Above, David Scotton
March 2018 – The voices were loud and unrelenting, even before the car door opened. Abortion clinic workers rushed to Melissa’s aid with blankets to hide her and radios to muffle the voices. It was useless; the voices of pro-life advocates penetrated the blanket and pierced her heart.
Melissa entered the safety of the clinic on Parker Avenue, but she could not escape one echoing statement: “Your baby has ten fingers and ten toes, and you’re going to kill it.”
As the doctor placed her feet in the stirrups to begin the procedure, she bolted upright and cried, “I can’t do this. I just can’t.”
She dressed and quickly exited the clinic – alone.
No blanket for privacy, no radios, no escort to her car. Melissa faced those voices again – alone, assuming they all thought she had killed her baby.
But she did not abort her baby that day in 1993. In fact, eventually Melissa gave birth to a healthy boy who was lovingly adopted by Jimmy and Susan Scotton of New Orleans, Louisiana.
At age 19, their son, David Scotton, grappled with God’s plan for his life. A remarkable film, I Lived on Parker Avenue, recounts Scotton’s journey to meet his biological parents and the miracles he uncovered in the process.
AFA Journal talked with Scotton about the film and his passion to promote the pro-life option of adoption.
AFA Journal: First, tell us about your mom and dad and their support for this journey.
David Scotton: There is no more shining example of someone who resembles the love of Jesus Christ than my adoptive mom. She always chooses to love. She always lives her life for the greater glory of God, and I can ask for no greater model than that.
She was more excited for this journey than I was! She was ecstatic to have the opportunity to thank Melissa for the gift of her son. My dad was excited too. He’s far less emotional than my mom, as everyone will see when the film releases.
I wasn’t allowed to be in the room when the director was interviewing anyone. And when I heard his interview in the film, it was incredible. He was so excitedly vocal and supportive. It was beautiful to see my parents sitting there together in that clip, sharing how excited they were to thank Melissa.
AFAJ: Was anything important left out of the film?
DS: What is so exciting about this film is that it shows almost everything, so viewers get to see the raw emotions in real time, of my biological parents, my “adoptive” (true) parents, and me.
But there is a particularly special part of the story that was left out of the film. Back in 1993, the adoption lawyer called my parents to say my biological mother, Melissa, had a question to ask my mom.
My mom was really nervous and totally unsure when Melissa called and asked, “When you go fishing, who baits your hook?”
My mom responded honestly, “When we go fishing … I always bait my own hook.”
At that moment, Melissa said, “Good, then you’re the one I want to be the mother.”
AFAJ: Have you stayed in contact with your biological parents since the film?
DS: After we went to Indiana to meet them, my biological mother and her family came down to visit in New Orleans. They got to see our lives down here, so it was neat that we both got to discover what each other’s lives were like.
The whole point of this meeting was to thank them for choosing adoption – their courageous and tough decision, which gave me the amazing parents and grandparents I have today. Since then, we’ve also kept in touch through texts and Facebook messages.
But it is important to me personally that I also keep my life as it is here. My parents are Jimmy and Susan Scotton, right here in New Orleans.
AFAJ: Explain how your faith impacted this process.
DS: My relationship with Christ and my church community made me who I am. If it were not for St. Augustine’s in Metairie, Louisiana; Jesuit High School in New Orleans; and parents and grandparents who taught me the value and importance of faith, I do not think this film would have happened. However, my relationship with Jesus Christ played a huge role in deciding to do this.
When Ben Clapper, the executive director, came to me back in 2011 with the idea to film this reunion, I was not immediately excited. However, after praying about it for months, I realized this was God’s plan for me. We had an opportunity here to really make an impact on this culture about the power of adoption.
AFAJ: What about people without a positive adoption story?
DS: This whole experience has truly been eye-opening. It’s taken me on an incredible journey and given me an opportunity to hear and learn from so many other people about their stories and how they perceive adoption.
First, I would pray for those with negative experiences. Second, I would thank them for what is an incredibly tough decision, but a loving decision.
AFAJ: How has this journey changed you?
DS: This is my favorite question. This journey has been amazing. It’s matured me. It’s made me realize how much impact even one story can have if simply shared. It made me realize the importance of being yourself and sharing who you are.
It’s also made me realize how much work needs to be done to address the stigmas behind adoption – that the adopted child is somehow lesser of a child than a biological child, and that an adoptive parent is somehow not the “true” parent.
AFAJ: Do you feel a distinct calling on your life?
DS: I just live my life every day for the greater glory of God. So, if this film can help one woman in an unplanned pregnancy learn the truth and beauty of the adoption option, this entire process was worth every ounce of frustration, effort, and expense.
I was given the chance to live on Parker Avenue, and the more people we can share that adoption message with, the better. Thousands of unborn babies are not given the chance I was given. I have my biological parents and the adoption option to thank for that. I consider it a duty that I’m excited to perform, to share this message – that’s my calling, that’s my purpose.
AFAJ: Finally, in one sentence, speak to someone in a situation like your biological mother that day on Parker Avenue.
DS: We love you, and we love the unborn baby inside you; there is another option.
▶ Learn more about this powerful pro-life film and how to see it at ilivedonparkerave.com.
▶ The Christian Alliance for Orphans (cafo.org) connects almost 200 respected organizations with churches to share information about family preservation, foster care, and the adoption option.
▶ A Broken Mirror by Sara Berry chronicles another real-life story similar to David Scotton’s. Available at afastore.net.