Saturday, October 16, 2010

"16 and Pregnant"


I'm looking forward to another season of "16 and Pregnant" on MTV. I seriously get so caught up emotionally in their stories! It's a reality show that I'm not watching for the drama, but just because it's interesting to watch the decision-making. They're so young and have so much life ahead of them... and here they are faced with such adult decisions. It's so tough. I feel for every one of them.

It's hard to judge someone in that situation and say "Well, they shouldn't have done this or that" when being a teenager is just so difficult nowadays. It's just going to get worse and worse for teens. Bad things happen. Mistakes happen. Guys don't always keep their promises or stick around to be fathers. Parents don't always react appropriately. And who knows what I would've done had I been in their shoes?

I know one thing - had I gotten pregnant as a teenager - is that I wouldn't have known much about adoption at all. It generally wasn't discussed as an option where I grew up. Abortion was there - that was the go-to option. So, if you didn't believe in abortion, you just had to man up (or woman up) and raise your baby... no matter if the father was around or was abusive or if you were in poverty. Adoption was like "giving your baby away" and people didn't do that. The feeling was that you had to face your own consequences and "take care of your own." I admit I had that misconception too (embarrassing as that is for me to say!). I didn't even know I felt that way until I moved to Utah and was exposed to many, many adoption stories. Then I started re-evaluating the idea and I realized adoption was such a beautiful thing! How had I not known this before??

It's like these are all the things people "know" about adoption: women who place their babies are trying to get out of their responsibility to take care of their own; adopted children grow up with serious emotional issues and will never fit in; and birth parents can't ever see their child again (or if they do, they'll try to steal them back). OMG, did our values come from psycho Lifetime movies or what? Many, many women who place their babies are doing it out of love. Much more than you'd think. They're in a situation where they know they can't provide for that child the way they'd want and they make a choice. Adopted children normally don't have any more or less emotional problems than biological children. And open adoptions are available to birth parents who want to stay in contact with the child. There's so many myths and misconceptions and horror stories out there that I guess it's no wonder adoption hasn't always been looked on favorably.

I'm glad that adoption is becoming much more recognized and promoted and acceptable as a choice. The movie "Juno" did a good job of making it a little more mainstream of an idea, although it was a really weird portrayal of it and had some pretty far-fetched twists in the story. Lol. And the awesome, awesome, awesome episode of "16 and Pregnant" with Catelynn and Tyler that just had me bawling. I hope more people start recognizing that adoption is an option, because I sure didn't know anything about it and I know there are many young girls out there who don't know much about it either. That's sad! Adoption isn't the choice for every young girl who gets pregnant of course, but for some it would be the best choice for the child... More girls should be aware of that.

Now that I'm on the other side of the story and I'm hoping to adopt, I ache for these girls on "16 and Pregnant"! I twinge with a little bit of guilt that I may end up becoming a mother because of the hard choice someone else will make about their difficult circumstances. Someone else who may very well be just like these girls. It's like we're supposed to make lemonade out of lemons, right? Or quilts out of scraps or whatever? But I feel guilty hoping and praying for the lemons... if that makes sense. I'll be benefiting from someone else's heart-wrenching choice. *sniff* I feel like crying just typing that! But I do realize that this is what life is about - we all face hardships (infertility for me, teen pregnancy for someone else), but our merciful God always makes a way for people to help ease each other's burdens (adoption)... and to me that makes a world of sense.

Anyways, I feel a really close connection to these girls. If I were ever judgmental in the past, I'm sure not anymore. And shame on me for ever thinking differently! Ha ha. I'll be watching this season with a handful of tissue...LOL!

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