Everything to Me by Mark Schultz

Everything to Me by Mark Schultz

This song gets me through every day knowing that I am doing what is best for my baby. I just pray that one day when he is old enough, he knows that I placed him for adoption not because I didn’t want him, but because I knew it was the best option for him. He will always be my baby. (:

Gift of Love

Gift of Love

One of the greatest gifts we can give to our children, is our unconditional love. That goes for all parents; birth, foster, or adoptive. StandUpGirl is a champion for the gift of adoption and would like to ask you to join us in celebrating the support and resources we provide for young women in crisis, by joining our friends in their heartwarming story and joining our family by donating today. Every donation will go directly towards providing life affirming resources to women in a crisis pregnancy situation.

I Lived on Parker Avenue

I Lived on Parker Avenue

Video Credits: Joie De Vivre Media and executive producer, Benjamin Clapper, present “I Lived on Parker Ave.” as its first short documentary.

Emilie’s Story

Emilie’s Story

On October 24, 2015 my life changed forever.

A night of partying with friends turned into a night I was taken advantage of. Little did I know that 280 miles away, on the same night of October 24th, a woman was in a nursery praying for a birth mom and her child. That night God gave her the verse, “He will guard the feet of his faithful ones.” (1 Samuel 2:9) This is the prayer she prayed over me, and my baby for the next nine months almost to the day. Ellery was born July 23, 2016 at 1:39 PM, weighing 8 lbs. 6 oz. and 21 inches long.

I found out I was pregnant on my 22nd birthday. On November 19, 2015 I walked into the student health center by myself, took a pregnancy test, and was told by the nurse it was a “strong positive.” My heart sank. How could I be pregnant? This was not part of my plan. I was graduating dental hygiene school in four months. I had board exams to prepare for. I was a poor college student. I didn’t have a boyfriend, I wasn’t married, and I didn’t sleep around.

As I sat there in shock, the nurse handed me a packet of information. She told me I had options; abortion, adoption or parenting. The drive home was blurry. As soon as I got in the truck I burst into tears. I drove myself home, opened the door, walked into the bathroom and I looked at myself in the mirror. I told myself to stop crying. I had to pull it together and get back to school.

Shortly after finding out I was pregnant I contacted the birth father. I found out who he was and contacted him through a mutual friend. I have a feeling he knew what I was going to say. I told him I was pregnant. The first words he spoke were, “so, you’re going to get an abortion right?”  I replied, “No, I do not feel right about abortion.” The words he spoke that stung the most were, “I’m not ready for this. I’m going to graduate this year. I have my whole life ahead of me.” Through the tears I said, “yeah me too…”

I felt the weight of those statements more than anyone. He could choose not to be involved and not have to deal with the physical reminders of what had happened. I was the one who was goingto carry a baby for nine months. I was hurt, confused, embarrassed, scared and alone. Through my heartache, God became so real, so faithful and so good. I’m not going to lie, it was a hard road, but I could not have done it without Jesus.

Thanksgiving break came and I was heading home to see my family I was beyond nervous to tell them. I was scared and I didn’t know what was going to happen. When I told them there was shock and pain, but most of all love. I will never forget the words my dad spoke. He said, “Emilie, there is nothing you could ever do to make us stop loving you.” I have never quite experienced God’s love the way I did that day. I wanted them to be mad at me, but they weren’t. I wanted to be punished, but all they did was love me.

I was not ready to raise a child by myself. I knew that I was going to choose adoption. I wanted to bless a family with a child. I loved this baby already and knew I would not be able to give them the life that they deserved. They deserved to have a father who loved them. That was my prayer, for my baby to have a mother AND a father.

On December 23, 2015 I had my first doctors appointment. It was the first time I saw the little baby growing inside of me. As the doctor performed the ultrasound she informed me I still had “options”. There was still time to terminate the pregnancy. I told her I had my heart set on adoption. I started my routine prenatal care in January with a doctor who could not have been a more perfect fit for me. He had adopted children of his own. He was so caring and sensitive to my situation. He told me I was his hero, but I didn’t see myself as one.

