Children Are A Blessing | My Birth Mother Was Raped

Conceived Through Rape

Six years ago, while on a trip home to visit my parents, I had the privilege to take a four-hour drive and meet a woman I have come to know and admire for her selfless love, strength, and act of courage in the middle of adversity--my birthmother.

Growing up, I always knew I was an adopted child. My parents did not keep it a secret. They loved me, it didn’t matter if I was born into the family or adopted. My parents told me growing up that when I reached the age of 18, if I wanted to search for my birthparents, they would help me do it.

For many years I dealt with some medical issues and had a lot of questions which adoptees think about. My adoption was “closed,” but in January 2008, I decided to get my non-ID information.

The day finally came when the packet arrived in the mail. I was nervous and excited at the same time. I waited until my husband got home from work to open it. That evening in January of 2008, I opened the packet, and we read it together. I read about my birthmother teaching children with cerebral palsy. I felt so proud of her!

The only information about my birthfather was, “Alleged Father.” That is when I got the feeling that something bad had happened.

After my husband and I finished reading the information, he told me he wanted us to get to know my birthmother more, inspiring my search for her. I called my parents and told them I would continue to search for my birthmother.

I wrote her an outreach statement without any names and emailed it to my caseworker. Several days went by, days felt more like years. I wanted to know who she was so I could thank her for choosing life.

The day finally came when I received a phone call from my caseworker. My birthmother wanted to have contact with me! However, before the caseworker could give me all the information, she told me my birthmother wanted me to know the truth--she was raped.

When I heard I was conceived in rape, I chose not to become angry or bitter about my beginnings. I chose to love my birthfather. Why did I choose to love my birthfather, a rapist? Because Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins, as well as the sins of my birthfather. I chose to love him through the love of Jesus Christ. That day God also gave me a heart filled with so much love and compassion for my birthmother for what she’d endured.

Several weeks later after my birthmother was raped, she discovered she was pregnant. When she told her mother, she gave my birthmother three weeks to get out of the house. Her father had passed away in 1967 and she had no one to protect and defend her.

She went to live at a home for unwed mothers and it was there she began her healing process. What am I to do with this baby? she thought. She had to make a decision. She had no job, no permanent place to live, was not married, and had no support from family. My birthfather, of course, was out of the picture. In fact, she didn’t even know his name.

Her aunt had an idea: she could arrange for her to have an illegal abortion with a doctor in Michigan (this was before Roe V Wade).

However, my birthmother knew there was life growing inside her womb--life given by God. She told me her favorite verse is Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV): “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” She did not want to disrupt the plans which God had for the tiny life growing inside of her. When she decided to place me for adoption, her one request to the social worker was that her baby be placed in a strong Christian home.

When I was born, my birthmother had some complications. We both remained in hospital for a week before she went home and I was released to my foster parents’ house. God blessed my birthmother with one week to love, care for, and hold her baby girl she’d named Rebecca Ann. We were released from the hospital on the same day, and she placed me into the hands of God.

The day I received the information from my caseworker that my birthmother wanted to meet me, a feeling of completeness came over me, as well as a great love for my her.

After almost 35 years, the day finally came when my mom and dad, and my husband and I got to meet my birthmother and half-brother. We met them at the hotel where we were staying, sat by the pool chatting, then went to a nice dinner.

After dinner, we went to her house and looked at pictures of her when she was younger. I looked so much like her! It was surreal. Genetics are wild.

The next day was wonderful as well, spending the afternoon with her, touring her home town and looking at more photos. She gave me a picture to keep, as well as a copy of the family lineage, which is so precious to have! I felt so blessed to spend time with her.

She told me, “I have always loved you, and you were the beginning of my healing process.” She also said what a lot of people don’t realize, that the baby who is conceived out of rape becomes a strong healing force in the situation. Why? Because out of something horrific and traumatic comes a precious human being, and the Giver of Life brings healing to the one who suffers.

Yes, my biological great aunt wanted me to be aborted, but my birthmother chose life and saved me from an illegal abortion. God was faithful to her prayers and I was raised in a wonderful Christian home where faith was taught and it was real.

God has been so very good to me. He has blessed me beyond measure with amazing parents, a brother who also is adopted, a loving husband whom I adore so very much, incredible friends, and a tight-knit church family. I was conceived in rape, but I am loved.

SHERRY HENSLEY
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Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Printed in Above Rubies #92

Children Are A Blessing | My Greatest Gift to my Children

My Greatest Gift to my Children

As a child, I was raised in a home where athletics and education were the top priority. I was taught to be a liberal atheist and a feminist. As a young woman, I firmly believed that a family was a hindrance to being successful. My goal was to get a degree, never marry, and NEVER have children. God had a different plan!

In 2004 (the year after I graduated from college), God saved me! I was saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ and became a new creation (Ephesians 2:8-10 and 2 Corinthians 5:17). I was born again into God’s family in June, married in October, and became pregnant with my first set of twins on my honeymoon! Needless to say, it was a life changing year!

