On January 13th, 1984 President Ronald Reagan proclaimed that January 22nd would be National Sanctity of Life Day.
Reagan reminded all of America that “the values and freedoms we cherish as Americans rest on our fundamental commitment to the sanctity of human life. The first of the `unalienable rights’ affirmed by our Declaration of Independence is the right to life itself… whether young or old, weak or strong, healthy or handicapped.”
When my birthparents found out that they were pregnant with me, they knew that as college students, they were not equipped to be parents. And yet, they already loved me- their unborn child. So they did the hardest and most sacrificial thing that they could do. They entrusted their baby girl to my parents who had been praying for the right baby at the right time. During this life changing time in their young lives, my birthparents showed maturity by understanding and acting upon the following two truths:
1. My birthparents understood that even before I was born, my life had value.
The only difference between an unborn baby and a toddler is their size, location, level of development, and their level of dependence. My father is just two inches short of being 7 feet tall, and at 5 foot nothing- I am just short (and very obviously adopted!). However, just because my father is (much) bigger than I am does not mean that his life has more value than my life. Similarly, a person’s location (where they live in the world), their level of development (how young or old they are), and their level of dependence on another person (a baby vs. an independent adult) does not determine their value or their rights as human beings. If these things are true, then even before I was born, my life had value. I’m so thankful that my birth parents understood this and chose to give me life.
2. My birthparents also understood that their own lives and and their own futures had value.
My birthparents both went on to graduate college and have careers and families of their own after I was adopted. Not only that, but they were also able to have a relationship with me without the responsibility of parenting me.
My parents always sent letters and pictures to my birth mom, but when I turned 15, my parents asked my birth mom if she wanted to meet me again. So, Fifteen years after my she said goodbye to her newborn baby girl, she got to wrap me in her arms, laugh with me, talk with me, and have a relationship with me again. As I sat between my birth mom and my parents I experienced how deeply loved I have been since before my birth.
After meeting my birthmother, my husband encouraged me to reach out to my birthfather and let him know that because of him and the decision he made, I had a fulfilling life with a wonderful family.
I was not exactly sure how to reach out to him, so I ended up finding him on Facebook and writing him a simple thank you note:
“First of all, I just want to say, thank you. I don’t know how much you know about me, but I cannot even tell you how grateful I am to you for allowing me to have the life that I have. I have the most loving, caring, generous, and kind parents I could ever ask for. My little brother David is 16 and one of my close friends. I am now living at home for the summer and planning my WEDDING. I am getting married in December to the most wonderful man I could ever ask for. His name is William and we have been friends since 7th grade. You would love him! There are so many other things that I would love to tell you about, but I really don’t want to overwhelm you. I just wanted to let you know that when I think of you (which I do often) I smile and thank God for you. Thank you so much for the gift you have given me of my life and a wonderful family! I will continue to pray for you and smile when I think about you!
My birthfather reached back out to me, and I was able to meet him a few months later. Now, I am thankful that I have a beautiful relationship with both of my birthparents and am able to share my life with them.
As we fight for the sanctity of human life this month, let us not put more value on the life of the unborn than we do on the life of the birthparents walking through an unplanned pregnancy. Both were made in the image of God, and both are loved unconditionally by Him. Let us celebrate life both big and small, and point all to the Creator of Life Himself.
Christy Harmon, Administrative Assistant
For more information and free resources for Sanctity of Human Life Sunday on January 18th, visit our website HERE.