Tuesday, August 4, 2015

#UnplannedParenthood Part Two

***Before I begin to share this story, you should know I have talked with his Birth Mother and made sure to get permission to share her story.

I shared my story about my first experience with #UnplannedParenthood and now I want to share with everyone my second, most unexpected, story and blessing of #UnplannedParenthood.  It is especially amazing as we get ready to celebrate our 3rd Fantastic Five Day {our special name for Adoption Day} with our chosen, and very much unplanned child, Keegan.  The unbelievable gift of adoption placed him in our lives.  The very opposite of abortion but no less heartbreaking for the mother. 

I am so overwhelmingly grateful for every woman who made the choice to not abort their child and instead choose the beautiful option of adoption.  The amazing selflessness and courage these birth mothers show in the face of adversity is something so heroic it can not be put into words.  As I shared in my first story, I could never have the strength to have made that decision.  To know another woman is raising and loving my child would have broken my heart into a million unrecoverable pieces.  Because of that knowledge, I have such a special relationship with our Birth Mom.  I know how she suffers but I also know how happy she is to know her little boy is loved and cared for. 

Keegan is the poster child for Abortion.  I mean this in the most respectful way.  So many people who advocate for abortion and places like Planned Parenthood use the examples of children conceived through rape to teenage, uneducated, drug addicted mothers.  This is my son's exact story and start to his life.  This boy would be the perfect reason to walk inside a clinic and make the appointment to rid the world of his existence.  My son, who has suffered so much in the first 2 and a half years of life.  My son who is so beautiful, inside and out.  A little boy who captured this mama's heart at hello and who literally changed me into the person I am today.   This boy, the world says, should not exist.  She didn't listen.

Somehow through the grace of God she knew she was meant to bring him into this world.  She had determination to see her "choices" through to the other side.  Thank God she felt a baby growing inside her and knew it was such an important job to give him life.  She loved him enough and took a chance on her #unplannedparenthood.  She was so scared but refused to believe the naysayers that told her it would not be worth it.  She didn't listen 

So Happy This Little Boy Came Into The World

She had everything going against her.  She was 16 and had just learned to drive.  She had definitely been known to party a time or two.  She had no job and was in high school.  The father of her baby was abusive and was accused of raping her.  He was currently in jail.  I can't even begin to imagine the fear her future must have held for her. Even with all of that adversity facing her, she still said yes to life.  I can't begin to imagine the judgement, ridicule and bullying she would have had to deal with .  Mostly from people who call themselves pro life.  I know it must have been hard, because even though I was 3 years older than her, I had walked that path.  I knew how convincing these pro life cowards can be.  She didn't listen.

Sweet Cheeks

When Keegan was born it was far from an easy road for her.  Her addictions grew over time and it was a huge struggle for a teenage mom to raise a son she was not prepared for.  She had a variety of helpers who would take care of her son on the weekends.  She had a support system but it never seemed like enough.  It was hard to live on her own and make ends meet.  It was pretty clear that Keegan was not receiving the right care and he was starting to suffer.  She was exhausted, mentally drained, addicted and overwhelmed.  The Pro Abortion advocates would use this part of the story to say, "see, he would have been better off never having been born."  She didn't listen.

A Beautiful Picture of Keegan And His Birth Mother

When I had the pleasure of meeting Keegan, he was a ball of energy and so incredibly smart.  I fell in love with him at first sight.  I befriended his mom and did my very best to encourage her.  We talked for weeks... almost every day.  When his mom told me she was thinking of relinquishing him to foster care because it was too much for her, it was a natural instinct only a mother could have, when I said, "Let us take him.  I will be his mom".  At the time, I didn't know what this would mean but I did know that sweet Keegan needed a family and a mom that could love him and take care of him.  I felt such a sisterhood with his mom and was already deeply connected to her.  Mother to mother... she needed help, he needed a mom and God gave me the immense blessing of being chosen for him.

Right Before I Met Keegan- 2 Years Old

The world would say she should not give up a child she had raised for 3 years.  That it was her selfish addiction that she was choosing over her child.  How could she walk away from this baby boy she fought so hard for?  The world told her again and again that she was such a horrible person for saying she couldn't do it.  It didn't matter that she spent countless nights tossing and turning trying to find a way to be the mom Keegan needed.  The world didn't have time to empathize with her but had plenty of time to dish out judgment.  She, again, didn't listen. 

The Face I Fell In Love With

I am forever grateful to his mom for being open to adoption and not listening to so many people who told her it was impossible.  I am deeply humbled that she chose me to be his mom.  I don't take this responsibility lightly.  Her courage and faith she demonstrated by carrying her baby to term is stuff of legends.  Her selflessness to place her child into the arms of a woman she barely knew, but knew enough to know he would be loved, should be an inspiration to young mothers everywhere.  Her humility {which I am working so hard on learning myself} in admitting she could not do it should showcase to the world the power of being a virtuous person.  Adoption is not the answer for every mother facing adversity but she so clearly showed that it is an option that can be a win/win for all parties. 
Keegan and I On His Adoption Day- "Fantastic Five Day"

We chose to have a semi open adoption with Keegan's birth mom.  We chose this because it was in Keegan's best interest.  You see, our child, is always at the heart of every decision we make.  We stay in touch through pictures and social media.  We text and I give her as many updates as I can on how her sweet little boy is doing. 

