By Jacqueline Dantagnan, Guest Column
Mahatma Gandhi, a peaceful civil rights activist, once proclaimed, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” This fall, Archbishop Chapelle High School students were challenged to be that change.
While celebrating Pro-Life week, the student body was privileged to view a presentation by young adult David Scotton that included the documentary, “I Lived on Parker Avenue,” chronicling his adoption experience.
Adoption is commonly portrayed as rare or inferior to having biological children. Various articles, documentaries and movements in general describe pro-abortion motives and why it is practical to choose abortion instead of considering other options.
During the presentation, Chapelle students came to know the story of David, who was conceived through an unexpected pregnancy. His parents were only 18 when given the news that would alter their lives completely. Terrified, they initially felt their only option was abortion, considering their lack of financial security, age and positions in life.
After their arrival at the abortion clinic, a black sheet was thrown over the mother’s head to prevent her from witnessing the pro-life supporters outside of the entrance. As she waited patiently for the doctor to perform the procedure, she suddenly had a drastic change of heart. She left the clinic and chose to have her son – choosing the beautiful gift of life. Ultimately, David’s birth parents decided to place him for adoption. This resulted in Susan and Jimmy Scotton of Louisiana getting a chance to welcome a new baby, David, into their lives more than two decades ago. The Scottons, David’s adoptive mother and father, had tragically lost two children prior to David’s adoption, so they were grateful and ecstatic to receive a phone call from the adoption agency stating that there was a child for them.
A meeting unlike any other
Fast forward years later to when David received a Facebook message and a letter requesting a meeting with his birth parents. After pondering the request, David decided to respond and meet them both for the first time.
The shock of the meeting was palpable, and David expressed gratitude by thanking them for choosing life and giving him the chance to become who he is.
That emotion-filled day transformed the lives of both families in profound and powerful ways.
This documentary was especially meaningful for our Chapelle family because Susan Daigle Scotton is a graduate of the class of 1975.
Susan spoke after the film, and students responded with overwhelming compassion and amazement.
“I do believe that this was a positive experience because it opened up my eyes to the possibility of adoption later in life,” sophomore Brenna Macaluso said. “I felt that this was more of an uplifting and positive way to discuss the topic even though it can be negative.”
Abortion can be described in many different ways, but the positive perspective of promoting adoption rather than discussing the negative effects of abortion was inspiring for Chapelle students to witness and appreciate.
“With a 3-year-old at home and the birth of my unborn child approaching quickly, I could never imagine not being pro-life,” said social studies teacher Kati Kelley. “The joy children bring – natural-born or adopted – outweighs anything else in life. I’m fortunate enough to work at a school that holds pro-life events and activities that help promote the pro-life message.”
Our students and faculty work year-round to reinforce the message David and his family brought by hosting pro-life events such as the spiritual adoption of unborn babies, bake sales, diaper drives and more.
Mothers are the people most affected by this issue and the ones having to make these choices about adoption. Our school clubs and organizations complete projects and dedicate time to the mothers who seek help and need assistance in deciding the right path to take.
Jessica Dupré, eighth grade religion teacher stated, “What struck me the most about ‘I Lived on Parker Avenue’ was the sacrifice of the mothers – those sacrifices made by David’s birth mother as well as his adoptive mother. To put their son before themselves was truly remarkable. They both were asked to trust in their own ways and answered ‘yes’ to that invitation.
“The advice I would give to the future mothers of this generation would be never to get swept up in our own selfish desires, especially with living in a culture that sees diminished value in personal responsibility and no value in suffering.
“On the contrary, we must remember that Christ is the ‘divine physician,’ and he’s asking that we let him step into our fears and shame to get his hands dirty. He ‘came that we may have life, and have it in abundance.’”
All mothers have a choice – not necessarily among the popular opinions – but to provide life to unborn children.
As future leaders of our own generation, we must do everything we can in order to change the perception of pregnancy and the value of life.
Life is a precious gift that we as humans should not, under any circumstances, take for granted. Passionate individuals are ready to conquer this issue through documentaries such as “I Lived on Parker Avenue” and, more generally, through the help of others.
Families such as the Scottons are ready to communicate their passionate efforts to schools and communities across the country who are ready to stand with them on this issue.
When coupled with our own efforts, we can achieve greatness as a pro-life generation and truly be the change we wish to see in the world.
Jacqueline Dantagnan is a junior at Archbishop Chapelle in Metairie.