A FRIEND’S STORY: “Encouragement Gave This Woman Her Voice”
Rachel S.* was matched with Hannah soon after she finished training as a Birthmothers Friend.
I first heard about Birthmothers when my husband and I were part of an adoption small group at church. The ministry resonated with me. I’ve personally experienced many different angles of the parenting equation. At a young age, I too had faced an unplanned pregnancy. Since then, I’ve dealt with infertility and considered adoption. Now, having come out on the other side, I have the blessing of my son – a wonderful young man – along with a loving husband and two more healthy young children. If I could help another young woman know the joy of bringing a life into the world – well, I wanted that very much.
My Friend match
Not long after I completed Friends Certification Training, I received a call from Birthmothers. A college student wanted to be matched with a Friend, they told me. She’d found Birthmothers while searching online for a local church that offered a support group for pregnant women. Specifically, she asked for someone who would pray with her. Soon, I understood why. Hannah* had been raped at a party and become pregnant. To be honest, I was afraid I would not be equipped to give Hannah the support she needed. But I took a step of faith and agreed to be her Friend.
During our first telephone conversation, Hannah explained that the baby was due in two months. Because of her faith, abortion had not been an option. But her pregnancy’s circumstances led others around her to assume she would place the child for adoption. She wasn’t sure about that option. At the end of our call, I prayed with her.
"Am I crazy?"
That phone call began an incredible relationship with this amazing young woman. I discovered that my main role as Hannah’s Friend was as an encourager. In the coming days and weeks, Hannah met with an adoption counselor – mostly to reassure family and friends. Her main concern, she admitted, was how those in her circle of support would respond once she told them her decision was to keep her child. She simply needed to find her voice in expressing her deepest desire.
“Do you think I’m crazy for wanting to parent my baby?” she asked me.
I told Hannah what I saw in her – a resourceful, strong young woman of faith. She had sought ought crisis assistance counseling in the wake of the rape. Her work as a nanny gave her experience with children, meaning she entered parenthood well aware of what it entailed. She was employed and able to support a child.
It had become clear where Hannah’s heart was leading her. “If God has laid on you the desire to raise this baby,” I told her, “then you need to consider that call.”
Encouragement gave Hannah her voice. Once she was able to express herself to family and close friends, they supported her decision to parent 100%. She gave birth to a beautiful baby boy and continues to work as a nanny, bringing him along with her as she cares for the children. Down the road, she plans to finish college.
Birthmothers Friends support all different kinds of women in all different kinds of circumstances. In this case, I acted as a neutral sounding board and encourager for Hannah while she figured out how to express herself to loved ones.
I’ve heard other Friends say that they receive much more than they feel they give in a Friend-birth mom relationship. That’s what happened to me with Hannah. Her courage challenged me. Her resourcefulness motivated me. Not only do I consider her to be a close Friend, but she has inspired me to be better than I am.
*name changed for confidentiality