt very badly for this couple.

    #6 I really, really like that all of the people involved are nuclear! All the parents that volunteered their children are married husbands and wives. I was really worried about the single agenda or the homosexual agenda (that will probably come out in season 2). For the most part the show seems to be about traditional family dynamics. Something I am obviously a fan of. (I also like that all the couples can interact with each other. Community is also a vital part to raising children).

    I’m intrigued to see how they handle it when the one partner has to go to work and the other stay home with the child. That in and of itself is such a novel idea. Where do you think they came up with that?

  8. Aunt Beth said,

    I forgot about BB and didn’t watch it (or even DVR it). Instead, we watched the D-backs lose to the BoSox (I’m sure AZ had their minds on facing their number one fear in two weeks). I’ll have to set my DVR and catch it next time.

  9. itsasecret2u said,

    Re: 6

    It’s possible that if I had seen a couple dealing with the negative effects of having a baby out of wedlock, I’d have made different choices as a teenager. The problem for me was that I wasn’t raised in church. I had been going to church for only a couple of months. I started out on a really good track, wanting to turn my life around. But before I dated my husband, I dated another guy who was a lifelong Christian. I had a slightly traumatic experience with him where he told me why I was good enough to hook up with (deep stuff like he thought I was pretty), but not good enough to ever be his girlfriend (I had drank alcohol in the past, I had smoked, and my parents were divorced). This was so deeply frustrating and hurtful to me. I figured that since I had a “past” I was going to be forever branded and never be good enough for these church guys. I totally gave up at that point. I don’t mean to sound like I blame him. It was my choice.

    Anyway, my husband was different. He had been raised in church his whole life and had made largely responsible decisions before he met me. He may have even seen some of what happened to us before in his life. I don’t know. It could be one reason he was so mortified when it happened. He also had to deal with gossip on a whole different level than I did. He had always been a “good boy” and when I got pregnant, people began to talk about how he must have been “not good” all along. He had a steady girlfriend through high school and part of college for about 3 years, so everyone assumed (and discussed) what they imagined the particulars of that relationship were. In his case, it was totally unfounded and unfair, but what can you do? People talk I guess. His reputation was totally destroyed and that was more shameful to me than what others said about me. I didn’t have a great reputation to begin with. I was more mortified that I had managed to trash his as well. What a mess. But still a very valuable lesson.

    Mostly I felt like we deserved to be shunned a little. The only thing that bothered me (and still does, to be honest) is when people are so judgmental, yet they are committing the same sin. I have witnessed people who I know for a fact have had premarital sex judge a couple as being so sinful for getting pregnant out of wedlock. Why do people think the sin is worse if you produce a child? Isn’t it the same sin? It’s just those of us who accidentally made kids got caught. And I’m not saying that any of it is ok. It’s ALL not ok. But why do people feel so free to condemn when they are guilty of the same act?

    Re: 7

    About your #4, Daniel… This is kind of funny, but I had a friend in high school who, finding out that I was getting married, having a baby, and staying home with him instead of going to college and being a career woman, said to me, “What a shame. You were always the ‘smart one.’ You probably really could have done stuff with your life.” LOL In a way, I get what she was trying to say. Maybe I could have gone to a good school and had a successful career. But there is a pervasive feeling out there that if you stay home a raise a family rather than have a career, you’ve somehow missed some golden experience. I feel more challenged and fulfilled as a homeschooling mother (which is a lot of work, thank you very much), trying to raise my family in a way that pleases God as much as I can, than in any job I’ve ever had or ever could have. But hey, it’s not glamorous, so I guess it’s not something the world will ever value much.

  10. danielbalc said,

    “What a shame”

    indeed that’s how the world views stay at home mothers. Shameful.

    It makes me sick to my stomach that such a backwards and morally bankrupt mentality is so prevalent, especially within the church.

    It’s a shame that nannies are raising children.
    It’s a shame that a man is incapable of providing for his family individually. (not necessarily a shame on the man but a shame on our economic situation).
    It’s a shame that money matters more than mothering.
    It’s a shame that Mom’s are so selfish that they care more about how the world perceives them than how their husband and children perceive them.

