Go on any social media network and you'll find a flood of people who constantly share op-eds, Scripture, quotes, and ultrasound memes touting their pro-life status. For hordes of those same people, the vigilant activism ends there. They are loud and proud on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, but when it comes to action, clicking the Share button is good enough for them. There really isn't much - if any - actual proof that they take action to value all life.
Some folks call that slacktivism. Slacker activism.
The term that many liberal-minded people are using to address this phenomenon is no longer pro-lifers, but pro-birthers, because their actions, concerns, and voting preferences are all wrapped up in the avoidance of abortion rather than the support of the actual child's life once he or she enters the world.
Pro-birth, not exactly pro-life.
Adoption and foster care are two authentically pro-life kinds of things, but humans are just so great at coming up with all the reasons not to dabble in that messy world. Here's looking at you, conservatives, because you are the loudest when it comes to abortion.
And it's true that foster care isn't for everyone. It's inconvenient and messy and distracting and hard, and some people struggle to make the leap to give it a try. And some folks simply aren't stable enough themselves to offer help to someone else. Drowning people will never save other drowning people. But the fact is, most people aren't drowning. Most people are somewhere in the middle class bracket and they have more to share than they want to admit. Is that you? Maybe you have been considering foster care but still on the fence. If so, here are eight ways you can know for sure that hey, foster care just really isn't for you.
1. You're much too busy to attend some weird classes designed to teach you this whole new way of parenting kids who have had a hard life. Your kids are fine, so who needs that hokey attachment voo-doo? Plus, you have more meaningful things to do with those hours...like binge another season of that show you just discovered on Netflix.
2. You believe your personal children deserve to stay in that bubble you've constructed to keep them from having to see how life works for less-stable people. Hey, man. You work way too hard to give your kids more food, clothes, and toys they could ever need or want. Keeping them comfortable is more important than anything or anyone else, and they should never have to share their nice things with some random poor kid whose parents make bad choices. Their fault, their problem...not yours.
3. You feel that your race is superior to others, and you would never permit a child of a different ethnicity to live under your roof. Allow some kids in your house to speak a language other than English? Please. 'Merica! And for some of those others, I mean, my gosh, what in THE world would you even do with their hair?!
4. You just could never get attached to a kid who might not be yours forever. That's just too hard. After all, your feelings and fears and need to avoid any emotional discomfort are vastly more important than an abuse victim's need for safety, a poor child's need to be fed, or a scared kid's need for comfort.
5. You cannot handle interruptions, and helping people is inconvenient. You can't stand having your family's afternoon walk interrupted by some desperate social worker calling to ask you to help with some kid who needs a place to stay for the week. Ugh.
6. Your life plan is far more valuable than helping children and families in crisis. I mean, you have ladders to climb. You are just too busy!
7. No one has ever done anything for you so why should you do anything for anybody else? You got where you are by working hard, and if anybody else is poor it's because of one thing: they're lazy.
8. You aren't really Pro-Life. You're just Pro-Birth. You can't stand the thought of a mother killing her unborn baby, but after that baby is born? Eh, that's her problem.
Any of this feel right to you? Are you nodding your head in agreement? Then yeah, foster care is absolutely not for you.
Let's say it doesn't feel right to you. Maybe you realize - and care - that every time you say no, every time you list a "But I/my/our...", every time you put your needs before a foster kid's, another victimized child sinks into an even darker situation.
Maybe you don't believe it's Biblical to be just a Pro-Birther. You want to be a Pro-Lifer. Was Jesus a Pro-Lifer? You bet He was. It drips from every recorded word He uttered. Go and read them and you'll see. I love Him for always siding with the person with the least amount of power in any situation.
So, what now? Will you take an action step and look for a way to serve some of the most powerless, vulnerable people in our society? You have options! You can adopt domestically or internationally. You can become a full time foster parent or you can try serving as a respite-only foster parent. You can seek to understand and advocate for legislation that supports families in crisis. You can volunteer in crisis pregnancy centers or other charities that exist to help families in poverty.
If you're in my state, one of these is the best place to start.
*All images from CC0 sources: Unsplash, Pexels, and Pixabay.