I tentatively held up my sign outside the abortion clinic: “Unplanned pregnancy? We want to adopt.” Would this be the way that God answered our prayers for baby Zoe?
by Amy Brooks
Prayer Wine Chocolate
My nerves were on edge as I pulled into the parking lot near the Planned Parenthood clinic. As I got myself and my three-year-old son out of the car, I made sure to grab some rosaries. I had been told to have them in my hand so the PP escort wouldn’t think I was there for an appointment . . . which would have been slightly awkward, to say the least.
I felt like I was walking onto a spiritual battlefield.
I said hello to a priest who was standing nearby, quietly. I gave my son the bag of cereal I had brought, and then I held up my sign—but not too high, because it looked pathetic. My handwriting was nice, but it was really nothing more than my handwriting on a piece of paper in marker: “Unplanned Pregnancy?” it read. “We want to adopt. Check us out on Facebook.”
When you love someone, you pray for them
I’d been thinking about abortion a lot over the previous year or so, maybe because I have longed to see a positive pregnancy test for ten years.
But honestly, abortion has always made me sad. I have known women who have had abortions, and I know it wasn’t a choice they really wanted to make. And I have always felt more love than anything for people who have different views than I do about it; honestly, I see us all looking to love the woman as well as the child. Maybe we are confused about love.
One thing I know is this: When I love people, I pray for them. So sometime this past spring I decided to start praying for all women considering abortion. I prayed for the babies too, but I prayed for the women more.
After a month or so of me making up my own prayers at night, I came across a “Spiritual Adoption Prayer” being promoted on the Holy Heroes website. I hadn’t seen that prayer since high school, when I had been involved in the pro-life club. The prayer, which is attributed to the Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, goes like this:
“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I love you very much. I beg of you to spare the life of (give the baby a name), the unborn baby I have spiritually adopted, who is in danger of abortion. Amen.”
Even though it was geared toward children, I printed the prayer resource out anyway. That evening, my husband and I prayed the prayer, writing down the name of “our” child (let’s call her “Zoe”) and the date we started praying for her in the space provided on the paper.
We prayed that prayer every night after saying grace before our meal. The prayer for our “spiritually adopted” child echoed our prayers to be able to expand our family through adoption again. We’re constantly looking for ways to let the world know that our hearts and home are more than ready for another child.
It wasn’t long before I began connecting those two sets of prayers.
Maybe, I thought, I could go down to the Planned Parenthood with a sign offering to adopt. If a young woman does see my sign and looks us up on Facebook on her phone in the waiting room, maybe she will reconsider the abortion. Maybe she’ll place the baby with an adoptive family—or maybe she’ll parent.
Either way, it would be a life-giving choice.
After doing some research, I found a group that prayed outside the Planned Parenthood once a week. I decided to follow my gut and just do it.
Counseling through a bullhorn? Really?
I introduced myself and my son to one of the other women with the prayer group; her name was Mary. I shared how my husband and I hoped to adopt again, and showed her my sign. She seemed very touched.
All of a sudden she started walking away. “Hold on,” she said.
“Are you sidewalk counseling?” I asked.
By this time, she was maybe ten yards away. “I try,” she yelled back.
Then she picked up a bullhorn. “You don’t have to go in there! We can help you!” she called.
I was mortified. A bullhorn? Really?
“We have someone here who will adopt your child!” she added.
I grabbed my son’s hand and started walking away with as much speed as his little legs allowed. I wanted to run. I made a “yikes” face to a total stranger walking up the street. Who’s going to respond to a person yelling at them through a bullhorn? I thought. There has to be a better way.
A miracle, and a lollipop
After she was done, Mary found me, and we continued our conversation. I asked about the bullhorn, and she explained that they weren’t allowed to approach any closer to women entering the clinic, so the bullhorn was kind of necessary.
Another woman standing there holding rosaries chimed in, saying she had felt the same way about the bullhorn at first. But then a priest told her how some of these girls are praying for a sign, and the words of the sidewalk counselor might just be the sign they were hoping for. It all left me feeling a little sad, but I decided to stay and pray.
Before I could join the people praying, though, I saw a young woman leave the clinic with her mother. They walked down from the parking lot to the sidewalk to talk to us, holding hands and crying.
It was the same young woman Mary had been talking to through the bullhorn—and she had decided not to go through with the abortion! We all hugged and cried. It was such an emotional, amazing moment.
“She needs a place to stay,” said the mother, explaining how her daughter, “Anne,” couldn’t stay with her.
Mary immediately started making some calls to find housing for Anne. While she was on the phone, I asked Anne where she was from. It turned out she lived more than an hour away; she explained that the abortion facility closest to her wouldn’t perform abortions after 13 weeks, and she was 14 weeks pregnant.
“Mom . . . Mom . . . Mom!” My three-year-old kept interrupting our conversation, so finally I excused myself and asked what he wanted.
“I want to go to A Baby’s Breath,” he said.
That’s the crisis pregnancy center that shares the parking lot with Planned Parenthood.
“Because they have lollipops?” I asked.
Before I could say another word, Anne reached into her purse and took out two lollipops, one for my son . . . and one for her.
It was an incredible moment.
A message from God: Your prayer matters
A few days later, I began thinking about Zoe, the baby our family had “spiritually adopted.” How long ago had we done that? I looked up the date: May 7, 2015 . . . 14 weeks and one day before “Anne” decided to walk out of that Planned Parenthood.
My jaw dropped. I think I picked it up off my kitchen floor.
Then something else occurred to me. I had been carrying the laundry upstairs one day when a question popped into my mind: “How can my prayers matter? I know I don’t love these women or these babies as much as God loves them . . .”
The Lord heard my question, I believe, and wanted to answer it. He let me know our prayers for these children and women are heard, appreciated, valued, and answered.
Wow. Thank you Lord.
Here is the link to the “Spiritual Adoption Prayer Adventure”:
Please pray this prayer, and remember the mothers in prayer as well!