Today was my Mom’s 71st birthday. In the picture above, Mary is showing off the skirt her Grandma hemmed for her.
My Mom retired from civil service, and now does substitute teaching. Mary was SO excited to see her Grandma at her school today!
Mom chose to spend part of her birthday at the annual Care Net fundraising banquet. This was Mary’s first year to attend the banquet, since she is an (eh hum…) ADULT now! (This kid will be 19 years old at the end of the month!)
Care Net is a ministry that is near and dear to my heart. I surrendered a child for adoption when I was 15 years old through a similar ministry. That daughter will celebrate her 35th birthday on October 8.
One of the things I’ve done that makes me the happiest is that I was on the steering committee that brought Care Net to Camden County back in 2003. I have hosted a table for the banquet since I first learned of the ministry through today’s banquet. I continue to support Care Net because I believe in what they do. They share the love of Christ with gentleness and humility. They encourage sexual purity. They provide resources for men and women experiencing crisis pregnancy together. They provide post-abortion comfort and restoration. They even provide sexually transmitted infection tests.
When Keith and I found out I was pregnant with Mary we were overjoyed! Then an ultrasound indicated Mary might have Down syndrome, as well as a heart defect. A genetic counselor encouraged us to terminate the pregnancy so we could “try again for a healthy baby.” Abortion was something my husband and I never even considered. I didn’t even submit to having an amniocentesis done to find out if Mary had Down Syndrome. Keith and I knew that Mary was a gift from God, and we didn’t want to do anything to put her life at risk. There was statistically a greater chance that the amniocentesis would cause an “unintended abortion” than that Mary would be born with Down Syndrome.
Well, Mary WAS born with Down Syndrome, but not the heart defect. Her facial features tell anyone in the know that she has Down Syndrome. Mary’s aunt Amy, who is a NICU nurse, recognized the Down Syndrome the first time she saw Mary, but she waited for Keith and me to announce that fact in our time (which truly was only a little while after Mary was introduced to her Aunt Amy and the rest of the Chancey side of the family).
Patrick Eades, who oversees the Care Net centers in Brunswick, Camden County, and Jessup, shared tonight that every abortion results in a story never told. I can’t imagine this world without Mary in it. She is a prayer warrior, and has a compassionate heart. Her story is a story worth telling. I am grateful for her presence in my life, and for the opportunity to share her story!