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"A Celebration of Life" Sharing Banquet 2003
Dobson to Share His Passion for Life and Adoption
When you hear the name Ryan Dobson, the name may ring a bell. The last name, that is.
His father, Dr. James Dobson, is a well-known Christian psychologist and radio personality whose books on family and child-rearing have influenced millions of people. His wife Shirley Dobson is familiar to people as an author, speaker and chairman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force.
33-year-old Ryan Dobson, one of James and Shirley's two adult children, has recently stepped out from his parents' shadows and into public view. His first book, Be Intolerant: Because Some Things are Just Stupid, deals with why Christians should not be afraid to be labeled as "intolerant" and went on sale just last month. He also has become a sought-after speaker with youth-oriented ministries and pro-life groups.
Dobson will be speaking in Celina on October 28 at Romer's Catering and Entertainment Facility, trying to help raise money for Harbor House Maternity Home and Elizabeth Pregnancy Services at their annual banquet.
His involvement with the pro-life movement is a natural--and not just because of Dobson's Christian faith. He was adopted when he was 6 weeks old.
Although the adoption has never been publicly disclosed by his parents, Dobson claims that he was never surprised by the fact since his parents told him about it at an early age.
Many adopted children seek out their biological parents once they are old enough to do so legally. Dobson said he never has had the desire to find and meet his birth parents, chiefly because many such reunions, he believes, do not live up to expectations.
"I hear a lot of adopted kids talk about feeling that something is missing in life, about not being wanted. I say, 'Do you understand the lengths parents go to adopt?'"
"It's so much harder to adopt," Dobson continues. Adopted children "are wanted more than anybody, loved more than anyone."
Dobson said he "fell into" his partnership with maternity homes and pregnancy centers "because I feel so strongly about their work."
Most maternity homes, including Harbor House, offer their services to steer women away from abortion and towards parenting or adoption. Pregnancy centers like Elizabeth Pregnancy Services help provide tangible things for pregnant clients, like free pregnancy tests, baby items and maternity clothes.
But it all takes money since the local ministries do not charge for their services (although Harbor House will soon implement a sliding fee that it hopes will cover some of the expense of housing girls). The two local ministries rely strictly on private donations, refusing to take tax dollars or public funds to avoid being controlled by government restrictions.
Since abortion was made legal in the United States in 1973, the adoption rate has plummeted. According to the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse (naic.acf.hhs.gov), less than two percent of unmarried women place their children for adoption.
The numbers of teenagers choosing adoption has decreased even more dramatically as the stigma of teen pregnancy has dimished over the past 30 years.
Even so, the local maternity home--which houses only teenagers--has had a nearly 40% adoption rate for residents since 1995 according to Doug Eberle, Executive Director. The reason? "The residents are not swayed by peer pressure, and they have almost constant counsel reminding them that their decision should be based on what's in the best interest of the baby. Usually, when examined under the light of reality, they realize that adoption is the best choice for both them and the baby, based on where they happen to be in life."
"No one can nor should be coerced into adoption," he continued. "Girls who choose parenting are given the same love and support as girls choosing adoption." But he cautioned that parenting as a teenager is difficult without support.
"We are unashamed about being pro-marriage," Eberle also stated. "Marriage is God's design and it is a good design. Statistics show that almost all teen parents live in poverty, and single teen parenting tends to pass on to succeeding generations. If a pregnant teen does not choose adoption, then marriage should be considered as the other good option."
Dobson agrees. "When I see 14- and 15-year-old girls who are pregnant talking about keeping their babies, I tell them, 'Give yourself a chance. Finish school, go to college, and give your baby the best chance possible.'"