Christ Church member Cari McCaig is a faithful volunteer with Life Choices, an organization that offers free services to young women from the moment they suspect an unplanned pregnancy all the way to setting up adoption families and even offering counseling to women who decided to not carry their baby full-term. Having taken a tour of their facilities on Raleigh-LaGrange recently with Cari, Life Choices staff, and other church leaders, I have truly gained a much more vivid understanding of how much an important partner Life Choices is in Serving & Outreach’s Orphan Care initiative.
Cari generously took the time to share her thoughts about this life-changing and literally life-giving ministry.
These were the words that came to mind as I recalled some of the amazing stories and testimonies I have heard about Orphan Care and adoption this year.
How do I explain to people that unborn children are important when we read about the thousands of children in foster care because of being “unwanted” by their parent; abused and neglected to the point of having to be removed from the home?
Why Lord? Why should I step out there and speak up for them when there are children across the world who have no parents at all; living in a nightmare beyond our imagination? Am I right to want to help even more children be born into this broken world? Please tell me Lord!!
Then the answer came to me clearly again as it has before. “Because I said so …”
Sometimes in our messed up, broken world that is all we have to cling to, just to know that He said so. Isn’t that how we get through the toughest times of our lives, by clinging to the promises when there is no way to make sense of what is going on in our reality?
So what in His word enables me to confidently explain my point about the unborn? Actually, there are so many, but I am going to start at the beginning, the beginning of the child’s life. Psalm 139: 13-14: “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” (ESV)
It’s easy to look at our own precious children and believe that God’s hands created them. Just think about the amazing images we now can see because of 4-D ultrasound. But what about the images I see displayed on the screen as I sit with a client in the ultrasound room at Life Choices? Sometimes the images are of a 6-week fetus with the only recognizable feature being the constant flutter of its heartbeat. Sometimes it is an image a little larger, maybe 8 weeks, 12 weeks, or 16 weeks along. What are we to think of these children? Does God only create those of us that are “wanted” or “planned”? Does he love my babies more than the babies who are born into poverty and struggle? Doesn’t God have a plan for their lives too?
The big question is, if God doesn’t knit them in their mother’s womb, who does? That is why when I see those images; I don’t see “pitiful,” “unwanted,” “future failure,”and “destined for a terrible life.” I see LIFE that is “fearfully and wonderfully made,” created in the image of The Creator. I see an opportunity to show the love of Christ by caring for clients that often are poor, single mothers, and very vulnerable unborn children. I also think of Proverbs 31:8: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” (NIV)
In order to be consistently pro-life, it is our responsibility to recognize not only the unborn baby as “fearfully and wonderfully made”, but also the baby’s mother. At Life Choices, after the first appointment, when the mother views her baby on ultrasound, our work is not over. Sometimes our clients will decide to explore the loving choice of adoption through our adoption services. Other times, they may need post abortion or other specialized counseling services, referrals to other helping agencies or support for making a plan to parent their baby through our Bridges or Empowerment programs. Hours of planning go into our efforts to provide follow-up and support to our clients so that baby is not just a “saved life,” but “saved to a life,” and the baby’s mother has a chance for a “changed life.”
Although around 85 percent of the abortion risk clients we see at Life Choices will make the decision for life, some do not. What do we do for that client? We simply offer her love and the open invitation to return anytime in the future. Some of our clients return to us weeks, months, or years later for post-abortion Bible study or counseling.
Forgiveness is a gift, paid for by the blood of Christ. With a past abortion, opening that gift of forgiveness may happen very slowly. Healing may come in layers, as slowly, the gift is opened and the forgiveness is accepted. If you have struggled with this, please know that you are not alone. You need to accept that forgiveness and it is OK if you need help doing that. Don’t leave that precious gift unopened. Life Choices provides free and confidential post-abortion counseling and Bible studies. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
If God is calling you to be more aware of this issue, please don’t bury your head in the sand. It is estimated that 1 in every 3 women in the U.S. will have an abortion by age 45 and of those women around 60 percent claim to be Christian. According to the World Health Institute, 50 million children will be aborted worldwide this year. There have been an estimated 54 million abortions in the U.S. since it was legalized in 1973. There are 1.3 million per year, and 3,000 per day in the U.S.
Shelby County has almost twice as many as any other county in the state with around 8,000 abortions per year and of those, 4,500 are residents of Shelby County. Finally, according to the National Council for Adoption, there are only 17 infant adoptions for every 1,000 abortions with an estimated 1.3 million families waiting to adopt.
Chances are high someone you know may have been affected by abortion sometime in their life. If you don’t feel the call to get involved directly, you can still be an encourager to those who do. Teach your children about the sanctity of human life, if you don’t, they will learn it from a world that says it doesn’t matter.
Do not assume this issue will never affect you; it may already affect you in ways of which you are not aware.
As Life Choices of Memphis opens our new clinic location at 2400 Poplar Avenue (across from Planned Parenthood), we will see even more clients that come to us in need of Christ-like love and support as they walk through a very dark time in their lives. If you feel this issue on your heart and want to become involved, we need your help. Visit our website to view our news and upcoming events and click on “get involved” for a list of ways you to volunteer. www.lcfriends.org
Cari can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org .