Saturday, November 10, 2007
The banquet is over and what a wonderful time of fellowship it was. I am so grateful for all of the prayers that were offered for this event. I experienced a sense of peace when I got behind that podium that could only have been a result of your prayers. Alli, on the other hand... :)
All of the feedback that I have received regarding the banquet thus far has reflected how lives were touched by the fact that sweet Alli was willing to stand strong and share her heart, even through knocking knees and hyperventilation. Alli and I had a back up plan in case her nerves got the best of her. My daughter, Jess was fully prepared to get up and read Alli's speech with Alli standing by her side. Alli could have taken advantage of this but she persevered. To me that speaks volumes regarding Alli's desire to honor #1, God and to honor the ministry of Lois' Lodge. I am aware that some of you may have missed some of Alli's message while she was gasping for air. :) Alli and I have fun teasing each other so please don't think I am being mean. The following is Alli's speech so that you can have the opportunity to experience all of the meaningful information that she desired to convey. Alli is a very special young lady who I believe will be used by the Lord in a mighty way. We love you Alli!
My name is Alli and I am from Athens, Georgia. When I was 19 I discovered I was pregnant. I was so scared. I thought my life was over. I just knew that my parents were going to disown me and my friends were going to leave me. My friends were shocked and couldn't believe that this had happened to me. I had grown up going to church and in a community where everyone knew my family. My town is a big football town and my dad was the coach for our college team for several years. No one knew how to react. The father of the baby, who was 17 did not want the added responsibility of a child and was encouraging me to develop an adoption plan. I was really confused and stressed about my situation.
I learned about Lois’ Lodge from a family friend who had stayed there during her pregnancy. She and her family were very positive about Lois’ Lodge and thought that it would be a good place for me to go. Her father had been my parent’s pastor so we really valued his input. Since I never went away for college I thought it would be good to get away and experience things on my own and to become more independent of my parents. The thought of leaving my town was very scary. But I knew that I needed to get away in order to be able to make decisions for my future and for the future of my baby. I did not want to be overly influenced by others. These were decisions I needed to make for myself.
I was really homesick in the beginning but I had made an agreement with my parents that if I went to Lois’ Lodge I would be committed to following through with the program. They stayed strong for me even though I called them a number of times crying hysterically due to being homesick. Overtime I settled in and came to view the staff and the girls as an extension of my family. There was a lot of tension between my parents and me when they learned that I was pregnant. Overtime my whole family became closer than we had been for a long time. My mother and father, who are divorced even traveled back and forth to Charlotte together on a couple of occasions. They were unified in their support for me and they are here together tonight. Through this experience I learned that God and my family will always be there for me and will always love me, even when I screw up. I also learned to take responsibility for my choices and my actions.
In the beginning I was pretty high maintenance. Several times a week I would run into Debbie’s office either telling her “I am so stressed” or “I am going to go crazy”. She always remained annoyingly calm. I used to think- “Doesn’t she get it? This is a serious crisis!”. Overtime I discovered what she already knew- “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. I became a lot less dramatic and more confident about my ability to cope.
I grew so much during my stay at Lois’ Lodge. My favorite part about being at Lois' Lodge was probably learning how to do things on my own. I actually learned how to cook. I even reached the point that instead of always calling someone to ask them how to do something, I was able to figure it out on my own. Another area of growth for me was in my spiritual life. I grew to love going to church. Not because my parents dragged me there but because I wanted to go. I also loved the Bible Study that I participated in through Lois’ Lodge. While I was at Lois’ Lodge my sister was in training at Focus on the Family. I always thought that she was the designated one who would have the close walk with the Lord. Now He is much more personal to me too.
I loved all the people that I met while I was at Lois’ Lodge. I will never forget them. Debbie and Shirley were like my second moms. They taught me a lot. I remember one time I was furious at Debbie. The father of my baby and his mother were traveling here from Georgia, along with my mother. There was a lot that the two of us needed to sort out. I decided to also make this trip a fun girl time. I invited several of my girlfriends from Athens to come along too. We were going to have fun shopping and doing girl stuff. Debbie told me that my friends couldn't’t come. She said that this meeting was too important to combine with a fun girlfriend event. I was furious and called my dad crying that I wanted to go home. Afterwards I realized that Debbie was right. My meeting with the father of the baby was very intense and emotional. But, by the end he and I had reached a number of agreements and understandings. My girlfriends would have been a distraction and probably would have made this process a lot less successful. The baby’s father really liked Debbie also. He felt that she was not on his side or mine but helped us to work together on behalf of our baby.
Zeritha McFadden was my mentor. Her own daughter had a baby when she was a teen. Zeritha told me the truth in a loving way. She will always be a special friend to me.
Shirley would make me laugh. But my favorite story about Shirley is one that she probably would prefer that I not bring up. On my first day of school at Central Piedmont Community College I was a nervous wreck! I finished class and was ready for Shirley to pick me up but SHE FORGOT ABOUT ME! I didn’t have my cell phone and I didn’t have enough change for the pay phone. I went crying into the guidance counselor’s office. They let me use their phone. Shirley felt terrible. She actually didn’t forget about me altogether. She just got distracted and forgot to come at the time we agreed to. She didn’t realize how that would almost cause me to have a nervous breakdown. :) After that day I knew Shirley was never going to forget me again! I don’t think she had ever seen that much drama before.
