My name is Claire Culwell, and I am an abortion survivor, which is very rare.
I was a twin when I was in the womb. But today, I'm still a twin, but my twin just isn't here.
I am here to be able to be a voice and a face for the unborn, and that is all by God's grace. I will speak in honor of you.
At the age of 20, I decided that I was going to make the phone call to my adoption agency and start a search to hopefully meet my birth mother. I received a phone call from her a month later, and I visited. I had a card for her and on the card what I wrote was, "Thank you for choosing life for me. That's the greatest gift I've ever received."
WATCH Claire's story below:
As she opened this card, what were very, very happy tears began to turn into very sad tears as well. She grabs my hand and took me into a back room. She began telling me about her life. What she told me was she grew up in a family where her parents were divorced. She lived with her mother and her mother worked multiple jobs, which left my birth mother making very adult decisions for herself.
As she sought outside for love for fulfillment like many of us do, she found herself pregnant at 13 years old.
Her mother said that there was only one thing to do. That day they got in the car, they drove to an abortion clinic and my birth mother had a surgical abortion at five months along.
After having her surgical abortion that day, she went home to her eighth-grade life. She was in gym class with her best friend about four weeks later, and her friend said, "Have you been back to the doctor? Things don't seem right. Maybe you should go get yourself checked out and make sure nothing else is wrong."
She had her mom take her back to the same abortionist to examine her. At that moment, she was told the most shocking words she had ever heard in her entire life: "You're still pregnant. Your abortion was successful, but you're still pregnant. You were pregnant with twins. One was aborted, but one has survived. You're still mothering a child in your womb."
She was told that her amniotic fluid, which is in the sack that holds the baby together and gives the baby nutrients, had been broken. My birth mother delivered a little baby girl two weeks later, and that was me.
When I was born, I weighed three pounds, two ounces. My hips were dislocated, and my feet were turned in as clubbed feet. I had to stay in the hospital for two and a half months. I was on life support. When I was released, I had casts on my feet to correct my clubbed feet. I had a harness on my hips to hopefully correct, put my hips back into place. Through the next couple of years, I went through multiple casts; even body casts to kind of form my body back together.
Although it sounds like a horror story, and many have said, "Aren't you angry? Aren't you upset?" I say no because my birth mother is probably my biggest hero. She didn't have to tell me. Through her courage and through her strength and her selflessness, people's lives are being changed.
Abortion doesn't just affect one person; it's a domino effect. Even though that happened, it has turned into something so beautiful.
God has really taught me to rely on Him that this is not about me, that it's about Him. It's about His grace and it's about His amazing gift of life that He has given us. Even though life looks like a given because we all have it, but it's a gift. He is able to speak through my story and through my birth mother's story and share that gift with the world.