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Oops - I just killed my best friend!

My kids' friends know me as the "Religion Lady", or at least as an adult who can answer their many and varied questions about God, world religions, ethics, and the other burning topics of an adolescent mind.  (I don't mean that sarcastically - these young people really do think about all these things, and have a hard time trying to find places that give them solid answers.)

Recently, one of Curly-Haired Daughter's friends wanted to take up the topic of abortion with me.  He thinks abortion is necessary, if not good, and thinks that people who believe abortion is bad are really, really wrong.  He wanted to get my take on it.  It was a pretty long and involved conversation, and I give him great credit for sticking with it.  He did hit a wall though, and I hope it is a point that stays with him.

One of the situations he posed to me was that a woman who takes drugs or drinks alcohol and becomes pregnant should abort the baby.  The baby, after all, will suffer from this, and likely have a ruined life.  The mother is clearly unfit to raise the child once the child has been born, and the best possible solution to this type of pregnancy is to abort the fetus.

I wanted to be really clear, so I asked him,  "So, a baby born to a mom who took cocaine while she was pregnant, for instance, would be better off dead, is that what you're saying?"  And he said, "Yes."

"Congratulations.  You just killed your best friend," (referring to my daughter), was my reply.

It is no secret in our small town that my kids are all adopted, and many people know that they were all born cocaine-exposed.  It is also no secret that they've suffered from it:  speech delays, learning disabilities, mental illness issues, etc.  (By the way, none of these are things that kids NOT born cocaine-exposed couldn't also suffer from.)  And if Dear Husband and I had our choice, we would not want our kids to have been born-cocaine exposed.  I am also sure that if you asked my kids, they would say it is better not to have babies born exposed to cocaine.

None of us, however, would say,  "The kids would be better off dead."

The point is, none of us can predict what a human life will become.  Even children born into the most dire of circumstances have and can become remarkable, happy people.  And children born "with all the advantages" can be miserable folks.  The answer to this puzzle of human possibilities is to figure out how great people turn out great, despite horrid circumstances. 

The answer is not to kill the people before the possibility of life gives them choices, chances and opportunities for love, education, faith, and friendship.

The type of friendship my daughter enjoys with this young man.

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Crossing Guard

I saw you
today
as you guided
your little man across that busy street.

You were wearing some
big man boots
and
watching cars and lights.

Your little man had on
black sneakers and
a Mickey Mouse hat
that bounced
as he walked.

He wasn't watching nothing but
your big man boots
and
the white stripes of the crosswalk.

Just before
he got to the sidewalk again,
his step bounced a bit
- he hopped over
a spot where the asphalt broke.

You turned to look,
holding out a hand to
your little man.
Not rushed or angry,
just making sure
he got up
on that sidewalk.

Then you walked on,
in your big man boots,
face into a cold Michigan wind,
with the little man behind,
his hat bouncing.