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Jennifer Brinker is a reporter for the St. Louis Review and Catholic St. Louis.
Beats: Life issues, Young adult and youth ministries, liturgies and devotions
Geographic areas covered: Parishes and schools in the North City, North County, West County and St. Charles Deaneries.
Adoption is often described as a selfless act. It’s a gift when birth parents recognize the inherent dignity of their child — and if they’re not equipped to raise that child, they’re willing to place him or her in the loving arms of an adoptive family.
“I Lived on Parker Avenue,” a pro-life documentary released in March, details the dramatic cross-country reunion between then-Louisiana college student David Scotton and his Indiana-based birth parents. The film explores the life stories of David’s birth parents and adopted parents, and his mother’s experience at an abortion clinic when pregnant with David.
The Daughters of St. Paul and Missouri Right to Life will host a screening of the half-hour documentary Thursday, Aug. 23, at Pauline Books and Media in Crestwood. Maggie Bick of Missouri Right to Life learned about the film while attending the 2017 National Right to Life convention in Milwaukee.
“We loved it, of course,” said Bick. “There are a lot of things that hit me, especially when we witness at the (abortion) clinic. … Adoption is still that positive alternative to an unwanted pregnancy. This movie shows how (the birth mother) gave her child a chance to live, and look what he has done with it.”
An image from the internet-only documentary “I Lived on Parker Avenue.” The documentary details David Scotton’s reunion with his birth parents.Photo Credits: CNS photo/courtesy Joie de VieBenjamin Clapper, the film’s executive director and director of Louisiana Right to Life, met David Scotton when he shared his adoption story as part of a pro-life speech contest sponsored by Louisiana Right to Life.
“That was the first time he had told anyone outside of his family. He ended up giving (the speech) in front of his whole school,” Clapper said during in a phone interview from Louisiana. “David and I got to know each other. As we became friends he shared with me that he had heard from his birth parents via Facebook … He told me he was just thinking about going and meeting them for the first time. I nonchalantly said, ‘You need to have someone go with you and document this on video. How neat would that be to see?’”
Clapper said another reason for doing the film is to address the declining number of adoptions in the United States. The National Council for Adoption has reported that the total number adoptions taking place in the U.S. has fallen, from 133,737 adoptions in 2007 to 110,373 in 2014. More than half of the decline has been attributed to a significant drop in the number of intercountry adoptions by Americans. There is also a significant decline in the number of kinship or related adoptions, the council reported.
“We felt something had to be done to reclaim the beauty of adoption,” Clapper said. “Especially from the birth parents’ side … adoption is not an exciting option and something that people are interested in choosing. The film shows the difficulty and anguish that the birth mother went through when she made the decision to adopt over abortion. We want to acknowledge the heroism involved in choosing adoption.”
Missouri Right to Life and the Daughters of St. Paul will facilitate a discussion after the Aug. 23 film screening. There also will be information about the Archbishop Robert J. Carlson Adoption Fund. Supported in part by the Annual Catholic Appeal, the fund is administered by the Office of Natural Family Planning and provides grants to couples in the archdiocese who are seeking to adopt a child.
Pam Fichter of Missouri Right to Life said she, too, hopes the film will add to the positive message about adoption. “Society is impacting your thoughts — your moral conviction is being challenged daily,” she said. “Everything around you is challenging what God has naturally put in your heart.”
WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 23
WHERE: Pauline Books & Media, 9804 Watson Road in Crestwood
MORE INFO: A discussion of the film will take place after the screening. It also can be viewed online at www.ilivedonparkeravenue.com. Call the Daughters of St. Paul at (314) 965-3512 for more information.
The Archbishop Robert J. Carlson Adoption Fund provides grants to couples seeking to adopt a child. Eligible applicants include those who have adopted within the past year of the application deadline and those pursuing adoption. Preference is given to couples who experience infertility and to practicing Catholics and Christians.
To request an application, call the archdiocesan Office of Natural Family Planning at (314) 997-7576 or email [email protected]. The deadline for applications is Nov. 1.
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