Jennifer always knew that she was adopted, but one day when she was 19 years old, while shopping with her mother, Jennifer challenged her to tell her something about herself that she didn’t already know.
The truth her mother shared changed the way she would see the world and her place in it.
She already knew that her mother’s sister, Karol, was her birth mother, but she didn’t know much else about her birth story. Facing an unplanned pregnancy, her birth mother, Karol, had an important decision to make, and she thought she knew what would be the easiest choice. In April 1978, Karol asked her sister, Pat, to drive her to the closest abortion clinic in the Champaign-Urbana area. Desperately, Pat tried her best to dissuade her and offered to adopt the baby with her husband. But, Karol insisted she wanted to go, so Pat reluctantly took her and waited for her in the lobby. The wait was uncomfortable and eerily silent at times.
Miraculously, Karol emerged from the procedure with the news that the four-month old baby’s head was too large for the vacuum aspiration procedure to be effective. An abortion was not possible that day. However, the amniotic sac was broken, and the doctor thought she would probably miscarry. While Karol’s sister was relieved that the abortion was not completed, Karol continued to drink heavily, in the hope that the alcohol would contribute to a miscarriage. It didn’t.
Pat continued to be supportive, and in September 1978 when baby Jennifer was born, Pat fulfilled her promise to adopt the baby, along with her husband.
“For 21 years,” she says, “I thought this was a freak thing that happened to me that made me feel utterly alone and unwanted. [But], through my relationship with Jesus and my church, and connecting with The Abortion Survivors Network, I now know that I am not alone. I have a purpose and destiny to help save lives; no matter how small and inconvenient.
The miracle of her life is not lost on her. Jennifer says,
“I recently found out from a former abortionist, that crushing the skull was a practice that was happening even back then, it just wasn’t as common as it is now… If [that doctor] had been my abortionist, she would have been able to crush my skull and complete the abortion… I wouldn’t be alive. My children wouldn’t be alive.”
Jennifer has fully and completely forgiven her birthmother.
“As Jesus has forgiven me,” she says, “I know that in order to find peace, I must forgive also… She was a victim, as was I. She fell for a lie that abortion is healthcare and would relieve her from the responsibility of having another baby. Abortion isn’t healthcare. I am not a disease that must be taken care of.”
After embarking on a journey of emotional healing herself, Jennifer is drawn to not only educate young people about the reality of abortion, but also seeks to help post-abortive women who carry guilt or shame. She wants women to know there is an endless amount of love and forgiveness in God.