ThanksWeek rolls on here at the blog, where I’m dusting off some old posts and sharing them one more time.
Today’s gratitude check? My daughter. And my daughter’s birth parents. Here’s their story, which originally appeared on January 23, 2012.
Yesterday was the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, as well as the observation of what the evangelical church refers to as Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. For 19 years of ministry I’ve observed SOHL Sunday. I’ve prayed on it, read scripture for it, written about it, and in one semi-odd occurrence, participated in a skit about it. But for the first time yesterday, I experienced it in a brand new way.
Yesterday I realized that our family has a daughter because her biological parents chose life. She was conceived out of wedlock, born into poverty, and could have easily become a statistic. Mainstream society wouldn’t have batted an eyelash if they had chosen to abort rather than to bring a child into an unsure situation.
Thank God they didn’t pick that option.
A few months after our daughter was born – when they realized that they could no longer care for her physically or financially – they selflessly allowed her to be adopted. They chose her needs over their wants and gave her a second chance at life.
Thank God they did.
Last night I read my sweet Haven a bedtime story, I prayed over her, and I held her for a moment longer than usual in my arms. The full weight of reality sunk in – I was able to put my daughter to bed because her birth parents refused to take the easy route. She was in my arms because they released her from theirs.
Had they chosen the road that “made sense,” my family would have been robbed of one of our greatest joys. I wouldn’t be able to hold her when her fever hit 104° from a bout with pneumonia. I wouldn’t be able to experience the sheer bliss of messy kisses from Cheerio-coated lips. I wouldn’t come home to a beautiful brown-eyed baby girl reaching up with chubby hands and excitedly calling out “Daddy!”
There will be those who would criticize this post. There will be detractors who would argue that a termination of an unplanned pregnancy was the wisest choice. There will be people who will say that for every story involving a “Haven,” there are hundreds of other children that won’t be put up for adoption but also can’t or won’t be cared for by their birth parents.
And to those critics, I will say that I do not have all the answers. I am neither an expert ethicist nor an astute apologist. But I do believe in life. I do believe that every child conceived has the right to live. I do believe that the Bible is mankind’s highest authority, and while we may not always agree with it, we must always submit to it. I do believe in the sovereignty of God, and I do not believe that any pregnancy – planned or unplanned – is a mistake.
As I type, my mind is filled with images of families throughout our church who have children because the birth parents chose not to terminate the pregnancy.
I think of parents of special needs children – children with severe mental and physical deformities that were detected in utero – and the parents’ refusal to abort because it was “easier.”
I think of dear friends that I’ve prayed for this weekend who have been told that their unborn son will have no viability outside the womb, and yet they are letting the pregnancy go to term because they know that they are not the authors of their child’s life, but they serve and fear a God who is.
I think of childless couples in our church who have saved for adoption and completed home studies and and ready, willing, and able to help a child – any child – regardless of age, race, gender, disability, or need.
I think of couples that I’ve met with who have experienced the aftermath of abortion firsthand. The decision that once “made sense” is one that now haunts them. And while God freely and generously offers forgiveness, grace, and mercy to those who run to him, they still struggle greatly with that painful part of their past.
This year more than ever, I’m grateful for life. I’m grateful for two selfless parents that gave my little girl a chance to live. And I’m more committed than ever that Christ’s church must stand in the gap to defend those who cannot defend themselves.