I Received Grace…

As published on MSN.com June 25th, 2007
http://lifestyle.msn.com/familyandparenting/babyandpregnancy/article.aspx?cp-documentid=4999437

A young woman, pregnant by a stranger’s rape, chooses adoption over abortion.
By Donna Lewis
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It was January, and cold. I sat in the frigid car, my insides twisting in fear, tears streaming down my face. It was an ugly cry. I sobbed out loud, and pounded my head on the steering wheel. What now? I was at a complete loss. I prayed for an earthquake that would make the brick building in front of me crumble and crush my car—with me in it. I just wanted to be dead.

This was my second abortion appointment. The first was canceled because I had to pay for the abortion up front, and all I had was a check. They didn’t take checks. I had to make another appointment. This was it.

I took a deep breath and started the car. Frosty air blasted from the vents and kicked me out of my hysteria and into a dull, nearly comatose state. My nose was completely plugged, and my eyes were swollen and felt like gravel. I should have headed back to school, but I didn’t want to. All I knew was the overwhelming need to flee the clinic parking lot.

It had all started four months before with a group of friends out to have a good time downtown. Since there were so many of us, we all agreed that if we got separated, we would meet back at a particular building whose lobby was usually open after hours, and where we liked to hang out on the roof and talk about everything and nothing. Forget getting in touch by cell phone—at the time, only CEOs and high-ranking government officials had them.
We did get separated along the way, when I had to go to the restroom and my friends took off. I couldn’t find them, so I decided to go to the roof of our building and wait.

I waited for a few minutes. Since it was October and somewhat chilly, I decided to wait in the lobby instead. I got in the elevator, and a man entered a few floors down. This man pressed the emergency stop button and coldly raped me as I struggled in vain to fight him off. He got off at the next floor and left me a crumpled mess on the elevator floor.

My mind was in chaos. What had just happened? I could make no sense of it whatsoever. My brain cells slowly reorganized themselves in an attempt to deny the incident. I left without meeting my friends and simply went home, took a shower and went to bed.

I am not sure I would have ever mentally revisited that night again. But I was pregnant.

Initially I would not even entertain the idea. I was stressed. Finals were around the corner. My dad was let go from his job. There were plenty of things that could cause stress and mess with my system. I even refused to acknowledge the vague nausea I felt every night. Nerves, I supposed.

But after three months, I could not deny it much longer. I told a friend of mine who worked with me at the library, and she took me to her OB/GYN. I had never been to one before. I gazed at the diagrams of unborn babies on the wall, used so that women who were excited about their babies could see exactly what was going on inside their bodies. I couldn’t stop staring at the tiny little toes on the picture of the four-month pre-developed baby. Ten tiny toes. Perfect.

The doctor didn’t notice my gaze when he came back with my test results. Even though I knew it already, it still felt like I’d been hit in the stomach with a baseball bat when I heard, “Well, the test is positive. What would you like to do?”

After collecting my breath, I asked for clarification. “Do? What should I do?” He looked right into my eyes and said, “I can schedule an abortion for you if you like.”

Silence.

Likely knowing that I would have sat there in his office in a stupor all afternoon, he gave me a card with a phone number for the clinic down the street, wished me luck, and ushered me out.

I grew up in a home that followed the teachings of Jesus Christ. I had dedicated myself to that relationship years earlier. It was expected that I would graduate from college, have a wonderful career, marry and have a bunch of children. This horrible event was not part of the plan; I had never discussed with anyone, investigated for myself, or even really heard in passing, what a woman’s pregnancy options were.

Interestingly enough, my faith simultaneously drew me toward and away from an abortion.

The word “abortion” meant nothing to me. What had profound meaning was the phrase “pregnant out of wedlock.” This phrase reverberated through my life, sending feelings of doom. I felt intense shame and embarrassment. I couldn’t look anyone in the eye. It did not matter how it happened. I was, effectively, a statistic. Another black girl pregnant out of wedlock.

God set up some teachings that He knew we would need in order to be happiest and healthiest. It pleases God to see us live according to design. This includes the ideal of having children inside the protection of a good marriage. However, because of this principle, some Christians show disdain, even revulsion, toward women whose sexual lives are made public through pregnancy. That anticipation of judgment, pity, and being shunned as an “outsider” in my own church drew me toward an abortion. I did not anticipate grace from people.

