Blog, Living in the Abundance of Christ

Celebrating 40, Because My Birth Mom Chose Not to Abort Me

It was 10 years ago when I spoke to her. I had long thought she had died, until a month earlier, when a Pastor in her area contacted my (adoptive) dad (who was also a Pastor). It was my biological mother. I wondered why, after more than 25 years, this was happening. I felt settled, and at peace. I didn’t harbor any bad feelings towards her. I knew as much about her as I felt I needed to. My younger sister and I had lived with her until I was 5 (and my sister was 3) and were placed in foster care, and later adopted. I concluded that maybe the contact was more for her benefit than for mine and I was O.K. with that.

It took me a while to muster the courage to speak with her. Eventually, I did. She was very hard to understand. She told me how she suffered a stroke when an ex-boyfriend beat her up, paralyzing one side of her face, making it hard for her to speak. Her life had been hard. I gave her my address and we exchanged photos and letters. I sent some of myself and my family, and she sent a recent picture of herself. The photo she sent showed evidence of the abuse she had endured, and a vaguely familiar person. I noticed her long nails, which she used to bite. It was something I remembered of her. She told me later that after the stroke she couldn’t bite them anymore.

It happened on one occasion, while we were talking, she spoke up saying “Your dad wanted me to abort both of you girls, but I wouldn’t do it.” “Thank you,” I said, “I appreciate that.” It seemed inadequate. What else could I say?

I was born 4 years after Roe v. Wade, and that would have been a tempting scenario. I have no definitive memory of my biological father, and remember moving place to place with my mother. She was older when she had us, having already had a whole other family before us and losing them to drug and alcohol addiction. She did not make an easy choice in choosing to keep us, nor was she equipped with everything that she needed to be a good mother.

Thousands of miles, and a life-time of her poor choices, had separated us. On our last couple conversations I tried to share the gospel with her. I prayed for her. Her care-taker called to let me know she had passed away. We were in contact for less than a year before she died. I hope she is at peace.

My sister, Shawna, on the left and me on the right. One of the earliest pictures we have.

I’m turning 40 this month, because my birth mom chose not to abort me. She could have chosen an easier way for herself, but she didn’t. And God’s sovereign mercy was shown to me, before I knew him, through her. 

Even though we recently celebrated the new year, 2017, I haven’t thought of a word. You know, everyone picks one word for the year, as like, their motto or motivation? I haven’t thought of one. Over the last month, as I I’ve been praying and contemplating this new year (and maybe trying to think of a word), I’ve had this nagging sense, and it is this: Don’t waste your life!

I may have had some inspiration from John Piper’s book title (although, I’ve only now started listening to it), but it definitely got me thinking. Life is valuable. I don’t want to waste my life on petty things or distractions. I don’t want to numb it away, throw it away, entertain it away, or waste it away on things that hold no eternal value. I do those things, I waste. And I want to waste less, and do things that matter, more.

I don’t need a cheap thrill or an adrenaline rush, or to travel the world to be more cultured. I don’t need to experience luxury, excess, and indulgence to know that I have truly lived. I want to live life with abandon when it comes to loving other people, giving selflessly, and proclaiming the gospel of Christ – who saves and redeems lives! I do not do all these things, and I do not live a life of abandon that always places the needs of others before myself. But I want to. I want to be more like Christ. I want to live with abandon for Christ.

I think back to that short season of being in contact with my birth mom and realize I may have needed it as much as she did. She was a reminder of God’s mercy towards me. God’s mercy has marked my life. From my birth mom choosing not to abort my sister and I, to placing me in a loving, adoptive family that allowed me to have a sense of normalcy and steadiness. As an adult, he called me out of a life of sinfulness, selfishness and indulgence, and turned my heart toward Christ, redeeming me. I am thankful for this redeemed life, and I hope that my life will be a testimony of God’s goodness, to others. And so, I haven’t thought of a word for 2017 (and as I enter my 40’s), but of four words: Don’t waste your life!  A motto worth living by, and with Christ’s help, a goal I aim to keep.

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Matthew 16:24-26

 

5 thoughts on “Celebrating 40, Because My Birth Mom Chose Not to Abort Me

  1. Our life journey is filled with many turns and a few speed bumps along the way. I am SO blessed that God chose us to be your parents…with all of our imperfections and unfinished growth…What a joy to look back and then look at the present and see what a beautiful kind articulate sensitive woman you have become. You inspire me and cause my heart to burst with pride … not for anything WE have done, but for what God has done in you and through you! Love you! 🙂

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