Let an ‘Unwanted’ Child Have the Best Day With You Today

Our daughter was abandoned on a sidewalk in the depth of winter. We brought her home and gave her our hearts and taught her why all the trees change in the fall.

‘Fall’ (photo: Alina Demidenko / Shutterstock)

When you are pro-life and also a mother by adoption, there is one pro-choice argument that especially hurts. I’m sure you’ve heard it: “An unwanted baby is destined for a bad life. Abortion is probably better for that child.”

That’s very hard to swallow when you love a child who was unwanted.

My own daughter was abandoned at birth, on a sidewalk in the depth of winter. She was wrapped in a yellow blanket and her umbilical cord was still attached. She was an “unwanted” child — an inconvenient person whose presence in this world comes with a whole set of challenges and dangers to her birth parents. Today she is a cheerful, pretty, teenage girl who delights us every day.

Although her story of “unwantedness” is specific to her, it is essentially the same tale told in different ways for every baby that has been labeled as unwanted and undesirable. I can give you countless examples: the baby whose father will not take responsibility for her upbringing but instead offers up money for her abortion; the little one who would have been wanted if conceived a year later, but today is inconvenient; the child who has a congenital defect like a cleft palate or Down syndrome; the hundreds of thousands of babies conceived in careless sexual encounters between men and women who have no desire to build a family together. You yourself can come up with many more variations on this theme, if you give it some thought.

My pretty girl was born in China when the one-child policy had not yet been changed to the two-child policy. She was fortunate. A passer-by took pity on her and carried her to the police station. She spent the first part of her life in a crowded orphanage.  When we adopted her, she was a toddler with an uncertain smile and a worried frown.

As far as “unwanted” babies she was probably a poster child. Most likely she was a second child, an unexpected — maybe even a tragic — pregnancy, exposing her parents to retribution by the state. The population police in China have been known to bulldoze the houses of couples who are hiding an unsanctioned pregnancy or child. Forced abortion, even of babies advanced in development, has been routinely practiced. Many stories have been told of heroic mothers and fathers who kept their pregnancies secret in order to bring their child to life, at great personal risk. The subsequent hidden births are dangerous because they’re unattended by doctors or midwives. The accounts are harrowing. So, too, are the tales of the sadness of laying the infant on the dirty street cement with a nearly hopeless prayer for her rescue.

What is hard to bear when you love one of these children who somehow survived their “unwantedness” is the awfulness of the sentence meted out to those who died by abortion. Sentenced to death for being the wrong sex. Or coming at the wrong time. Or simply coming uninvited. What a horrid loss. Every one of these children was meant to be a delight in the same way my daughter is a delight.

I hear her in the kitchen as I type these words. She is baking cupcakes and wearing AirPods. She probably doesn’t realize she is singing along loudly to our favorite Taylor Swift song. It’s called “The Best Day” and it’s about a girl growing up having “best days” with her mother. Let me assure all those who have not had the great joy of loving an “unwanted’’ child. Every day — every single day — is the best day with her.