Growing up in a Christian home as the daughter of missionaries to Costa Rica and Mexico, Claire and her younger sister knew more than anything that they were wanted, chosen and so very, deeply loved. They both also knew they were adopted, and if they ever decided to find their birth mothers they were raised to be confident and secure in their own identity.

When Claire’s younger sister met her birthmother at their family home in Austin, Texas, Claire experienced the beautiful reunion. “This woman gave me my sister and completed our family,” she thought, “what a selfless choice she made for her and for our family.” “So, I thanked my sister’s birth mother that day for giving me my sister,” Claire recalled. Then, she decided that regardless of how the relationship would go, her birth mother deserved to hear “Thank you” too.

When she was twenty-one years old, Claire reached out to the hospital in Oklahoma City that had facilitated her adoption. Her birth mother, Tonya, was so excited to hear from Claire. Tonya distinctly remembers meeting Claire at her parent’s home. “She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life,” Tonya said. “We sat down and looked at pictures, laughed, cried. Ate more and cried more. It was like a family reunion.” That’s the beauty of adoption. It merges two families together.

After the first meeting went so well, they planned a second meeting at Tonya’s home. “I got her a gift and a card, and on the card I wrote, ‘Thank you for choosing life for me,’ because I knew that was such an incredible gift she had given me,” Claire explained. But, when Tonya opened the card her joyfulness instantly turned into an overwhelming, deep sadness. “She had tears in her eyes and her hands were shaking,” Claire recalled. “I had never seen anything like that before. I had no idea what she was about to tell me.”

What Tonya told her that day changed the course of the rest of her adult life. She had an abortion that was successful in taking the life of her twin. “I had no idea she would share with me that I had survived something that was meant to take my life,” Claire said. “This was her deepest, darkest, most painful secret. So, it was a process of healing for her, and of her being able to accept the forgiveness that not only that I had for her, but that Christ has for her.”

When Tonya was just thirteen years old, she found the courage to tell her mother that she was pregnant. Her mother, who was very abusive, became quite upset with her, and took her to an abortion clinic in Kansas. The doctor thought the abortion was complete, but a few weeks later Tonya felt the baby move, and was hopeful for the little life inside her. But, her mother took her back to the abortion clinic where they informed her that she had been pregnant with twins. It was too late to abort the second twin. While her mother was irate and irrational, the receptionist at the abortion clinic kindly told her about a pregnancy center and hospital in Oklahoma City that would find a couple to adopt the baby.

When Tonya gave birth and saw the immense joy on Claire’s adoptive mother’s face, she knew her baby would be loved and well taken care of. But, she continued to carry the pain of losing her first child.

“My birth mom is just recently beginning her journey of sharing our story courageously and showing what abortion does to little girls like her and women across the country, and not only that, but, to children like me,” Claire said, “and to people like my daughter who wouldn’t be here if that abortion had taken my life.”

“I’m so grateful. I was not only able to forgive her for having that abortion that took my twin away from me, but we’ve been able to share our story, so eyes can be open to the truth and reality of what abortion is. It changed me. It made me want to be a voice and use my face and my story to show people that babies do survive abortions, and that we are human just like anyone else.”