Nobody wants to be a birth parent.

Nobody wants to have their child taken out of their arms and handed over to complete strangers. No one wants to go to court and face the judge and face the assigned lawyer and pay the fees for those alleged charges. No one wants to own up to the mistakes they can’t believe they made that may have hurt their children for the rest of their lives. Nobody wants to have a mental health issue, or a physical health issue, or any other kind of issue, that gets in the way of motherhood or fatherhood. Nobody wants to be seen as the worst of people in society. Nobody doesn’t love their baby. And I promise, nobody meant for this to happen.

But it did happen.

And, for lack of a better word, it sucks.

And somehow, normally kind, humble, God-loving, people-helping, puppy-rescuing, charity-giving, underdog-championing, cheer for the little leagues and peewee football kind of church-goers suddenly are overcome with a self-righteousness that knots up in my stomach and makes me wretch silently on the inside when they think it’s ok to judge viciously the very people that gave my babies life. Please, for all that is the love of God, don’t bash the baby-daddy.

No one wants to be a drug addict. But it happens.

No one wants to neglect their child. But it happens.

No one wants to get in legal trouble. But it happens.

No one wants to screw their life up this bad. But it happens.

It happens to normal, ordinary people who make 1 bad choice; 1 mistake, just 1 time, and they become forever addicted to something so heinous as heroin. Probably before their tender teenager years have even crossed the tiny line into a shaky adulthood their own hurt and pain drove them to one weak moment, one bad choice.

Or maybe it isn’t even heroin. Maybe it’s a prescription pain killer to help them overcome a bad back, or a work injury, or a broken heart. And somehow, that pain killer just isn’t strong enough to deaden the pain that came from the lost job or the lost spouse or the loss of dignity when they are suffering the devastation of a freak car accident. And maybe they just don’t know Jesus or they don’t have a family or a friend that they can count on to pull them up when they hit rock bottom or when they just need a shoulder to cry on. And suddenly, everything is spiraling out of control until they’ve lost everything they have ever loved and hoped for and worked at, including their precious, perfect, beautiful babies. I’m pretty sure, given 1 wrong choice, 1 bad situation, that could have been me. And I’m pretty sure, given 1 wrong choice, and just 1 bad situation, that could have been you, too.

Yes, the tummy mommies of this world have made bad choices. But I’m pretty sure that I’m not a perfect parent, because I’ve made a few bad choices too. And I’m pretty sure that you, you who look like you have it all together, you aren’t the perfect parent and you’ve made a few bad choices here and there, too.

So don’t you dare bash my baby’s bio-daddy for making 1 wrong choice that led to another wrong choice, and another. Because Jesus didn’t just die for you, with your nice job and your nice car and your nice house and your nice family and your nice church. Nope, sorry. You cannot corner the market on Jesus. (Jonah tried that and it didn’t work out so well for him or the vomitous whale). Oh, I felt that way, too, a little self-righteous, a little bit better than those other people, that is, until I met my babies. And then I became a little bit unglued.

I unraveled just a little bit at first, and then a lot, and then a whole lot more until I couldn’t stop the tears from coming all at once when Jesus tapped me on the shoulder, and said, “Don’t you see? I died for him, too.”

And then my eyes were opened to the grace that Jesus is, and the grace that Jesus gave, and the grace that Jesus gives us, and the grace that we need to give to those who made 1 single bad choice in a bad situation that led to a life shattering series of events.

And then I see those little eyes, wide open to things that they never should have seen, and now hearing things that they should never have to hear about the people who gave them life. No matter what mistakes a baby-daddy made, no matter what wrong choices a tummy mommy chose (and I won’t tell you the details of my family’s stories so don’t bother to ask), there are a set of listening ears who still cling to the hope that those broken people that gave them life have a love for them. Those tiny humans, born into a situation that was out of their control, had to leave behind the only home they ever lived in, the only love they ever knew, and the only parents that ever held them tight. And maybe it wasn’t a home or a love or a set of arms that we could possibly understand, but it was all they ever knew and they are fiercely dedicated to the hope that there is still love and goodness and kindness there. And each and every day these tiny humans try to reconcile their past life with their current life and try to come up with some kind of future life and they just cannot comprehend how any of this ever could have happened to them in the first place.

And oh, how it sucks.

And some day, they are going to have to face the choices that their birth parents made and they are going to have to choose for themselves a path that is hopefully better than what any of us have thus far chosen. But for now, for today, they deserve the dignity that any other child is born with. They deserve to cling to a hope that there was goodness, that there was love, and that the people who gave birth to them are better than the choices that they made.

Please, please, please, for all that is good and for all the love that is God, don’t bash the baby-daddy. Don’t barter for information that doesn’t belong to you, don’t insult the people who gave me my family whom I love with all of myself. Don’t despise the ones that Jesus loves. You don’t need to know the hows or the whys or the what happened. You don’t need to put on a show of condescension as a form of solidarity. You just need to know that Jesus died for them, too. Forget the brokenness of how this happened in the first place; just give grace.

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