Caroline was thirty years old when she found out she was pregnant for a second time. She had been in the military. She had done a lot of things that were risky, and made a lot of decisions she wouldn't have advised a daughter to make.
Yet she was shocked when she saw that she was pregnant again; and she was terrified . She had broken up with the father of her child, and her son at the time was only seven years old. Because she primarily raised Josh alone, she knew how difficult it was. She knew how much she could offer -- and she didn't think it was enough.
She knew her daughter deserved more than a single-parent home.
Caroline attended a Bible study at that time and there she met a woman who told her about open adoption. She learned very quickly that open adoption could be an empowering and life-affirming choice. Even though Caroline felt terrified, she felt better knowing she could give her daughter a better life than she could offer on her own.
The adoption center she was referred to was located not far away, in San Diego, CA.
With a leap of courage, Caroline contacted them. Soon she was meeting with the adoption director, with whom she shared her fears, concerns, and, most importantly, heard about the resources for her in her challenging situation. Finally, she heard one of the most amazing options--adoption, an open adoption, one where she could have contact with her child, while also letting her child grow up with the two parent home she couldn't give.
She couldn't understand exactly, but she left the adoption center feeling happier than she had in months.
Both she, and her tiny daughter, she realized, could be cared for.
At seven months pregnant, Caroline got to choose the couple who seemed best-suited to care for her daughter. In fact, it was less than five minutes after meeting them that Caroline knew they were the ones.
"Mark and Bethany are perfect; there are simply no other words to describe them," she has said again and again. And it's true.
Caroline has described Mark as being everything she ever wanted in a father herself. Caroline adored Bethany from the start, and for good reason. "She's like the sister I never had. Bethany was meant to be a mother. I'm so proud I was able to give [her] the gift motherhood."
We all want the best for our children. But we don't always feel we have the resource - or the options - to care for them the way we want to. We certainly don't always have the ideal situation. Yet Caroline can say with 100% certainty that she gave her daughter the absolute best when she placed her with Mark and Bethany. Caroline refers to the adoption like this: “Unlike abortion, I didn’t lose my baby: I gained a family through open adoption, and so can you.”
Second in a series
Gail Besse Ryberg profiled human trafficking victim Darlene Pawlik in an April 2017 article in the Hingham Journal, Speaker Shares Personal Story of Survival. This is an excerpt from that article.
Pawlik was conceived in rape, sexually abused by her father, and sold into prostitution on her 14th birthday. Pregnant at 18, she escaped from the man holding her when he threatened to kill her if she didn’t abort her child.
With help from a social worker, she made her way from Haverhill to Friends of the Unborn in Hull, a Christian-based crisis pregnancy center and sheltering home founded by Marilyn Birnie. Meeting Birnie changed Pawlik’s life.Read more
MCFL Speakers Bureau Profile: Ariana Gilbert
The following article originally appeared in the Spring 2018 issue of the MCFL News magazine, a perk of membership mailed out quarterly to all members.
How did your childhood affect your pro-life formation?
My parents are both pro-life and they discussed their beliefs with me from a very young age. My mom was young and single when she had me, and everyone around her said the best thing to do would be to have an abortion. Thankfully she reached out to a Pregnancy Resource Center (PRC) called Pregnancy Distress and they placed her with a family that she lived with when she was expecting me. They even helped her in the time right after my arrival when she was learning how to take care of me. I recently checked to see if that particular PRC is still operating, and I was surprised to find out that not only are they open, but they have five locations in the Greater Columbus Ohio area now called Pregnancy Decisions.
When I was two my mom married my dad (not biological), and I also understood that it takes a very pro-life man to treat a child that isn’t physically his own, as his own. I’ve been blessed that both of my parents modeled such strong pro-life values for me.
My family listened to Focus on the Family radio growing up, and they often had guests on the show who discussed the full range of pro-life issues, from conception till natural death. My church also supported a local PRC, which made me more aware of the resources available for women.Read more
The following profile of MCFL Board Member Danielle Cohn originally appeared in the Winter 2017 issue of the MCFL News magazine, a perk of membership mailed out quarterly to all members. (Pictured are Danielle, her husband Peter, and their daughter Clara.)
How did your growing up affect your pro-life formation?
I grew up in Dedham, Massachusetts, the youngest of five siblings. I was raised Catholic, though my father’s family is Presbyterian. I cannot say that I remember becoming pro-life, or really even learning about most of the life issues. My earliest memories of thinking about abortion are in high school, through our parish Life Teen program. However, the memory of that experience is not a strong one, and the experience wasn’t formative. As I remember it, being pro-life was more of a natural disposition, consistent with all of the values that were instilled in us as children – Christian values: seeing the dignity of every person and living in a way that honors that dignity.Read more
The following profile of MCFL board member Victor Pap appeared in the Summer 2017 issue of the MCFL News magazine, a perk of membership mailed out quarterly to all members.Read more