Thursday, March 7, 2013

worth and value.

a friend sent me a link to this article the other day.  the story is of a surrogate mother who found out the baby she was carrying was going to have multiple medical needs, and the family she was carrying for wanted her to have an abortion.  she chose not to.  you'll have to read the whole thing to understand all of it.
for whatever reason, i made the huge mistake of reading some of the comments after the article.  if you chose not to do that, please DO NOT go back and read them now.  i'm pretty sure part of my heart got ripped from my chest.  the gist of most of the comments were that this surrogate mother was selfish and this child will spend her life suffering because of her.
i know that i stand on one side of a fence when it comes to life.  i believe in it.  all of it.  i believe it has value.  i believe every person has worth.  i'm also aware that there are people who believe that it should be an individuals choice.  and i think that was where a lot of the people who commented were.  however, i can't quite follow how they got from, 'it's an individuals choice' to 'she made the wrong choice.'  that seems more like you are still trying to make someone else make the same choice you would have-the very thing they are against.
and just to clear some things up, my belief in life came about before i became a christian.  my best friend had an abortion.  thirteen years later her heart still aches for that baby, and the choice she made.  this was the reason i chose to believe in life.  i have had too many conversations with her to believe that the idea of choice is one made without lifelong ramifications.
i also will put out there that my belief in life does not have me standing outside of abortion clinics picketing.  i'm not going to pro-life rallies.  i'm not condemning women who have made the heart wrenching choice to have an abortion.  i am adopting children, attempting to walk alongside single parents who made the choice of life, attempting to love and speak truth over women who hurt from their past choice, and trying to work on the social justice side.  because i think a belief in life having value, stands not just for the unborn, but also for the children who's parents need helping buying groceries,  the parents who need help paying rent to raise their child(ren), the person who is struggling with mental illness and does not have health insurance, or the means or access to the care needed to help them.  i believe all of life has value.
here in america we have a very small list of things we value.  intelligence.  beauty.  strength.  being the best.  making a lot of money/owning nice things.  if you are anything other than this, your assessment will come in as anywhere from less worthy to completely worthless.
i had a conversation with a mom the other day who's son had an assessment at school.  she was not surprised by what she found out; academics are not his greatest strength.  but she wanted to come to his defense immediately because all of the things he is great at were left out of that assessment.  sure, he may not be the next ceo of a company.  he may not be a doctor or lawyer.  but this boy lives life passionately.  his heart and compassion are unrivaled by other children his age.  he has been praying for shilo regularly for over a year now.  on his own.  but that doesn't fit into the list of things that are what gives a person worth.
i have great fear for my oldest daughter and what her future holds.  she is intelligent.  she is beautiful.  she gets told these things often.  and we try to make certain that is not what her identity is wrapped up in.  because she could end up with a brain tumor that takes away that intelligence.  and she could end up in dermal tumors, that while it doesn't take away her beauty, will make others redefine her, because she will no longer fit into the box of what we consider beauty.  even being adopted often makes others respond as if her worth is less.  this girl, she is super funny.  she has more energy than any other four year old i've ever met.  she loves to help take care of her sister.  her worth is more than any list i will ever be able to make.

and my little.  well, 92% of people who find out their carrying a child like her choose to abort.  most of the time they say things about the suffering the child would experience, and how hard their lives are.  as shilo's mama i can tell you that she has been through a lot medically.  but suffering is not a word i would use to describe her.  easy going, strong willed, funny, loving, and intelligent (even if it doesn't fit in the intelligent box that others would use) are the words that come to mind for her.  as she was lying in the hospital a year ago, with a tube down her throat, and multiple wires hooked to her, i still wouldn't have used the word suffering.  i would've said that she was a fighter.  multiple kids who have had less than her didn't make it.  and somehow, she is not only alive, but a thriving little girl who likes to drop her toys off of her high chair to see what you're going to do about it.

so what makes a person worthy of life?  who get to make that choice?  and, when, did we as a society, get to start deciding that another person is suffering? i know a lot of people who's lives don't make the list of 'valuable' above.  i have yet to meet a person who does not have worth.


  1. There is more than enough heartache to go around in the story of the surrogate. IMHO... she was choosing to be a surrogate for all the wrong reasons. She was doing it for money. She was using it for source of income to support her other children. Had she been doing it for the RIGHT reasons, she would have read that contract with a mothers eyes and realized she was not at peace with the abortion clause. She would have known this was not the right family for her. She would have passed and held out for a family who was pro-life and who's values were more in line with her own. But, she was poor and desperately needed the money. And that makes this dangerously close to human trafficking even before being ordered to do something against her beliefs. =/ I personally think there should be no payment made directly to surrogates - and this is just one example why.