    I know the reality of our economic situation and that most families need both couples to work in order to pay the bills. I know this firsthand. But how dare we assume that this is ideal. How dare we glamorize that which is less? It’s preposterous, but fitting in a society that glamorizes less-than all the time… hence the single mom, homosexual couple, and affluent playboy are esteemed while the nuclear family is depicted as comic relief.

  11. Athena said,

    I think it is great that more women are working

  12. itsasecret2u said,

    I don’t think women working is the issue. It’s when mothers work instead of raising their kids.

  13. Aunt Beth said,

    I am terribly behind the times in terms of current movies, but I’ve heard that two modern flicks have presented a positive portrayal of adoption as an option for crisis pregnancies. [In my view the second best option for teen pregnancies. The first being both biological parents committing to serve God, love each other, marry, and muddle through marriage and parenthood to the best of their abilities (while keeping God #1).]

    Let’s say that only one parent wants to serve God or the pregnant girl has good cause to terminate the relationship with the father. Do families and churches encourage adoption in these circumstances? Is single motherhood the best option for the baby – even with fantastic extended family support? Though we can all cite instances where it “worked out fine,” we can’t really say that it is the best option for the child. Once a course has been set, there is no way to compare it directly to the path that might have been taken. Should we base our advice upon anectdotal evidence?

    It seems like adoption is the exception as a choice. I’d love to see it happen more often – especially when…
    …the child will not have a mom and dad in a committed Christ, honoring relationship.
    …the mom will be pursuing an education or career in lieu of making child-rearing her number one priority (really, no one can’t have it all at once).
    …grandparents would otherwise take on the responsibility of the parents.

    Adoption is an unselfish decision that will undoubtedly bring pain to the family that loses the opportunity to be a part of a child’s life. It’s an option that puts the highest value on a nuclear family structure. It’s an option that doesn’t resonate with h.s. girls giving out high fives, planning baby showers, and picking out diaper bags. These children are thinking only of themselves and the “fun” they will have. For them, a baby is more like a toy, fashion accessory, or pet, than someone who deserves 100% of their commitment and sacrifice and a loving nuclear family.

  14. Laura said,

    Daniel, I appreciate that you put a lot of thought into your posts…
    I appreciate what Aunt Beth says in the above post about adoption, except for the line about grandparents thaking on the responsibility of raising the child…especially if the the extended family is willing and able to raise the child…Secret made a reference to grandparents, primarily grandmas, raising a child of the unwed mom, too…

    It seems that both respectfully thoughtful ladies are against an extended family member taking on that responsibility, in that it “enables” the young mother to remain selfish and immature. In and of itself, that is most likely true…it seems to be true in my own very personal situation. However, giving a child up for adoption is not necessarily a mature choice of the mother (it may be that she was pressured to do so by the father of the child or her parents), and may also allow her to remain irresponsible and immature! She doesn’t have the child any longer, so what is going to be the incentive for her to grow up?

    In our case, I thank God that my husband and I are the head of a nuclear family and that our granddaughter is being raised as part of our extended family – not shoved into the abusive environment of her father’s life or his apathetic family. Yes, my daughter needs to grow up. Yes, she is irresponsible and immature. But yes, she is starting to recognize these things and is making the steps to change her life and situation. That is a mark of her starting to grow up, is it not? Even though gaining maturity might take her longer than it did her older sister? Even though her younger sister is more mature than her by years?

    Even though it is hard for me as the mother/grandmother in this scenario, I have to trust God that He wants me to show love and support through this time, to continue to guide and share the responsibility of raising this sweet baby girl who is innocent of her conception and cannot raise herself.

    Situations like this should not be stereotyped or judged – every family and their life’s circumstances are individual. We need your prayers and support and understanding.

  15. itsasecret2u said,

    I can absolutely appreciate your position, Laura. I know my mom would have liked to have been there when my oldest was really little… she just couldn’t be. But I will say that the fact that she couldn’t be was the single greatest contributor to my growing up quickly and becoming a mother in practice, not just title.