But at the same time, that very same faith drew me away from the abortion. I knew of God’s great affection for children, and His fierce desire to protect them. The Bible repeatedly speaks of how God wants us all to be like children. I knew He would not be thrilled if I decided to abort. I anticipated God’s anger, which drew me away from an abortion. I did not anticipate grace from God either.

The fact is that I did receive grace. But I had to take a risk to receive it.

A few days later I called the number on the card I got from the OB/GYN and made an appointment for an abortion. When I tried to pay with a check, I was told I had to come back later. So two weeks later I did.

But the day I returned, hoping for a compassionate face, a smile, something, all I got was a cold question: “Do you have proper payment?” She didn’t even look up. Something happened in that moment. Something broke inside me and I turned around and left without a word. There I sat sobbing in my car out in the cold. Lost.

After that I slowly changed my mind. I felt incapable of parenting, but I wanted this baby to live and decided to take a personal risk on her behalf and face whatever came my way. I told my parents. I told people in my church. And to my great surprise, I received grace. I was treated with such love, affection, compassion, and acceptance, it still amazes me. I couldn’t even absorb it all at the time, but later the realization of it brought me to my knees in grateful tears for those people who demonstrated real grace to me—the kind of grace that God wanted to show, no matter what I might have decided.

Many have asked me why I decided to make an adoption plan for my daughter Vanessa, when some people would have understood if I aborted. I don’t think there was any one reason—so many things merged into the eventual decision. I think my choice had four components:

Truth: I saw the truth of what was happening inside me. When I saw the medical pictures of fetal development, I couldn’t deny that she was human.

Love: I secretly loved that baby. It seemed to me then that I wasn’t supposed to love her because of the way she was conceived. I came to realize later that the love a woman has for her child has incredible strength—no matter what the child looks like, what handicap he may have, or the way he was conceived. I also wanted this child to have one thing I could not provide—the love of a daddy who had been waiting for her.

Vision: I had a vision of what I wanted. I wanted to be a mother someday. The conflict that went on in my head was this: How I could be a good mother later if I aborted my first child? I struggled with the knowledge that the value of a child is constant. My circumstances would continuously change. Should one of my children live or not live, depending on my changing circumstances? Or should I protect my children in the face of unpredictable circumstances? My desire became to protect this child, even though I couldn’t figure out how to protect myself.

Belief: Even in my numb state, I believed that doing the right thing would benefit me at some point. The right thing was to let this child live. It did not feel good. I knew I would have to walk through five more months of stares, questions, and self-perception struggles. But I believed, and it turned out to be true.

The process of my pregnancy was the most painful, difficult, and frightfully emotional thing I have ever gone through. The healing process was not easy either.

However, I am now much stronger having fought my way through it, and I have been able to incorporate my experience into my life, and my career as a life coach. I believe that most women can choose to use similarly difficult experiences to become stronger, more self-aware, and more compassionate human beings.

Seeing my beautiful daughter has been a huge factor in helping to heal my wounded spirit from the violence of the rape. Beauty was brought from ashes. The world now has this incredible person with potential to give back in ways I cannot foresee. She, too, has brought grace into my life.
In the years since we’ve been in contact, I am increasingly proud of the decision I made. I am also proud of my daughter, a fabulous addition to the world. She is a happy, intelligent, centered, socially aware human being, preparing to be launched into young adulthood and make her mark in the world.
Take a risk to receive grace into your life. You might be surprised where you find it.

Donna Lewis is a wife, mother, and personal coach (www.lewiscoaching.com). She and her husband Gerald live in Washington with their two toddler girls, Kathryn and Stephanie, who are getting to know and love their birth sister, Vanessa.

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7 Responses to “I Received Grace…”

  1. tricia Says:

    I saw your story on msn.com. It was touching and deep. Thank you for your transparency. It led to me your blog. I even sent both links to my Bible study group – I thought they would be blessed by it too.

  2. miko Says:

    I am a pregnancy counselor, adoptee, and a Christian. I am so very grateful for your courage in sharing your story. I was especially moved to read about your rationale in making your decision. It shows great spiritual maturity, and I do believe God lead you to a wonderful decision. I pray His continual blessings on that decision for your entire family.

