Words are powerful.

They have the power to invoke memories, images, and ideas that their writer, or speaker, may or may not have intended.

Consider the word “abandoned.” In yesterday’s post, about the Paulraj family, I wrote this sentence:

What if you learned his parents abandoned him?

A reader shared the following comments,

I wouldn’t use the word ‘abandoned’ to describe what his birth parents did. They saved his life in a way… It could be that his birth parents were — are — heartbroken in numerous ways. Abandoned is a strong word…

First, I’m grateful for this reader’s thoughtful response.
Second, I regret using the word.

The reader is right to point out that Adam’s birth parents might be “heartbroken in numerous ways.” Inadvertently, I accused the birth parents of neglect, or discarding (synonym of abandoned) Adam. The truth is I have no idea what led to Adam’s adoption, and my point was simply to illuminate what I consider a beautiful act of love.

Unfortunately, putting a child up for adoption often carries a negative association. Children can feel rejected when they learn of their situation. Sometimes they’re correct. But, correct or not, adoption is one of the most profound acts of love exhibited within humanity. The adopted child has been chosen.

I’m afraid this abandonment stigma contributes to the staggering numbers of abortions performed every day. In a paradox of thinking, teenage moms are led to believe that an abortion is best for everyone involved. Did anyone ask the child?

The truth is millions of parents are out there, waiting to adopt children. I know quite a few families who’ve adopted children, and multiple who’ve adopted extraordinary children. I admire them.

If you’re pregnant and scared you need to know that adoption does NOT equal abandonment. First of all, adoption is choosing life. Second, adoption provides your child with an opportunity. Maybe you don’t believe you can provide the life that you want your child to have… but there are those out there who can. Having the courage to allow your daughter or son to be adopted gives them a chance, and hope for a future.

If you’re not in the aforementioned situation, I wonder, have you ever considered adoption? Jeni and I have, and we hope to do it. God has blessed us with four sons, and when the time is right we are eager to adopt another child into our family. We won’t force it, and we’ve been praying about for years (not continuously), but we’re asking God to let us enjoy the blessing of adoption at some time.

I wonder if we, pro-lifers, would be more effective holding signs that read,

I’ll happily walk through the pregnancy with you, care for you, and even help pay for your labor and the baby’s delivery. If you’ll allow it, I’d be honored to adopt your child. I could never replace you, but I’ll love her the best I can.

A bit wordy perhaps, but I think you get the idea.

Little Adam has a new chance at life. He’s in America receiving medical help that would have otherwise been unavailable to him. He’s being nurtured, cared for, and prayed for. He has a family. He has a chance.

Abandoned? No, he wasn’t abandoned. He was adopted, chosen, selected, preferred.

Yeah, preferred.


  1. Preferred has a way better connotation than abondonded does. I applaud that you would take reader input to heart and follow up with an entry like this.

  2. Ryan thank you for this follow-up from yesterday. November is National Adoption Month and I feel like you truly said it perfectly about the importance of adoption. Adoption has touched our lives personally in so many ways and I thank you for this article. We are so thankful that our children’s birth parents have given us the opportunity to parent their extraordinary children. They have given us the greatest gift imaginable!

    1. I didn’t even now it was National Adoption Month, I’m glad I was so accidentally on point 🙂 Thanks for sharing your thoughts, you guys are one of the families I admire!

  3. I am trying to get in touch with this family.
    There is a wonderful organization called Smile
    I just read Adam’s surgery was postponed because the family did not raise the $150,000 needed.
    Smile Train could take care of this problem.
    Your thoughts on abandonment / adoption are excellent.
    God bless your entire family!!

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