This semi-open adoption has not been easy for her or me.  She allowed her parents and brother's family to have contact with Keegan and our family.  This is definitely not easy for her as she watches us form relationships without her.  While she can not be in his physical presence, she has given that gift to her family.  We both have to constantly work through feelings of selfishness, jealousy, anger, hurt, guilt, sadness and grief.  We pray for each other and for our son.  We celebrate every one of his wins and cry over each of his struggles.  Even though we are walking two different paths, we are so connected in everything we feel and do.  She is my son's birthmother, my friend and mostly, my hero.  She made a decision the world told her should not be made and I am so very grateful EVERYDAY.  
Little Baller

Our birth mom has shown us the incredible courage it takes to change a child's life for the better.  While we were given the gift of fertility and had never "planned" on adopting a child, our birth mom gave us a much undeserved gift of life and love that we now know is transforming.  Some facts to consider... as of 2006 the CDC reported that 600,000 women in the United States were waiting to adopt a child.  That same year the CDC reported that 845,000 abortions occurred in the U.S... eliminating the ability for these woman to become mothers.  EVERY woman can choose not to listen and instead grab ahold of their #unplannedparenthood with faith, hope and trust.  EVERY woman can consider the gift of adoption and giving another woman the blessing of being a mom.  That is giving women "choices".  That is giving power to women.  Adoption is a beautiful option and if was sold as aggressively as abortion, could you even imagine the sisterhood that would exist? 

Adoption Day in the Judges Chambers
It has not always been an easy journey.  The road to adoption and #UnplannedParenthood has been incredibly painful for myself and family.  It has been costly in more ways than just financially.  But it has also transformed our lives in ways too numerous to count.  Throughout this journey, I have learned so many valuable lessons.  To always have hope in every situation and to use your faith to hold you up when it seems hopeless.  To love unconditionally and give it up to God.  Trust that He is guiding the course of your life and will NEVER let you down.  Most importantly, NEVER listen to the world.  Society is full of jaded people who can never really know your story or the strength of your character.  Bravery exists in some of the weakest people and those people inevitably inspire the world to be better. 


How could the world say he should not exist?  How could they defend the millions of Keegans we are missing in this world?  I can't even fathom a world without my son in it.  It would be a world empty of adventures and the beautiful spirit of curiosity.  It would never hear his crazy laughter or see his boundless energy.  It would never feel his snuggles or his juicy kisses.  My Tom Sawyer would not have a Huck Finn to ride through life together.  I would not have someone to love so fiercely my heart breaks at the mere thought that his life would be anything less than perfect.  Keegan has taught me the most important lesson and I hope his story has taught you something too... EVERY child has value, even when society tells you they don't.  EVERY child has the incredible ability to change your world if you just let them. 

Our Fantastic Five....#UnplannedParenthood
***If you enjoyed this story of #UnplannedParenthood, please share it with some encouraging words of affirmation and love for Birthmoms everywhere. 
 Also, when you share it, please include a prayer for all women who have had abortions.  Pray that during this horrific time of investigation into Planned Parenthood, they feel peace and sisterhood with women everywhere.  May we bring hope, LOVE and support to each other, especially in times of adversity.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

#UnplannedParenthood Part One

Planned Parenthood has got my knickers in a twist.  I recently saw this new trend of showing pictures of your children that were unplanned and how that has made your life so much better.  For a long time, I have wanted to share my story of #unplannedparenthood.  Today seemed like the perfect day.

When I was 19, I fell in love with my husband.  We knew on our second date that we were going to get married.  We started dating in August and by January we were engaged.  We wanted to get married right away.  We had such amazing plans that included school, traveling and all sorts of amazing dreams.  I found out I was pregnant in March. I had just turned 20, Shawn was 19.  I was scared to death.

I was the oldest daughter of a staunch Catholic house.  My parents already were not necessarily happy that I was engaged to a boy they hardly knew.  I knew this would ensure that they would hate Shawn forever.  On top of that I grew up hearing my dad say, "If you come home pregnant, you should probably not come home".  Being pregnant before marriage was probably the worst offense a girl in our family could have. 

Before I even told Shawn I contemplated "My Choices".  Based on everything I knew and was told by society, I could not trust that Shawn would want this responsibility.  Society gives men a "Get out of jail free card".  I knew he could choose to leave me and I believed I was doing him a favor by letting him off the hook.  I could run away and have the baby at a home for unwed mothers.  I could raise the baby on my own.  I contemplated adoption... but not for long.  I couldn't bear the thought of another mom raising my child.  I even contemplated an abortion.  No one would know.  Shawn and I could have that magic fairy tale wedding and no one would be the wiser.  It was the simplest decision and would "rid" me of this blemish... this blob of cells that meant nothing.  It wasn't even a baby yet. 

