My official employment with the Pregnancy Crisis Center began in 2017, though I have come to realize that I have been serving PCC moms for nearly two decades through my previous employment positions. This is a story of one such mom and her baby boy whose lives have changed my heart forever. May their powerful story touch your heart, as well.
Love and Blessings,
Joanne, Center Director
We all have defining moments in our lives. That instant when you realize you will never be the same and the world will never look the same again. I experienced one of these moments in early 2015, while working as an adoption case manager, I met with Momma S at a local jail. She had already been to PCC, had been given a pregnancy test, and initially considered terminating her pregnancy. Not surprisingly, the Center staff never knew how this story ended.
My first meeting in the jail interview room is still a vivid memory. Momma S’s life story was full of abuse, trauma, loneliness, drugs, homelessness, and institutions. As fragile and scared as she was, the loving counsel she received at PCC helped her to make the bravest, most selfless decision - to carry her baby to term, to give her baby life – a life that she was not given the opportunity to have. One full of love, family, nurturing, safety. All of the things she had wished for herself her entire life. She made the decision to place her baby boy for adoption. Giving him the life she had always wanted and deserved, while blessing another family with the life and family they had been dreaming of.
Unfortunately, Baby R’s birth didn’t go at all the way anyone expected or planned for. Momma S was still incarcerated when she went into labor. She had been shackled to her bed upon arrival to the hospital and remained so throughout labor and delivery. It was clear at the moment of his birth that Baby R was a very sick little boy. He was rushed away, never having been held by his mother. He was taken to a special hospital 30 minutes away. His grief-stricken momma returned to her cell at the correctional facility, just mere hours after delivery.
My 2 ½ hour drive home from the hospital can be summarized in Proverbs 1:27, “When terror comes upon you like a storm, and your doom approaches like a whirlwind; when distress and anguish befall you.” It seemed perfectly fitting that there was torrential rain the entire trip home. I remember exactly where I was, on the road, when I received the call from the NICU nurse reporting that Baby R was on full life support and he was not expected to survive the weekend. Now, it was my turn to make this same call to the over-the-moon, excited adoptive parents who were traveling from another state to meet their new son.
My words stopped them in their tracks. I could hear adoptive mom’s breath leave her, could feel both of their joy change to grief in the blink of an eye. In that moment, parked in an unknown lot, with deafening rain beating my windshield, a mother’s shaking voice in my ear, my own tears blinding me, I knew, “…Jesus wept,” (John 11:35) and was with us.
Miraculously, this sweet angel did survive the weekend. In fact, he did very well through a long, difficult surgery at just 11 days old. Birth momma and adoptive family remained connected through letters, encouraging and loving each other as only they could do. This sweet baby brought together two families, who otherwise would never have crossed paths. Adoptive mom keeping birth mom updated with letters and pictures – this baby had two mommas to love and pray for him. I was awestruck to watch the bond between these mothers, who just a few months earlier did not know each other at all.
Even more than that, Baby R brought together hundreds of prayer warriors and supporters. Most of whom did not know each other or the families involved. Baby R, in just a few short months, rallied people from all over the country, and maybe even beyond. A group of strangers all standing together in faith, hope, and love for one common cause. I could feel the unity right down to the deepest part of my soul. In adoptive mom’s own words, “I could so, SO feel the prayers and love today!” Everyone involved witnessed His Word brought to life, “Finally, all of you, be of one mind, sympathetic, loving toward one another, compassionate, humble.” (1 Peter 3:8)
When it became clear that his little body just had no fight left, and Baby R’s time on earth was quickly coming to an end, I was witness to the most astounding strength and love I had ever experienced. Adoptive momma and daddy stayed with him, holding him in their arms as he went to heaven. Even in their deepest grief, they remained so full of gratitude and love, it was beyond humbling. One text from adoptive mom read, “I’m thankful he’s been mine his whole life!” Another one full of love and concern, “Will you have to tell Momma S? I’m really worried about her.”
Yes. I did make that dreaded call to Momma S. A call made through a prison officer, on speaker phone, with Momma S surrounded by guards and prison personnel. (This, another defining moment in which I was blown away by the magnitude of love, kindness, and compassion of the prison staff as I could hear them comforting Momma S.) I said the gut-wrenching words, “Baby R has gone to heaven.” Momma’s first response (after lots of crying) was, “Tell <adoptive momma and daddy> that I am so sorry and I love them.” Through their broken hearts, each of these parents wanted to be sure the other was OK. Their backgrounds and life experiences could not have been any more opposite, but the love they shared for one tiny little life created a bond that can never be broken.
I will forever be grateful to Momma S and Baby R for each of the defining moments that blessed so many. Countless lives, hearts, and spirits will never be the same. Their story serves as a constant reminder, “Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, it is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things…..So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is
love.” 1 Corinithians 13:4-7, 13