The debate about human life has been in the news and at the Supreme Court level a lot lately. Here at Catholic Charities, all life, and the dignity inherent in every life is very important to us. Dignity is a core value listed in the Social Work Code of Ethics stating that social workers will respect the inherent dignity and worth of a person. As people of faith, we affirm that all humanity is made in the image of God and therefore worth dignity. From the homeless individual on the street, veterans coming home with mental health struggles, those on the verge of losing their homes, and women who are trying to raise their families in poverty: each one is due value and has worth, and we are here to serve and lift them to that level.
You will find this value deeply imbedded in our adoption program. We are not just advocating for the life of the unborn but just as much for the mother who has an uphill climb ahead and who is facing the hardest decision of her life. It may be tempting to judge their lifestyles and choices, but a person’s value or identity does not come from their financial status, their relationship choices, their mental health, or the road before them. Domestic adoption numbers are dropping, for many reasons. One being an increase in agency and governmental financial assistance to help mothers who wouldn’t normally be able to parent, do what their true heart desires. Which is great news. However, we also anticipate, with the status of this landmark decision the Supreme Court, things may be changing.
We recently had the honor to help three very different women who made this difficult yet beautiful choice to place their children for adoption. One had been using meth her entire pregnancy, delivered a healthy baby boy, and now is on the road to sobriety and caring for her other son. She had considered ending her pregnancy but couldn’t find the money to do so. This birth mom is staying connected to the adoptive family. Another birth mom had a full-time job at a reputable workplace but was still living in poverty and struggling to care for her other two children. And lastly a birthmother that had felt coerced to place by another agency and not valued, and therefore decided to parent for a month until someone connected her with us. All three women have very different stories and circumstances yet found the support they needed at Catholic Charities.
Far beyond the issue of adoption, you can support life and human dignity in multiple meaningful ways. Voting for and supporting measures that help those under the poverty line, especially mothers such as early education services, healthcare and childcare. One can also support communities that are at risk of poverty either by acts of service, donations, and even prayer. Mentoring, fostering, respite care, learning about biases and policies against persons of color, advocating for those that have an uphill climb and who aren’t valued in their community are all things individuals can do. Being pro-active in your work for all of life, womb to tomb meets our call to value and dignify all of God’s children. This practice is clear at Catholic Charities and in our Children and Families department.
By Melissa Cable, Adoption Social Worker at Catholic Charities of Kansas City- St. Joseph