Stories of Hope
Table of Contents
Hope in a Box
When 30-year-old Danielle told her boyfriend she was pregnant, his easy solution was a trip to Planned Parenthood. He would even pay for the abortion, he said.
Danielle came to Care Net by herself instead, undecided about abortion and sick at the thought. But once she saw her baby and heard the heartbeat during the ultrasound to confirm her pregnancy, she knew she would make one of two choices: parent their baby or consider adoption.
It was a choice she would make alone. Her boyfriend, angry at her refusal to abort, disappeared from her life.
“I’m sad he won’t be part of our baby’s life,” said Danielle, who has a good relationship with her own parents and hoped her baby, a girl she named Vanessa, would grow up with her dad in her life.
Danielle’s parents also believed abortion to be the best answer for this second pregnancy. But they respected Danielle’s right to make her own decision and didn’t pressure her either way.
Danielle came to Care Net in November 2021 after seeing one of our paid Google ads. After learning more about the breadth of our services and other community resources, she decided to raise Vanessa herself.
“It seemed she just needed someone to assure her she can do it,” said her Care Net advocate. “She was encouraged by hearing about the resources available to parents.”
The small white box with the bright pink ribbon was one of the more unusual resources Care Net offered her. Inside was an invitation from a local church affiliated with Embrace Grace, a program designed to “inspire and equip the church to love and encourage single and pregnant young women and their families.”
Inside the box, Danielle found encouraging testimonies from other young women who had successfully traveled the path she was on, a tiny onesie printed with “best gift ever,” and an invitation.
The invitation read, “If you feel alone, sign up to join the Embrace Grace group at Anderson Hills,” a nearby church.
Danielle joined. She hasn’t been alone since. The group meets every Monday for dinner provided by the church, discussion, support, and friendship.
“We talk about Jesus and how God knits a baby together in the womb, but they’re not pushy,” Danielle said. “I was embarrassed and afraid to be open at first because I had been through drug addiction recovery, but I felt no judgment. Having someone I can call and text and getting daily Bible verses by text—being loved and supported—means a lot to me. It brings us closer.”
The pastor’s wife went with her for the important 20-week ultrasound, and the church hosted a baby shower for her. “I was surprised by the church’s generosity,” Danielle said. “I have a job and an apartment but not much else.”
We agree with Embrace Grace that every young woman with an unplanned pregnancy should have a church that will take her in and offer spiritual, emotional, and physical support and stability. If your church would like to explore becoming an Embrace Grace church, visit embracegrace.org. And if you do open your hearts to this unique ministry to young women, please let us know.
“I was shocked, could not believe it,” Miranda said. “I was terrified. I didn’t know what I was going to do. How was I going to support a child?”
A friend told her about Care Net.
Miranda was assigned to Darlene, a volunteer mentor in Care Net’s “Earn While You Learn” parenting education program.
“Darlene meant so much to me,” Miranda continued. “She was not judgmental; she prayed for me and gave me emotional support and advice at a time I did not have much support.
“The resources Care Net pointed me to were invaluable. Care Net’s ‘Earn While You Learn’ program was very much needed not only to increase my confidence in taking care of a newborn, but the incentives built in gave me much-needed items like a car seat, crib, and diapers.”
Miranda now has an adorable three-year-old son.
When Miranda’s church decided to start a pregnancy help ministry, they saw her as a great resource, and she saw the ministry as a great way to give back! Save the Storks, an organization that sells mobile ultrasound vans also realized the power of her story and included Miranda and her son in a video explaining the ministry. She texted Darlene to share the exciting news of her new opportunity.
“I want to do for others what Darlene did for me,” she continued. “I just want to tell other women who are in the position I was, ‘You are not alone. Others have walked these steps ahead of you and can help. There are others who really care for you and want to show you resources and give you emotional, spiritual, and material help.”
Anna's Story: Grateful and Inspired
Anna* was sure that an abortion was the best outcome for her pregnancy. She’d already experienced the procedure twice before and didn’t see how this pregnancy would be any different. Anna wasn’t against having children, but she didn’t feel she was prepared for a child yet, given that the father of her baby was unknown and she wasn’t living a life of stability. However, despite failed attempts to naturally terminate her pregnancy, Anna decided to schedule an appointment with Life Forward before pursuing the final step of an abortion.
