Learning About Food From My Son

FullSizeRender-3My son started trying grown up food recently, you know the kind that isn’t pureed in one of those fancy baby bullets. He loves shredded chicken, sweet potato and about every single fruit you can imagine. It’s amazing watching him discover tastes, textures and chewing for the first time; but I have to be honest, I’m kind of jealous of him. He is learning about food in a way I never did.

Food for my little person is everything that it should be. It’s both satisfying and surprising, nutritious and necessary for his development. Food doesn’t need to consume his mind because he’s never experienced a lack of it. He doesn’t know what it is like to go hungry, which by the way is how it should be for every child. He’s brand new here and the first encounters he’s had with food haven’t been restrictive. I simply can’t imagine that.

In my family of origin, we fought over food probably more than anything else. Food was both all we ever thought about and what drove some of my sibilings to desperate measures to get it. To get nutrition, we scraped for discarded food, ate rodents and stole from the outside world. Even worse, we stole from each other and some saw violence as the only way to supply what was needed most: nutrition. The one way in which we were fortunate was that the state and generous individuals provided food for us from time to time. It wasn’t consistent so that luxury backfired often by enticing us more, and reminding us of our need.

Severe hunger, unfortunately, can drive a person crazy, especially combined with parental neglect, abuse and sleep depravation. For me personally, and for most people who experience this cocktail of depravity,  the ramifications of it are long-lasting, and for others even deadly. I am incredibly thankful that I do not have to scrap for food anymore, however, the effects of it still show up in my life. My body is reminded of it when I wake up in the morning some days, when I miss a meal or even when I get one, because feeling full still seems wrong. It still seems like I don’t deserve it.

Then, there are other moments when I’m reminded of the consequences of too much food, or at least the consequences I saw in the four walls of my child-home. Food meant my family, people I loved, would abuse me. We would physically fight for it and they would win. Food meant hurtful words about my image, hurtful words about what I needed to survive. It’s hard to use this food formula in life now because this is what I learned; if I needed food I would provoke violence, if I received food it was wrong even if it was “well-earned”.  And by well earned, I mean sometimes when I would get it, it was because I would comply with abuse.

Fortunately, not every encounter I have with food now is this way, only because of God’s great grace. I’ve been healing and forgiving for years, and will likely continue to do so. Amazingly, one great gift I’ve received as a mother is learning about food from my son. The gift of his life has allowed me to glean new thoughts about it, and see it innocently through his eyes with no strings attached. God’s grace, isn’t it amazing? Somehow, He is still repairing what was stolen from me decades ago through the life of my own child.

I Was Born Alive at 26 Weeks and the Abortionist Wanted to Kill Me, But Something Amazing Happened

This is a story I would rather not tell. If I could, I would hide it away in my memory bank forever. However, I know it needs to be told it because it is the truth. And truth, these days, is very unpopular.

I was unwanted. My biological mother had a beautiful heart but a terribly confused mind. She suffered from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, which made functioning nearly impossible. When she was pregnant with me, she already was a mother of seven and lived in poverty. It would even be correct to say she was unfit to have another child. The situation she found herself in was complicated; it wasn’t black and white. To make matters worse, my biological father did not want me. He already had a separate family and a medical career. He told her to have an abortion. Wouldn’t an abortion make sense? Our “pro-choice” society would say so. Let’s explore why.

If I had been allowed to be born, I would suffer greatly. I would suffer from poverty, neglect and abuse of all kinds. I probably wouldn’t amount to much and my days would be filled with tragedy. How could hope invade a situation like that? Let’s be honest: No one would want a child from a family with that history. My future appeared bleak, right?

Looking back now at age 25, I’ll admit to you, some of this proved true. But I’m here, and the story I’m about to tell you is one of hope.

My mother’s pregnancy with me was difficult, both physically and emotionally. She was conflicted when it came to the issue of abortion. In the past, she had abortions and experienced deep regret. But she found herself in a place many women find themselves, afraid and confused. She decided to go to an abortionist in town because she was told he was a “cheap doctor” and that he could help her. To this day, I do not know if she intended to have an abortion or if she was simply seeking medical help; but I do know it wasn’t the abortionist’s intention to let me live.