The girls that stayed with me at Lois’ Lodge are like my sisters and I would do anything for them any day. They taught me so much. We all came from different backgrounds but we were so bonded because of going through this experience together. Some of the girls that were in Lois’ Lodge with me had grown up in very challenging circumstances. One girl was 14 years old. Her mother was addicted to drugs and was in and out of prison. She was adopted by an older couple that she called her grandparents. None of us could get over the fact that she got pregnant in a porta potty at school. Yuck! She had the courage to allow another family to parent her child through adoption. I carried a bucket for her to throw up in while Debbie drove her to the hospital to deliver her baby.
I was very close to a girl that has since gotten married to the father of her baby. I envy her for that. They are doing great. We had a reunion with our babies. One other girl placed her baby for adoption and she is attending college in Indiana now. I keep in touch with her and it is obvious that she is doing great. She displays pictures of the baby and the adoptive parents on her facebook. She is very proud of the choice that she made. Another, who was only 16 when she got pregnant ran away from the program and moved in with the father of her baby. That didn’t work out. We all knew it wouldn’t. She is now planning to move into the Lois’ Lodge aftercare program with her sweet little girl. I don’t know what I would have done during that challenging time without having all of those amazing people in my life. I remain in touch with most of them.
My life is much different now. I am so busy. Between school and being a mom I don’t seem to have time for anything else. Debbie laughs at me sometimes because the high point of my day is that I got a chance to go to Walmart. It is hard to realize just how hard this mom thing is until you actually experience it. Being a mom is the biggest job that I will ever have and it will last for a life time. It’s a 7 days a week and 24 hour job but it is worth everyday and every hour. My relationships with my friends have changed. They are always going out on the weekends and having fun doing whatever they want. It seems like they don’t have to worry about anything. I don’t really go out too much. It’s hard to find a babysitter and by the time you have it’s too late to go out. I can’t do things spur of the moment anymore. Actually, to tell the truth, I now like staying at home. All this being said, I would not change what I have been through for anything.
I do realize that if I didn’t have the supportive family that I have I would never have been able to do this on my own. I am very thankful to my parents for their ongoing support and unconditional love. They, like me are extremely grateful to Lois’ Lodge. I left about a month before my baby was due. I really wanted to have the baby in Georgia to assure that my family would be there. Just recently I have decided to admit that I should have stayed at Lois’ Lodge longer in order to learn and grow even more. I want to thank all of you for taking the time to be here tonight to learn more about this important ministry. And thank you Lois’ Lodge for being there for me while I was pregnant and for still being there for me now while I am a young mom. You will always be special to me.
Stay tuned- More on the banquet later. Debbie
Monday, November 5, 2007
Half of Americans Want to Know Candidate's Abortion Stance Before Voting
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) --
A new poll conducted by Fox News finds that almost half of all voters want to know where a candidate stands on the issue of abortion before casting their vote for or against him. The poll is the latest to show that abortion still has a significant impact for voters, despite media pronouncements to the contrary. The new survey, released on Friday, finds 45 percent of Americans need to know a candidate's position on abortion before they vote, while 53 percent say they don't. A candidate's position on abortion is more important for pro-life voters than those who back abortion. Fox News found that 56 percent of those identifying themselves as pro-life want to know a candidate's abortion views while just 41 percent of those who back legal abortions do. That reconfirms results from previous surveys showing pro-life voters are more engaged on the abortion issue than those who back abortion and the results give pro-life candidates a slight edge on the issue. The Fox News survey also found out that 48 percent of women, 46 percent of Republicans and 51 percent of born-again Christians want to know where a candidate stands on abortion before voting. Read the complete story.
Second New Poll Shows Majority of Americans are Pro-Life on Abortion
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) --
A second poll in as many weeks is showing that a majority of Americans are pro-life when it comes to abortion. Last week, a CBS News survey showed over half of the public opposes most or all abortions and now a new poll from Bloomberg News and the Los Angeles Times has found the same thing. The new media survey asked respondents which of four positions "comes closest to your view on abortion." Some 40 percent of those polled said abortion should be illegal 98 percent of the time -- "except in cases of rape, incest and to save the mother’s life." Another 10 percent took a pro-life position that "abortion should be made illegal without any exceptions." Only 44 percent of Americans favor legal abortions, according to the survey, with 31 percent saying they should be "always legal" and just 13 percent saying they should be legal "most of the time." The two media outlets interviewed 1,209 American adults from Oct. 19 to Oct. 22 and their poll has a three percent margin of error. Read the complete story.
Abortion Advocate Says Rudy Giuliani's Adoption Claims "Unsupportable"
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) --
Rudy Giuliani has tried hard to use his supposed advocacy of adoption as the mayor of New York to combat Republican opposition to his pro-abortion views as he campaigns for president. His pro-adoption claims have been refuted on previous occasions and now a leading abortion advocate says they are "unsupportable." Cory Richards is the senior vice president and vice president for public policy at the Guttmacher Institute, a research group affiliated with Planned Parenthood. Richards wrote an opinion column published in the Los Angeles Times on Monday saying that Giuliani's claims that his adoption advocacy resulted in a decrease in abortions in New York City can't be supported. Giuliani has said that, while he was mayor, New York City "increased adoption by 133% over the eight years before [he] came into office." Giuliani added that the city "found that abortions went down by 18% during that period of time" and that he believes such figures can be achieved nationwide. But Richards says the increase in adoptions Giuliani refers to is children in the city's foster care system and "not in the rate at which women were continuing unwanted pregnancies and placing their infants for adoption rather than having abortions." "Nothing in the data he cites indicates that there was any significant increase in the city's newborn relinquishment rate while he was mayor," Richards says. Read the complete story.