A lot has been said about the marches this past weekend. In a few days, on January 27, there will be another march in DC: the March for Life. I am reposting an article from The Christian Standard magazine on May 29, 1994, that I shared several years ago. Here is the text:
Decisions That Make a Differenceby Charles A. McNeely
The voice on the phone took me by surprise. "Are you Charles McNeely from Lincoln, Illinois?" She sounded young and vivacious, with just a hint of apprehension.
"Yes," I answered. "May I help you?"
"Did you by any chance help place a baby for adoption in Iowa City in 1973?"
"Yes," I replied cautiously, slowly pulling a kitchen chair over for support. "Why do you ask?"
"My name is Susan Andrews* and I was born on January 8, 1973.* I am wanting to contact my birth mother and I was told you might be able to help me. Could I have been that baby?"
My heart beat faster. "Tell me what you've been told."
As I listened to her story unfold, long forgotten but vivid memories flooded my mind, like a series of pictures flashing on a screen. Then I thought, "She's the one! I don't believe it, but it all connects. She was the baby!"
Our conversation continued for another half hour, followed by five days of numerous phone calls and intense searching for Christy, the woman who, as a seventeen-year-old member of our youth group, gave birth to Susan.
When I called her back with the welcome news that Christy was eager to hear from her, Susan said she was excited, nervous, and scared. I told her that Christy cried with unsuppressed joy and unresolved guilt. She said not a day had gone by in twenty-one years that she had not prayed to see her daughter again.
I recall several comments Susan made then and during the earlier conversation, but one statement will be forever etched in my memory. It was something she said in the first phone call. Her bubbly and energetic voice suddenly became very serious and soft-spoken. She asked about the circumstances surrounding her birth and adoption.
Don't Make Two Mistakes
I explained that she was conceived out of wedlock, that her birth father refused all responsibility, that Christy's parents were extremely upset and her family physician had recommended abortion. I summarized my very first talk with Christy, in which I cited several reasons why she should not abort. I repeated what my wife and I had told Christy twenty-one years earlier: "Don't make a second mistake and kill this baby. Give your child the gift of life and hand her over to a Christian couple who can give her life eternal."
That was when Susan said something I will never forget. There was a long pause. And then softly, slowly, and very seriously she said, "Thank you. . . . Thank you. . . . I always wondered who convinced my birth mother not to abort me. And I just want to thank you for my life."
Susan's very genuine expression of gratitude for life itself made everything worthwhile. The midnight trip to the hospital, the many counseling sessions with Christy and her parents, the long distance phone calls to line up a home for Christy and adoptive parents for Susan, the winter trips over ice-covered roads to encourage Christy, the hours Jane and I let her pour out her heart and weep on our shoulders, the money we gave her to buy what homes for unwed mothers would not provide - it was now worth it all!
Susan's voice began to quicken again as she described her parents as the best parents in the world. From the time she was young, they shared honestly that she was adopted - chosen and special. She was so against abortion, she said, that whenever her papers or speeches assigned in school were open to topics of her own choosing, she always chose pro-life subjects. Now she was a senior in a Christian college, determined to serve the Lord with all her heart.
Then she said it again. "Thank you!" Chills went up my spine. I thought of our talks with Christy, and I thought of how often we Christians miss opportunities to give clear, godly advice to people in crisis. I thought of how sometimes we just need to say, "Don't do it!" whether it's sex before marriage or abortion after sex. I thought of how some people do listen to us - and their decisions have eternal significance.
When Susan learned that Christy had turned her back on the church for the past twenty years, that she now has no relationship with Christ and no purpose in life, she said, "Now, perhaps the baby she gave life can give life to her."
Just before the end of our second conversation, Susan told me that she was going to take it slowly - one step at a time. She was going to write Christy first, and then talk to her by phone - and later in person. But she was going to try her best to get acquainted with Christy and reacquaint Christy with her Lord!
*The names, place, and date have been changed.
By the way, I'm Susan.