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Archive for November, 2016

Adoption: A beautiful plan

boy-with-glasses-for-adoption

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

This is Rachel Lehr’s life verse, and with good reason.

Rachel had a chance of not being born at all. Her birth mom became pregnant at age 18, and her boyfriend pressured her to have an abortion. Her aunt found out about the situation and offered Rachel’s birth mom help and a place to stay. Because of her aunt’s kindness, Rachel’s birth mom chose to carry Rachel and disregard the father’s pressure to have an abortion.

While living with her aunt, Rachel’s birth mom decided the best future for Rachel was to place her with an adoptive family, so she and her aunt started the process of looking for the right family. Her aunt called a Christian organization to find out if they knew of anyone interested in adopting. The organization didn’t typically organize that type of connection, but they said they would keep their ears open.

In another part of the country, a couple was searching for a baby to adopt. They called a Christian organization to see if they knew of any women who were interested in placing their babies for adoption.

It was the same organization at the perfect time. Rachel was born soon after, and the couple went to adopt her.

“It’s the biggest sacrifice a birth mom can make to place a baby they have carried for nine months,” Rachel said. “[She’s giving her baby] a chance at life and everything it has to bring, even if she can’t be the one to raise the child.”

Rachel says she doesn’t regret being adopted at all. She loves her parents and is grateful for the opportunities she has had. “It’s extremely courageous and the most sacrificial, loving thing if you realize that you’re in a situation where you can’t provide and you realize other people can, to give life and then place [the baby] in a family. It’s incredible.”

Rachel believes her adoption has greatly impacted her spiritual journey. She says she’s been adopted twice—once by her parents and once by God. Experiencing adoption in her family has given her confidence in her salvation and a special understanding of how God loves and cares for His children.

Rachel is now a center director at Life Centers and is passionate about helping women who are in similar situations to the one her birth-mother experienced. She shares her adoption story to give hope and help women understand what adoption is really like when they’re facing pregnancy decisions.

“There’s a difference between what we see on the news and what we see in the experiences of other people,” Rachel said. She wants people to understand that most adoption stories are wonderful. Moms get to choose the family they place their baby with, and the mother has the power to decide how much contact she has with the baby after that. It isn’t anything like foster care—legal adoption places the baby with a family forever. By sharing her story, Rachel hopes to help more people understand the beauty of adoption.

As National Adoption Month comes to a close with the end of November, Rachel’s story is a reminder not only of the power of adoption but also of the beauty of God’s faithfulness as He works out His plan in the lives of all of His children for good and not for evil. This Thanksgiving, may we give thanks for the work He does in us, and for the adoption we experience as recipients of salvation.

 

 

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Baby Showers: Just parties? Or are they more?

Jasmine and Victoria had never met, but they had a lot in common. Jasmine had three little boys and was pregnant with a baby girl. Victoria had three little girls and was pregnant with a baby boy. They lived two blocks from each other and they both visited Life Centers during their pregnancies.

Because they each already had three children, a fourth child would stretch their resources very thin. Both Jasmine and Victoria were concerned about their ability to care for a new baby. Both women chose life after visiting Life Centers, but how would they get the initial resources necessary to care for another infant?

Answer: a baby shower. Some women who come to Life Centers have a support system in place that will help them as they care for their babies. But other women, like Jasmine and Victoria, don’t have the type of community around them that is able to rally around and help with all the extra things a new baby requires.

In those instances, Life Centers often facilitates baby showers planned by volunteers to help bridge the gap. A Small Group from College Park Church was able to plan a combined shower for Jasmine and Victoria. Both women received many gifts for their babies—from Pack ‘n Plays and strollers to diapers and books.

And they received much more than baby gifts. One of the volunteers put it this way, “In the counseling room, we have a counselor-type relationship with these women. But at a baby shower, we are able to be friends and form transparent, open and deeper relationships.” The Small Group throwing the shower was able to pray with both the mothers and their babies’ fathers (who wanted to come too!), and also share with them about the Bible through a Bible game.

The grandmother of one of the unborn babies sent a text during the shower, “You all have truly blessed my family with your thoughtfulness. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Jasmine said she felt understood and not judged, and Victoria expressed thankfulness for the help and support.

Why baby showers? Because helping women choose life extends far beyond the counseling room. Baby showers are part of a greater effort to create a culture that values and celebrates life; that rallies around it and rejoices in it.

Are you interested in throwing a baby shower for a Life Centers mom? Click here for more information.

Jasmine opens a gift for her baby girl

Jasmine opens a gift for her baby girl.

Victoria admires an outfit for her baby boy

Victoria admires an outfit for her baby boy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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