  3. marionmcmillan Says:

    You gave your daughter life,yet YOU HAVE ABORTED HER IN LIFE.
    She has went through such terrible trauma,already that of separation grief and loss,as YOU HER MOTHER HAVE CHOSE NOT TO RAISE HER.she will continue to have this trauma,then she will suffer fracture,then fragmentation of the psyche.BECAUSE YOU CHOSE TO LISTEN TO ADOPTION PROPAGANDA,WHICH IS MAN<S DOING.YOU DID NOT BECOME A BEREAN<AND SEE WHAT THE SCRIPTURE,TRULY SAYSSEPARATION AND GRIEF.
    1.—Joseph,God through Joseph,s experience, let,s us know the true,outcome,of family separation.Genesis 45.–When reunited with his natural God-given family,he wept so loud the whole of Pharoh,s household hear him,this is the excruciating pain of adoption for the adoptee, meeting their natural family,they have no history with.the pain is beyond words.
    Moses.—–Moses, whn he was told of his adoption,aged 40,he was so angry Hebrews 11-24 HE REFUSED TO BE CALLED THE SON OF PHAROHExodus 20.
    1—-HONOUR THY FATHER AND MOTHER.
    An adoptee CAN NEVER adhere scripturally to that command of God.THEY HAVE A FALSE IDENTITYin closed adoption,they will NEVER KNOW THE PARENTS,THE MOTHER<GOD CHOSE FOR THEM.
    Psalm 139.–13-15-16..Adoption perpetrates this LIE.
    2– THOU SHALT NOT LIE, ADOPTION IS A TOTAL LIE.
    3– THOU SHALT NOT STEAL. Adoption is the theft of two lives,that were ordered by God,That of the natural mother,and the child,GOD GAVE HER TO BE THE FRUIT OF HER WOMB<REGARDLESS OF THE CONSEQUENCES<GOD WAS IN CONTROL,
    We have the illustration,of David,s one-night stand with Bath-sheba,
    4,THOU SHALT NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS.
    ADOPTION is a total travesty,as the adoptee lives a life of bearing a false identity,and this is ancestride, THIS TRULY IS NOT GOD HONOURING. TO LIVE A LIE—-CONTINUALLY PERPETRATE THIS LIE.
    4.—THOU SHALT NOT COVET.
    What right has any woman to covet anothers child and live a lie, and change identity,to please her ,as that is what she is doing,pleasing her flesh,
    God,honouring is for the mantle of Dr.Kate Waller Barret,the christian sent of God.’Never separate the sacred bond of Mother and Child’ read her testimony.
    Your daughter will live a life of Loyalty, and gratitude, to her host family, as she has a deep routed fear of rejection, as that is what adoption is to them,rejection,and abandonment,of the mummy,they longed for all their separated lives, yes they were loved, cared for,but their soul was ripped from them,when the concept of adoption,registers, they are lost within themselves, lost to adoption, and ONLY FORM AN ATTACHMENT,TO THE HOST PARENTS.—-BONDING IS GOD<S GIFT FROM CONCEPTION<THROUGH BIRTH<AND THROUGH LIFE<TO THE MOTHER AND CHILD.
    Finally, I was a young christian 41 yrs ago, when I lost my son to adoption,
    I had no one, only My Precious Saviour, and his grace abundant,to take me through,
    THIS BOTTOMLESS ABYSS OF SORROW,
    Yes I fell foul,of psuedo social services, I fell foul of their manmade propoganda,
    THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH<FAILED AND STILL DOES< AT THE PLIGHT OG THE MOTHER THAT PRESENTS< WITH PREGNANCY.
    Look at what DrKate Waller Barret,and THE CHURCH,of that generation did for mum,s.
    THEN FILTHY LUCRE, BECAME THE BY_WORD.
    Adoption, has become FULL OF FILTHY LUCRE.
    We will all have to give an account of the deeds done of the flesh to God,
    Many I fear will hear,–DEPART FROM ME YOU WORKERS OF INIQUITY,I NEVER KNEW YOU.
    My, son, is brokenhearted, I am broken-hearted, at the pain and suffering he has gone through,
    “HE TOLD ME HE JUST WANTED HIS REAL MUM”
    and I will never understand, what it is to live a life, without your real mum,
    Christians, start sponsering families, churches, start sponsering families, this is God honouring,teach parenting skills, domestic skill, bugeting skills, AND PRESERVE NATURAL FAMILIES.I lived a life, like a bottomless abyss of sorrow.
    Adoption,is the worst transaction in the history of mankind,worse than slavery,
    Abolish it,
    Legal God-given guardianship, or KINSHIP CARE,should be FULLY SUPPORTED,by TRUE CHRISTIANS, that live a God honouring Life.Marah

  4. Donna Says:

    I am so sorry your pain has caused you to have to live with such pain and misunderstanding of scripture. I hope you are able to someday find the joy that comes from being adopted into God’s family through salvation!

