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This is a true story. Read to the end…
“WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?”
“The lab results are in… you’re pregnant.”
16-year old Jennifer hangs up the school phone and stares at her boyfriend, Mark. “What are we going to do?”
She’s the good girl. It had been only one time—one moment of passion eleven weeks earlier.
She calls another clinic. “Yes, I’d like to schedule an abortion for next Tuesday…”
Jennifer and Mark would skip school together, drive Mark’s car to the abortion clinic, and no one would ever have to know.
Jennifer waits for Mark, but he never shows up.
Meanwhile, at home, Mark’s mom holds up a paper and asks, “What is this?!”
The color drains from his face. The note! How did it fall out of my book?
He sees his girlfriend’s writing and knows the secret is out.
“I… It’s…” he stammers.
“Is Jennifer pregnant?”
“SHE’LL GET AN ABORTION, AND THAT WILL BE IT”
That evening, Mark and Jennifer met with both sets of parents, and Mark’s dad was upset, “She’ll get an abortion, and that will be it!” All night, he insisted that abortion was the only reasonable solution to their problem.
However, the next day, Jennifer’s parents took her to see their pastor, who explained Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee.”
Jennifer felt an overwhelming sense that to have an abortion would be to murder her baby, and the decision was ultimately in her hands.
She couldn’t go through with it. With two days left to decide, Jennifer refused.
PREPARING FOR ADOPTION
Instead of entering her senior year of high school, Jennifer attended classes for unwed mothers. She watched her older sister and older friends go off to college and wondered what her life would have been if she had made different choices. She watched families with both a husband and a wife, and knew her baby needed a dad. Since she and Mark never intended on getting married, Jennifer felt like the best life for the baby would be adoption.
The counselors coached her through the emotions as best as they could, “Jennifer, it will be natural for you to yearn for your child. Many new moms change their mind at the last second, once they hold their baby. This will be the toughest part.”
As the baby grew inside her, Jennifer forced herself to think, “I’m so excited for the adoptive parents.”
On a crisp November day, Jennifer gave birth to a precious baby girl. Although Jennifer might never see her again, she called the baby “Amber.”
Amber was cleaned up and shuttled to the nursery to await her adoptive parents. When Mark came to the hospital to sign the adoption papers, Mark and Jennifer ended up in the nursery, where Mark picked up his baby girl. The reality of the moment hit home, and he turned his back on Jennifer and began to sob. A closed adoption meant the records would be sealed from him until the baby turned eighteen, and it was a lot to take in.
For Jennifer, this moment was goodbye. She had made her peace, and as a parting gift, she tucked a Precious Moments Bible and an outfit in the crib for Amber’s new family.
JUNE, JOHN, & PATRICIA
Two weeks before Amber’s birth, June Presnell, a certified social worker and Christian counselor, met the potential adoptive family: John and Patricia. John was a young pastor of a growing church on the north side of Indianapolis, and he and Patricia had one daughter naturally. After 4 years of seeking God for another baby, their adoption paperwork was now in the final waiting period. They knew the possibilities of birth mothers changing their minds at the last second, and although they tried not to get their hopes too high, they prayed earnestly for God to allow this adoption to go through.
June met John and Patricia at the hospital and watched them take their baby girl home. They raised little “Amber” with a sister (just like Jennifer wanted), with a mom and dad, with a church family, and with the Lord.
A MIRACULOUS MEETING
Behind the scenes, God was working a miracle in this closed adoption.
As it happened, June Presnell, the social worker on the adoption case, was in a Bible Study Fellowship group with Jennifer’s mom. After hearing that June had completed a counseling certification at the Crisis Pregnancy Center, Jennifer’s mother asked if June would counsel with her pregnant teenage daughter. As time went on, their families became more acquainted, even serving on staff together at the same church.
Years later, June bumped into John and Patricia at a college graduation ceremony where John was teaching and June’s niece was attending. They caught up on old times, and the conversation naturally came around to “Amber,” who was nearing 18 years old when the adoption documents would be unsealed.
“Amber” had always known she was adopted, and her parents always said that she was “God’s special gift” to their family. She never knew anything else, and was secure in her relationship with her parents.
But she was curious—not unsettled, but curious—to know her birth family. She wondered about their story, and how they had the courage to put her up for adoption instead of taking the more common route of abortion.
June was that link between the birth family and the adoptive family. As “Amber’s” 18th birthday drew nearer, John asked June if she could set up a meeting with the birth family. Jennifer happened to live on the other side of town, not thirty minutes from where “Amber” grew up.
Four days after “Amber’s” 18th birthday, the two families met for the first time. As soon as “Amber” walked through the door, Jennifer could see the perfect likeness of Mark, especially when “Amber” smiled and said:
“Hi. My name is Jamie.”
The rest of the day they wept, and talked, and laughed, and caught up on 18 years of life. Jamie learned about Mark, who now lived on the east coast, and about Jennifer marrying a godly man and having three more girls—three younger sisters she never knew she had (with a fourth sister coming later!)
She learned that Jennifer never forgot her birthday, celebrating each year by enjoying a brownie hot fudge sundae with her family. Every time they passed a little girl that could have been “Amber’s” age, they wondered if it could have been her. Living so close, it was possible!
And Jennifer was curious about her “Amber” (or, Jamie,) too. Jamie was a standout student—just like her birth parents—and a godly young lady. She smiled like Mark, was a planner like Jennifer (and even sneezed like her!), and instantly connected with her birth family in ways she never before knew was possible.
Six months after their meeting, Jamie graduated high school, then went to Bible college in Oklahoma City, where she met Ryan, a pastor’s son from California. They eventually married and now live in California, where Ryan is the pastor of the church his dad started—the Calvary Baptist Church of Temecula.
“And they lived happily ever after.”
When God is involved, fairy tale endings are possible.
NOTE: Sometimes all the names get confusing. In a nutshell, Mark and Jennifer had baby Amber. June Presnell counseled Jennifer and stayed in contact with her mom, AND June stayed in contact with the adoptive parents: John and Patricia. When the adoption records were unsealed, June set up a meeting between Amber (John, Patricia), and Jennifer, along with Jennifer’s family (not Mark.)
The names of many of the characters were changed, as was some of the dialog (not direct quotations,) but the circumstances were true according to firsthand accounts and news reports from the time. This story is a part of a broader project to provide a personal account of the benefits of adoption and a Christian’s perspective on abortion. I wanted to leave the story as a surprise for Jamie’s family—guests in our services today—but once they read it, we will edit the details to ensure accuracy. For a newspaper report from the time, visit cbctemecula.com/adoption-news