“I’ve had a baby, and I keep wanting to hold her. But she’s gone. I miss her.” A teenager named Bonnie wrote those words in August of 1990. Months before, she had been surprised and scared to learn she was pregnant. As a 17-year-old on the brink of beginning her higher education, she knew she was not equipped to be a parent. But instead of ending the life inside her, she made the bravest, most selfless decision possible: giving up her child for adoption.
I struggle to comprehend the difficulty of entrusting a biological child with new parents, but I am so thankful that Bonnie did so, because that child, Christine Marie, is now one of my dearest friends and has since shared this story to encourage countless others. The day that Bonnie gave up Christy was one of pain, as the words she wrote testify, but Christy’s life as well as innumerable other lives have benefitted as a result of Bonnie’s courageous sacrifice.
Many preconceived ideas and awkward questions often surround adoption. Can a parent’s bond with an adopted child ever be as strong as the one with a biological child? Will an adopted child ever secretly wish his or her birth parents had kept him or her? Are birth parents depriving their child by giving him or her to non-biological parents? These concerns all have valid elements to them, but I have had the privilege of witnessing many adoption stories and can say with certainty that adoption is one of the most beautiful and courageous decisions a woman could make in the face of an unplanned pregnancy.
My dear friend Christy grew up always knowing her adoption as a precious gift—her birth parents loved her and wanted the best for her, but knew that someone else could give that to her when they could not. And now, Christy has the joy of an ongoing relationship with both of her birth parents and has deep gratitude to them for giving her the best family for which she could have asked. Her parents and brother are her rock, and she now also has a wonderful husband who encouraged her to make contact with her birth father.
In her everyday work, Christy now counsels women like Bonnie, using her own story to show them the good that can come from adoption. She works for an adoption agency that comes alongside women with unplanned pregnancies to help them give the best future for themselves and their children.
Christy’s story shows me that abortion and adoption are not only about the child and the birth parents. If Bonnie had not carried Christy to term and then given her to her new parents, I likely wouldn’t be able to call Christy my friend, college roommate, or confidant. I know many other girls who are also blessed with her friendship and mentoring because Bonnie gave her up for adoption. What’s more, Christy’s parents wouldn’t have had the joy of raising her, and her brother wouldn’t have had her as his sister if not for Bonnie’s sacrifice. Christy’s husband William and his family would never have known her. And the vulnerable women who are blessed by Christy every day would not have her in their lives right now.
One life touches innumerable others, and I’m grateful to Christy’s birth mother for giving her baby girl the chance to touch so many lives that she wouldn’t have encountered without her adoption.
Elizabeth Hance is an intern at Family Research Council.adoption.
Elizabeth Hance is an intern at Family Research Council.