My husband and I decided we would raise our children and not send them daycare. One of us would always stay home. Then it came time to decide who would continue working. My income was twice the income of my husband’s. Therefore it made good financial sense for me to stay at work and for him to come home and take care of the children.

However, we soon realized after reading God’s Word that God’s plan for the family was very different from what we had chosen. It was unnatural for my husband to care for the babies that I was supposed to be nursing. It was also unnatural for me to be the breadwinner of our home. God’s natural order of the man being the head of the home and the wife submitting to him was not the order which we had chosen for ourselves (Ephesians 5:22-33). But it was time to make a change.

We began the transition of my coming home when we both did part-time work after our third child was born. However, we soon realized that this was not good enough either.

It was not long before I was pregnant with our second set of twins. I needed to be home full-time, and we finally gave up my income! Trusting God in this area of our lives was one of the best decisions we have ever made! Even though my husband’s income was lower than we were used to, God provided in mighty ways.

For many years now, my husband has been the provider and I have been the nurturer of our home. I have the great privilege of staying home full-time and homeschooling our five precious children. God has blessed our obedience. My husband and I have never gone without. Our children have never gone without. On the contrary, we are more content than ever! My husband has a wife to help him and my children have a mother at home to teach them. It’s the greatest gift I can give my family... to be home!

TISH KLEINDIENST
Powder Springs, Georgia, USA
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Printed in Above Rubies #92

Children Are A Blessing | Torian's Story - A Father’s Perspective

A Father’s Perspective

Our son, Torian, was born June 4th, 2014 with a very serious health condition. He had countless seizures throughout his life, sometimes as many as 300 or more in a single day. More often than not, with each seizure, he would stop breathing and turn blue. He did this from the day he was born until the day he died, 15 months later.

He was almost completely motionless, rarely moved his arms or legs, and when he did it was usually because of another seizure. His eyes did not track and it seemed he looked right through you. The doctors were unsure if he could see at all. He was almost completely deaf in both ears. He did not communicate as healthy babies do, not even with facial expressions. He almost never cried, but when he did we were thrilled just to hear him make noise.

He did not reach out for things, never learned to crawl, and couldn't even lift his head from his pillow. He had extreme difficulty swallowing his own saliva and needed to be suctioned with a suction machine on a regular basis, especially when he got sick (which happened fairly frequently). He could not eat by mouth, but was instead fed through a tube that was inserted through his nose going down into his stomach When he was first born he breastfeed semi-successfully for a short time, but that joy was short lived.

He was Loved

What else can I say about my son Torian? I could tell you that he was loved. He was loved by my wife, myself, and each of our children. Early on, my wife and I were concerned that eventually our other children would grow resentful of Torian for the time and attention he would received from us. We thought they may be upset for the numerous week long hospitalizations he received throughout his life. We thought they would feel deprived for all the fun things they missed out on because it was just too difficult to go places with all the machines he needed.

But they never showed any resentment whatsoever. They loved him and cared for him as only big brothers and a big sister could do. Every day they woke up and said good morning to him, squishing his chubby little hands or legs as he replied back with his little grunt or sigh. He made this same noise when my wife placed her cheek up against his cheek. It was a happy sigh, as if to say "Aw Mom," or "Thanks, guys, for loving me."

He Smiled

From these noises we could tell he understood more than some thought he did. My wife noticed that whenever she gave him a warm bath or rubbed him over with warm coconut oil that the sides of his mouth would slightly turn up. This was how he smiled. We saw him making this little smile countless times throughout his difficult life.

As time passed on, we eventually started speaking for him, saying things in what we imagined as Torian's voice. For example:

"Boden, could you bring me my suction bag?" or "I'm very handsome" or "I just pooped in my clean diaper and now my mom has to change me again, he he he."

Or we sang for him in his voice:
"I am a baby, as cute as can be,
There's not many people cuter than me."

Or, "Me and my dad, we do lots of things together; me and my dad, me and my dad." (Deb tried to exchange the word "Dad" with "Mom").

We called him by many names, such as Buddy Buddy, Little Buddy, Best Buddy, Mr. Cute Stuff, My Sweet Baby, Boopa, Jitterbug (because his hands and feet twitched at times), Stinker Winker, and Baby Zorro. The dialog that Baby Zorro had with the other children was hilarious.

We will never forget these things. Neither will we forget his long hair that made one long natural curl up on the top of his head. Neither will we forget his big long yawns, or him stretching his legs and pointing his toes. I will never forget my wife smelling and kissing on his feet all the time and trying to get the other children to do it too. We will not forget him squinting his eyes, shriveling his face, lifting up his upper lip, and showing his big toothless gums (we called this the Gum Show). Neither will we forget his "Turtle face" that he sometimes made.