During her ultrasound, Anna heard the heartbeat of her baby and saw footage of him moving. She told the Life Forward team member, “I’m shocked. I was never shown all this stuff with my other two pregnancies. I didn’t know.” Anna sought information about her pregnancy and accepted pictures from the ultrasound.
Anna left feeling grateful, inspired to revisit her Christian upbringing, and desiring to make a donation back to Life Forward. She told the Life Forward Client Educator, “I know I was supposed to be here.” Although Anna felt unsettled about the next steps, she was encouraged to take one step at a time and process the new information provided at her appointment.
Thank you for partnering with Life Forward as we continue to impact women like Anna, who “didn’t know” what a gift her unplanned pregnancy could be in her life. We’re grateful for your presence and support in this important Kingdom work as together we help women, and their families make life-affirming decisions through God’s love.
*Pseudonym used to protect the client’s privacy
At the age of 20, I didn’t expect to become pregnant. I went into a deep depression, literally walking in darkness, trapped in a place I had never been. I had absolutely no one.
I visited a Pregnancy Center, and they introduced me to Embrace Grace. I finally worked up the nerve to try church. I had the worst fear because I just knew the judgment was coming. After the service, I was walking through the lobby to my car, and a little boy with a piece of paper in his hand caught my eye. He was running to his mom, yelling at her to look at what he had learned and made about God. It all happened in slow motion, and then I instantly had a vision of my child doing the same with me.
As I went through Embrace Grace, I felt at home. I was shown love through my sisters in Christ and the other moms there, which I had not experienced in a long time. The love I thought I wasn’t worthy enough to have. There were nights that I knew God was speaking directly to me through each message and story shared. I felt like God grabbed my face with His gentle hands and focused my eyes on His and told me that I was and am still His. That I am loved no less, that I have no control over His plan for my life, that He saw this coming before I was even born, that He entrusted me with a life that HE formed inside of me, and that He has a purpose for this life to fulfill. He is the only Father and husband I need; through Him and His grace, nothing is broken, not even me.
Embrace Grace Bloom
Success in the Making
Braisa is a 36-year-old mom with two very handsome sons, Legend at 5 years old and Knowledge at 11 months old. Braisa came to us because she was a high-risk pregnancy with no support system/family in Cincinnati; she had preeclampsia. Pre-eclampsia is a disorder of pregnancy characterized by the onset of high blood pressure and often a significant amount of protein in the urine. She was assigned to Healthy Moms & Babes Certified Community Health Worker Sharon as she was ending her first trimester. Braisa was very willing to learn as much as she could about pregnancy and all it ups and downs with this condition that she did not have in her first pregnancy. Braisa held a job as a home health aide until the last month of pregnancy due to high blood pressure issues. The baby (Knowledge) was born early at 37 weeks, but due to constant monitoring of the baby and his progress by going to all those appointments, he was born at a healthy weight. HMB and Sharon were happy she never missed any prenatal appointments, went to all her children’s appointments, and completed her postpartum care, all while working and making time for our education sessions as well as baby visits. Things were not always easy for her being a single, working parent, but she never let anything get her down. She rose above these adversities and continually strived to be better for herself and her children. She had planned on returning to school but unfortunately decided it would probably be in her best interest to go back home to Georgia for much-needed support from her family. Healthy Moms & Babes will miss her and the children dearly, but we wish her well on her journey back to her home state. She is an inspiration for our other moms that barriers can be overcome.
Braisa’s words – “Ms. Sharon was a great worker for my children, and she was full of information and resources. She was very helpful, kind, and real down to earth who has become a family member to me and mine. We love her like an aunty. She will be missed but will go on to help others.”
When I discovered that I was pregnant, like most 19-year-olds with an unplanned pregnancy, I was terrified. I feared what my parents would say or do, that I was going to be a disappointment, and about my financial future. I was certain I couldn’t financially support and provide all the care a baby needed. I was a part-time student and a part-time employee. I earned a very decent living for a person my age, but certainly not enough to support a baby, I thought. I also was living at home and sharing an already tightly spaced room with my older sister. I was sure my only choice was abortion.
