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Why I Love Life: Christina's Story

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Photo Credit: Cassidy Shooltz

Photo Credit: Cassidy Shooltz

This is a guest post by Christina Birmingham. Scroll to the end of the post to meet Christina.

Once there was a woman. She made many choices that she thought would only end up affecting her. But no. She became pregnant. With a baby girl. The father wasn't even in their world. In fact the baby girl never met her birth father. She was born. Into poverty. They never had a house. In fact they lived in a truck. Ate out of cans. Traveled around. There was fighting. Crying. Often the baby girl and her sister were left. Alone. On a doorstep of a house. With people they didn't know. Told to wait there until the fighting was over. At a very young age her innocence was stripped from her. Eventually they started to rent a upper part of a house. The baby girl obeyed everything she was told. She sat in the corner. Had to breathe the smoke of cigarettes. If she was told to go to bed she went. Even if it was right after lunch.

One day the drugs took a hold. The baby girl couldn't do anything to make the woman happy. She was the brunt of the attacks. Too young to understand, too young to know when to hide. The neighbors below heard her screams and cries. Rescue came moments before death might have stolen her away. Confusion overwhelmed her.

Photo Credit: Cassidy Shooltz

Photo Credit: Cassidy Shooltz

No wait!! Don't take me away!

The baby girl saw her mother being led away.  She was lifted into the ambulance. Sister was getting in a car, but then it was all lost in a blur. EMT's told her not to stir. Then it was hospital lights and strange faces.

Baby girl's life was all changed that day. She was taken away from all she knew.

Placed in a foster home with a sister. It was almost surreal.. a place with no fights. No crying. They were never alone. There was laughter, smiling, food, and she had her own bed. She felt loved, cherished. Most of all she felt a peace inside. Adoption came and then baby girl had a family. She overcame what happened to her. She had scars, not just physically, but mentally. Forgiveness was hard but the baby girl forgave the woman. The woman was confused, lost and hurting. She just turned to all the wrong things. But she chose to give the girl life and not end it.

And that baby girl is me.

I'm writing this because I want to put a face on "a woman's right to choose."  Mine.

People have said that children like me would be better off dead. From a recent discussion to a post on Instagram:

"Why do you think so many young black women want to get abortions? These women couldn't survive while also taking care of a child... These women need help getting back on their feet, not a huge responsibility and financial burden. How is a single mother supposed to simultaneously be around for her child and work two jobs to pay for its food and the cost of living? By limiting access to abortion in these cases you are worsening the quality of the life of the mother as well as setting the child up for failure, poverty, and suffering."
Photo Credit: Cassidy Shooltz

Photo Credit: Cassidy Shooltz

I have been told that I'd be better off dead because people don't easily rise up from poverty.  Another comment:

"Very, very few children born into poverty succeed in advancing through the socioeconomic hierarchy throughout their lives, and even less in the case of minorities."

I am a minority and I know how abortion providers have targeted poor, minority communities with their death centers, but I have been told that the slaughter of 15 million black babies in this country was actually an act of mercy because cases like mine only cause poor minorities only suffer.

"Obviously minorities are not the only people afflicted by these modern societal ailments, but they are hit the hardest. While the reasons I have outlined are a large part of why I am pro-choice in all cases...Who needs yet another mouth to feed... another body to clothe... a person to have to watch?"

And in response to my Instagram comment that although "African Americans are only 14% of the population, 40% of abortions are performed on black women," this is what I was told by the friend of a friend on Instagram:

"There is no shortage of children."

There is no shortage of children.

What does this even mean?  Black children?  Poor children?  Disadvantaged children?  All children?  Is anyone else disturbed by these casual comments from smart, wealthy, well-educated future voters?

Yes, these comments were made on social media by teenagers who may not have fully thought out their arguments, but their ideas come from somewhere, and to me they are meaningful and terrifying because they are so common these days.

Photo Credit: Cassidy Shooltz

Photo Credit: Cassidy Shooltz

Yes, I came at a time when I could not be fully loved, cherished. But that wasn't my fault.

Look into my eyes.  

Tell me my life has less value than yours because your mom wanted you and mine didn't.

Tell me it would have been OK to kill me because I wasn't convenient or planned and you were.  

Tell me how it would be better for me to be dead because my life started out hard, hard.