The months of January through March were a blur. I was focused on school instead dwelling on the fact that I was pregnant. On March 6th I graduated dental hygiene school at 5 months pregnant. After graduation, I decided it was time to start the adoption process. On March 15th,  I reached out to a local adoption agency and right away I was connected with Morgan, an amazing women who became my advocate and friend. We talked over the phone and set up a time to meet.

At our meeting on April 5, 2016 I saw the profile book of my baby’s family. As soon as it was placed in front of me I knew it was them. As I flipped through the pages, God was tugging at my heartstrings and I wanted to meet them.

On April 22, 2016 I met Kenny and Kimberly. I met the parents of my baby. Two incredible, God loving people. Throughout our meeting they were so supportive of me. Not only were they going to love my baby, they were going to love me. They had been praying for a birth mom, not only for a child. After our meeting I confirmed I wanted to be matched with them. Over the next few months we communicated through our agency via texting. I loved getting to know them. We even got to see each other a few times before Ellery was born.

After I met Kenny and Kimberly in person I wanted to find out the gender of the baby for them. I learned it was a girl, a sweet little girl. I loved her so much, even before I met her.

At night I would talk to her and pray for her. Asking God to protect her and for her to grow into the amazing woman that He designed her to be. As time passed I was able to feel her move and grow.

The months, weeks and days leading up to delivery were a swirl of emotion. I was so excited for Kenny and Kimberly to be parents to a baby girl. I was happy Parker was going to be a big brother. I was scared to go through childbirth. I was sad to think of not getting to feel her move and kick anymore. But above all, I felt peace. Peace that only Jesus could give me.

My due date was July 15, 2016. On July 22nd, seven days past my due date, I was induced. I got settled into my room with my mom, my sister and Morgan. Kenny and Kimberly got to come up and visit me along with my brother and dad. We all sat around talking and sharing stories. As I was lying in the hospital bed I was beyond thankful to see everyone in the room. I was thankful to be able to call Kenny and Kimberly family, thankful to have the love and support of my parents and siblings, and thankful to have the friendship of Morgan.

Ellery entered the world at 1:39 PM on July 23, 2016. I had asked Kimberly to be in the room with me for the delivery along with my mom, sister and Morgan. I had also asked Kimberly if she wanted to cut the umbilical cord. I could tell she was speechless and was so thankful. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for the special bond that Kimberly and I have. Words cannot adequately describe it. I just know that God had a plan, even when I did not.

The hours that followed were bittersweet. I was able to look down and see a sweet baby girl in my arms. I am not an emotional person but when I saw her face I couldn’t help but cry. I had never seen anything so precious and I had never loved anyone more.

With Kenny and Kimberly by my side I got to introduce Ellery Mae to everyone. As I watched my family, along with Kenny and Kimberly meet her, I saw how she would be loved by two families.

Ellery stayed in a separate room that night with Kenny and Kimberly. Before bedtime they came in to visit. I got to hold Ellery and feed her the smallest bottle I had ever seen. We were all in the room, talking and laughing, trying not to dwell on the tough day ahead.

The next morning it was time to sign the adoption paperwork. As I signed my name on the dotted line, the weight of what I was doing for Ellery began to sink in. I love Ellery so much and on that day I loved her enough to entrust her into the hands of two amazing parents.

Saying goodbye to the Stones was difficult. I could see the love in their eyes for me as they thanked me for what I was doing. I was sad, but also happy because I knew I would get to see them again. I would see Ellery again. I would see her grow up. I would still be a part of her life. As I kissed her little forehead goodbye, I told her I loved her. My family got to say their goodbyes as well and we prayed together before the Stones headed home.

Things had settled and I was in my room for a little while by myself. For the first time in nine months I was alone. I sat in the hospital bed feeling empty. I wept, thanking God for what He had done. He let His son die on the cross for my sins. In that moment I imagined how hard that must have been. I loved my daughter so much and yet I knew she was going to go live with a wonderful family.

