As a suicidal teenager, Rebecca Crist thought abortion was her only choice. When Crist learned she was pregnant, she had just ended a relationship with her boyfriend due to his alcoholism. Her unplanned pregnancy devastated her.
“He promised he had stopped drinking,” Crist, now 74, told The Epoch Times. “After he showed up drunk three nights in a row, I told him we were finished, and he was to stop contacting me. For the first time in five years, I knew it was finally over.”
She spent the first three months of her pregnancy in denial. She had wanted to go to college, did not want to marry the birth father, and had moved back into her parents’ home following spinal surgery. Her father, however, was also an alcoholic, and living with him had become stressful. She felt completely helpless and depressed, and wanted to die.
“I got in my car and took off, thinking I would just end my life,” she said. “I drove and drove and didn’t know where I was. I was trying to decide what I could hit, to put an end to everything, when I almost hit what looked like a man walking on the side of the road. I heard a thump, and was horrified to think I may have hit him.”
Rebecca pulled the car over and searched for whomever or whatever she had hit, but she didn’t find anything. Through tears, she came to the realization that though she didn’t want to live, she had “no right to kill this innocent baby.”
“In an instant, an unexplainable peace seemed to wrap itself around me,” she explained. “The tears stopped and I headed for home, feeling like everything would work out somehow.”
As she drove, she prayed, and the next day, her brother’s wife called and invited her to move in with them while she decided what her next move in life would be. Her brother was a medical student, and Crist helped care for their daughter and the children of other medical students. She knew that she did not want to have an abortion, but she also knew she didn’t want to go back to her ex-boyfriend or share custody with a struggling addict. There are stories in which both men and women struggling with addiction have been able to turn their lives around thanks to their unexpected, unplanned babies, but Crist made the decision she felt was best for her, and for her preborn child.
Crist decided on adoption, requesting that the adoptive parents be Christian and love music and sports like her own family did. She thought of herself as “a ‘vessel’ that God was using to answer the prayers of someone else.”
Because of her previous spinal surgery, Rebecca had a c-section, and her brother was there with her for the delivery. When she learned the baby was a boy, she began crying. Her brother held the baby boy, and left the room with him.
Rebecca didn’t see her son again for 28 years.
She moved forward with her life, marrying another boy she had known from high school and welcoming two daughters. When she told her now-husband about her son, he said he felt the man she thought she had hit with her car that night was probably an angel. As her family grew and made a few moves, Rebecca always informed the social worker who arranged the adoption of their new address, hoping her son would try to find her one day.
When her daughters were old enough, she told them about their brother.
“The oldest sat there and cried, and the youngest was so astounded… then said all her best friends had a brother and she always wanted one, too,” Crist said. “I told her I promised God I would not interfere in his life, but if he wanted to find me, I made it possible for him to do so.”
It would be another five years until her birth son, Steve, then 28, reached out. He was the divorced father of a five-year-old boy and a three-year-old girl. He asked Crist if she had ever considered abortion. “I told him I never gave that a thought,” she said.
“It always astounded me how a decision to place a child for adoption seemed far worse than killing one in the womb,” Crist said about the stigma surrounding adoption over abortion. “[… A] human is created the moment the egg and sperm united; what is created at that exact moment is the person he/she will be at birth, when he/she is 10, 50, or 100 years old.”
After a three-hour phone conversation, Crist made plans to meet Steve in person. Nervous and excited, Crist was finally hugging her son for the first time, and their new relationship began. They went together with Steve’s children to meet his sisters and the rest of the family, and he “fit right in.” Soon, Steve’s birth father, who never knew about him, learned about Steve and wanted to meet him as well.
Twenty-five years later, Steve has become an important member of his birth family, acting as groomsman at his sister’s wedding, taking vacations together, and attending graduations.
Crist has also written a book, “A Journey to Blossom,” which tells the story of life inside the womb, and is geared toward children to pre-teens. She said that her faith helped her get through tough times and helped her understand that life is sacred — including her own.
“I memorized several Bible verses that helped me navigate through so very difficult times later in life,” she said. “I learned to pray to God and believe that He was listening, no matter what I had to say. I also learned to believe that God always loved me, even if I didn’t feel lovable.”
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