He induced labor and delivered me at six and a half months (twenty six weeks), breech, and when I was born I wasn’t breathing. He proceeded to tell my mother that if I survived, I would be a mental vegetable and incapable of having a normal life. Then he said it would simply be best to let me die. In those few seconds, he held my life in his hands and believed that he had the right to decide my fate.

But to the abortion industry’s disadvantage, my mother said no. Once she saw my humanity, she couldn’t allow the abortionist to leave me for dead. My mother demanded that I receive immediate medical attention, and I was rushed to a children’s trauma birth ward in New Orleans where I stayed until I was strong enough to go home. However, this was only the beginning of a very challenging road.

I wasn’t home too long before the Department of Children and Family Services began investigating my family. Social workers would drop by to find empty pantries, broken furniture, and absent parents. Because of the deplorable conditions, the youngest children, including me, were placed into foster care.

I was only sixteen months old when I met my foster parents, Ron and Bobbie Jones. They had no children of their own and desired to be parents. While I was too young to be diagnosed with a mental illness, my social workers warned them to expect it given my family’s medical history. They were told I would be in their custody for 6-8 months, but in reality, they could get a call to return me to by birth family at any time. They didn’t care. They wanted me. They were in it for the long haul. Little did I know then, but this couple would save my life.

A premature birth, coupled with extreme neglect, led me to be a sickly child, even to the point of contracting tuberculosis. Without treatment, it could have been fatal. Fortunately, my foster parents gave me their undivided attention and tended to my every need. Thanks to them, I escaped death once again. Despite the severity of the illness, I believe God used it for good because it allowed me to stay in foster care with the Jones’ longer than expected.

But with improved health at the Jones’ home came the call they dreaded: I was to be returned to my biological family. While my foster parents were very concerned about my safety, I was excited. No matter what anyone may tell you, children will always love their biological family, regardless of how dangerous the situation. Sadly, even though I felt a deep love for my family, those were the darkest days of my life.

In my biological home, food was scarce. I would consider myself lucky to get a few bites of anything. Since I was only four years old, even when food was available it was taken from me. This was because I wasn’t the only one starving. My older siblings were stronger and faster than me. But I would grab whatever food I could find, hide in the bathroom with a few of my younger siblings, and hope for the best. Even if the food was dirty or infested by insects I would eat it and I did this on a daily basis.

In my home, simply making it through the day was a fight: a fight for safety and a fight to survive. I spent most of my days in a room that resembled a cold and dark garage. I can still feel the icy floor against my back and smell the urine that permeated the space. This room was a place I had nightmares about for nearly a decade. My abusers would take me there to be the object of their so-called games. Sometimes the game was to see if I could survive being beaten into the night while being sleep deprived, and tied to a wall. Other times it was simple to satisfy some sick fixation they had with little children. Either way, I never wanted to “play” and the only way for me to survive was to hide, or if caught, dissociate quickly. For any child, this would be a living nightmare.

To make myself feel better, I clung to a few toys that I brought back from my foster family, including a bright orange “kiddy” slide that I loved. But to my dismay, it quickly turned into my older siblings’ target for knife throwing practice.

If I said my story was one of hope, why am I sharing all these messy, uncomfortable details? Because the abortion industry makes millions off of families like mine; they sell hurting women a lie that somehow killing their child would be better than the pain they would face in this world.

How many times have you heard the stale mantra of the abortion industry, “Every child a wanted child?” The truth they hide in these words is that unwanted children, like I clearly was, should be killed. They eliminate any hope of change, perseverance, or determination.

Without a doubt, I was not only unwanted, but my mother literally couldn’t care for me. This was a fact and one that I cannot overlook. Starvation, abuse, and neglect were not abstract concepts to me or to my family. They were very real and have taken me many years to recover from, but these circumstances were temporary.

You see there is one big flaw in “choice” ideology: no matter the circumstances, playing God with a person’s life should never be an option. We should never close the door on what can come from an unfortunate situation.

Note: This article was first published at LifeNews.com

Pro-Life Example

Twenty-seven years ago, an infamous New Orleans abortionist told a woman she should let her baby girl die on the delivery table. The baby, born at 26.5 weeks, wasn’t breathing. To the doctor, the child’s life was meaningless and wouldn’t amount to anything. He was so certain of her worthlessness that he told the mother her child would be a “mental vegetable, incapable of having a normal life.”

