“Abortion seemed like a quick fix to my problems.”
Scared and overwhelmed, April faced an unexpected pregnancy. Because she was in an abusive relationship, she thought abortion was the only answer; however, April discovered hope.
Through the love, warmth, and compassion of a team member at Lifeline’s pregnancy resource center, April found the help, peace, and confidence she needed to choose adoption. “I needed a way out of my unexpected pregnancy, but I came to discover that hurting a child was not the way out … [Instead] I wanted to give life to my unborn son.”
Birth Mother’s Day honors the sacrificial love of mothers like April, who chose life through adoption for their preborn children. It’s a courageous yet excruciating decision for a mother. As Christ-followers who value life, we must engage and help confused and hurting women in their time of need. There is no shortage of ways to care for these precious mothers; the real question is, “Will we engage?”
In my 20 years at Lifeline Children’s Services, I’ve seen women consistently make the selfless choice of adoption in the face of great obstacles and challenges. These women are incredibly brave heroes and models of life in a culture of death. The pressure of an unexpected pregnancy can be overwhelming for a young mother. The birth mothers we have the privilege of working with desperately love their children and want to do what is best for the precious image bearers tucked in their wombs.
When women choose life and adoption, we at Lifeline empower them to take the lead in the process. April explains, “I made the adoption plan for him, not for myself. I wanted better for him. I wanted him to be safe and to know that he is loved.”
With the guidance of a multitude of life-affirming counselors, mothers are able to carefully consider their life options. At Lifeline, we work with them every step of the way to create a thoughtful and intentional plan for their child.
We are a birth-mother-centered, child-focused, Gospel-driven ministry because we believe all women and children are made in the image of our Heavenly Father, are among the most important in the Kingdom of God, and are the most in need of our protection and care.
While these precious birth mothers are courageous and brave, the searing pain of loss is still very present. Many of the women we have the privilege of working with have already experienced great pain and trauma, even before they learned of their pregnancy. Difficult relationships, abuse, pain, and substance abuse plague many women, and they desperately want something far better for their children.
While most mothers are celebrating a present blessing on Mother’s Day, these celebrations can be bittersweet for women who have placed their children for adoption. This is why Lifeline celebrates Birth Mother’s Day on the Saturday before Mother’s Day. We provide a safe and celebratory environment for women to come together to support one another and celebrate the gift of life that made them a mom.
Currently, Lifeline provides only two sites for observing Birth Mother's Day. We desperately need help in expanding the sites and locations for honoring women on this special day. We need churches that realize that these women are worthy and precious and beloved by their Creator. I hope and pray that this Mother’s Day Weekend will be the first step that local churches can take in caring for birth mothers; however, I also pray that engagement does not begin and end with one day.
There are countless ways for the body of Christ to take action and care for women in need: volunteering at a local pregnancy resource center, mentoring and discipling a woman walking through an unplanned pregnancy, engaging with a Bible study for birth mothers within your local church, providing tangible needs such as housing and maternity clothes, and supporting life-affirming birth mother ministries like Lifeline and so many more.
The struggle mothers face is not only physical but also spiritual. Along with services and advocacy, these brave women need to know they are worthy. They need to know the Lord loves them and their child, no matter their past or the choices they make.
Women need to hear the blessing, “Thank you for your sacrificial love by choosing a different life for your child. Remember you, and your child, were made in the image of a loving God. He is with you in your grief and says, ‘As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you.’” (Isaiah 66:13)
If we are passionate about helping women choose life instead of an abortion, then we must do more than engage politically; we must honor women, empower pregnancy resource centers to meet needs, be available on the other side of the postpartum ward, and above all, manifest the gospel of faith, hope, and love to precious women who bear the beautiful image of their Creator.
Herbie Newell is the President of Lifeline Children’s Services, the largest Evangelical Christian adoption agency in the United States. The organization serves vulnerable children and families through private domestic and international adoption, family restoration, and pregnancy counseling. Herbie is also the author of Image Bearers: Shifting from Pro-Birth to Pro-Life.