Next week (January 22) is National Sanctity of Human Life Day, which happens to fall on the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the monumental supreme court case legalizing abortion. For some Christians this is just a week set aside on the calendar when the church recognizes the atrocity of abortion. The pastor preaches from Psalm 139 while citing a myriad of numbers and statistics. The congregation cringes, and then goes home to eat lunch.
For many parents, especially those who have been blessed by adoption and/or are parenting children with profound disabilities, this day is much more personal.
And while so much of the focus seems to be negatively propelled towards those atrocities (rightly so), my mind goes to a different place around this time of the year. Every year, on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I think about four very special women who made the extremely hard decision to choose life instead of abortion.
To the young woman who abandoned her baby boy to social services in the NICU where my wife works. You probably never knew that he grew up to be mentally and physically disabled, possibly somewhat due to your drug abuse and lack of prenatal care. A child should never have to deal with the suffering this boy has dealt with. Much of society thinks he would have been better off aborted. Thank you for giving him life anyway. He became my son and changed my life. He is still changing the lives of countless others who are discovering God’s grace and hope in disability through his amazing story.
To the woman who had two difficult pregnancies by two different men and watched as one of those men violently abused the children almost to the point of death. “It was the worst case of child abuse I have ever seen,” wrote the state prosecutor. “A child should never have to be born into that kind of environment.” Thank you for giving them life anyway. Those two backward and broken little boys became my sons and grew to be fine, strong, compassionate young men.
To the young woman on the other side of the planet in Guangxi, China who wrapped her newborn baby in a blanket and laid her on the busy street corner near the technical school in Beihai. I have often wondered what that moment was like for you. I know your choices were excruciating. Even the government was against this child being born to you. Thank you for choosing to let her live against all the odds you faced. She became my daughter. She is beautiful inside and out—probably much like you. We named her Hope because that is her story. Perhaps you will see her again someday on the streets of China and maybe she will share that story of hope with you.
To the woman from St. Louis, Missouri, who abandoned her infant son and his two older sisters, leaving them in the care of their paternal grandparents. I have often tried to understand your motives. I know your life was hard and you had little money and almost no support from the father of these children. I know you struggled with the decision to give birth to this last child because the days were so difficult. And even though I still cannot comprehend how a mother could abandon her babies, I know deep inside that you did the right thing.
Thank you for giving me life, and thank you for giving that life to the care of my grandparents. They raised me in a household of faith. It was under their care that I discovered the Defender of orphans, the Father to the fatherless, and the God who places the lonely in families.
To these four women who, through the most difficult of circumstances and the most horrific conditions, made the most unpopular decision to give life when abortion would have been easier—