Just a “random thoughts” post, regarding something that’s been on my mind lately.

Around our area (perhaps a nationwide thing, I don’t know), we have an annual event known as “40 Days For Life.” During this 40 day period, abortion is a topic that is frequently discussed amongst church groups and other religious groups who are anti-abortion.  I really don’t know a whole lot about it, honestly, other than they are always looking for church members to join in prayer and peaceful protest sessions outside of abortion organizations such as the local Planned Parenthood.

Now don’t get me wrong here.  I am very pro-prayer and very anti-abortion.  I believe God can work miracles (each new life proves that!), and I believe life absolutely starts at conception.  A fetus, otherwise known as a little human baby formed in God’s own image, has a heart that beats as soon as 22 days after conception.  I was very blessed to be considered very high risk during my pregnancies.  I say blessed, because my condition meant that I had an ultrasound every single week, beginning at just 7 weeks gestation.  I had the amazing experience of literally watching my babies grow and develop each week.  It was one of the most incredible and memorable experiences I’ve ever had.  I saw the heart beating at 7 weeks.  I saw one suck their thumb at about 10 weeks.  I saw them playing with their fingers and toes, even while in the womb.  I saw them get upset and react when the ultrasound probe pressed a little too hard at 12 weeks.  Each baby showed different personalities and activity levels before the end of the first trimester.  Later, when the bumps, thumps, and movements were stronger, I felt an ever-increasing connection to this little one inside me.  It. Was. Incredible.  I had a life inside of me, I was responsible for the welfare of that life, and there was no doubting it.

We have also been blessed, thanks to an inability to have any more children biologically, by allowing God to lead us to adoption.  We may not have been willing to take that step without my unexplained pregnancy complications.  Because we allowed God to lead us, though, we have also been blessed with 3 amazing and beautiful children by adoption.  We were blessed to get to meet each of our children’s birthmothers, and learn about each of their situations.  Each situation was uniquely different, but each involved a mother who was at a point in her life where she felt she could not handle a (or “another”) baby–for whatever reason.  In addition, years ago, I also volunteered at a crisis pregnancy center, where our main goal was to educate woman on their options.  Because we were a Christian center, we focused on alternatives to abortion, of course, but we also educated women on the truths of what exactly abortion involved.  My experiences working with these women taught me that in almost all of their situations, there was not only a baby involved, but a woman who was struggling to make the best decision.  For many women, a lack of education regarding pregnancy or the options available forced them to base their decision on their own needs and desires.  The more we were able to educate and work with them, the more often their decisions would involve both them and their unborn child.  In every case, though, the woman wanted to be accepted, loved, and not judged, regardless of the decision she eventually made.

This is a topic that has been near and dear to my heart for many, many years.  My parents used to take in foster children for the state, and that likely planted the first seed that made me understand how important a life was.  I saw what could happen when a child was born into a home situation in which they were considered a burden rather than a blessing.  I saw premature babies whose mothers were drug addicts and/or alcoholics.  I saw newborns with concussions and broken bones from abuse.  I saw children who couldn’t walk from sheer neglect and lack of teaching.  I saw elementary-age children who were so used to competing with the dogs for the leftover morsels, they didn’t even know how to use a fork or spoon.  And those weren’t the worst of the cases we had.  It was heart-wrenching and eye-opening.

As we are getting into this year’s 40 Days for Life, though, every time I hear someone promoting it, I just can’t help but wonder….Of all the people standing out there praying, how many are willing to truly go the extra mile to help one of these women personally?  How many are willing to love the woman as well as the baby?  How many have offered to take a girl by the hand, when she may be at her lowest point, and help guide her and support her through that tough decision making process?  How many have ever offered to pick up a woman without transportation and give her a ride to pre-natal appointments?  How many have gone so far as to offer a loving, adoptive home to the baby, providing the woman with an alternative to abortion?  How many have offered to help an overwhelmed, frightened, single woman who may actually be willing to keep her baby, by providing some financial support, babysitting, and advice to help her raise that child?