  5. marionmcmillan Says:

    Dont apologise to me, IT,S YOUR TOTAL MISINTERPRITATION OF SCRIPTURE,IT IS GODS IRRESISTABLE GRACE THAT QUICKENS US,SALVATION BELONGETH TO GOD AND HIM ALONE,AT CONVERSION<WE THROUGH THE DEATH OF CHRIST<AND HIS ATONING BLOOD<BECOME THE SONS OF GOD<WE WERE CHOSEN IN CHRIST
    DONT YOU SKIP ROUND THE SCRIPTURES I GAVE YOU<TRYING TO SALVE YOUR CONSCIENCE<READ AND RE_READ<THESE VERSES ARE FROM THE INNERANT WORD OF GOD<ADOPTION IS A TOTAL FABRICATION<DONT YOU SEE THAT?< WHAT HAPPENED TO JOSEPH< AND MOSES<WAS NO MYTH< WHAT HAPPENS TO OUR BABIES<YOU WILL FIND OUT IF GOD WILLING YOUR DAUGHTER WANTS A RELATIONSHIP WITH YOU<BEFORE GOD I TELL YOU< THE PAIN IS UNMEASURABLE<DAY IN DAY OUT YOU WILL BE LIKE THE MOTHER IN 1Kings3-26 YOUR BOWELS WILL YEARN WITHIN YOU FOR YOUR DAUGHTER. Bearing in mind SHE IS_WAS<THE FRUIT OF YOUR WOMB,GOD<GAVE YOU<AND YOU AND YOU ALONE ARE RESPONSIBLE<YES RESPONSIBLE<TO TRAIN HER UP IN THE FEAR ADMONITION OF GOD, not to hang her on anothers breast,YOU CHOSE THIS LIFE FOR HER<SHE WILL TELL YOU ONE DAY<WHEN SHE walks through the fog and denial of adoption,she would have given her right arm leg, to be raised by YOU,her natural mother,BECAUSE ALL HER LIFE<YOU WERE MISSING IN HER LIFE<
    READ what it was like for us,teenage mums,www.thebabyscoopera.com,Read http://www.stephenfitzpatrick.com how his life was without his mum,when you read and live with this pain, and my son is totally broken and you witness their pain,and feel it,you will understand ADOPTION IS MANS DOING NOT GODS< and yes adoption in the bible WAS FOR ORPHANS, and they were much older before the final transaction took place, and it was to pass on inheritance.OUR BABIES ARE OUR RESPONSIBILITY,all the material gain,all the social presige you have,will never never compensate,for the loss, GOD RAISE UP REAL STALWARTS<ROOTED AND GROUNDED IN THE WORD< TO EXPOSE TO THE WORLD THE FILTHY LUCRE DISEASE TO SOCIETY TODAY I READ THAT VICTORIA BECKAM IS TO BUY A DAUGHTER IN THE USA<JUST LIKE THAT<JUST LIKE BUYING A HANDBAG<OR DESIGNER DRESS<SCRIPURE TELLS US , MANS GIFT MAKES ROOM FOR HIM<THE POWERFUL<STEALING FROM THE POWERLESS
    AMERICA MUST HANG ITS HEAD IN SHAME AND YOU as in USA HAVE THE AUDACITY TO PREACH U.K.ADMITS ADOPTION< ADMITS IT IS LUCRATIVEHOW DESPERATELY SAD.YOUR DAUGHTER WILL ONE DAY SAY< WHO THOUGHT ABOUT ME WHAT I WANTED< SHE WILL SAY SHE NEVER GOT THAT OPPORTUNITY DECISIONS<LIFE CHANGING DECISIONS WERE TAKEN FOR THE INTREST OF ADOPTIVE PARENTS<AND UNWED MUMS<NOT FOR HERMARAH.

  6. marionmcmillan Says:

    Some words are missing from this reply, ie,
    We were chosen in Christ,before the foundation of the world.
    Also You as in America,preach to the world YOU ARE THE LAND OF THE FREE.
    Marah.

  7. dinosaur fact Says:

    Roses are red, sky is blue, you’re a better writer than me for sure, lol 😉

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