With October being Respect Life Month there have been plenty of opportunities to reflect on this topic. As a father of 7 it would seem obvious that I am pro-life, but that wasn't always the case. Of course when someone finds out how many kids I have I get the standard “you must be Catholic” or “you know how that happens right?” or some other comment that drives me crazy. Why must I be Catholic to have a big family? The fact is that we were expecting our 4th child before we went through RCIA, so technically we had a big family before fully joining the Church. But even after having children I still cannot say I was pro-life. I remember having a very serious conversation with my wife between child 3 and 4 about getting a vasectomy at 26. We “knew” that we were done having kids after a miscarriage left a bad scar on our marriage. Thankfully, my procrastination meant that I never got around to making that appointment. Now, 4 children later, we still seem to have the conversation about being done having kids quite often but permanent prevention is absolutely never an option. If I have learned anything, its that how I feel today does not mean that I will feel that way in the future. Life will always give you plenty of opportunities to regret permanent decisions. I've talked to too many men, especially in our own parish, that have horrible regrets after getting sterilized earlier in their lives. Fr. Joah put it best in one of his homilies, “being Catholic does not mean having a dozen kids, it means always being open to life and not putting up any barriers to prevent life.” We as responsible adults are expected to make decisions based on our situation in life and whether we have the resources to raise more children. The Church doesn't tell us to carelessly have as many children as we can. We need to be able to provide for those children both financially and emotionally. There are ways to manage family size without forcing barriers into our bodies. Don't live your life with regrets, nobody ever regrets another child but they will always regret not having the option to have one more child.
Now let me jump to another, very important side of this issue. For those of you blessed with biological children ask yourself this question: Would you be the same parent if your children were adopted? That's a hard question for me to think about because as much as I want to say yes I honestly don't know. We have been fortunate that we have never had issues conceiving. I've heard so many heartbreaking stories from men in this community on the struggles of not being able to conceive or bring a pregnancy to full term. These men and women put everything on the line for that opportunity to be a parent. Its not until many years pass, lots of tears are shed, and outrageous expenses incurred that many of them finally decide to adopt. That is if their marriage is still intact after everything they went through. It's at this point they are faced with yet another daunting challenge in their journey to become parents: more time, more money, and more tears.
After all this they finally get to become parents. These are people that made sacrifices most couldn't, just to put all that love into raising a child. How can we deny them that opportunity by not being pro-life? If these young women only knew what these people go through for the opportunity to adopt their child and the wonderful life they will provide them I think we would see a change of heart. This is why its so important for us to support pro-life women's centers like Cornerstone. Places that can get the right information and support to these women. Never forget these unsung heroes because they are the critical piece of this respect life war we are fighting and they don't get the appreciation they deserve. Go out and thank an adoptive parent for being the ultimate example of how precious life is and the love that is out there just waiting to embrace these children.