From Scorched to Watered | Finding Strength After Placing My Child
Guest post from Eren Moore
Isaiah 58:11 reads,
“And the LORD will continually guide you and satisfy your desire in the scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.”
The scorched places.
We all have them. Those traumas—hurts induced on us by others. The sins we committed and the consequences of them that seemed to mar or change us forever. The places that need to be spoken out and named but we’d rather hide them because of shame.
Maybe God is revealing some of your scorched places even now as you read this. I’ve learned that we must name them, for naming them brings them into the light so that they can be grieved and repented of.
Naming and telling is where my healing began.
In May of 1991, at 17 years old, I found out I was 8 weeks pregnant.
I knew before I even took the test, but denial is powerful. I dismissed the thought for a few weeks until I figured I better find out for sure. The only place I really knew to go for help was the Planned Parenthood I drove by every day on my way to school.
The only statement the nurse said to me as I walked out the door was, “We can help you take care of that.”
I said, “You mean to have an abortion?”
Overwhelmed I rushed to my car driving south on a two-lane highway, fighting the urge to turn my steering wheel to the left so as to drive over the median into the north-going traffic. I was devastated, hopeless, scared. Scorched.
By God’s grace I made it home that day. But then, I faced weeks of struggle. Thoughts of telling my parents terrified me. There seemed to be no words to even begin that conversation. Surely they would kill me or at the very least kick me out.
What kind of example would I be to my younger sister and brothers? What about my future at college? To answer these questions, I sought unwise counsel from misguided friends and co-workers. I remember being surrounded by those who chose abortion telling me,
“It’s no big deal.”
“You don’t need a baby now.”
That all seemed so true.
At one point, I visited a family who had adopted a few children. That dear woman invited me into her home, and I saw firsthand the love that an adoptive mom can have for her children.
God was awakening my heart to adoption.
However, the battle raged within me. No one could know I was pregnant. Shame, guilt, lies. It was easy to justify that what was living inside of me was “a clump of cells” at ten weeks. The father of my baby fed these lies to me daily, himself wanting to get rid of the problem altogether. The sooner I could abort, the better. Time was ticking.
The nurse at Planned Parenthood gave me the answer I needed: abortion.
And even better, the state I lived in did not require me to tell my parents about the abortion as long as I had a counseling session at the time of the appointment and it was approved. Easy enough.
The day arrived and the father of the baby and I sat in the waiting room. I nervously leafed through some magazines while he paid. In the magazine, I came across a type of postcard that read, choose life with a picture of a fetus in the womb. I abruptly closed the magazine and threw it to the side.
I heard my name called, and like a robot, I went through all the preliminary tests, one of which included an ultrasound which was turned away from me.
Finally, I arrived at the counselor’s office, knowing I would finally have the procedure done afterward. I just wanted to get it over with, so I tried to hurry through the session, not thinking too much about my answers.
At the end of my time with her, I hurriedly got up and rushed to the door.
But that counselor stopped me in my tracks with her words, “I won’t let you have an abortion today.”
“WHAT?! Oh yes, I will!”
She continued, “Not on my watch. You can come back tomorrow but it won’t happen today.”
“Why?” I responded.
She shared, “There were too many red flags. You said you weren’t sure if you want to kill your baby. People don’t say that. I can’t let you do this today.”
Kill my baby? I didn’t even remember saying those words. Feeling trapped and confused, I wondered what I would do.
Feeling disillusioned, I had no choice but to leave. As I pushed that big door to exit, I noticed the brightness and warmth of the spring sunshine. It was like a blanket of comfort surrounding me, and I knew I was never going back to that place. It took me 25 years to understand that God was guiding me in this scorched place. He put the card in the magazine, the counselor as a barricade, and gave me a protective love for my baby that day.
After I left the abortion clinic I see that God was giving me strength.
Even though the relationship with the father was falling apart, mostly because I wouldn’t go back to get the abortion, we both told my parents about the pregnancy. And how I underestimated them! Were they disappointed? Absolutely. They were sad to see my hopes and dreams take a back seat or possibly end. But they loved me, and they would support me as much as they could. I love them for that. God gave me the strength to tell.
