She was the second born of three little girls, a blonde haired, green eyed sweetheart with a spontaneous personality. Her family enjoyed all things outdoors and celebrated elaborately decorated Christmases with her Navy dad and fun-loving mom during her early years. The idyllic childhood ended with her dad leaving her mom when she was 11 years old , and that’s when the excessive drinking and never-ending stream of live-in boyfriends began. She met Debbie during high school and they were soon best friends, and as her mom lost herself in alcohol more and more, she found solace in her new friend.
Debbie’s uncle Norm owned a printing business, and both girls were soon working for him. At night they whispered of their big dreams for the future, and during the day, they learned how to bind, print, and collate. A hard worker and fast learner, she excelled at everything she did, and Norm began trusting her with more and more of the aspects of the business.
Norm’s younger brother Ron also worked at the print shop, and it wasn’t long before she caught his eye. Maybe it was his height (6’1″), maybe it was his blonde hair, or maybe it was the fact that she was longing for acceptance and attention and he was 22 and seemed so mature. Whatever the reason, they began dating and at just 16 years old, she was moving to his little rental house across from the print shop.
For a while, she enjoyed playing house with him. They worked together and came home together and for once in what seemed like a long time, things were right in her world.
Until the day she missed her monthly cycle.
In those days, there weren’t pregnancy tests readily available at the corner drug store, so she slipped out of work and went down to the local health department to take a test.
She was completely alone when she learned the news: She was pregnant.
Later that night, when they were alone, she told Ron the news. His reaction rocked her world.
“Pregnant? I told you to prevent that from ever happening! You’re going to get an abortion of course. I don’t want any children and I never want to be a father.”
Ron’s father Jonny had three children during his first marriage, but when he married Patty, she begged for a child. He didn’t want another child, but eventually gave in to his wife’s pleading. Ron was the only child born to Jonny and Patty, and while his mother adored him, his father clearly never wanted him. Jonny was harsh and abusive, especially over Ron’s bed-wetting struggles. Ron would curl up in bed, with a close pin clamped on himself, to try to avoid wetting the bed and facing his father’s rage. He decided at a young age that he never wanted a child of his own.
“But I don’t want an abortion.” she whispered. “This is my baby.”
It was then that he shared the fact that there had been three pregnant girlfriends before her, and each one of them had gotten an abortion, so she WOULD be getting one if she wanted to stay with him.
“I don’t want an abortion.” she whispered again. He pushed her across the room and into the living room wall. “You WILL be getting an abortion!” he shouted.
She moved in with Debbie that very night.
With no money, no support system, and very little to call her own, she was thankful that Norm kept her on at the shop during the pregnancy. When she went to social services to get medical services, they asked the name of the baby’s father. “I can’t tell you.” she answered. “I mean, I know who he is, but he told me to lie to you. He said if I ever try to get child support from him, he would kidnap my baby and I would never see her again.”
The baby’s father was listed as unknown.
When she was several months pregnant, Norm hired a new girl for the print shop. This girl caught Ron’s eye and they were soon dating. She also became pregnant. He told her to get an abortion.
And that baby became number four.
She was barely 18 when her water finally broke and she went into labor. She drove herself to the hospital, about to give birth to her first child.
She was completely alone when she gave birth: “It’s a girl!” the doctor exclaimed.
She took the little eight pound, blonde haired baby girl home and raised her alone. They moved often, and she worked hard to keep a roof over her baby’s head. She earned her real estate license and about a year later, she was at the office when the local Baptist pastor began stopping by. For six months, he invited her to visit his church, and finally, one Wednesday evening, she decided to give it a try.
The first time she entered a church was with her toddler girl on her hip. She soaked in the message of forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ alone, and accepted HIM that very night. Six months later, she was singing in the choir when a visiting young Navy sailor spotted her from the congregation. It was literally love at first sight, and they were engaged thirteen days later, and married within four months.
They asked Ron’s permission to have the baby girl legally adopted by the new husband.
He signed the paperwork and was never heard from again.
The baby girl grew up. She loved babies and Jesus from the time she was very young, and today, she is happily married adult with eight children of her very own, five the old-fashioned way, and three through adoption.
Yes, I was the baby girl in this true story.
And I was almost number four.
Somewhere in heaven, I have
at least four sweet siblings whose lives ended before they could even begin. I hope to meet them someday, and whisper how sorry I am that our grandfather’s abuse passed such an aversion to children on to our father that he convinced their mothers to abort them. With tears streaming down my face, I hope to tell them that I love them, that I’m so thankful they were numbers one, two, three, and four. Because that means that I AM ALIVE for a reason beyond my comprehension.
If I seem excessive about gentleness with little ones, it is because I was almost murdered because of an abusive hand.
If I seem redundant in encouraging fathers to love their children, it is because I was unloved by mine and I know how it shaped me, as a child, and even now, as an adult.
If I seem passionate about mothers taking the time to connect with their children, it is because I was raised by a mother who loved me unconditionally from the moment of my conception. She gave me life, and choose life and love for me every single day of my childhood. And it matters.
And if I seem heartbroken over the literal millions of orphaned children around the world who don’t know the love of a parent and don’t know my Jesus….and even more heartbroken over the millions of babies whose bodies are torn apart before they ever view their mother’s face, it’s because I AM.
I was almost number four, but by the grace of God, and a young woman’s selfless decision, I’m alive today.
And I will never take that for granted.