I was able to return home after a couple of days in the hospital. As I left in a wheelchair with an orchid in my lap instead of a baby, I got a strange look from an expecting couple that was touring the maternity wing.

In that moment, I realized it was going to be tough:

  • It was going to be tough to know that I just went through childbirth, yet no one would know by looking at me.
  • No one would know I had a daughter and how proud I was of my beautiful baby girl.
  • No one would know how hard it was to have constant reminders that I didn’t get to hold my newborn or see her little face.
  • No one would know how blessed I was to be connected to a beautiful family.
  • No one would know, and that was hard for me to accept.
  • I just wanted to shout from a mountaintop of how faithful God had been.

I am beyond thankful for the relationship I have with the Stone family. I trust them with my whole heart and I am so glad they are Ellery’s parents. It means so much to me to know they are continually praying for me and that they want to honor me for what I have done.

It’s hard for me to accept a compliment or be looked at as a hero. I know I would not have been able to be so brave without the help of Jesus. I want to raise awareness for birth moms, for adoption and for what adoption can be. My hope is that my story will be able to help othersand that my story would honor Jesus for what He has done.

Championing for the Misunderstood Birth Mother

Championing for the Misunderstood Birth Mother

As a birth mom I have my own story and it is unique. It can often be easy to romanticize the ideal adoption scenario; a young girl gets pregnant and loves the baby so much that she decides to give it a better home and life than she can offer.  But there is much more to most birth mother’s stories than that typical, idealized notion.

I grew up in a stiflingly Christian home, church and private school. As a child and teenager I talked the talk, but deep down inside, I desired to break free and live how the rest of the world lived. So, as soon as I turned eighteen, I rebelled; and thinking I was invincible, I got involved in drinking, drugs and fooling around with boys. Eventually, my poor choices caught up with me and I was suspended from school after my freshman year in college and became pregnant shortly thereafter. But instead of accepting the consequences for my immature behavior and making better decisions, I sunk further into my selfishness and chose to hide my pregnancy from everyone around me except for my best friend.

Hoping that my condition would just go away, I continued in my denial for nearly eight months, resorting even to self-abuse in an attempt to avoid the inevitable. Finally, at God’s urging and my best friend’s pleading, I began to realize that there was no easy way out and that I needed help. So, while back in college, across the country from my home and the only person who knew my secret, I started to take the pregnancy seriously and scrambled to make important decisions. I confided in another friend at school who helped me take care of myself, find and interview adoptive families and eventually take me to the hospital in time to deliver a tiny, but precious miracle.

I had been a Christian my entire life, but God was never as real to me as He became in those 37 weeks at twenty years of age. No matter how hard I tried to deny Him or the presence of that angel baby, God was always there with me, silently waiting for me to let go and submit to His leading. He protected the child inside me from my mistreatment and when I finally did give up control, He provided within days the help and people I needed to find that little miracle a forever home. God’s hand was over every detail; even allowing me to keep complete confidentiality from everyone at school and at home. In fact, until I wrote a memoir about it in 2011, my secret stayed hidden from nearly all of my family and friends for over ten years!

I kept that secret for all those years because I was ashamed. Ashamed that a good, Christian girl got pregnant in the first place and then even more ashamed for keeping it a secret. As the years went on, the shame, just like side effects of a lie, kept building and weighing heavier on me until I very clearly heard God tell me that I didn’t have to live with it any longer. Jesus wanted to take my secret and turn it into a beautiful story of His unyielding love, forgiveness, provision and transformation. And now, there is no more shame, just thankfulness and the desire to encourage others who have been or currently are in a similar situation. And perhaps even help change the misperception of adoption and birth mothers.

