|Family||DIOCESAN OFFICER PROMOTES ADOPTION AS ABORTION ALTERNATIVE|
Adoption is not a dirty word and should be resurrected as a valid alternative to abortion, according to Adelaide Diocesan Care for Life Committee project officer, Ms Jill Hutt.
While overseas adoptions had become fashionable and were depicted by the media in a 'warm and fuzzy' light, Australian women were discouraged from adopting and often saw abortion as their only alternative, Ms Hutt told The Southern Cross.
In 1998-99, five Australian-born children were adopted in South Australia, compared with 45 overseas-born children.
"There is obviously a large pool of people desperate to adopt...it's not that we have kids for adoption and nowhere to send them," said Ms Hutt, who is also a member of the Ecumenical Task Force for Pregnancy Options.
"Many couples are prepared to go to extreme lengths in terms of cost and the period of time they have to wait to adopt a child but the enthusiasm for overseas adoptions does not match the lack of enthusiasm within our own community."
"Adoption has to be seen through new eyes because the pendulum has tragically swung the other way from pro-choice to women saying the only way is abortion," she said.
"Adoption is an excellent alternative because, from a Christian perspective, we are not taking a life and we're supporting a woman in a time of difficulty to have a positive outcome in terms of her long-term emotional and physical health."
Adoption in Australia had a bad name because of publicity on the difficulties and trauma for adopted children seeking out their birth parents, Ms Hutt said. Today, however, adoption was quite different and the wellbeing of adopted children and their parents was paramount.
South Australia's 1998 abortion rate exceeded the crude birth rate with the crude birth rate accounting for 12.5 per 1000 population and abortions accounting for 17.2 per 1000 population.