Let’s look at the pos­i­tive side of Face­book

The Standard Journal - - COMMENTARY - By Kathryn Jean Lopez NEA Con­trib­u­tor

“Some­how, I didn’t think pre­par­ing for moth­er­hood would en­tail look­ing for used RVs on­line,” Emily Stimp­son Chap­man re­cently wrote in a Face­book post. “When do I get to the shop­ping for di­a­per bags and strollers part?”

Yo u c o u l d say Face­book CEO Mark Zucker­berg’s re­spon­si­ble for mir­a­cles. In the midst of news about data security and lack thereof, I was watch­ing a miracle un­fold on the controversial so­cial-me­dia plat­form. We’re of­ten notic­ing with sad­ness how su­per­fi­cial so­cial me­dia has made us. But when you can make use of un­prece­dented con­nec­tions for the good, some real beauty can tran­spire.

Chap­man, as you’ve de­duced, is an ex­pec­tant mother. She and her hus­band live near Pitts­burgh and are adopt­ing from a cou­ple in Cal­i­for­nia. This past week or so has brought all sorts of wor­ries, as the birth mother faced the prospect of home­less­ness. Emily and her hus­band, Christo­pher, are de­ter­mined not only to wel­come a lit­tle baby boy into the world later this year, but to do what­ever they can to help the heroic woman will give birth to him.

As Chap­man ex­plained in one of her posts on the sit­u­a­tion: Ma­ter­nity homes weren’t an op­tion be­cause the birth dad needs some­where to stay, too, and the cou­ple wants to try to make a go of life to­gether. So­cial ser­vices proved no help, over­staffed and over­bur­dened as such agen­cies of­ten are.

Chap­man painted a bleak pic­ture of the op­tions avail­able to the poor in to­day’s so­ci­ety: “(A)fford­able rental sit­u­a­tions there (which in those parts means be­tween $800-$1000) are few, and ev­ery place they vis­ited had tons of other peo­ple in­ter­ested. Also, most rentals have in­come re­quire­ments that they don’t meet.”

Chap­man ex­plained: “These re­ally are de­cent, hard-work­ing peo­ple, who have not had the litany of ad­van­tages and bless­ings many of us have had. Cal­i­for­nia is an easy place to find your­self home­less, and we don’t want that to hap­pen to them. We also don’t want to lose this child. Thank you for all your prayers to that ef­fect.”

In the days of search­ing from across the coun­try, Emily and Christo­pher paid for a ho­tel and other lodg­ings for the cou­ple. But that’s a way to blow through lim­ited funds quickly and of­fers no kind of sta­bil­ity. Chap­man wrote: “Our prayer is that we’ll be able to find a sit­u­a­tion that they can af­ford for the short-term, and that we will be able to save or raise enough money to give them a down pay­ment on a mo­bile home, which is by far the best long-term so­lu­tion for them.”

Adop­tion can be a har­row­ing pro- cess for any­one — birth par­ents and adop­tive par­ents. In all the un­cer­tainty, Chap­man, via her Face­book posts, fo­cuses on grat­i­tude while she asks her friends and fol­low­ers for prayer.

Dur­ing the hous­ing search, she wrote: “(T)ime is run­ning out and our bud­get is lim­ited. We would very, very much ap­pre­ci­ate con­tin­ued prayers. We re­ally do need a miracle.”

In other posts on Face­book and a blog, she’s shared ad­di­tional de­tails about the pain of in­fer­til­ity and how she and her hus­band felt the call to adopt. She’s also ex­plained how they found them­selves con­nected with this cou­ple and their un­born child sooner than they ex­pected, hav­ing planned to do some ad­di­tional sav­ing first. Friends have reached out to help with fi­nan­cial con­tri­bu­tions on a YouCar­ing page to help with ex­penses for both the baby and the birth par­ents.

Chap­man re­flected: “Face­book has its draw­backs, but it’s also an amaz­ing gift for which I am daily giv­ing thanks. With­out the peo­ple it’s con­nected me to, I wouldn’t have our won­der­ful adop­tion at­tor­ney, a baby wait­ing to be­come our son ... hous­ing for his birth par­ents, and the prayers and ma­te­rial sup­port that is mak­ing all this pos­si­ble. ... So­cial me­dia is — some­times — ev­ery­thing it’s cracked up to be.”

Kathryn Jean Lopez is se­nior fel­low at the Na­tional Re­view In­sti­tute, edi­tor-at-large of Na­tional Re­view On­line and found­ing di­rec­tor of Catholic Voices USA. She can be con­tacted at klopez@na­tion­al­re­view.com.

Kath­eryn Jean Lopez

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