He is Missed

The day he died, my wife and I could see his health quickly declining. We decided to move him from the couch to our bed and lay down with him. Grandpa Bolstad came over early in the morning to see how he was doing and took our garbage to the dump. While he was gone, the rest of us continued to lay in bed with little Torian, reading from the Bible, singing hymns, and praying with him. His breath became even shallower until he stopped breathing for almost a minute, then took another breath and did not breathe again. He died in my arms as I held his little hand.

I miss him immensely. We all miss him more than words could describe. He was an absolute joy in our lives. Some people may wonder how we could love someone who was so difficult to care for and seemingly had so little to offer in return. But he had love and we felt it continually. This should come as no surprise to those who have wisdom, for our son, little Torian, was knitted in my wife's womb by God Himself, and made in His image, just as all children are. The Bible tells us that "God is Love." If God is love and He made our son in His image, then it should be no surprise why we would feel such love from a boy who could do so little.

We have Hope

How do I continue without my son Torian? We know our son is already enjoying eternal life with Jesus Christ and all believers who have passed before him. I know this because this is the promise Jesus gave to all those who put their trust in Him. He was the promised sacrifice to reconcile us to God. God never wanted death and suffering to enter His world. Death and suffering exists because our ancestors Adam and his wife, Eve willingly chose to rebel against God by disobeying the one command that He gave them. They brought death into the world. We bring death to the world by our sins.

God, in His love, didn't destroy humanity then and there, but promised that one day He would send a Savior to save us from death and hell. The man known as Jesus of Nazareth was that Savior and lived in Israel about 2,000 years ago. He was God turned man, for no one other than God could have fulfilled the requirement of living a sinless life. This Jesus willingly allowed Himself to be hung on a tree as our substitute. He suffered death as the final sacrifice for Adam's sin, but three days later rose from the dead so that we could one day live in paradise with Him.

This is the hope I have for myself and for my family, including little Torian. This is the reason I can continue to live my life. Without this hope there is nothing but fear, depression, and in the end eternal suffering for those who choose to ignore God's free invitation to His home. One day I know that I will see Torian again, and he will be a happy smiling little boy, running around, talking and laughing, and enjoying pleasure unimaginable. I look forward to that day, as does my family. I hope you do too.

ETHAN AND DEB BOLSTAD
Stoddard, Wisconsin, USA
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Printedin Above Rubies #92.

Children Are A Blessing | God Knows Best

God Knows Best

Eric and I had been married for one year, when we welcomed our first-born into the world. Margaret was a surprise, yet a delightful one. God used her to open our eyes to the blessing of children. Eighteen months later, Howard was born. After another 18 months, Walter joined our family. A home with little ones can be demanding, but Eric and I enjoyed the challenge of keeping up with youngsters. We relished the laughter, energy, and enthusiasm that our toddlers and babies brought to our lives.

Like clockwork, I conceived our fourth-born when Walt was nine months old. However, shortly after we learned we’d be welcoming a new baby girl into the family, our oldest son (age 2.5 at the time) was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes--an incurable autoimmune disease of the pancreas that requires daily insulin injections.

We were shocked. Feelings of disbelief quickly morphed into frustration and immense sadness. After a weekend at the children’s hospital and a whirlwind crash course in diabetes education, we took our son home and embarked on a new chapter in our lives. Blood sugar checks, insulin management, and food management became a top priority in our lives. Looking back, I’m ashamed to say I was a tad bit embarrassed by my growing belly. Before too long, I’d have a newborn on top of what already felt like a major balancing act. Maybe everyone was right—maybe I did have my hands full!

As the days and weeks passed, our family slowly but steadily adjusted to our son’s new medical needs. I can say that only God’s grace has allowed us to navigate each day with assurance, resolve, and peace. As the pregnancy progressed, I found myself increasingly excited for the birth of our new daughter. Her arrival symbolized the hope that only Christ—the giver of life, can provide. For the first time, I viewed this new baby not as a burden to bear or a season to trudge through, but as a true blessing to enjoy!

Early in the pregnancy, we chose the name Louise Winifred should we have a girl (as both names honor respective family members). Yet, the names’ meaning of “Blessed Warrior” took on new significance in the months that followed Howie’s diagnosis. We felt the Lord’s hand on us more than ever. Although our son’s disease presents daily battles to fight, “blessed” seemed to be the sentiment of the season. We’ve never been more thankful for our children, especially our precious son and the new life growing inside of me.

The sheer joy I felt when I delivered our daughter, Louise was indescribable. Despite what the world may say, God knew what Eric and I needed: another precious little one to remind us of His presence, His goodness, and His faithfulness—both in times of trial and times of celebration. Truly, children are a blessing, a reward from Him. We are eternally thankful for His perfect timing in bringing Louise to us! She is a delight!

SARA CAVE
Columbus, Indiana, USA
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Printed in Above Rubies #93

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