by Angela Sanders, Freelance Writer
“…You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises…” Psalm 30:11
“I was so lost. I cried a lot.” A victim of rape, young professional Kalea hadn’t planned to have children. “I always loved babies, but I was also very career-minded,” she explains. “In our culture, women take care of babies fully. They don’t really share responsibilities with the husband. Mothers do it all, and I didn’t think I was ready. They also don’t have babies outside of marriage. I wasn’t married, so I didn’t think I could do it.”
Despite believing abortion to be her only option, Kalea went to Hope Pregnancy Center to learn more.
“I found this place on the internet. While I was getting ready, I kept trying to guess what they would say, what they would ask. I was scared. Online it said ‘no questions asked,’ but I knew most places did anyway. These ladies didn’t.”
Instead of the judgmental investigators she expected to meet, Kalea found a second family, a group of women who have never shown her anything but acceptance, love and grace from day one.
“Carol, my volunteer, welcomed me with a smile, sat me down in a room and just listened to me talk,” Kalea says. “She was so patient and kind. She gave me options. We talked about adoption, but, at that point, I was ready to let my son go completely. Carrying a baby to term and then finding parents and going through the whole adoption process seemed like a lot. I just wanted it over and done, but Carol reminded me that all lives are precious and God has a plan even when we can’t see it. She helped me see how it could be okay and reassured me I would get the support I needed from them. In less than an hour, I had changed my mind. They scheduled me for an ultrasound, and I got to hear his first heartbeat, my little peanut.” Kalea laughs.
After Kalea made the decision to parent her child, she still faced obstacles. “I didn’t want to tell my parents,” Kalea explained. “I was afraid of what they would say, what they would do, but Carol convinced me my mother would never turn her back on me. She was right. My mother was my rock and protector. When we told my dad, he surprised me by accepting it the best he could.”
During her pregnancy, baby classes at Hope became a lifeline for Kalea as well as a means by which to provide for her son through the earning of baby bucks for class attendance, homework completion, journaling, etc. “I don’t think I bought a single thing for the first year,” Kalea says. “Formula was free, diapers were free and baby bucks could be redeemed in the Center’s Baby Boutique for just about anything else you could possibly need for a baby: strollers, car seats, decorations, clothes…even a crib! We truly had more than we needed.”
“Carol taught my baby classes,” Kalea says. “Through all her teaching, she just kept reminding us God has a plan and He’s with us. They don’t force people to become Christians here, but they make sure we all know what it means to live a Christian life. We start every class with prayer, go over a Bible verse for the day, and then talk about how much God loves us, how He shows us that love and what we can do to pass that love on to others.”
Another unexpected turn in her life turned out to be one of her biggest blessings. Kalea started confiding in her best friend, a young man who was studying abroad at the time. “We were talking on the phone like we always did. He knew me well enough to know something was wrong, so I had a little meltdown and told him what happened,” Kalea says. “He came back to the United States unexpectedly and asked my father if he could marry me. Within three weeks, we had our wedding.”
Furthermore, Kalea’s new husband desired to become the father the baby needed. They signed adoption papers the day Kalea’s son was born, and to this day, no one knows he isn’t her son’s biological father. He is, however, the father figure to a boy he loves as his own.”
“Everything has just turned out so well,” Kalea says. “My son is God’s blessing to me. Night and day, he’s a reminder of God’s love to us. Everyone loves him! Even my dad, who never sang lullabies, read stories, fed his own babies or any of his other 31 grandchildren, does all these things with my son. They are best friends. I never thought I wanted children, but now my husband and I are hoping for more. Thanks to this place and the people who support it, I have friendships that will last a lifetime and mentors who are more like extra mothers.”
Kalea shares proudly, “I see God’s grace in all of it. We were lost, but now we’re found.”