    It might be worth saying, too, that my situation as a teen mother was a little different than some because my husband and I already had plans to be married. Our situation bumped it up several years, but we had already chosen each other (uh, hence the reason the baby was accidentally made in the first place). We didn’t get married “because of” the baby, So, while I still think that most times it is best if the parents get married and try to have a godly marriage and family, I recognize that this part was easier for me than for most. There was never a question that this was the man I would marry.

  16. Laura said,

    Secret, I am truly glad that your situation worked out because you were already planning to marry. I have a few other friends where the baby came before the marriage, but they were planning to get married – so I know that there can be a good outcome. You are blessed to have had the loving support of your husband and that in your circumstance you were able to “grow up” together.
    In my daughter’s situation, she had hoped (against hope) that the father of the baby was the one she would marry – unfortunately, she chose him while not serving the Lord, and he is a pseudo-Christian (by that, I mean he talks a talk, but no fruit of being a believer). As it turned out, he is an abuser, and thank God they are not together.
    I am grateful that I can be at-home for my granddaughter, like I was for my own children. It would have killed me to not know my granddaughter because she was given for adoption…my girl did consider it and prayed about it just didn’t feel that it was right for her to do.
    So…I trust God that He is doing something that I just can’t see yet, and keep trusting that good things will come in our situation in spite of the wrong-headedness and sinful choices that were made by her and the daddy. Already we do see some good things, the granddaughter being the greatest thing!

  17. danielbalc said,

    Hi Laura, thanks for joining the conversation.

    allow me to interact with your statements…

    It seems that both respectfully thoughtful ladies are against an extended family member taking on that responsibility

    This is a tricky situation especially given the state of adoption standards today. If there was some kind of guarantee that the family adopting the baby had all the ideal criteria in place (Christian, Married for 8 years, 4 bedroom/two bath house, dog named “rex”, steady income and a Hybrid mini-van) of course the best option for the child would be to be raised in that home rather than even by the biological grandparents.

    However given the adoption standards now a days your much more likely that the child you give up for adoption will end up with another unwed mother who will put the baby immediately into day care as she goes to her 9 to 5. Or your child could end up being raised by fundamentalist baptist family with 15 other children from 4 continents. You really have no idea.

    In most cases of unwed pregnancies the bio-grandparents are just the bio-grandma and it’s likely that the cycle of unwed mothers will continue into the next child.

    Yours is not that kind of case, and given the crap shoot of adoption perhaps yours was indeed the best route. But again if there was some type of guarantee of the child going to an absolutley perfect family situation don’t you suppose that might be the ideal for your granddaughter/daughter?

    Situations like this should not be stereotyped or judged – every family and their life’s circumstances are individual.

    Yes every circumstance is different, however we need to judge the situations and look at the stereotypes if we are going to determine general guidelines. It’s not that you or your daughter are being judged, it’s that your situation is being judged (weighed) by everyone who knows you to evaluate the best of scenarios. (I hadn’t thought of you or your situation when writing this post, however I did think of people like Secret, and Aunt Beth’s sister, probably because their stories are farther along then yours is and those progressed stories are the easiest for me to evaluate (judge).

    But like Aunt Beth says, we shouldn’t base our advice on anecdotal evidence. rather we should base our advice on the Word of God. Adoption is certainly at the heart of God, especially for the Church to be leading the way in it. But also within the church I believe the heart of God is for families to take care of their own.

    Therefore it is my judgment that within the church body we shouldn’t be sending kids out of the church in adoption. Outside of the church people should be sending the kids into the church for adoption.

    Thus I think in your situation laura, you are making the right decision, but I also agree with Secret that as much of the responsibility as possible needs to be put on your daughter to help her grow up.

  18. Aunt Beth said,

    Our church is full of adoptions – most from outside the body of Christ and a few from within. Most are not “foster system” adoptions. Some come from church sponsored “Don’t end your pregnancy, we will raise your child” billboards. Others come from referrals and a few come from a program that we launched where we take in children from pregnant inmates. This is the background that forms my paradigm.

    My concerns with having the the parent take on the child rearing responsibility has more to do with the greatest well-being of the child. Children who are raised by a single parent sometimes start off with several strikes against them. They may be missing one parent (the father), one set of involved grandparents (the father’s parents), and to see their relationship with their maternal grandparents distorted makes life even harder for the child.