So, I went to Planned Parenthood the following Friday. Every day that passed before my visit to the abortion clinic, I thought of telling my parents and trying to think of ways I could keep my baby. I had already bonded with the tiny person inside me and would have little conversations with him. I even told my sister and best friend, Jadrien, that I was pregnant, but fear always overcame my rational thinking. I drove to the clinic that Friday. I was surprised to see a nurse so quickly and taken to a room. She had me sign waiver papers releasing the responsibility from Planned Parenthood if anything were to go wrong. Then she handed me the first pill and a cup of water to wash it down. I didn’t know it then, but this pill would cut off the baby’s food supply and cause him to stop growing and thriving. I stared at the pill in my hand and became overwhelmed with sadness and the feeling that I was making a terrible mistake. But yet again, the fear I had of being pregnant overcame all other emotions, and I took the pill.
On the drive home, I was consumed with guilt and regret. I cried the whole way home. Ironically, it also poured rain the entire night. I felt like Jesus was crying for what I had done. When I got home, I told my sister what I had done, and that I wanted to fix it and reverse it somehow. We started looking online at what we could do, and we came across a website discussing a reversal process, and it had a phone number. I was filled with hope but also doubted that it was real or attainable. Once I called the number, I came in contact with the hotline nurse, Elizabeth Delgado, who took my information and said she would call me back in an hour or two once she found something. They say the most sincere prayers come from hospital rooms, deathbeds, and those in the midst of a tragedy. Well, I know that to be true because during the time I was waiting for Elizabeth to call me back, I prayed for my baby’s life harder than I have ever prayed for anything before.
I felt like my soul was crying and pleading with the Lord on behalf of my baby’s life. I know God heard my prayer because Elizabeth called me back with the answer to my prayers: Patsy and Willie from the San Juan Diego center. I went to see Patsy the next morning at 7 am, less than 12 hours since I took the first pill. Of course, I was nervous, but I decided I had to trust the solution that God had provided me with. The morning I was scheduled to go and see Patsy, she called me and made sure I was coming, she even asked if I needed a ride. I took her call as a sign that I was doing the right thing.
When I got to the San Juan Diego center, Patsy reassured me that they could save my baby and that everything was going to be okay. She also showed me a model of a 6-week-old baby which was the age of mine, and I looked at how real and beautiful the baby was even when it was only six weeks old. I think a common misconception about babies, and one that the abortion industry loves to promote is that young babies in utero are only cells and aren’t real people. This is entirely untrue, and when I saw that model, I couldn’t believe that I had almost ended my little baby’s life. I came home that day and told my parents everything about the reversal process I was undergoing. My mom was very receptive and came to meet Patsy and Willie the next day and supported me with love my entire pregnancy and still supports me to this day.
Everything fell into place after that, and I remember hearing my son’s heartbeat for the first time around Thanksgiving. Then in July, I gave birth to a perfectly healthy, beautiful 9 ½-pound baby named Ezekiel, which means “God strengthens” because that’s what God did. He protected and strengthened my baby against the abortion pill’s effects through Dr. Delgado and Dr. Davenport’s reversal process.
I am forever changed into a new person because of my son and what I went through to bring him into this world. He is the absolute best thing that has ever happened to me, and I am so blessed to have him as my son. God says children are a blessing and a gift from above, and I cannot agree more. I hope everyone, when faced with this choice, chooses life, but thankfully, if they make a mistake like mine, there’s a second chance, which is the reversal process.
Gratitude from a Birth Mother
Gratitude is a word that’s going to be used a lot this month, as it should. But it’s less used throughout the rest of the year. Something about sitting around the table with family and friends, eating turkey and stuffing, laughing and playing games that reminds us to be grateful/ But what if gratitude wasn’t only encouraged during a certain time of year, but instead it was a posture of the heart?
There was a study done by two different psychologists who are leading gratitude researchers at the Universities of California and Miami. One group they studied wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them. The third group wrote about events that had affected them with no emphasis on positive or negative. After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to the doctor than those who focused on sources of aggravation.
Of course, that decision is stronger on some days than others. On those days, I take the time I need to process and then continue on. This posture of the heart is not only good for me, but it’s good for my relationship with my daughter. It’s a reminder that I’m grateful for her, for her parents, for our relationship, and for all that I have. It also reminds me that time is precious and valuable, and I never want to squander it.
“It’s not happy people who are grateful, it’s grateful people who are happy.” -Unknown