Editor's Note: This is a commentary on the difficult subject of abortion and what it is like to be a Christian parent whose daughter has chosen to have an abortion.
This is our family's story. God is greater than any mistake we can make. He also never tells us how long the night will be after the pain, the heartbreak and the disappointment, but our joy will come in the morning – after the mourning. The author of this story is our Heavenly Father because he wrote this story on our hearts long before our daughters were even born.
Teaching our daughters values and virtues was always part of our home since the day they were born. We always held our faith and commitment to God at the center of our family. In 2004, when our then sixteen-year-old daughter became pregnant, we were devastated. It was like the death of dreams we had had for her since birth. We wanted our children to have a lifetime of happiness and success, as any parent would, not a life time of regret-which we selfishly felt at the time was what this pregnancy brought. Our first initial thought was how could she do this to US. How can we keep this quiet and what will our family and our church say and think? Where did we go wrong as parents? This is going to change our daughter's future and our dreams for her, forever.
Preparing our girls for dating and sex was never a closed topic and age-appropriate conversations were discussed when we felt it necessary. We had our children in church and youth group activities their whole lives. Be that as it may, Satan will try to infiltrate any Christian home, regardless of how active in church the family is or regardless of how strong our faith. Our family, nor any family, is immune to Satan's evil. Satan found his way into our family through the choices of our children and quite possibly our naivety towards this topic.
We sought out Christian counseling as a family and we were blessed to have a small group of people at our church carry us through what would come to be a very emotional and heart-wrenching time in our lives. Abortion was never an option, but adoption was. We were going to let our daughter make the final decision on what she felt was best for her future and her unborn baby. We would support her, but she must decide what's best for her and her child. We sought out friends who went through similar circumstances, talked to other women who became pregnant as a teen and decided to raise their baby, and found friends who had put a child up for adoption or had adopted.
At 28 weeks gestation our daughter developed preeclampsia, which is very common to teen & young Moms. Our daughter was now 17 years old. After 3 days of close supervision in the hospital, our daughter became critical. She delivered her baby through an emergency C-section, and our Grandson was born weighing 2 pounds.
Our daughter made the decision to raise her son herself. We had no idea what was going to follow this decision. To our surprise, some of our church "friends" started to pull away from us because they thought her decision was not in her or our best interest. It's funny that they thought they knew best.
Our Grandson spent the next 8 weeks in the NICU. Looking at that sweet baby fight for life, we knew that our God is a God of second chances and so much unconditional love. Our grandson is now a healthy 13-year old who is a great student and is active in multiple sports. We can't imagine life without him and brings us more joy than we ever knew possible. Our daughter went on to complete high school and enrolled in college to become a nurse. Having a child at such a young age factored into her decision to want to work at a Pediatrics office for the past 12 years, where she is now a Medical Asst. We could not be more proud of our daughter.
We let our oldest daughter's experience became a time for learning in our family and especially for our youngest daughter. But, we were reminded that God doesn't give us any more than what HE can handle.
In November of 2011 our youngest daughter (almost 22 at the time) informed us that six weeks earlier, unknown to us, she had an abortion. It was not our finest hour as parents to hear that our daughter had committed what we felt was the greatest spiritual sin - murder. Here we go again, how could she do this to US? "Well, I guess we can hide this one", was what we thought.
We were back in the darkness, experiencing another season of grieving for the lost dreams of our youngest daughter – just waiting and pleading for the morning to come again. And the loss of our future grandchild. Our relationship with her was strained for a long time. Through some very heated conversations, we learned that she felt very pressured, coerced and even manipulated by the father of the baby to do this. We blamed ourselves-again. Where did we go wrong and what should we have done different to shelter our daughter from this? This is such a social, political and spiritual issue- so, it MUST be us, the parents. We have failed our daughters. Did we not pray enough praying for our children?
Our youngest daughter seemed to have blocked the abortion out, which just added to the strain in our relationship. We asked her months later "how can you be so uncaring and callous about what you did?" Her answer was "l have gotten over it, why can't you." Now we know, it was just a mask of feelings that most all post-abortive women feel.
Following the time in our daughter's life when she finally got to her knees one night after months of faking life and hiding behind alcohol- she begged God for forgiveness, and for a completely new beginning. She joined a recovery group for post-abortive women at her church called Someone Cares. We supported her 100%. Thinking, I'm glad SHE is seeking help. It may have been us, the parents needing help. We were still grieving, and our hearts had not started to change or soften yet. She was able to give her baby an identity and a name, and that's when our relationship began to heal. That was when our forgiveness happened. God forgave her immediately, why could we not do the same? We wanted to take control of our situations and not give it over to the Lord.