For the past year or so, I’ve been thinking a lot about the choice of abortion. Maybe it’s because I have longed to see a positive pregnancy test for ten years now. But honestly, I believe that’s only part of the reason. I have always been sad that abortion is a thing. The truth is, I know women that have had abortions. I also know it really wasn’t a choice they wanted to make. Another truth is, I love people that have very different views if the topic comes up. And honestly, I see us all looking to love the woman as well as the child. Maybe we are confused about love.
One thing I do know is this: when I love people, I pray for them. So, I started to pray for all women considering abortion. I prayed for the babies too, but I prayed for the women more.
After a month or so of me making up my own prayers at night, I saw something online that I had not seen since high school – a “Spiritual Adoption Prayer”. A website called Holy Heroes was advertising a Spiritual Adoption Prayer Adventure. The “adventure” was geared for a younger audience, but I printed out the paper. The print out had the Spiritual Adoption Prayer on it, as well as a place to write the name you chose to give your baby and the date of when you started to pray for the child. My husband and I named the child and wrote the date on the paper. Then, I hung up the paper on our refrigerator. Each night after we pray Grace Before Meals, we pray this prayer.
Meanwhile, my husband, Matt, and I are praying and hoping to expand our family through adoption again. We are constantly trying to think of ways to let the world know that our home and hearts are more than ready for another child. At one point, I started to think, maybe I should stand outside of an abortion clinic and hold up a sign that says, “’Unplanned Pregnancy? We want to adopt’ Check us out on Facebook”. I thought . . . if a young woman does see my sign, and finds us on Facebook looking at her phone in the waiting room, maybe she will reconsider the abortion. Maybe she’ll place the baby with an adoptive family – or maybe she’ll parent. Either way, it would be a life giving choice. I began to really think about this idea. Even though I was in the Respect Life club in high school and the Pro-life club in college, I honestly had never stood outside an abortion clinic before. I knew if I acted upon this idea, I didn’t want to go alone. So I started looking into when Pro-Life groups prayed outside of the local Planned Parenthood. After doing some research, I found a group that prayed once a week, and decided to follow my gut one day and just do it. I made a sign. It was pathetic. My handwriting was nice – but it was a sign with my handwriting in marker. My son woke up late, and of course, didn’t really want to move. I wasn’t sure how long the group who would be praying there would stay. So, I packed up his breakfast and away we went.
When I pulled into the parking lot, my nerves were on edge. I started to get out of the car. I made sure I was holding my rosaries, because a friend of mine said if I don’t have them in my hand, an escort may think I’m there for an appointment and start walking me into the building (that would be a little awkward). I felt like I was walking onto a spiritual battlefield. I said hello to a priest who was standing alone and quietly. I took out the bag of cereal I brought for our son and gave it to him. I held my pathetic sign – but not high, because, as I mentioned, it looked pathetic. I started introducing myself to a woman there. Her name was Mary. I introduced her to my son, and told her that my husband and I hoped to adopt again. I showed her my sign. She seemed very touched. But then, in the middle of our conversation, she said hold on, and started walking away. I asked her as she walked away if she was sidewalk counseling. By the time she answered she was ten yards away. She yelled “I try”. Then, she picked up a bullhorn and started talking through it. She was saying things like “you don’t have to go in there, we can help you”. I was mortified and embarrassed. I thought, “a bull horn, really?” I grabbed my son’s hand and started walking away with as much speed as his little legs allowed. I wanted to run. I made a face to a total stranger walking up the street that kind of said a silent “yixe”. I thought to myself, who is going to respond to a person talking to them through a bullhorn? I thought, there has to be a better way. After Mary spoke through the bullhorn (and I remember her saying, “we have someone here that will adopt your child”), she came back to me and we continued our conversation. I questioned her about the megaphone. She explained how we are not allowed any closer and it is difficult to yell, so the bullhorn makes it easier. Another woman there was quietly holding rosaries. She chimed in, saying she felt the same way about the bullhorn at first, but then a priest said to her, some of these girls are praying for a sign on the way here. This may be her sign. I felt sad but I decided to stay and just pray. However, before I could join the group who was praying, something very unexpected happened . . .
I witnessed a young girl leaving the clinic with her mother and walking down to talk to us. The mother and daughter were holding hands and crying. Mary, I, and my son walked towards them once they got close. The young woman whom Mary was talking to through the bullhorn, “Anne”, decided to not go through with the abortion! We all hugged – and we all cried. It was such an emotional, amazing moment. The mother of “Anne” said, “she needs a place to stay”. Then explained how she couldn’t stay with her and how she was living with her uncle, but her uncle was trying to help her get “her life back on track”. Mary immediately picked up the phone and started making some calls. It was a blessing to see how quickly a sidewalk counselor could make a phone call to a hotline and find help. As Mary was finding housing options for “Anne”, I talked to her. I asked her where she was from. When she answered, she said a place that I knew was at least an hour drive from where we were. I asked her why she had come so far. She answered that the facility near her wouldn’t perform an abortion after 13 weeks, 6 days and she was in her 14th week. We talked more and all the while my three year old son was saying “Mom, Mom . . . Mom . . . Mom”. So finally I said I’m sorry to “Anne” and said “What?” to him. He said, “I want to go to A Baby’s Breath (the crisis pregnancy center that shares the parking lot with PP)”.I asked him if he wanted to go there because they have lollypops. He said yes. At that moment, “Anne” reached into her purse and took out two lollypops, one for my son . . . and one for her. To say the least, it was an incredible experience.
But wait – there is another layer to this miracle. A few days later, I began thinking about the baby our family had “spiritually adopted.” I wondered how long ago our family had “spiritually adopted” our baby. I looked at the date of when we began praying the spiritual adoption prayer – May 7, 2015- 14 weeks and one day before I witnessed “Anne” leaving the clinic. My jaw dropped. I think I picked it up off my kitchen floor. Then another memory hit me. One day when I was carrying a laundry basket upstairs a question entered my mind; “How can my prayers matter? I know I don’t love these women or these babies as much as God loves them . . .” The Lord heard my question, and wanted to answer it. He let me know our prayers for these children and women are heard, appreciated, valued and answered.
The whole experience makes me say, wow.
Here is the link to the “Spiritual Adoption Prayer Adventure”: http://www.holyheroes.com/Default.asp
Please pray this prayer and remember the mothers in prayer as well! Please comment below the name you chose for your “spiritually adopted” baby!
‘Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I love you very much. I beg of you to spare the life of (give the baby a name), the unborn baby I have spiritually adopted, who is in danger of abortion. Amen.” —Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen