Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your path. -Proverbs 3:5-6
I am an expecting mom. My baby is due in August. I am overjoyed. My story didn’t start like this, but I thank God every single day for the life He has given me, both my own and that of my child. My story may be very different from yours or it may be similar. I am a woman who has experienced abortion, miscarriage, and now 25 weeks of pregnancy bliss. Yes, it all happened in that order. Knowing what I know now I will never understand why, at 21 years of age, I chose abortion, but it happened. Here is my life lessons.
Rewind 12 years ago. I was living the life of a young and reckless 21 year old. I didn’t place very much value on my own life. I made poor decisions, struggled with depression, anxiety, and alcohol. I had quit college after two years and had no intention of going back. I didn’t have any life goals or plans for the future. Of course I wanted better, but I was just flying by the seat of my pants, doing what I wanted to do. That’s when I found myself 21, pregnant, and not in a relationship. I was terrified. I thought my life would be over, not that I felt I had anything going at the moment, but I was certain that if I had a baby then my life and any goals I had would be over. I told one friend I was pregnant and she suggested abortion. I never gave it a second thought. Within the week I was at the abortion clinic. If I thought my life couldn’t get worse, well, I was wrong. After my abortion, my depression, anxiety, and alcohol use became worse. I moved away from my family to hide it.
Fast forward 3 years. I finally wanted something more for my life. My sister was transferring colleges and asked if I wanted to join her. This was an answered prayer. I made the decision to move to a new town and moved in with my sister. My life began to take a turn for the better. I decided to go back to college and get my degree. I excelled, making the dean’s list. I started seeing a counselor and shared with my family that I had had an abortion and they still loved me. I never knew life could be so good.
Fast forward 5 more years, I married a wonderful man, who knows everything about me and still loves me. We knew we wanted children, but also wanted to enjoy the first few years of our marriage. After 3 years of being married, we decided to start trying. It did not come easy for us. We struggled for 2 years. I was certain that God was not granting me a child because I had had an abortion and this saddened me, especially for husband, because I felt I had taken something from him. He stood by me. After two and a half years, we conceived. We were on top of the world for two weeks, and then I miscarried. I was devastated. I thought surely God would give me this baby after what I have been through. I mourned the loss of our sweet baby. I mourned the loss of my baby 12 years ago. I mourned. My husband loved me through it all.
Fast forward 9 months. Our baby was due January 1, 2016. One week before our baby’s due date we found out we were pregnant again. I cried so many tears; tears of love, thankfulness, joy, and even heartbreak. Today we are 25 weeks pregnant. We are having a baby boy. I can feel the sweet miracle of his movements and think this is the most heavenly thing I have ever experienced. As I talk to God about this experience, I pray for both of the children I lost. I know they are in his loving care. I often wonder, “If only I had allowed myself to experience the heavenly and miraculous feeling of this beautiful life growing inside me.” Today, at age 33, I feel blessed that I have walked this path. Even when I thought God had left me, He was right there, through each moment, leading me to this.
For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me. -1 Samuel 1:27
Pregnancy is such an exciting time! You ﬁnd out that your family is growing by two feet and you eagerly anticipate a sweet little angel to love and care for from his ﬁrst breath through to all the days of his life. No one can tell you what to name him, no one held him before you did, no one made any decisions without asking you, and certainly no one harmed him. No one will be ﬁghting to get him away from you. Parenting is all about you and your preferences and your choices.
Not so much in foster parenting. When we were waiting for our ﬁrst placement as a foster home, we had no idea if it was going to be a boy, two boys, three boys, one girl, three girls, or a mixture of each gender. We didn’t know if they’d be babies, or a six year old. We didn’t know if they’d be dirty, fed, terriﬁed, or rebellious… Everything was completely out of our control.
When we did get our placement, it was a four year old boy, and his just turned two year old little sister. (For the sake of this post, we’ll call them Evan & Annie.) They were actually coming to us from a different foster home who could not care for them anymore. They had been in foster care for almost 18 months by that point after being taken from their birth mother when Annie was born addicted to methamphetamine. The state wanted to take Annie, and then checked the home and found a very dirty, and very neglected Evan as well. The ﬁrst foster home reported that Evan would take food out of the trash cans and store it for later. Annie had some delays and very crossed eyes, but overall was a content baby. As she grew older, the moderate developmental delays were becoming more and more evident. At two years old when she came to our home, she could not walk, and rarely smiled without a lot of coaxing. She had very low muscle tone and could not see well at all. She spoke no words, and needed braces on her legs. Evan was a very emotionally delayed child, often playing too rough and clearly didn’t trust us to do what was right for him or for his sister. This distrust was shown by extreme behavioral issues. We knew we were in for a long road of healing for both of these children. We had gone through hours and hours of training for this through the state, but only God could carry us through the time to come.