Every time I hear a Christian preaching against abortion, I can’t help but feel for the woman who may be in that situation.  I realize that not everyone is called to adopt.  I realize that not everyone has the financial resources, or even the physical resources to support a young mother.  I realize that sometimes, prayer IS the ONLY option.  However, I also firmly believe that more often than not, it is our duty not to judge these women, but to love them just as much as their unborn children.  When a woman feels judged and misunderstood, she is often left feeling defensive, alone, and with no choice but to quietly end her pregnancy, in the hopes she won’t have regrets.  Imagine, however, if just one person got personally involved and offered love and support to that same woman.  When a woman feels loved, safe, and supported, even if she were to make a bad decision, she is much more likely to want to learn about and consider her options.  I have seen proof of this through our own adoptions.  One of our son’s birthmom was planning to fly to another state where late-term abortions were legal, but on a whim, she decided to call the first adoption agency in the yellow pages.  The voice on the other end offered just enough love and support that she was willing to at least explore the idea.  Sadly, knowing her baby was bi-racial, when she was given our profile, she gave it back to the agency counselor, explaining there was no way this “white” couple could love her “black” baby.  When the director assured her we could, she wanted to call and ask us personally.  She did, and we explained how we believe EVERY child is a blessing, created in God’s own image.  She eventually went on to choose us as her son’s adoptive parents, and because the original agency director simply showed the woman that she was every bit as important and loved as her baby, little A is here today.  This woman, who had come within days of aborting her unborn baby, eventually proved to us that she really did love him because she desired some contact after placement, just so she could know he was OK.  We e-mailed and exchanged pictures for almost a year until she felt enough peace to move on with her life.

While I think these anti-abortion events can do good things, and prayer can certainly be a good thing, if you are a participant in these events, please consider a way you can take a physical step toward helping a woman directly, in a way that will not leave her feeling condemned and judged.  If you are a Christian who finds yourself angry because a woman has chosen to have an abortion, please take a moment to put yourself in her position, think about the reasons she may feel she has no choices, and think about what you could do or provide to help her directly.  If you don’t know a woman personally, consider adopting a child, volunteering at a crisis pregnancy center, or even providing transportation services to a pregnant woman in need, thereby providing an alternative for a woman out there somewhere.

If you happen to be reading this and you are a woman experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, please know that there are MANY people out there who are willing to help you in many ways.  You do have options and you do have choices.  You may hear of many positives regarding abortion, but please be very careful and educate yourself fully before you go that route.  You can find others online, and you will quickly see that far more women go on to experience a lifetime of regret and pain from their decision to abort–far more than an abortion counselor will ever admit to.  Ask for a simple ultrasound–many crisis pregnancy centers offer this service for free–and take a look at that little miracle growing inside you.  Is it a perfect situation?  Perhaps not.  Did you bring it on yourself? Maybe, maybe not.  Is your unplanned pregnancy a punishment for you?  Absolutely not!  We live in a fallen world, where everyone makes mistakes.  Sometimes, we have unexpected consequences, and while an unplanned pregnancy may seem like a nightmare right now, you can rest assured that you do not have to be alone through this.  You may have to take some big and frightening steps, but you CAN find support.  There are people out there who will not judge you, who will support and help you, and if necessary, who are willing to adopt your baby.  There are many who are called to counsel, be a shoulder for pregnant women to lean on, help you with appointments, and sometimes even help with expenses.  There are people who desire to adopt babies of all races, and others who feel called to adopt babies with all sorts of disabilities.  I firmly believe that God created that child within your womb, and He has a plan for that child’s life–if YOU will allow Him to see it through.  He also has a plan for YOUR life, and while it may not seem like it now, He can help see you through as well!  God can take a seemingly-nightmarish situation and turn it into something amazing.  At least consider it.  Don’t rush into any decision, but take your time, do your research, talk to those you trust, pray about it, and see which option leaves you with the most peace.  If you truly don’t know which direction to turn, we are always happy to help in any way we can.  You can e-mail me personally at crmemory2 (at) yahoo (dot) com, and, if I am unable to help directly, then I am happy to put you in touch with someone who can.  Just remember, YOU are loved, and you do have options.  You just have to reach out to accept them!