In 1991, when I was only thirteen, my parents read in the local newspaper that a woman was prosecuting her father for 20+ years of sexual abuse, resulting in six pregnancies. The article explained that the first child was miscarried by physical abuse, the second was placed for adoption, and the four subsequent pregnancies were forced abortions to cover the father’s actions. The names of the father and daughter were also published, as the young woman was a grown adult at this time. At my birth and closed adoption, my adoptive parents were accidentally given a paper that had the names of my birth mother and her parents. These names matched those published in the news article. That could only mean that I was that one child, the only survivor of the six whose life was spared in this unimaginable situation.
I have always known that I was adopted. I didn’t, however, know the terrible circumstances of my conception until I was 30 years old. At this time, I had been married nearly 10 years to a Lutheran pastor (also an adoptee), and together we had a son who was four– also adopted. We were brought together by God’s amazing grace.
I did not begin asking questions about my adoption until 2008. It was something I had desired long before this time, but I was very concerned for the way that it could hurt my parents. I am thankful that my parents supported my desire to search, and offered me any information they knew about my biological family. This is how I learned of the horrible situation that plagued my birthmother’s life, shattering any fantasy I had ever imagined about why I had been placed for adoption. Although I believed I was ready to learn about my birth family, nothing could have ever prepared me for this. Through prayer, I moved forward with hopes of a reunion. With only the names of my birth mother and her family, I was able to locate her on social media in just two days. I reached out with little expectation of a response, but If nothing else, I simply wanted to say thank you for choosing life for me. Much to my surprise, I was welcomed with open arms.
This reunion changed my life, my families’ lives, and it gave me the closure that I needed. I never imagined the path that God was preparing me for. I found the God-given strength to be who He created me to be. Sometimes it takes a significant life event to gain clarity in our direction. I left a 10-year career and went back to college to get my master’s degree in social work so that I can help others each and every day. I began speaking publicly about my story (something I would have never done before) in order to bring light to the tragedy of abortion. I have been given immeasurable opportunities that were not afforded to my birthmother all because of her selfless decision to hide my pregnancy and place me for adoption. These selfless decisions not only changed the entire course of my life, but saved me from the abuse she herself endured.
In my birthmother’s case, abortion hindered her ability to seek justice and escape a life of unimaginable abuse. She was failed by so many that should have protected her, yet she was able to do this for me with the most selfless act of love she could have given. As her father took her to to the abortion clinic time and time again, he was able to destroy nearly every piece of evidence of his actions. The perpetrator is protected through abortion, not the victim(s), and it does not take away the act that happened against the woman. When we look at a situation where a woman becomes pregnant by rape or incest, and we justify an abortion as compassion toward the woman, we are neglecting compassion for the innocent child. In fact, abortion often adds further trauma.
My story is still unfolding, and although there have been many trials, this journey also brought a very special unexpected blessing to our family. Seven years post reunion, a member of my biological family came to my husband and I about adopting the baby that she was expecting. This was such an honor to be given this opportunity. Our daughter is now three and such a blessing to our family. All four of us were adopted and brought together as a family. Through adoption we share a common bond that can never be broken; each of us a gift to the other through sacrifices made by four women who chose life.