Something difﬁcult about foster parenting is that so many of the seemingly small decisions you make for the kids have to be cleared by another person. There were so many rules. And the paperwork… oh the paperwork for every little scratch and diaper rash was daunting. I remember when I picked Annie up from church childcare she had fallen and had a small scratch on her face and the childcare worker felt so bad because she knew that meant pages of paperwork! Let me tell you though, that Evan and Annie were/are so completely worth it. They certainly didn’t deserve to struggle daily with things that most children can’t even fathom.
Beyond all of those obstacles we were now facing, Evan and Annie were the loves of our lives from day one! We were hooked. In this situation, their biological parents’ rights were already terminated so we didn’t have to worry about them being taken from our home like many foster parents have to anticipate as a possibility.
After a short time, it was hard to get Annie to stop smiling! She got glasses, braces, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy and was ﬁnally getting the resources she deserved. Evan was loving his new community and family, soaking up all the attention he could get and he deserved it!
Being completely in love with these two amazing children who had so much stacked against them, I started to become very bitter about what their birthmother had done to them. The horrible choices she made were impacting these kids years after the were removed from her care, and my husband and I were left to pick up the pieces and try with everything we had to help them heal from their past. How could she do this? Why wasn’t Evan rescued earlier? It was heartbreaking. Through much prayer and begging of God, He brought healing to my own heart in regards to the birthmother. I knew that I was wasting emotions on being mad at the birth parents. I needed to focus on these precious children.
We wanted to adopt Evan and Annie and love them forever in our home. After months of paperwork and waiting for the system to pull through, we adopted them 9 days before our ﬁrst biological child was born. We are so thankful to have them. We wish that the world was not a place where children are treated so cruel, but we’re just so grateful to God that he gave them to us!
I can do all things through him who gives me strength.”- Philippians 4:13. I am an Army wife.
Seven years ago, after college graduation, I became an army nurse. While in the army I met my husband who was also in the army. In 2013 we got married. After four years and a deployment, I decided to get out of the army to live a life with my husband and have a family. A duo military family is tough; it comes with many months, even possibly years apart. I believed if one of us got out we would be a normal married couple who lives together in the same household, and to some extent that is true. We do live together but many months out of the year I am at home and my husband is away. I don’t keep track but it’s possible that in any given year we actually live and sleep together a total of 6 months out of the year.
In January 2016 God blessed us with a baby boy. My due date was actually in February, but our baby boy came 4 weeks early. Unfortunately my husband was away at training and was unable to come home. We currently live in Alaska so it is difficult for family to travel on short notice. So with the help and support of my military family we welcomed our baby boy into the world. “I can do all things through him who gives me strength.” I had to really grab onto that verse in January. Did I feel alone without my husband there? Yes. Was I alone? No.
I often struggle with feeling alone when my husband is away. Fortunately, God has blessed me with an amazing husband who reminds me daily that I am not alone. Whether he is near or far he is always here to support me and our family. With my prior military experience I understand the military lifestyle and how important it is to attend trainings, courses, deployments, etc. to advance your career. With that, though, comes family separation.
I need to stay strong not only for myself but for my family as well. I often find myself juggling my career as a nurse, taking care of the house and our dog, and now caring for our son without my husband at home. Not going to lie, it can be very difficult at times and sometimes I feel like I can’t do it. I have learned I have to lean on support from my family and friends to get through those hard times. Through this past month I have been blessed with countless amounts of support while my husband has been away. As I struggle with being at home alone I have to remember I am a not alone. I am a strong independent woman who finds strength in God, my husband, my family, and my friends.
Being a military wife and mom means embracing time together as a family. We celebrate our moments together. We are proud to serve our country in the military. Through our sacrifices, we find strength.
Our mission is to assist women and families in the Brookings area and SDSU who are experiencing unplanned pregnancy to explore choices by providing appropriate resources and support including counseling, educational programs, and mentoring.
CALL: (605) 692-1600
Life, Love and Lessons Series
Option 1’s "Life, Love, and Lessons" blog series provides small glimpses into the life, love, and lessons from a variety parents. Some may be just like you and some may not resemble you, but each is here to share their own journey.