I prayed a lot and was lost in thoughts for a few days.  I quickly realized that I could not abort my baby.  I knew he was going to be a son.  I felt it and I already loved that blob of cells.  While it would be an answered prayer to "do away" with my pregnancy, I knew I couldn't do it.  So, I decided that no matter what, I was going to be his mom... and a damn good one. 

I am so glad that during this time I did not have Dr. Drew to watch, Pro Choice friends to talk to and I thank God everyday that I NEVER went into Planned Parenthood.  Based on my anxiety, it may not have taken much for anyone to convince me to have just a tiny operation that would erase my "mistake".  So many women have been duped by their lies.  My son could have easily become an organ sold to the highest bidder.  I would have held the deep emotionally traumatizing scars so many of my friends hold years after the "tiny operation on a blob of cells".

More importantly, I was so glad I did not talk to my Pro Life friends or family.  If I had talked to them without knowing with 100% certainty of what I would do, I may have been scared enough to have an abortion.  Their judgment, ridicule and lack of support would have been the final nail in that coffin.  I could never have prepared myself for the judgment that Shawn and I would receive.  Most of it coming from the "Pro Life" community.  I could never have anticipated the lack of celebration for this new life that we were blessed with. 
After I made my "choice", I wrote an embarrassing letter to my fiancĂ©.  I told him what was going on and the decision I made.  I also gave him permission to walk away... I did not want him to feel like I, or our son, had ruined his life.  I also did not have the courage to look at his face when he heard the news.  I knew he would have the same reaction I did.  Fear, shock and disappointment.  If he chose to stay, I did not ever want that face in my memory. 

I was so stupid.  Shawn was scared, in shock but far from disappointed.  He was disappointed in me for writing that letter that reduced him to nothing more than a statistic that society has created for men.  He was the ONLY person during the next few months that reminded me EVERYDAY that this is not a tragedy.  This is a blessing.  We were just going to do things a little differently.  God gave us a son and we should celebrate that.  This is a precious life that was entrusted to us.  Shawn was the one reason that I got up every morning to face ridicule, judgment and negativity, mostly coming from our Pro Life friends and family.  Our church community was the worst.  Catholics were some of our biggest critics.  The same Catholics that now post these videos had no problem standing in condemnation of our "sins". 

We were married when I was NINE months pregnant in a Catholic Church with one of our biggest supporters, Fr. Bob.  He was a true angel sent to us.  When other priests refused to marry us because we were keeping our baby {aka pregnant before marriage}, Fr. Bob counseled us with honesty and most importantly, COMPASSION.  Fr. Bob was the definition of Pro Life.

Shawnie was born 22 days later.  Our lives were forever changed for the better.  He is the light in my life... still.  He is getting ready to turn 16 and is one of the most caring kids I know.  He is intelligent and a born leader.  He is so creative and is part of a really amazing band.  He has great friends and is the best role model to his siblings.  They look up to him as their hero.  I KNEW he would be a boy and I KNEW he would be a world changer.  And, he is.  I still don't know exactly what he will do with his life but I do know that it will be amazing.  He is my #unplannedparenthood and I am so thankful everyday for the strength and courage that it took to make the only "choice" that could be made. 

To think that this kid may not have been born, hurts my heart deeply.  I am so deeply ashamed that I contemplated, even for a moment, ending his life.  To think that I could have made a different "choice" and he would not have existed is mind boggling.  I can not imagine a world without him.  There are so many Shawnies that have been lost to the lies of Planned Parenthood. 

It is time for all of us to stand in solidarity and be TRUE representatives of what Pro Life is all about.  It is about supporting the women with honesty, compassion and endless support- both financial and emotional.  If we all band together to do that, there would be no reason for abortion.  Women would know that they will NEVER be alone and their precious baby is a GIFT.  They would feel powerful to be included in this circle of women that have been given  this amazing ability to give life to a human.  Men would know that they do not get nor deserve a "get out of jail free card".  And for once, women would feel the slogan "I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar".  Planned Parenthood has stripped so many women of this knowledge by reducing them to a powerless, used woman who made a mistake and needs to be rid of it.  That is NOT my definition of a woman.   We are SO much more strong and courageous than that.

These videos MUST be watched.  No matter how disturbing or graphic.  We must be aware of what Abortion really is.  We must advocate to DEFUND this illegally operating company and demand  PROSECUTION of the criminals involved.  We can not do this without being fully informed.  Don't just watch the edited version.  Watch the full length video, so you can defend these revolutionaries who may just finally help turn the tide on Abortion in this country.  Or at least redefine this "blob of cells" that has no value.

This CRIMINAL organization, that for years, has successfully convinced women in crisis that their babies were just blob of cells and useless tissue.  A problem that could be disposed of.  Interesting that this blob of cells is now being sold to the highest bidder.  Not just sold as a blob but as discernible organs and body parts from the first trimester into the second and third.  The world is totally surprised and disgusted but I am not.  

I challenge each of you to work everyday to be fully PRO LIFE and stand arm and arm with women who make the choice to embrace #unplannedparenthood with courage, dignity and hope.  Give them a reason to walk away from the lies that society rains down on them.   Be the change you wish to see in this world.  Be the reason kids like Shawnie exist.