At this time I realized I had a choice to make.
Will I parent this child or place him in another home for two loving parents to raise?
My parents wisely set up a boundary I didn’t appreciate at the time: They would allow me to live at home for one year after the baby’s birth. After that, I had to move out on my own.
As difficult as that was to hear, it propelled me into reality. I began to investigate the option of adoption. I shared this thought with my teacher, Jan, at the alternative school I attended in the latter part of my pregnancy. She had me journal several times per week.
One day the topic was titled: I am a parent of a 5-year-old, what does my typical day look like? Another day: It is five years post-placement, what does a typical day look like?
I used to think Jan took an added interest in me because she worked with so many pregnant teens and it was rare for one of them to consider adoption. But I see now that Jan simply loved me. God was guiding and giving me strength through Jan.
Journaling, observing some single moms in their everyday lives, and hearing a few experiences from birth mothers helped me make a decision. Then one day out of the blue, my dad came home from work and told me that he knew of a couple that was looking to adopt. I was intrigued, so I made contact with those friends.
From the moment I met Mark and Paula, I knew that they would be excellent parents. A few things I knew for sure: I wanted my baby to be the oldest in the family and I wanted the mom to stay home with him. They were kind and open and they met all my requirements! Things seemed to be falling into place. Strength.
My due date was looming.
I knew I had to make a solid decision before I delivered. If I was not solid in my decision, I would cave once I saw him and keep him, even if that wasn’t the best choice for us. I had to resolve in my mind to place this baby.
Honestly, I was not ready to be a single mom. I didn’t want him to be in childcare all day and not have a dad that was consistent in his life. Even at eighteen, I knew those things were important for a little boy to become a man. So, I resolved. Strength.
The day finally arrived. I delivered a healthy 8-pound baby boy. The delivery was not without complications, one of which was my lung perforating. It was minor.
Once I laid eyes on this sweet boy, denial came back like a flood. He was beautiful. He was perfect. I held him, I was his mommy and I just wanted to pretend it would be that way forever. I spent two days in the hospital fulfilling that role by changing him, feeding him, and taking every detail of him into my mind.
The night before he was to go home to his new family I begged God to give me one more day with him. Not two or three or five, just one was all I needed. I would be more ready.
The next morning the doctor came in. He said he wanted to watch that perforated lung one more day. How good is our God? Full of lovingkindness! For the next 24 hours, I did not put my baby down as I watched the second hand on the clock tick away hoping it would just stop. But I knew the time must come for him to go home.
As planned, I laid him in his bassinet for the last time as the nurse rolled him away. My social worker was there for me to cling to as I saw my baby boy for the last time. It was heart-wrenching.
They were taking my whole heart out of that room that day. But I still knew deep down that it was for the best for both of us. I knew he was safe and he would have such a better life than I could provide at the time.
Time heals. But those first days, weeks, months were so empty.
My arms felt empty, my heart felt like a cavern. I eventually went on with life. Almost every year I received pictures and letters from the family, keeping up on his beautiful life. And although my heart aches, even today, 30 years later, when I miss him, I have never once regretted placing him for adoption. Strength.
Much of this story was buried in my heart until a day in April of 2013 when I turned from my own dry, parched ways to the Source of Living Water. Ever since the day He rescued me, He has guided me, strengthened me, satisfied me, and watered all the dry, barren places.
The Living Water irrigated my broken sexuality into a garden of purity by renewing my mind and heart with His word. I now have a Father in heaven that has built a bridge by His Son so I have all the love and affection a daughter of the King needs. I have a Father who sees me from the inside out and loves me still.
From scorched to watered. Only our God.
Eren Moore is a birth mother, adoption supporter, and advocate for the sanctity of life. Since 2014, she has counseled women experiencing unplanned pregnancies at the Bloomington Pregnancy Resource Center. She also helps men and women with abortion-wounded hearts at Deeper Still retreats.
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