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“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” – Luke 15:21-24
August 29th of 2019 was one of the most important days of my life. It was the day I tested positive on two pregnancy tests. What then felt like the worst day of my life, I have now learned was one of the best. It was the day I began my journey home.
Up until this day I was living a lukewarm Christian life. I proclaimed the truth of the Gospel but did not honor God fully with my whole body and lifestyle. I happily went to church on Sundays and told others about Jesus, but also misused Scripture and treated God like a puppet. I thought that no matter what I did, God would forgive me, so it was “okay.” Looking back, I realize how wrong this ideology was. I was living a deceptive life to myself, and to those I most loved. But I learned that God cannot be deceived and He will not be mocked.
Two to three weeks after finding out, I mustered up the courage to tell my sister, Kaylyn. We wept together over FaceTime. She showed me nothing but love, compassion, and support. Early October was easily one of the hardest times of my life. It was during that time that I knew I needed to make a choice between two futures: 1) to keep living in deception about the person I had become and live a moderately challenging life, or 2) face the truth, repent to my Heavenly Father, tell my family, and be honest with, God, myself, and my family about the person I had become. I decided that although the latter faced tremendous immediate hardship, it would produce the most fruitful future of living in His love.
So, I repented to God. I went to each of my family members and told them the news. I gathered my pastor and a couple church leaders and shared the news. I stepped down from leadership in my Bible study.
READ: Unexpectedly pregnant at a Christian college, Kelly’s time of crisis led to ‘something beautiful’
Maternal hormones grew inside me and I went on to try to sort things out with the father of the baby. I knew I did not want to marry this man, but perhaps we could coordinate a decent coparenting structure. There were stories of successful coparenting, so perhaps we could work it out. But the more we discussed, the more I realized the baby’s father and I were not on the same page. He turned manipulative, and I began to see that coparenting would not be successful. This baby did not deserve a broken home of bitterness and tension. This baby deserved a home of love.
My family had brought up the idea of adoption as a potential option for the baby’s future. Nothing was forced on me. Everyone in my family wanted to help, love, and support me as I decided the best future possible for this baby. At the time, I thought that future was me. I could not fathom the idea of someone else becoming this baby’s mother, but I kept my heart open to the possibility.
November to December, the baby’s father stopped communicating with me. Adoption had been growing on me, and I shared the idea with Kaylyn. She and her husband, Jordan, lovingly offered to adopt the baby. We all recognized how hard it might be for me to watch my own child being raised by my sister and brother-in-law. I thanked them for the offer and kept my heart open to that possibility as well.
As I prayed about what to do, day by day, God softened my heart to adoption. The baby’s father no longer responded to my messages, so I decided to legally petition to remove his rights from interfering with any future adoption should there be one. He never responded to the petition and we succeeded with our legal proceedings.
October through January were easily the hardest months of my life. They were filled with uncertainty and relying on God to give me wisdom as I decided the future of my child. Deep down in my heart, I knew this my deserved a mother and a father under the same roof, who loved God and loved each other. That is what I wanted for this precious little baby. I knew I could provide a good life for her, but could I provide the best life?
I began to see the advantages of Kaylyn and Jordan adopting the baby: she would have a godly mother and father, and I would be her aunt, a part of her life. So, we dove into research. We investigated all the positives and potential challenges of adoption and sought professional counsel. I spoke to many birth mothers, some of whom regretted their decision and others who did not. We prayed and I devoted this child to whatever future God designed for her.
And God made a way. God continued to soften my heart to an idea that seemed completely unfathomable to me months prior. He made it clear to me that Kaylyn and Jordan would be the best parents for this baby girl growing inside of me. The end of February, I verbally committed to the adoption.
READ: Getting pregnant in college wasn’t the end of my story, but the beginning
On April 20, 2020, Tessa Lynn was born, during a global pandemic. Kaylyn arrived from Colorado just one day earlier, and was clearly meant to be present. I spent 30 minutes alone with Tessa after her birth and admired the miracle of life and the beautiful child who had grown in my womb, and then Kaylyn came back into the room and we celebrated together. What grace.
The week after Tessa’s arrival, my heart, hormones, emotions, and logic were all in battle with each other. Kaylyn and Jordan wanted me to make the decision of adoption a “second time” as they wanted me to come to a place of peace again after Tessa’s birth. There was no pressure in the request, but an honest desire that I be the one making the decision. We postponed the adoption for several days so I could clearly and confidently make the decision again. I prayed, spoke with my counselor, requested a lot of prayer, and lifted it all up to God. Once again, He made a way, and I received the reassurance I needed to decide on adoption again. On Tuesday morning of April 28, 2020, Kaylyn and Jordan legally adopted Tessa Lynn.
Today, I can confidently say God is so so good. This adoption has been more successful than Kaylyn, Jordan, or I could have imagined. There has been so much love in our relationships with Tessa and each other. We have visited each other multiple times and FaceTime regularly. I am blessed. My cup overflows. I have rededicated my life to Christ. Jesus is King and number One in my life in all things. In carrying and giving birth to Tessa, God birthed in me courage to walk obediently with Him. God grew courage where there was none.
2 Timothy 2:13 says, “If we are faithless, he remains faithful – for he cannot deny himself.” While I was faithless for many years, God was patient and faithful. Praise Him from whom all blessings flow.
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