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 | By Alison Blanchet

Pro-life Means We Examine What We Can ‘Never Do’

“Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.” In 1975 Pope Paul VI quoted his address to the laity in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi (Evangelization in the Modern World). This sage wisdom has resonated with me through the years, because as the saying goes, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

In October the Catholic Church celebrates Respect Life Month, and as we continue to build a culture of life in our world, I fear that we have a critical shortage of witnesses.

What do I mean by that? In South Carolina, there are “389 children legally free for adoption” according to S.C. Heart Gallery’s website. The July 2021 foster dashboard of the S.C. Department of Social Services reported 4,037 children are currently in foster care, with 574 of those children being in “congregate care,” presumably group homes or institutional settings.

If we are serious about building a culture of life, we need to take these numbers to heart.

If we want society to respect life from conception to natural death, we have to ask what we can do for some of the most vulnerable among us who are without families through no fault of their own.

If we believe every child deserves a mother and father, we need to be ready to be a mother or father to every child to the fullest extent we are able.

When my husband and I became foster parents several years ago, a common reaction was: “I could never do that. I’d get too attached.” At first I took this as a compliment, but now these words grieve me. I know the intention is kind, but after years of being asked if we could take children of all ages, situations and needs, I am begging the pro-life community to reexamine what they could “never do.” Too many children are growing up without families because we don’t think we have what it takes to help.

Foster care can be hard. Adoption can be hard. “The system” will always be frustrating. Children from hard places can have a lot of needs. Support is critical for those who foster and adopt, and speaking from personal experience, when a child arrives unexpectedly, a meal, gift card or babysitting is heaven sent! Inquire at your parish and ask if any ministry supports children and foster families. If not, consider starting a supply closet or meal ministry to assist local foster families who provide direct care.

Finally, ask yourself if you have room in your home and your heart to welcome a child in need. Make the call to your local child welfare offices and learn what’s involved in becoming licensed to provide emergency overnight or long-term care, and pray about taking the first steps.

In South Carolina and around the world, Christ is waiting inside every child in need of a family. Each time one is welcomed and supported, we grow closer to a culture that recognizes the dignity of each person and respects all life.

For a culture of life to grow, more of us need to get “too attached” to vulnerable children of all ages.

Alison Blanchet writes the column Team Catholic. She lives in Panama City with her husband and children. Email her at