By Rita Buettner
When I was a child, every time my parents were expecting a baby, they spoke of how fortunate we were. Every baby is a gift from God, they told me. I wondered why God had given six children to our family. How could we be so, so lucky? But we were.
My parents were right. Every child is a gift – a unique soul with a unique purpose. My siblings are extraordinary people who contribute so much to their communities as teachers, librarians, working professionals, dedicated friends, loving parents. Their children – my parents’ grandchildren – are a group of diverse and dynamic individuals, too. I love who they are already. I can’t wait to see who they will become.
When I was in middle school, my parents took my five siblings and me to Washington, D.C., to the March for Life. I didn’t fully understand all the signs I saw people carrying. I just knew we were speaking for unborn babies who couldn’t speak for themselves. We marched on Washington that day and I felt proud to be giving a voice to such an important cause.
When I grew up, I fell in love with an amazingly intellectual and compassionate man – the youngest of seven children. When we got married, we were so eager to become parents. After years of trying, however, we were still waiting. Infertility is painful and discouraging and can leave you feeling completely helpless. It also reminds you just how precious life is, though, and that it truly is a gift from our Creator.
Eventually my husband and I decided to explore adoption – an idea we had discussed briefly even before marriage, but never with as much diligence and research as we did when it became the option. Our option. It was an intimidating path, but step by step we started down it together. Along the way, we found ourselves looking through new eyes at the women, the couples, who give birth to children and realize they aren’t able to raise them. The challenges of a crisis pregnancy become more tangible when you consider that you might become the parents of the child born out of such a pregnancy. You realize how much more we can and should do to help keep families together.
When we welcomed our children into our family, we were overcome with the indescribable joy of becoming their parents. We continue to be amazed that we are so blessed. We also feel a deep sense of gratitude to the people who gave our sons life – and to God who knit them in the wombs of women on the other side of the world. Another woman nurtured them through that critical beginning when they were most in need. Now we giggle together through bedtime stories and wipe their tears and answer their questions about Jesus and infinity and snow. We have the tremendous honor of helping them grow into young men.
A few years ago my sister and brother-in-law were expecting a baby boy. Our children were so eager to meet Georgie. Then at 34 weeks in utero, Georgie’s heart stopped beating. Georgie is very much a part of our lives, and we celebrate him in many ways. But losing a much-loved and much-anticipated nephew changed my perspective. I pray differently for expectant mothers and their babies now. I don’t assume anything. I have a renewed sense that life is not ever to be taken for granted and that every moment is precious, especially with a child you won’t get to meet in person until you see him in heaven.
That’s why I’m pro-life.
Click here to read “Open Window,” Buettner’s blog.