Hard.   

HARD gets to say which of us ends up in a crib and which one gets sucked into a trash bin?

Are we really to that point?  Because HARD also covers kids who happen to show up in the womb with birth defects.  And kids whose parents are rich, but too busy.  And kids who are the wrong gender.  

It also covers old people and really sick people and people who are annoying.  

How far are you willing to go with your theories?  

No doubt life would have been much easier for my birth mom if I had not come along, but would that fact have made it right for her to kill me?  Are we really to the point where we can casually say that my right to exist (and yours) depends on how well we fit into a bigger and more powerful person's schedule or finances?

The scary thing is, we are there.  When I wrote on Instagram that I could never morally vote for a woman or a party platform which had "actively cheered over and promoted the legal murder of a small nation of strong, beautiful, talented, valuable people like me," I was jeered.

I wrote, "I was once a black fetus in the womb of a desperate single mother.  Thank GOD no one got to her before I drew my first breath," and in response a person sent me a link to some sob story written by a woman who was so thankful for legal abortion because it meant she was able to kill her kid at 32 weeks when she found out he had club feet.

Photo Credit: Cassidy Shooltz

Photo Credit: Cassidy Shooltz

Wow.  Because no one with club feet has ever had a decent life, nor do they have the right to give it a shot.

Like that level of selfishness was supposed to convince me that I should stop fighting for the right of small, helpless, disadvantaged, precious, one-of-a-kind people like me to walk the planet.  

I was the result of a choice. I had a hard beginning. The odds were against me. But where there is life, there is always hope. And mine was adoption.

Whenever I smell the smoke of cigarettes, I flash back to sitting in timeout in the corner with the smoke stinging my eyes. I will still flinch and get the feeling of being scared and trapped if somebody starts getting angry or if I see violent images. I feel like I have been kicked in the gut when I see the lights and hear the screams of an ambulance.

But even with all that, adoption gave me a hope. Love. An eternal love.

If I had never been adopted I might have never heard the Gospel and seen that there is no darkness that cannot be redeemed. There have been times where despair seemed overwhelming and I used to wish sometimes that I had died because my struggles were real and I had mountains to climb.

But looking back on those times I can see that was Darkness calling out to me. Just as surely as there is good, there is evil.  And Evil never stops talking about death.  Please don't believe it.

God's hand is always there to run to... there He can hold you and will never leave you. I trust in that unfailing hope.

Whenever I get bogged down in my past I think about the distance between where I have been and where I am going.  The struggle is worth it.  The past darkness makes the light of the future shine brighter.   

I love this quote from Gloria Gaither:

"When I look back at where I've been, I see that what I am becoming is a whole lot further down the road from where I was."

I am so grateful that my birth mom, even with all her own problems, chose to give me the chance to struggle. Hurt. Wonder. Grow. Overcome. Find love. Heal. To experience all the good and bad that LIFE has to offer.  

I am more than someone's "choice".  I am a person.  And I am using my past of "failure, poverty, and suffering" to speak hope to others like me, as well as to beg the rest of you to take your bullseye off our backs and start bringing us justice instead of death.

This post was originally posted at A Wildflower in a World of Weeds.


Guest contributor, Christina Birmingham was put into foster care at the age of 3 and adopted at age 5. Since then, her family has adopted 2 more children. Christina is 18 years old, the second oldest of 7, and a home school graduate. She enjoys nature photography, singing, writing, dancing, playing music and doing whatever calls her to do. Right now, she is working at a horse farm and volunteering at a local pregnancy care center. In January, Christina is looking forward to traveling to Uganda, visiting Overflow team member Sarah Jantzen, and helping with her ministry. You can read more from Christina on her blog: A Wildflower in a World of Weeds.

Guest contributor, Christina Birmingham was put into foster care at the age of 3 and adopted at age 5. Since then, her family has adopted 2 more children. Christina is 18 years old, the second oldest of 7, and a home school graduate. She enjoys nature photography, singing, writing, dancing, playing music and doing whatever calls her to do. Right now, she is working at a horse farm and volunteering at a local pregnancy care center. In January, Christina is looking forward to traveling to Uganda, visiting Overflow team member Sarah Jantzen, and helping with her ministry. You can read more from Christina on her blog: A Wildflower in a World of Weeds.