One Child More

baby, infant, child, family, pro-life

 

baby, infant, child, family, pro-life

China has its evil and harmful “one child” policy.

I propose for American Catholics a “one child more” policy.

I think we should encourage all American, Catholic, married couples to ask themselves, “Could we have one child more?”

Who Benefits from “One Child More?”

  • The child who is the “one more.” He is blessed to have life, not just life on earth but eternal life. He will be born into a Catholic family, be baptized, and begin to live a life of grace as an adopted child of God.  He will continue to be nourished as he grows in faith, and hopefully his time will not end but rather reach its fullness in Heaven for all eternity.
  • The child’s siblings. As Pope John Paul II said, sometimes the best thing you can give your children is another brother or sister. Your children’s lives will be immensely enriched by this new family member who will need everyone’s care but who gives back so much love.
  • The child’s parents.  This “one child more” will demand more of you. You will grow in generosity and selfless service, making you even more pleasing to the Lord.
  • The Church. There will be another baptized member of the body of Christ. Who can predict the ways your child will benefit evangelization?
  • The world. We live in the most rich, healthy, and free nation in the world. Your child will have the advantage of living in freedom and will get a good education. He will be able to give back much.

“One Child More” and Responsible Parenthood

The Church expects us to exercise “responsible parenthood.” Responsible parenthood is the fully human decision to act so as to have a child or not.  Some things to note:

  • Responsible parenthood is “fully human” when it is conscious and free and in accord with human nature.
  • Because children are the supreme good of marriage, the decision not to have them is a serious one.

One decision parents may responsibly make is to space births or to postpone another pregnancy indefinitely. But given the prevalence of contraception and the myth of the population bomb, our focus seems to be on the correct criteria for limiting family size. The decision is important, and thus must include an obligatory discernment of God’s will. According to Humanae Vitae, the couple may rightly take into consideration physical, economic, psychological, and social conditions.

  • Physical—e.g., an illness or injury of one of the spouses or of one of the children.
  • Economic—e.g., loss of a job.
  • Psychological—e.g., postpartum or some other form of depression.
  • Social conditions—e.g., war or governmental pressure (China’s “one child” policy).

But if no serious reason exists or even if there are some serious concerns, the couple can still opt for generosity and have another child.

“One Child More” Questions Parents Can Ask Themselves

  • Can our new child expect to grow up with a loving mom and dad? This love is necessarily imperfect. That is okay.
  • Will our new child be able to grow up with enough material goods? Do not compare yourself to other Americans but with the vast majority of people in the world and through history. Having everything is different than not having enough.
  • Will our new child be able to receive a good education? This will be the case if you are diligent and vigilant.
  • Does our new child have the likelihood of being born healthy and have the resources to stay healthy?  If there are birth complications, are we ready to welcome the child with love regardless of his physical imperfections, and do we have the resources to take care of him?

I think most Catholic parents can easily answer these four questions with a yes.

Time to Consider

So, Catholic parents, why not talk with each other about “one child more?”

About eighteen years ago, when our fourth child had just been born, my new boss said to me, “You really shouldn’t have any more children.” I assume he was thinking about the good of my career.

Thank God we said yes to “one child more” three times after that. We never regret it, and neither will you.

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30 thoughts on “One Child More”

  1. Another child is another person who makes a difference in this world and is destined for eternity. It’s a scandal that Catholic schools have become private schools for not one more child, but one less.

  2. I think most Catholic parents can easily answer these four questions with a yes.

    Are you sure about that? I have two autistic children that I absolutely adore and I’m fortunate enough to be part of an (unfortunately) growing community of families with autism. But my kids, my son especially, is a tremendous amount if care and $. Last year we spent north of $30,000 on ABA therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and physical therapy. I have to buy an additional health insurance policy ($1100/month) because my wife’s company is large enough to self insure and therefore is allowed offer ultra stripped down health insurance that can refuse to cover autism related treatments (even though state law requires companies to offer such coverage. Thanks, congress!)

