Laurie’s Story: Growing up as a minister’s kid, I accepted Christ as my Savior at an early age and never questioned God’s love for me. In high school, my youth director inspired me to read God’s Word and grow spiritually. I continued walking with the Lord in college and usually did “the right thing.”
After graduation, I followed a college friend to Houston to teach elementary school and plugged into singles ministry at my church. After a few years, I began dating a new guy at church. I asked him about his relationship with the Lord, but he said it was private. I should have run then, but the chemistry was strong.
We began playing too close to the fire, and I eventually got burned. That spring, disillusioned with him and disgusted with myself for compromising, I told him I wanted to quit seeing him – and that I thought I was pregnant. It was the mid ‘80s, and society’s standards were changing, but I’d never heard of an unmarried, pregnant teacher. My dearly-loved dad was a minister, and I was supposedly a “good girl”!
My ex halfheartedly suggested we get married, but I knew he wasn’t the man I wanted to spend my life with. I was terrified! I thought I would never consider abortion, but it seemed the only way out of this mess. To my ex’s credit, he wasn’t supportive of abortion. A close friend called me after she had talked with another friend who had had an abortion back in college. My friend relayed that her friend deeply regretted her abortion and begged me not to do the same.
The shock of this call got my attention. I finally opened my heart to what God wanted for me. I went outside my apartment that spring day and pounded my fist on the wall.
“Okay, God! I’ll do it your way! But you have got to help me through this!”
That was my turning point. I had obviously sinned, but this “good girl” began to understand and appreciate God’s grace at a much deeper level. As Psalm 32:1 says, “How joyful is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered!”
God gave me back my joy! I began considering adoption. About a year earlier, my dad had helped some close friends connect with a mother in an unplanned pregnancy. We had all seen what it meant to this couple to finally have a child. That experience helped me and my parents understand the joy on the other side of adoption.
The adoption agency provided monthly counseling sessions to help me think through my options. I would leave these sessions in turmoil, trying to picture myself parenting and thinking I could make it work. But then I would think of the happy home I had grown up in with two loving parents. I’d think of some couple out there ready and able to be parents but unable to have a child. I wrestled with the decision.
Finally, I read the profile of a couple that reminded me of my family. Their comments about their faith seemed genuine. After much prayer, I decided to place my baby with them.
I delivered my baby girl January 24, 1986, with my own mother by my side. It was like a million Christmas mornings all rolled into one! Any shame from my sin was washed completely away! I joyfully shared the news with my closest friends. However, leaving the hospital without my precious baby was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
At home I slept with my Bible under my pillow so it would be close at hand. One of my supportive roommates asked me what I would have named my baby girl. “I think she looks like a Sarah,” she said. Imagine my amazement when I was told her parents had named her Sarah! I felt God was letting me know He was firmly in control, even in the midst of my grief.
I got a letter from Sarah’s mother when she was a few months old, telling me how much joy Sarah had brought to their family. She thanked me for trusting her to be Sarah’s mom. Slowly, my heart began to heal, but Sarah was always on my mind and in my prayers.
After resuming my life and church activities, I met a man named Mark. I quickly realized he was kind and sincere and loved the Lord. When we began dating, I knew I had to tell him about Sarah before I let myself get too serious. After telling him one weekend, Mark seemed to take the news in stride. On the very next Sunday in the singles’ class Mark was teaching, a woman approached him after the lesson. She was pregnant and didn’t know what to do. Once again, I saw God at work, giving Mark assurance He could use all things for good. Mark and I both kept in touch with this young woman until after she gave birth.
Mark and I later married and were blessed with two beautiful daughters. God also provided perfect opportunities for me to tell them about Sarah before they entered their teen years.
I continued to hope to hear more from the agency about Sarah. When she was in first grade, her mom sent me photos of her and a letter telling me about her personality and her favorite song. I was ecstatic! Sadly, though, that was the last time I heard anything. As the years went by, I hoped Sarah herself would reach out after turning 18. But I heard nothing.
In 2016, I sensed God leading me to try to contact Sarah. Through the agency, I was able to send her a letter telling her about my life and asking about hers. Again, I heard nothing. Though disappointed, I trusted God to continue His faithfulness.
Life moved on, including retirement and granddaughters. Then one Sunday night in February 2020, a message popped up on my Facebook account from a Sarah Jo with a profile picture of a beautiful young woman next to a handsome man. I was dumbfounded! Could this be my girl?
For the next 36 hours, I felt I was walking through a dream. That same evening, I received an incredible email from Sarah updating me on her last 34 years, assuring me I should never doubt my decision to place her for adoption. From that night, we were on a happy email journey of getting to know one another. Sarah was now married with three children of her own.
In July 2020, we met in person for the first time, answering each other’s questions and sharing stories and pictures. We shed only a few tears. It was a beautiful day!
Sarah went on to connect with her birth father, as well as my daughters and my parents. God has brought much joy through these reunions. We still keep in touch as life allows.
And that favorite song of six-year-old Sarah? From Psalm 89: “I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever! With my mouth will I make known His faithfulness to all generations.”
Indeed, his mercies and faithfulness in my life have been great!
Laurie recommends BraveLove for women dealing with a surprise pregnancy.