I hope my story can help other catch a glimpse of the wide range of birth moms that are outthere. We are not cookie cutters; we all have different stories and different lives. Every birth mom has had their own, very unique adoption experience. Some may very well have been like the typical story, greatly anguished by their decision to give up their baby and still want connection with him/her and the adopting family. Others may not want any contact or because of substance addiction, incarceration or even international adoption may not be allowed to have any. Still others may be like me; although I have always appreciated any communication I get from the family, have never really felt a need for it.

There is such a spectrum of birth mothers and they should be treated as such. I want to urge adoptive and foster moms to listen to the stories of the birth moms they encounter and reflectively and prayerfully engage with them, not based on preconceived notions or glamorized ideals, but from where they are coming and where they are at now. That, in itself is the biggest thank you that one can offer the birth mom of their adoptive child.

And for girls out there who are pregnant and considering adoption, or have already placed a child and struggle with the shame and fears caused by their choices, I hope they will be encouraged to find a safe community with whom they can confide their secrets, be encouraged and supported in the sacrificial and loving decision to place their baby for adoption and feel nothing but PRIDE in that brave and selfless act.

Wynter is married to Jonathan and they live in Forest Grove, Oregon with their three children. She founded The Made to Mother Project (M2M), which is dedicated to encouraging, supporting and inspiring women by sharing their diverse stories of motherhood. And for ALL the messy details on her adoption journey, you can check out her memoir The Secret Inside Me, now also available on Kindle.


For Me, This Was OK!

“A mother is she who can take the place of all others, but whose place no one else can take!”  Love, Brian

Above is a quote sent to me by my son.  A son I have always loved, from the day he was conceived.  He has grown to be such a successful and handsome man.  His eyes look up at me with such love from the picture he recently sent me.  What beautiful eyes he has, they reflect such love and care.  He’s grown to become a promising and talented man.  A computer graphic artist – he gets that from his grandfather.  I am so proud of him.  Who knows what other plans God has in store for him?

I write this letter with tears in my eyes.  I have tears of love, of joy, and of pain.  As of this day, I have never held him, kissed him, or sung him to sleep.  But for me, this is OK.

At 15 I became pregnant with the help of a man – an adult in age only.  Oh, what a mistake to be so selfish and not respect my body and my parents’ warnings.

A life was created and there was no turning back.  I had to grow up fast.  I knew I had to take care of him, but I had no proper means.  I knew he deserved a life, a life with a mom and a dad, a life that would be best for him.  I had to turn off my selfish thoughts and think only of what was best for him.

Abortion was out of the question.  What a tragedy that would have been.  God had a plan for this child.  I had no clue what it would be, but I had peace of mind knowing God would intervene.

Yes, it was hard.  It was very hard.  My body changed; my family and I were humiliated; and, yes, my heart broke over and over; but for me, this was OK.

The day came.  He was born in the hospital, and the nurses took him away.  Later, Catholic Social Services received him and he traveled away with them.  Away from me.

I did not even have a driver’s license.  My father picked me up from the hospital.  I remember quietly crying the whole way home.

As of this day, Brian is 36 years old.  We have not yet held each other.  We live 2,000 miles apart.  I cry writing this part of the letter.  I cry because I know one day I will be able to hold and kiss the sweet cheek of my son.  My only son.  If I had chosen abortion, I would have destroyed the only son God ever blessed me with.  I have been married 28 years now to a man I met from another state.  We only have daughters, but for me, this is OK.

I sacrificed my fear and pain for the love of my son.  I trusted in God, and He blessed me with the return of my child in my life.

I tell this story because I find every life so precious.  God has a plan for each and every one of us.  Yes, everyone makes mistakes – this is how we grow.  We learn from our errors.  We must step aside and let God work His perfect plan.  Who knows?  The next unplanned child could be a scientist who finds the cure for cancer or a doctor who saves your father’s life.  The future is unknown.  Pray for strength and guidance in the present.  He is listening.

I close with my prayer: “Dear God, please forgive me for being so selfish when I was young.”  I hope God answers, “For Me, this was OK!”

A Letter From,

My Loving Heart