June 22nd, 2021
“When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” – John 8:7
Asher is lying next to me in his swing. I just fed him, and Karin just changed him. He is a happy baby now, with a full tummy and an empty diaper. My wife and I have been caring for Asher full time for over four months. We took him to the pediatrician last week for his six moth check up. The boy is strong and healthy.
Asher’s mother wanted to have a baby. She was so excited when she found out that she was pregnant with her son. Asher was born nine weeks premature. He was in NICU for a month before he was able to come home. The young woman wanted nothing more than to hold her little boy.
Then she got sick, really sick. That happened at the beginning of February. She is getting better, but she still is not able to be here for Asher. Karin and I made an open ended commitment to care for Asher 24/7. The commitment is open ended because it is not certain that the young woman can get healthy and stay healthy. It is possible that we may become Asher’s foster parents, even though we are in our sixties.
Karin and I love Asher intensely, even when we are exhausted. He is a blessing to us. He is also a lot of work. We are in an enviable position in that we have the time, health, and money to care for Asher. Many people, especially single moms, do not have our resources. They struggle mightily. Some of them may have wondered about how they would ever be able to raise their child.
Abortion is back in the news. The U.S. Catholic bishops seem determined to deny Joe Biden the Eucharist because he supports abortion rights. I understand that the bishops have to be a prophetic voice in the world, and they need to call out sin when they see it. It is part of their job. Can they do it with compassion?
Whenever I listen to Asher speak to me in words that aren’t words, I know abortion is wrong. When he smiles at me, my heart melts. I love him even when I am changing one of his shitty diapers. I can’t imagine life without him.
I know abortion is wrong, but what is right?
I’m an old white guy. Most of the Catholic bishops are old white guys. The difference between them and me is that I have experience in raising a family. They don’t. I know how it feels to worry all night about a son or daughter. They don’t. We call them “Father”, but their actual understanding of parenthood is vicarious. They aren’t fathers. They have chosen not to be.
I wonder what one of these bishops might say to a troubled young woman who is considering abortion.
Would a bishop go to the woman and say, “It will be okay. I’ll help you care for your baby. I’ll raise your son or daughter if need be.”
I’ll take these guys more seriously when one of them does that.
By the way, I’m Catholic.