I am so thankful she didn’t listen. It’s the reason I’m here today to tell you my story.

My Hispanic mother was a vulnerable woman, the perfect candidate for abortion. She already had seven children, lived in dire poverty, and wrestled with mental illness. Her pregnancy with me was the result of an affair, a fact I didn’t know until I was a young teenager. My birth father wasn’t interested in helping, because he was married and had a successful medical career. My mom was utterly alone.

So she sought the advice of a friend, who referred her to a “cheap doctor.” I’ve since learned the key fact here is cheap. For poor women, this is important to understand. Instead of offering real assistance, the abortionist convinced my mom to deliver me prematurely and then initially refused to give me medical care when I was born alive. He wasn’t concerned about my welfare, or my mom’s.

Miraculously, when my mother saw me, she couldn’t leave me to die. She made a pro-life choice and demanded I receive immediate medical care. I lived because of my mother’s choice—but she’s not the only reason I’m pro-life today.

In fact, if I stayed in her home I might be pro-abortion. Hear me out.

Pro-Life Example

pro-life example

My mother’s mental illness caused my siblings and me to suffer starvation, abuse, and neglect in unimaginable ways. We ate insects off the ground, fought until we bled over food, and tore clothes off one another so we could go to school. Our environment enabled abusers and robbed us of innocence. The situation was so severe that I contracted tuberculosis from my stepfather and required expensive medical care.

Around that time, I was placed in foster care with a Christian family. And after nearly eight years in the Louisiana Foster Care System, they adopted me. Without them, I wouldn’t have survived, and I certainly wouldn’t be pro-life. I might have accepted the lie the abortionist spoke over me at my birth, and joined the hundreds of thousands of Americans who believe abortion is the answer to the social crisis around us.

Thankfully, foster care taught me what it truly means to be pro-life. My foster family, and later adoptive parents, faithfully lived out James 1:27: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

Pro-Life Practice

My adoptive parents participated in government by supporting pro-life candidates with their vote, and when they could, with their finances. They stayed educated on platforms regarding the sanctity of life and got involved with local pro-life groups dedicated to ending abortion.

To this day, my adoptive mother participates in peaceful pro-life activities. She prays outside of abortion facilities and holds a sign that says, “I had an abortion; please come talk to me.” She courageously tells her story of aborting her only biological child at the age of 27, and she’s now the regional coordinator for Silent No More Awareness in Louisiana, an organization that helps women who’ve been devastated by abortion.

My adoptive family also assisted poor families in practical ways. On a regular basis they brought my biological family food, clothing, and basic necessities, even though they had no guarantee they’d get to adopt me or remain in my family’s life. They decided it was their responsibility to care for us—regardless of the outcome. When I had to leave foster care and go back to my biological mother, they offered to drive me to preschool and brought me clean clothes and a pack of wipes to use each day before kindergarten. They got involved in the messy details of being pro-life. They refused to stay on the sidelines.

Pro-Life Conviction

The troubling truth is that my biological family is just one of millions who’ve experienced the despair I’ve described. Just like abortion, this situation should be of utmost concern to every pro-life Christian. In the United States, there are currently 15 million children living in poverty, and 1 in 5 experience physical abuse from family members. These numbers only increase in minority families and single-parent homes.

My parents’ actions saved my life. Unlike many who experience poverty and abuse in early childhood, I moved past my nightmarish beginnings to finish high school, graduate from college, and become a stable adult. More importantly, I met Jesus in foster care.

Not all Christians are called to take in a foster child or adopt, but we are mandated to do something about abortion, poverty, and suffering families. Whenever I wonder what I can do to help, I look at my parents’ example.

Harvard Student Regrets Her Abortion: “On the Inside the Screaming Hasn’t Stopped”

In a recent article in The Harvard Crimson, a student shared her story of having an abortion after her boyfriend broke up with her. She writes, “All I desperately wanted was to have my boyfriend back. I wanted him to hold me and let me cry into his chest, for him to tell me that everything was okay even though it wasn’t. But by the time I found out the truth, it was too late to get him back. He had started dating another girl two months after we broke up. I couldn’t tell him. I couldn’t tell anyone.”

