Activism

Years after her own abortion, Nicole helped Janessa to choose life, thanks to ‘Adopt-a-Mom’

baby

In December of 2018, Nathan and Emily Berning were put in contact with a pregnant woman who had been evicted from her home and was living in her car in the middle of a freezing December. With no way to pay rent or even feed herself or her other children, she found herself scheduling an abortion. Nathan asked her what it would take to help her feel like she didn’t have to go through with that, and she said she needed to pay her back rent and get back into her home. Even though they didn’t have much to give, they helped pay for her rent so she could get back into her apartment — and she cancelled her abortion.

This was the genesis of Let Them Live (LTL), whose mission is to provide life-saving financial support to the 73% of women who have abortions because of financial burden. The Bernings started to crowd-fund money needed to tangibly help women choose life.  They knew of organizations that raised money to fund abortions, and they knew they could raise money to fund life.

The Birth of “Adopt-a-Mom”

Three years after the first mom canceled her abortion, LTL launched a direct sponsorship program called “Adopt-A-Mom,” which empowers individuals, churches, student groups, and communities to take on the financial burden of a mom they “adopt” during her pregnancy. In this unique one-on-one partnership, sponsors can closely follow their adopted mom’s pregnancy milestones. By way of the sponsor’s generous contribution, LTL provides much-needed financial, emotional, material and life assistance to the mother.

Let Them Live has created several unique ways for people to join the fight against abortion in a tangible way — and Carly Rejniak, the Adopt-a-Mom Program Manager, has developed this program which is one of the most intimate ways to directly rescue a life from abortion.

In May of 2021, Carly received a phone call from Nicole, a Let Them Live monthly donor who wanted to know how to help more. After their conversation, Nicole knew AAM was the perfect program for her to join.  Soon after, she was matched with a Let Them Live mom named Janessa.  

READ: Love Them Both: 6 pro-life ways to help a friend who’s considering abortion

Nicole’s Story

Nicole told Let Them Live:

In my early twenties, I struggled like so many young women do with navigating a broken world and I found myself pregnant. Devastated with no support, I found myself walking out of an abortion clinic, in a haze. The weight and shame of what I had allowed to happen felt like I had fallen into a deep, dark pit. A nightmare that I would never wake up from.

At first my life crumbled, as you could imagine, but slowly the grace of God worked on my broken heart, and I was able to start to heal. Many years (and four babies that I get to hold) had gone by with the sadness and guilt seeming like a distant haze instead of the walking nightmare that it had started as. Like most healing journeys, things can resurface, and old feelings can feel new at the drop of a hat. Luckily, God had given me better tools to handle it this time. With a lot of prayer, I asked God to guide me.

I had been scrolling through Instagram, while my kids were playing outside and the laundry was waiting for my attention, when Let Them Live popped up in my feed, asking for donations to help a mom that was in a crisis pregnancy. Nothing seemed so urgent to me at the moment. I sent a modest donation and then another and another. It felt like every time I looked at my phone that month, there was a mom that needed help. I couldn’t let myself pass up the opportunity to be a part of the solution and not another statistic.

Let Them Live was always so great at updating all the donors on the moms in their program and their weekly emails were so uplifting and full of hope. This is the type of organization I wanted to be a part of; I knew this is where I was being led. Let Them Live posted about starting the Adopt-A-Mom program and I immediately started to troubleshoot ways our church or bible study could financially commit to this. Every avenue seemed to have a roadblock. Feeling frustrated with my mission, I turned to prayer, and it was clear: it was my and my husband’s job to do this.

We jumped in with full commitment to this and have never felt better about our decision. Emily, Carly, and Hannah (to name just a few) were excellent stewards and it was truly a team effort in supporting the mom we had been matched with. We were blessed with being able to meet the mom and her beautiful baby boy.

My heart has been healed in ways words cannot express. Our family has grown, wounds have been mended and most importantly babies have been saved, all because of the work that Let Them Live tirelessly commits to every single day. I am convinced that programs like Adopt-A-Mom are the foundation of how to turn our culture into a culture of life.

So many girls like me could be saved from a life of regret by having organizations like Let Them Live thrive financially and creatively. This is the future of the pro-life movement. 

READ: Love Them Both: How to help a pregnant mother in a crisis situation

Janessa’s Story

After Janessa gave birth to her son, Let Them Live organized a virtual meet and greet so she could finally meet the people who selflessly empowered her to choose life over abortion. Janessa was so thankful, and shared her feelings with the LTL team:

Words truly can’t describe how grateful I am for the help I have received through Let Them Live. It has changed my life and has brought me peace and confidence in becoming a mom. Nicole lifted my financial burdens the past nine months and I am so thankful for her.

I grew up with divorced parents. My dad is diagnosed with schizophrenia and throughout my life he has been in and out of hospitals. There’s been restraining orders and a couple times he just up and left for months — other times, years. My mother, on the other hand, has been with the same man for the last 13 years. They never married because they can’t ever stay together for longer than a couple of months. He is an abusive alcoholic. You could say he’s helped raise me and my siblings but he’s done more damage than good.

When I had only $600 to my name, I made sure to get out of that house as soon as I could. I was definitely distracted with trying to keep my mind busy with things I shouldn’t have been doing. It’s what I thought happiness was.

I was always stressed about how I’m gonna come up with next month’s rent and my other bills. I felt like I had no one to ask for help because my family has always struggled with money. I did have a boyfriend at the time — he had no job — and I went to Planned Parenthood to get on birth control. I thought it was the responsible thing to do but they had told me it was too late and I was already expecting.

I thought that there was no way I could be a mom right now. Because of watching my parents struggle my whole life, I knew that when I had kids of my own they wouldn’t have to endure or experience anything I had.

At some point, with the encouragement of my boyfriend, I decided abortion would be my best option. I knew it was wrong and deep down it wasn’t what I wanted.

I turned to God for help, and He was listening. That’s when I found Let Them Live on Facebook.

They are truly doing God’s work and I am so thankful for them. Something in me has switched since then. I have completed a dental assistance program, got my radiology certification, and have had the opportunity to work in the field for a couple of months. My baby has given my life meaning and so much motivation to make sure he has a great one. I am registered to attend online classes at Snow College and want to continue my education to become a dental hygienist.

God is good and this journey has brought me so much closer to him. My baby boy is my happiness.

By sponsoring one mother, you are saying yes to countless generations who will be given a chance at life because of your heart to help one mother. The Adopt-a-Mom program is the vehicle our nation needs to help end abortion by assisting one mother at a time. For all inquiries, contact Carly Rejniak at carly.rejniak@letthemlive.org or click here.

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