A Letter From a Friend
What can I say about Birthright?… Well, I can say that it is an organization that doesn’t get enough credit for the work that they do. I can say that the people who spend their time working there, value others, and value life. I can say all of these things because they are true.
I personally have a relationship with the ladies and gentlemen of this organization. They have helped me through trying times of homelessness, domestic violence, and pregnancy…. It’s because of this organization, that I was able to get on the path to now having my own safe home that I can raise a baby in, and finally get on the career path that I have dreamed of.
I also would like to thank the Executive director of Birthright, Regina Ranelli. Regina is an inspiration and a hope for all women. She is dedicating her life to make sure that women don’t look at life and see failure, but look at life, so they can see success. Never have I came across a more beautiful person, who is one of the main reasons for my own personal success, and still plays an instrumental part in my life. I also want to thank some of the volunteers who help keep this organization running, they too have the spirit and drive to nurture people in the direction they need to go. Thank you, and I wish this organization many years of success…
They Come Into Our World
By Paula A. Smith
Sometimes we know they are on their way — sometimes they surprise us. But one thing is certain, a baby’s life enriches our life like nothing else. No matter the circumstances, they have a right to be born, to be wanted and loved and to have a good beginning to grow. At Birthright we help parents gently lift back the blanket of fear from their baby to appreciate God’s miraculous gift of life.
You might ask us — Who calls Birthright? The following situations describe a variety of calls we receive. (Names and identifying information were changed to maintain client confidentiality).
Marissa, 28, has four children and is three months pregnant. Members of her family are taking care of her children as she is not able to parent them. She is addicted to narcotics for a second time. She wants her baby and realizes she needs treatment and is willing to undergo it. She is being evicted from her apartment in seven days and has no money and no one helping her.
Shawna is 17 and in high school. She is 16 weeks pregnant. Her mother helps her but the baby’s father does not. She works part-time at a convenience store. She needs maternity clothes, a bassinet, a crib, baby clothes and diapers.
Lissette is 25 and eight months pregnant with her second child. She works full-time. The baby’s father is in jail.
Robyn, 29, is six months pregnant and has two other children. The father of the baby occasionally visits but is not really supportive emotionally or financially to her. Her family is helping her.
Donna is pregnant and in high school. She needs a shelter or a place to stay. Her parents are kicking her out of the house because she is planning to continue her pregnancy. She is thinking about the possibility of adoption for her baby.
Rhona is looking for help to find an abortion clinic that is not expensive. She feels no one cares about her and she is all alone. She wants the baby because she was not raised to think about abortion or to give her child away for adoption but she realizes she needs a plan. She has another child. Her boyfriend lives with her but tells her it is up to her to decide what to do.
Nan is 22, five months pregnant and living with her mother. Her friend told her about Birthright. She attends college to be a nurse. She would like to keep the baby and have her own place after the baby is born. She is happy she is having a baby and that she will be a mother.
SueAnne is 24, has three other children and is pregnant again. She is unsure who the father of her baby is, but her boyfriend is kind to her and the other children. She has been a victim of domestic abuse in a previous relationship. She has a younger brother in foster care that she would like to take care of in her home. Her mother died when she was young and her father is not involved.
She is young, eight weeks pregnant and has never been pregnant before. The father of her baby is involved in her life and she lives with his grandmother. She still attends school.
A young man calling for a pregnancy test appointment for his girlfriend.
Lara is homeless and has a six-month-old baby she cares for alone. She is living in a hotel while waiting for a shelter opening. She will need diapers, formula, baby items and a crib.
“Use your voice for kindness, your ears for compassion, your hands for charity, your mind for truth, and give your heart for love.” ~ Anonymous
Great-Grandmother Gave Life-Giving Words
By Paula A. Smith
A young mother, Karyn (not her real name), who sat across from me in the Birthright office about 15 years ago, has a teenage daughter now. Although time has passed, I will always remember the influence her daughter’s great-grandmother had in her life before she was born.
Karyn stopped in the office late one afternoon and asked for a pregnancy test. Her boyfriend was waiting in the car across the street with their six-months-old baby. When the test indicated positive, she simply said she could not have this baby.
“Why?” I asked.
“I already have a baby,” she said. “And a five-year-old.”
I invited her to sit down so we could talk and she agreed. She was calm but certain she was not going to continue her pregnancy. She explained her boyfriend was the father of their baby he was watching in the car and the unborn baby she might be carrying. He was not the father of her older child. She did not want him to accompany her for the pregnancy test because she did not want him to know the result. Although he loved her, she did not want to marry and spend the rest of her life with him. She was not planning to tell him the test was positive.
As we spoke, she repeatedly resisted the idea of carrying her baby to term if a doctor’s examination confirmed her pregnancy. Then she paused. She told me there was something I said that reminded her of her grandmother’s words. She said she knew her grandmother would say to her, “If you can raise two children you can raise three.” With tears in our eyes, she made a decision to keep her baby and would not seek an abortion. For nine months she hid her pregnancy under large sweaters and pants because she was reluctant to tell her father, who helped her with child care, that she was pregnant.
On the day she was admitted to the hospital to deliver her baby she revealed her pregnancy to her father. When she gave birth to a new granddaughter he was not upset.
In years that followed, Karyn called me from time to time mostly to thank me for encouraging her to keep her daughter. If I wasn’t in the office, she would share her story with a Birthright volunteer and ask them to tell me she called. The last time I spoke with her she said, “Every time I look at my daughter I am so happy I had her. Thank you so much.”
It’s been a long time since I’ve heard from her, but every so often I pause and think about a young mother who chose to keep her baby because of her grandmother’s words.