At the time, the woman was four months pregnant because she didn’t find out about the pregnancy right away. However, she decided to have an abortion because she thought that was all she could do. She said, “I called the clinic and made an appointment for a week’s time. That week was the hardest of my entire life. I hid underneath baggy sweaters, convinced that someone would notice how round my stomach had gotten. I was pale and withdrawn, and skipped almost every class to cry in my bedroom. I woke up every day praying that I was having some extended nightmare. I wasn’t.”

She continued, “I headed to the clinic a week later with just a book, a water bottle, my Harvard ID, and a locket containing a picture of my ex-boyfriend and me. The procedure didn’t take long. It wasn’t even that physically painful. But when it was over, I screamed. I couldn’t stop screaming. As I write these words, it has been over a month since the abortion—and on the inside that screaming hasn’t stopped.”

Tragically, this is the response of countless women who’ve abortions and our culture’s growing praise of it isn’t helping. Women are told that abortion is a safe and simple procedure, much like having a tooth extracted; or that there will be no long-term side effects and their life will go back to normal.

However, studies show that over 65% of women who have abortions suffer from post-abortive syndrome, 31% have health complications, and post abortive women are six-times more likely to commit suicide than women who give birth. Also, many women who have abortions are coerced or forced into it by parents, spouses or partners. For these women, this “choice” society brags about really isn’t one at all.

Unfortunately, for the Harvard student, she feels like she has to hide the secret forever and that no can help her now that she’s already had the abortion.

She writes, “…Part of what makes it so hard is there is no one to help me deal with that pain. I wish that I had support. I wish that someone would tell me I’m not a horrible person for making the choice that I did, or say that they sympathize with my agony. But I can’t tell anyone, even my family, about my abortion or my child. I did end up telling my ex-boyfriend. I wanted him to realize that we’d never actually been broken. I sobbed into his chest and confessed everything. I told him about my guilt and my pain. He still didn’t take me back. He told me to tell him if anything was seriously wrong, but he didn’t support me when I needed him and reached out for help. Maybe now I’m just too messed up for him, or anyone else, to deal with.”

She concluded, “It is frightening how hard it can be to find support at Harvard. I was shocked by how easy it was to hide my pregnancy. No one, not even my roommates or best friends, noticed how I suddenly started wearing exclusively baggy clothing, or how I kept cancelling plans last minute so I could cry in my room. No one noticed that I was vomiting on a near-daily basis, though I passed it off as “a winter bug” for weeks on end. We’ve talked before about how here at school, we’re so wrapped up in our own lives that we forget to pay attention to others. We ignore the little signals from our friends that something could be amiss, even if we don’t realize that we’re doing it. I think I truly wanted someone to notice that something was wrong. I wanted someone to ask if I was okay, to tell me that I wasn’t acting like myself—because, really, I wasn’t.”

Thankfully, there are groups like Silent No MoreRachael’s Vineyard and Priests for Lifethat offer help for those hurting from their abortions. Hopefully, this Harvard student reaches out to one of these organizations and gets the resources she needs.

12 Weeks with Noah

Baby Noah died from a spontaneous miscarriage on February 20th, 2014. His mother, Lara, named him Noah because it means “rest” and “peace”. Noah was only 12 weeks and 5 days old when he died. Even though he passed away, his perfectly formed body displays the development of a new human life, the most spectacular miracle on earth.

From the very start, a preborn human meets all of the criteria needed to establish biological life and secures his place in the human family. The child is metabolizing nutrition, moving, growing, can react to stimuli and contains the genetic potential necessary to reproduce. At only 18 to 22 days old, he begins to circulate his own blood, often times with a blood type unique to that of his mothers. In fact, his tiny heart will beat nearly 54 million times before he is even born.

At six-weeks-old, the child’s eyes and eyelids, nose, mouth and tongue have formed and electrical brain activity can be observed. In his first twelve weeks of life, critical systems are set in place, like the circulatory, nervous, and digestive system, and vital organs are not only fully formed, but are beginning to function. Remarkably, the most dramatic changes in a human’s development occur during this fragile stage. The science is clear: a unique, distinct human life has begun.