    Autistic children, raised responsibly, are an incredible burden. My 5 year has the speech and mental faculties of an 22 month old. Our house will be baby proofed for at least another 5. Years. My daughter has been potty training for 5 and a half years.

    Us and our friends are under incredible strain. There are angry, checked out fathers, hysterical guilt ridden mothers, separations, and our first divorce. Oh and to add to the misey: the rate of autism has gone from 1 in 200 children in 1990, to 1 in 88 in 2000, to 1 in 68 in 2010.

    My point isn’t to complain. But to counteract the cavalier attitude some Catholics have toward having additional children and how they gloss over the incredible challenges presented by special needs kids.

    I love the CatholicChurch but at the parish level autism just isn’t on the radar. The group we belong to is run by Nazarene Protestants.

    1. At the parish level, very few things are on the radar. You can put it on your parish’s radar. If it is important, why don’t you be the radar?

  3. We had our first two children in the first two years of marriage and thought we were done. Then circumstances led us into obtaining legal guardianship for two of my brother’s children. Yes, life was crazy and busy with four children. However, after a nine year break, we were blessed with two more children. Not just one more but two more! It’s truly been the best gift ever.

  4. “In the U.S. 397,122 children are living without permanent families in the foster care system. 101,666 of these children are eligible for adoption, but nearly 32% of these children will wait over three years in foster care before being adopted.”
    Source: AFCARS Report, No. 20.

    Before we encourage the increased breeding of more children, let’s FIRST take care of those which have been discarded. And these figures only reflect the U.S. , orphanages throughout the world could easily provide every family with another child to love. Or is there another reason why we do not adopt? Think it through with honesty!!!

    1. I repudiate the idea that we are mere “breeders.” However, there is nothing in my post to preclude the idea that Catholic parents could not adopt in order to have one child more.

    2. And there is nothing to serve as a warrant that emphasizes the discarded kids, those born with genetic abnormalities, the disabled, the hard to handle should not be a PRIORITY in the one more child theory. If we are honest, which is unusual among many people, adoption is not considered because these kids are less than desirable. So my theory is no more “one more child” until the discard kids have permanent homes.

      Merriam-Webster Dictionary:breed ” to produce or increase (animals or plants) by sexual reproduction. In addition to many other primate activities, we are breeders, like it or nor.

    3. Phil, I get what you’re trying to say, but adoption does not need to take the place of having biological children in a typically fertile family. Also, as a person who has adopted a “less than desirable” child (as you worded it), I think you should look at the whole picture in the world of adoption. Adoption is an ongoing ministry to a person – more than typical emotional healing is demanded of adoptive parents and sometimes, the resources are just not there to foster the needs of the adoped child or the entire family. Orphans are separated from their biological parents which automatically create psychological trauma that each family would need to discern and responsibly decide, whether or not they could parent the child. Also, adoption is a huge financial burden and quite honestly, in my experience and network of adoptive families, adoption is a hurdle and not considered because of financial constraints, not because orphans are “less than desirable.” Interestingly enough, God commanded us to be “fruitful and multiply” AND care for the “orphans and widows in distress.” God didn’t command us to choose between the two.

    4. Never said that adoption takes the place of regular children. I said that before the author’s one more child theory, we should consider adoption. Given that I had two foster/adopted children in addition to my own severely disabled son and daughter, I can assure you that foster/adoptees are not the any different a financial burden than any other child…and state subsidies are there.

      I would take exception to the statement that adoption is a ministry….it is a simple human obligation and pretty clear in Matt 25. It is an obligation of all. And yes there are “less desirable” children .. those with profound mental and physicakl challenges. That is the reason they are not adopted.

      If you carefully read Matt 25, it is an obligation of all, not those of a selected ministry, the rich, the strong, …Matt 25 is very clear and does not provide for excuses or exceptions. People make for excuses and exception like you attempted to justify above. Even the lowest of the animal kinddom take in the motherless, the fatherless, the homeless and the hungry….as as ONE MORE CHILD languishes in an institution, all Christians have failed and our species has failed.

