Many women facing an unexpected pregnancy are unaware that they have another option beyond parenting or abortion. Lifeline’s pregnancy counselors work hard to train pregnancy resource centers and churches in another life-giving choice for these pregnancies: adoption. For many women, like Laura*, this is not an option they are educated about. As they learn more about the adoption option, this becomes one they consider for themselves and their child.
When Laura first found out she was pregnant, she was devastated. She describes it as “the worst time of my life” or “a nightmare.” She found out she was pregnant at almost 11 weeks during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and also lost her job in the same week. She knew she could not care for a child and did not want to face her family and tell them of the pregnancy. So, she started down the only path she knew.
She scrambled for phone numbers to abortion clinics. She found a clinic in another state that could perform an abortion up to 22 weeks. She said, “Nothing about going that route or considering that option felt right.” Yet, she knew parenting was not an option. Before she left with the abortion pill, she demanded to see the sonogram. When Laura learned she was carrying twins, she burst into tears because she is a twin herself. She got out of that clinic as quickly as she could.
Considering adoption as another option
Still feeling as if abortion was not right, but also knowing she could not care for two sweet babies, she left uncertain of what she would do next. Thankfully, her family did find out about her pregnancy, and they gave her the encouragement she needed to consider adoption. After a family member told Laura about Lifeline, she was partnered with Jenna, a pregnancy counselor who lived close by. Jenna offered to meet with Laura as often as she needed to think through parenting and adoption, and make what she felt was the best decision for herself and her babies.
It was during this first meeting that Jenna shared the gospel with Laura, as well. They talked about the weight of shame Laura was feeling and how all the paths she had followed in search of wholeness had left her in this broken place. Instead, Jesus was offering her forgiveness and wholeness right now, and Laura accepted that forgiveness. This changed her entire perspective on her pregnancy and hope for her future!
She was able to hold on to the peace of God as she weighed her many factors. With God’s peace and Jenna’s support, Laura made the decision that adoption was the best life for her children. Then Jenna and Laura began talking about what Laura desired in an adoptive family, and she was connected to one that fit those desires. As the months went by and her due date approached, Laura worked with her pregnancy counselor to think about her hospital time, as well.
Walking through adoption with support
For Laura, this is when she felt “all the questions started coming.” Would I be alone during hospital time, because of COVID? Will the adoptive parents be at the hospital? How would I feel afterward? Will I still have support after placing? Should I parent or is adoption really best? “Jenna reassured me that this was my plan and that it was OK to feel whatever I was feeling. We made my ideal plan and played the rest of it by ear (due to COVID). I would not be alone.”
And she wasn’t. Not only did she have the support of her pregnancy counselor, but she also had the support of Lifeline staff and her twins’ new adoptive parents. After being connected with Lifeline, these adoptive parents, Tanya and Barrett, received a thorough home study and extensive education on adoption, prenatal trauma, open adoption, birthparent relationships, and more. While adoption used to be a secret process that was not discussed, now all adoptions through Lifeline are open for communication, unless the birthparents do not request it.
Laura said her situation “has now ended in a beautiful story and blessing for so many people involved. Not only do the parents finally have what they have always wanted—children—[but] I get to see them grow and be involved with the open adoption plan we have created with the help of Lifeline. I have gained two friends in Tanya and Barrett.”
This type of open and loving relationship is a priority to Lifeline’s adoptive parents, who are considered ministry partners. While Lifeline serves women in unexpected pregnancies considering adoption, adoption is not the goal when meeting with these precious image-bearers. The goal is for them to know Jesus, the one who overcame the shame and took the curse for them. In Laura’s case, the new lives of the babies are to be celebrated, and we can rejoice in the new life Laura has as a new sister in Christ.
Prayerfully, these babies will grow up to be made a new creation in Christ, as well. Lifeline’s adoptive parents know that they are not only called to disciple the child in their home, but also minister to that child’s birth parents. Through adoption, they are not only adopting a child, but welcoming a relationship with that child’s mother or family, as well. We’ve found that this type of openness (however it may look for individual families), is healthy for the child, the family, and the birth family.
Adoption, like parenting or abortion, is not without grief and loss. Yet, the support provided through Lifeline’s continued post-placement support for birth families and post-adoption support for adoptive families, as well as support by the local church, helps all members of the adoption triad to heal and thrive.
“As far as myself personally,” shared Laura, “the girls have taught me so much about myself and where I want to stand in my life. The smallest decisions can impact so much whether they are good or bad, and sometimes the bad decisions can teach you more than the good. I can now see the bigger picture meant for myself and those sweet girls. I see a bright future ahead for [them], their mom, dad, and their entire family. I can’t wait to witness it . . . I plan to find a church, and I know that through prayer and his Word I have peace. I chose life for them, and I want to say thank you to those precious girls for also giving me life.”