Shifting Focus

by Angela Sanders, Freelance Writer

“Be kind to one another…as God in Christ forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32 (ESV)

Twenty-two-year-old Starr Greer may not be getting as much sleep as she used to, but she might be getting more than she did one year ago. New to Oklahoma in 2019, Starr found herself pregnant and confused. Although she had the complete support of her boyfriend, Starr was disoriented. Far away from family, she didn’t know where to turn. “I felt hopeless,” Starr remembers. Then Starr found Hope Pregnancy Center.

“I set up an appointment and talked to my boyfriend about it. When we found out it was a Christian-based center, we were hesitant. We weren’t very religious then. I have always been a spiritual person, and he grew up in a Christian environment, but when you’re away from that, and you surround yourself with people who aren’t godly, you stop thinking that way.”

“Still,” Starr continues, “I decided that Hope was where we should go, and I’m glad we did. It was a lot at first, but it woke us up. They talked to us about keeping the baby, but also gave us a lot of information on adoption and abortion. They helped us understand we had options and resources we didn’t know we had. We realized we didn’t have to feel helpless.”

Starr continues, “They did tell us what abortion was, and there’s so much more to it than people think. They told us how it happened, showed us pictures, and explained how it was done. When I saw that, I knew that wasn’t an option I could choose. I didn’t want to hurt my baby. I was nervous because I didn’t know what my boyfriend was thinking, but when we got home, he told me he couldn’t choose abortion either. We decided to keep our baby.”

Starr and her boyfriend were so grateful for the way they were received and treated at Hope on their first visit so they returned to get an ultrasound. “They were just very caring,” Starr remembers, “very empathetic with us. They showed us respect. It felt like God was there, and I wanted to keep being a part of that. When we went back, they gave us things like blankets and gift cards so we could start getting the things our baby would need. It was so much more than I ever expected.”

Because Starr’s second visit to Hope coincided with the start of pandemic shut-downs, she was unable to attend the classes for mothers-to-be and young mothers, but neither Starr nor her new friends at Hope let that interfere with her education. “They gave me all kinds of books,” Starr says, “and I read every one of them. I felt as prepared as I could be when she was born.”

Starr gave birth on Halloween. “It was sudden and unexpected,” Starr remembers, “and even more scary because we couldn’t have our support system at the hospital because of Covid-19. It was an emotional day, a good and bad experience, but it was good in the end.”

Starr and her boyfriend named their daughter Estelle Hope in honor of the role Hope played in their family’s story. “I knew before the ultrasound that I wanted to name my baby after the people who had been there for us when we needed them,” Starr explains.

“They helped us see that we still had a lot of life to live—that our baby had a life to live—and we could live it together.”

Baby Estelle Hope is healthy, happy and growing. “We are learning as we go,” Starr says. “Both of us want to do our best as parents. His parents try to be there for us as much as they can because my mom lives in Michigan and has six kids of her own. I just want my daughter to have a better experience than I had. I want to be more involved in her life. I want her to understand I am there for her and support her. I want her to know that she has two loving parents and doesn’t have to live in poverty. I want her to feel safe.”

Starr and her boyfriend are grateful to Hope for encouraging them to parent their daughter and for giving them the tools and information they needed to make a good start as a family. “They brought God into our situation and helped us see He has a plan for our baby’s life even if she was a surprise to us. We needed to hear that. They gave us Bibles and helped us shift our focus where it should be. Now we are listening to church services as a family. The whole experience brought us closer to God. He has been speaking to us. We hope someday He’ll speak to our daughter, too, and she’ll do what she needs to do.”