    5. Phil, the problem with foster care/adoption is not the families waiting to adopt. It’s the red tape, bureaucracy, onerous financial demands, interstate adoption fighting, and crippled system that makes it a much more difficult prospect than you seem to realize.

    6. First hand knowledge that I have, JoAnna. There are insufficient families to assume the care of multi-racial and disabled kids…period. MA is always advertising for foster/adoptive families on TV and the media and even featuring hard to place kids. Please, the truth is that people do not want the responsibility for raising a child with issues…I know the system well and the social workers well….the fundamental reason for a lack of families is simple narcissism and selfishness. The bureaucracy would wish nothing more than to get a kid off the roles and reduces caseloads which are outrageous.

    7. Wow, Phil, you can read the heart and mind of every single person in the United States and know that the only reason they don’t adopt from foster care is because they are narcissistic and selfish? Amazing! I hope you use your superpowers for good and not for evil.

      A lot of people are disqualified from being foster parents simply because they work full-time outside the home and don’t have schedule flexibility. http://www.families4children.com/faq_foster.cfm

      I’m curious, Phil, do you also criticize same-sex couples who pursue parenthood via artificial insemination, IVF, and/or surrogacy as opposed to adopting children from foster care?

    8. Don’t descend into silliness….the theme of the post was ONE MORE CHILD…I started and addressed the ONE MORE CHILD and said FOSTER/ADOPT instead of breeding one more child…follow the thread and theme JoAnna!

    9. JoAnna Wahlund

      Wow, Phil, you can read the heart and mind of every single person[…]

      There’s no logical reason to jump from 1) Phil pointing out a trend he’s experienced to 2) accusing Phil of claiming to know the hearts of everyone in the US.

      Phil Dzialo

      yes I do to the former [US couples who don’t adopt from foster care] because “by their fruits….”you know the rest!

      I’m sorry, but you can’t work backwards from a couple not adopting foster kids and just assume that mere selfishness is the reason. For one, they could well have had their applications denied! They might also themselves be too physically disabled and/or mentally/psychologically unsuited to take on additional responsibilities, or – as JoAnna rightly points out – may simply not have the time or the money to take on children.

    10. Not when Phil made that claim, Andre: “the fundamental reason for a lack of families is simple narcissism and selfishness.” He didn’t say “some families” or “some people.” He made a blanket statement.

    11. Before we encourage the increased breeding of more children, let’s FIRST take care of those which have been discarded.

      I don’t know if this will help you, but there is a difference between negative and positive commands. So, we must never do evil but we do not have to do every good.

      The positive good we choose to do is based on a prudential decision. Some will decide to adopt even a severely handicapped older child and others will decide to try to have another baby of their own. It is up to people in their freedom. It can’t be imposed on anyone.

    12. Matt 25: The Parable of the Goats and the Sheep….nothing could be clearer and more direct…is it a matter of choice? Did Christ give people the freedom to reject his direct command? Yes…but he also told them the clear consequence. Let’s not make excuses for the masses….those who are comfotable in their indifference!

    13. Is it a principle of moral theology to choose more kids rather than to foster or adopt a living, breathing one child that no one wants. I think not. I think the Goats and Sheep explains my moral point very clearly and I think his consequence ic quite clear. So the moral dilemma becomes have more or take good care of the ones we have that no one wants. What would Jesus do and by answering you solve the dilemma..

    14. It is a principle of moral theology to not do evil and to do good. Prudence is the basis by which we choose among the many, many good things we can do. A couple does no evil by not choosing to adopt but they can do good by doing so. They can also do good in many other ways.

    15. We, individually as Christians and collectively as a species do evil when we refuse to engage in the plight of the homeless, the hungry, the institutionalized, the naked….these are children without families and real homes. So yes, sir, we do evil and prudence is not an excuse of convenience. As long as one child is socially “discarded” we do evil and fail. Moral theology cannot contractdict the direct word of the Bible …sheep and goats there are only two choices and only one which is moral,

  5. Edward J. Pluchar

    Really enjoyed this post – thank you.

    We’re at five, open to more. It really is amazing to have a little society in your home.

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