Born of Rape
A couple years ago we were in the car driving to our annual family Thanksgiving dinner. Robert was driving, I was in the passenger seat, and Roberts mom was in the back seat. We’d been lightly chit chatting about all the current events taking place in our lives and then Roberts mom asked, “How has the search for Roberts birth mother been going?” Robert was adopted by a loving family at 8 months old. He knew at an early age that he was adopted and always had a desire to know his birth family so we’d been working on finding his mother. When she asked this question I chimed in and gave her the update since I’d been doing most of the legwork. We found out our only option with the adoption agency was to provide a letter that they would pass on to his birth mother letting her know that Robert wanted to meet her. If she said yes then the agency would provide her contact info to us. If she said no then the adoption would remain closed. Because of the busyness of life we hadn’t created the letter yet. Roberts mom then said, “Robert, there’s something I haven’t told you about your adoption.” Immediately, our minds began to race. What information could she possibly be withholding? Why would she have withheld this information from Robert for so long? What would be so difficult that she didn’t share this before? We both sat waiting. Then it came out of her mouth. Roberts birth mother was raped by her own father, Roberts maternal grandfather, and he is the result of it. We sat in silence. I had no words in that moment. Neither did Robert. This was not something Robert was expecting to hear at all. It took about a week of processing and praying before Robert was able to wrap his mind and heart around the news. He had to work through some big identity issues but ended up really laying hold of the fact that God had created him regardless of how he was conceived and that he was alive for a purpose, a great purpose.
His birth mother was 15 years old when she had him. She was in high school and was also a part of the school band. She didn’t have any prenatal care and ended up giving birth to him 6 weeks early. Because Robert was born of incestuous rape the doctors thought he would be severely disabled, both physically & mentally. When his adoptive parents got the call that Robert was available for adoption they were also given the details about his conception but it did not sway their decision. They wanted him regardless of that and were so excited to be his parents. Immediately, Roberts mom began praying for him. She declared healing over his mind and body. She partnered with people from her church to pray and particularly with one woman who later on in Robert’s life would end up becoming like a sister to him. After several months of being with his adoptive parents, Robert began to thrive, meeting all the milestones for his age. He didn’t have a single disability despite doctors and adoption agencies saying otherwise. He defied the odds in more ways than one.
Robert is still defying the odds. He leads a rich & beautiful life. He is married (to me), has a precious son of his own, & is contributing everyday to making a huge difference in people’s lives. The positive impact of his life on others is so powerful. Without a doubt, he has had to work through some personal issues that have stemmed from his conception story. But these issues haven’t stifled his life in any way. If anything, they’ve made him a stronger & deeper person. Robert knows that his life was ordained by God, regardless of how he was conceived, and that everything that has occurred in his life has made him into the man he is today.
Why am I sharing this story? Why would Robert allow me to share such personal information with the public?
First, let me say this, I have wrestled with sharing this story about Robert. The last thing I want to do is expose or uncover my husband. Even though the way he was conceived has nothing to do with him, it still feels scary & vulnerable to share it. Even though I can see how God is using this story to reach others, it’s still painful for me. Robert, on the other hand, is so brave and courageous with his story. He doesn’t hesitate to share it, when appropriate, because he sees the power of God in it. He knows who He is so this story doesn’t drudge up pain and trauma for him. It simply reiterates that he was born for God’s glory alone & that he was chosen by God to live.
Even though it’s painful, the reason I’m sharing this story on behalf of Robert is because we want people to hear a different story about the babies conceived out of rape or incestuous rape. It’s not always a sad story. It’s not just a story of trauma and pain, although some parts of his story involved that. I think there’s a tendency to minimize the value & worthiness of these babies lives because of how they were conceived. There seems to be a public consensus that these babies should be aborted but we believe that the babies born from these circumstances aren’t less deserving of life because of how traumatic their conception was. They can go on to lead beautiful & impactful lives & deserve the right to. Roberts story is proof of that.
I understand abortion is a long-debated issue. This is not a new topic. I often ask the question, what if Robert were aborted? No one would disagree that It would make sense, under these circumstances, to abort Robert. The unknowns of his life were insurmountable. What would this child become? How difficult would his life be? But almost 40 years later, that little fetus, born out of shame, trauma & one the most disgusting & despicable acts known to man, is now a flourishing husband, father, businessman, & pastor.
I’m forever thankful that Roberts mom did not abort him. My family wouldn’t exist if she had. I’m deeply saddened that she suffered at the hands of her own father and I can’t imagine what she went through knowing she had a child from that experience but abortion was not the answer to her pain. Aborting Robert would not have changed the fact that she suffered and, more than likely, it would’ve caused even greater suffering for her. Some might say, she could’ve avoided 9 months of additional suffering if she’d just aborted Robert. While that may have been a reality for her, an additional 9 months of less agony isn’t a good trade off for Roberts now 40 years of living, creating a beautiful life. Yes, it’s a sacrifice for the mother but the 9 months she’s sacrificing for a child to have a lifetime of living, falling in love, dreaming, learning, starting a family of their own, being a grandparent, etc. is worth it.
My hope in sharing all of this is that you would be challenged in the way you think about children conceived from rape. That they, in your mind, wouldn’t just be the byproduct of tragedy & pain & something to get rid of but that you’d see beautiful lives, chosen by God, with a purpose & a destiny. These babies need people to fight for them and to be a voice for them. No matter the circumstances from which these precious babies are conceived, they deserve to live and we need to fight for their rights as living, human beings.
“Abortion is profoundly anti-women. Three quarters of its victims are women: Half the babies and all the mothers.” Mother Teresa