However, these members of the human family are the most marginalized of society. Through abortion, they are killed at a staggering rate. Worse yet, these tiny humans cannot speak to defend themselves, and the laws of our land permit their destruction. Without a trail, a jury, or defense, these little lives are extinguished before they even see the light of day.

In America, the most common abortion procedure is the suction curettage abortion. In fact, nearly ninety percent occur before the end of the mothers’ first trimester. The abortionist uses a suction machine to remove the child and then uses a loop-shaped knife called a curette to scrape the remaining body parts out of the mothers’ uterus.

Many think that this sort of brutality is limited to procedures performed during late abortions. However, this is how ex-abortionist, Dr. Grant Clark, describes first trimester abortions done by suction:

“… That was probably the most difficult part of the abortion procedure with the suction abortions… you had to go through what you suctioned out of the uterus and identify perfectly formed little arms and legs and little hands… the skulls were usually crushed.”

In twenty minutes or less, the baby is dead.

In order to move this reality from the abstract to the concrete, sometimes humanity needs a nudge and a reminder of who these children are. We need more than the scientific data, statistics and cold hard facts. Instead, we need empirical evidence to move our emotions and our senses. Sometimes when words are not enough, we need to see what these humans look like. We need a face.

For today, Noah is that face. His age was within range of when the majority of abortions are performed. While all the concrete facts prove their humanity, this image of Noah speaks for itself.

Noah’s mother, Lara, said the following about Noah:

“Even though he only lived for twelve weeks, Noah was special to me. I am blessed that I was able to hold him, to see that he was real. Just like every other mother, this first photo of my child will always be special to me. I am devastated that we lost Noah, but I know that his 12 weeks of life had a purpose. His body reveals the miracle of human life. If he could help show one mother considering abortion the beauty of her child, then our loss would be worth it.”

Noah, may you rest in peace. We pray that our nation will see in you the intrinsic value that every human life possesses, no matter how small or frail.

Adoption is the Answer to Child Abuse, Not Abortion

From its inception, the pro-life movement in America has united under one fundamental belief: human life from fertilization to natural death merits our respect and protection. This belief has inspired thousands to initiate everything from pro-life education and outreach initiatives, to legislative action

It is because of these efforts that the pro-life movement has witnessed remarkable breakthroughs, such as the passage of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act through the U.S House and its introduction in the Senate.

However, despite pro-life advancements, one pro-choice argument continues to surface and impact the convictions of Americans. It is the argument that justifies abortion because of problems within the family, such as child abuse and neglect.  You might have heard someone say before, “Every child a wanted child.”  The believers of this position see that children will be left abused, hungry, and unwanted, and therefore, endorse abortion as a method to prevent this situation. This argument is heard in schools, legislatures, and in the media.

Without question, this argument rests on the illogical and insidious assumption that killing a child through abortion is an antidote for abuse.  Instead of confronting the real problems in our society, they want to increase the rate of abortion on what they consider “vulnerable” populations.  We believe the tagline should be “Every child a valued child”.

While we know know that social ills can never justify the travesty of abortion, they should bring our attention to a very important fact: there are children living in dangerous and even deadly homes.

According to the Administration of Children and Families approximately 5 children die every day because of child abuse and in 2011 alone, there were 3 million reported cases of abuse. Studies find that children with histories of abuse are more likely to exhibit violent behavior, struggle with additions and participate in substance abuse.

While these statistics on abuse and neglect are startling and need to be addressed immediately, the pro-life movement must continue to show our nation that abortion is not a solution to ending the suffering of children. We must instead look to both adoption of infants and adoption of foster children as essential elements of the solution to these real problems.

Because of our oath to protect all life, we must work to save children from becoming another one of these statistics. Possibly for you, this means supporting adoption initiatives or assisting families that are fostering children. It could even mean adopting a child of your own. If we really want our society to reject abortion, we must care about the countless children right in front of us who are going to bed hungry and fighting to simply stay alive, and the unborn children whose lives are being threatened by abortion. Every child deserves to be loved, protected, and given the gift of life.

Note: This article was initially published at LifeNews.com