Over the course of my Sophomore and Junior years in college, I was raped and assaulted three separate times. Although at the time I did not address my hurt or seek help, I would later come to realize that these attacks would change the course of my life forever.
Fast forward a few years later, suffering shame, depression, confusion and fear I had dropped out of grad school. I was struggling to recognize myself in the mirror. In hindsight, I realized I was slowly slipping into a situational depression. I questioned God and his ability to protect me, his daughter. I found myself having flashbacks of the assaults and unable to have a healthy romantic relationship. I made one poor choice after the next until everything came to a screeching halt.
I bought three pregnancy tests and soon after found that my life changed. The indicator said I was 4+ weeks. God immediately was in motion. As I was getting off the phone with one of my good friends from work, my roommate, a budding therapist, walked through the door. She listened with the most non-judgmental ears I have ever talked to.
In the next month, still not showing any kind of bump, I started to share the news with the folks I was close with at work. Consistently, when I mentioned adoption the mood dramatically shifted into a guarded – worried feeling. They’d say things like “girl, be careful, you’ll regret that decision” or “you’ll change your mind when you see the baby!” At home when I mentioned anything about the pregnancy the conversation just stopped. As I looked around there was nobody in my corner consistently to simply talk through everything.
Over the next few months, I found myself in two different situations where adoption was being discussed. One was a random service that I attended while visiting a friend out of state. Another was while I was being prayed over and although I had already hesitantly decided for myself that I would parent this child, after this second encounter, I felt a peace that caused me to re-consider this decision. Ultimately I realized that when I considered parenting my little one my anxiety shot through the roof. The more I looked into parenting – the cost of child care, the emotional weight of raising an infant, the delaying of my aspirations, the battle I’d have over my past traumas – the more my anxiety would explode. When I thought about adoption I received peace. I recall reflecting on a sermon while talking with a friend. I vividly remember sharing with her that I felt by choosing adoption I would be allowing God to orchestrate the beautiful entrance of a child into a family’s life.
With my mind more clear in my decision, I met with a case worker at Lifeline that only dealt with birth mothers. As she and I talked, it was like we were old friends catching up. I told the case worker that I was evaluating a few different agencies with an open mind and would make the call later that week. She, very professionally, started to explain how Lifeline knows that God will intervene with whatever agency I chose. She said that Lifeline was confident that God would orchestrate a beautiful entrance of this child into a family that God has ordained to care for my child. She wrapped up and started gathering her things and asked if there’s anything else she could do for me. With tears in my eyes, I said, “yes, you can be my case worker!”.
I was eventually shown five families’ profiles. The very last book caught my eye. The way they had packaged it made it look like an Apple laptop. Inside the family seemed incredibly down to earth, fun, outdoorsy, and warm and friendly. On the last page, they described their nursery. They expressed their wish of having the picture of the birth mother in the nursery so that the child can know who their mother was and could see her picture every day. I started to cry in the middle of Panera during their lunch rush. The next week my case worker called me to tell me that the family had been alerted and that they were over the moon.
On the day that I went to meet the family, they greeted me with a bouquet of roses and a card. After several hours of talking and getting to know each other, there was movement in my belly and I wanted to share this with the family. To my relief, they were both pleased and excited to feel the baby move- and at this moment we exchanged a look that I will never forget.
In that one look, this unborn child was transformed from my burden to their blessing. On the drive back God provided the most beautiful vivid Sunset I had ever seen.
Laura’s story is one example of the many struggles that are encountered in unplanned pregnancy. This is not something that you have to face alone. As you are evaluating your options, let your choice be based on the long-term care of your child, not just the immediate. Friends and family are usually sincere in their desire for you to parent your child because they think it is best for you. Emotional support from the people close to you is a good thing, but ultimately this is your child and your choice to make. Let the long-term well being of your child be the highest priority.
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