“Birthright, this is Christy.” I felt great energy and enthusiasm in my voice as I lifted the receiver and responded to the insistent ringing of the cream-colored phone with the curly, long twisted cord plugged into the wall on the volunteers’ desk.
On that chilly fall day in October of 2011, I was confidently ready with a pen in hand and notepad, appointment book, client report sheets and phone log laying on the desk in front of me. As many past and present Birthright volunteers have experienced, it takes several weeks of shadowing with other volunteers, getting familiar with administering pregnancy tests, viewing the VCR series of videos, and reading training materials from Birthright International before one is officially signed off by our conscientious director, Glenda, with her strict adherence to the charter and procedural requirements on the volunteer training checklist.
On the other end of the line, there was a solemn, very matter-of-fact young woman’s voice; “Hi, this is Beth. I was hoping you might be able to help me. I need to find out where I can go for an abortion. The doctors did several level 2 ultrasounds at 20 weeks; my baby will not survive at birth from a defect.” Immediately, I knew why God had put this woman as my first caller. Without any hesitation, I connected with Beth as I shared my sincere concern; “I can’t imagine how you must feel hearing that from your doctor. Crazy as this sounds, I used to work with many brave parents of babies and children with disabilities as an occupational therapist. These children and babies defy the odds stacked against them all the time.” Immediately, I followed up; “Beth, we would really like to meet with you at Birthright. When can you come in?”
Beth’s work schedule was not very flexible, but she could come that evening at 6:00 pm. Glenda willingly agreed to come back with me that night so we could both meet with Beth. I assured her we could help, and I would reach out to my friend, Patty Lewis, at Alexandra’s House, as her entire mission is to serve and prepare parents at delivery to honor the dignity of these babies given the same grave news.
Nineteen weeks later and many follow-up phone calls with both Beth and Patty, I anticipated hearing the sad news about Beth’s baby. Instead, Beth called me back and surprised me with her request. “What day do you volunteer next? I want you to hold my healthy baby girl!”
Joy filled my heart when Beth came to Birthright weeks later to see me. Her love was evident in her grateful smile as she told me we had saved her baby. She told me we were the only people who told her she did not have to have an abortion. I looked up holding baby Danielle and reminded her God always had Danielle in His plan; we just had to trust Him on His timing. I will never forget her beautiful baby girl; what a gift! (Names were changed)
After my first phone call ten years ago with Beth at Birthright, I have continued to answer many other wonderfully brave women’s calls for help. I realized very quickly what kept me coming back during my off and on seasons of volunteering at Birthright was the authentic love befriending the pregnant women and working alongside so many dedicated volunteers.
For the busy past 21 years of marriage to my husband, David, I am blessed to share and still be raising our five children: Gabby, Matthew, Joseph, Madeleine and Christopher. Proudly, all of them continue to lead and remain supportive of causes to stand up for life.
– By Christy Staker