    Of course, many children grow up without grandparents. I didn’t know my paternal grandparents at all. However, I was adored by my maternal grandparents (even though I was just 1 of 22 grandchildren). Growing up, I was so jealous of kids who lived near their grandparents and got to see them more often. The time I spent with my grandparents and the letters and mementos they gave me are some of my greatest treasures. They doted on me, adored me, never judged me, and inspired me. It saddens me to see other children miss out on that special relationship.

    I certainly didn’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings, and Laura, I apologize for causing you any pain.

  19. Aunt Beth said,

    oops – it should say

    My concerns with NOT having the the parent take on the child rearing responsibility has more to do with the greatest well-being of the child.

    sorry

  20. Aunt Beth said,

    I watched a replay of BB and then saw this week’s episode. Here’s my take.
    I won’t let it slide that they’re just playing for the “exposure.” Explore realitywanted.com and you’ll see that this is big business. I would guess that several of these participants are hoping to land their “personalities” on other lucrative reality shows. The producers of the show have selected at least one STRONG personality for the audience to love to hate. (It’s hard to believe that this contestant has an unadulterated motivation to learn and gain experience even though she repeatedly delivers that line with conviction.)

    It’s way too easy to not like the participants. I really couldn’t stand the BB’s who shed their negative feelings toward the parents like a bad rhinovirus. I can’t imagine letting someone with such hostility toward me have anything to do with my child. YUCK! (oops, I almost forgot about the USMC).

    I hate the “no big deal” attitude toward experimentation with relationships and cohabitation. It’s merely a learning experience. The producers have loaded up the couple with brand new baby accessories, a beautiful home, late model vehicle, and extra resources (nanny support, reading material, mommy & me baby gym class) – more than young parents could realistically afford. And yet, the meltdown begins BEFORE the baby arrives. I would love for someone to connect the dots and hear the message. “It’s not TV, it’s cohabitation control.” But that wouldn’t fly with Hollywood, so the message that they choose to reinforce is embedded in the tag line, “It’s not TV, it’s birth control” accompanied by clips of teens who are exasperated and frustrated by children. (Don’t have unprotected sex, you will end up with little monsters who make you angry and frustrated.)

    The bright spot that I saw was Wiley. He was incredibly relational as he encouraged his child’s BB’s to relax and enjoy Miley and thus, exude less anxiety. His focus was so positive that I felt encouraged by him as well.

    It’s not enough that kids have become an ad market niche fueling consumerism. Nor can pop culture be satisfied with the glut of sit-com smarty pants depictions or the sensualization of tweens and teens. Hollywood has discovered a new low and another creative way to exploit kids. Children are a precious gift and a heritage from the Lord; they are not an object lesson or a teaching tool.

  21. Laura said,

    Hi, Beth,
    No offense was taken, and your comments were not painful to me – but thank you.
    I appreciate your insight and thoughts. I appreciate your concern for the well-being of the child. I am concerned for the well-being of my granddaughter, the least not being that my daughter, in spite of all the good effort in prayer, support and guidance, will still one day marry a guy who is a loser and not good for her or the baby! Indeed, my daughter has a tangled web of a life right now, but our trust is in God…

    Daniel, yes – if there was some sort of guarantee that a perfect family could have taken our granddaughter…but wait a minute, there is no perfect situation. The circumstances of our family are not perfect, as you know, there is no such thing! But I understand what you are saying and certainly if there was a “perfect” scenario for adoption it would make things a lot easier for the people giving up their kids for adoption.

    I knew you would not have our situation in mind, since you are probably only vaguely aware of it. But you have a lot of good things to say on this topic, in any case.

    Thank you for your support – I believe we have done the right thing, and continue to pray for wisdom so as to continue in right-doing. And believe me, we are doing as much as possible to bring our daughter into the larger portion of responsibility, with the grand hope and belief that sooner than later she will be a fully-functional parent in her own right, fully committed to the well-being and Godly upbringing of her little girl (who by the way, is the light of our lives and the biggest joy to come in our life in a long while!).

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