I’ll never forget the day my journey towards my son started. I was with my sister-in-law Amy in her depressing little studio apartment, and I had just used her bathroom. When I came out, it suddenly dawned on her that I had seen a pregnancy test box. She confessed her secret to me: she was pregnant.
Now, you have to understand something about me. I have never been a baby person. I love kids, but babies used to bore me. I think it’s because they can’t talk or walk or really do anything, so I just have a hard time connecting with them. I’ve never had baby fever. I smile at them and say hi, but I don’t fight over getting to hold babies all the time. I’m just a lot more interested in them once they turn two or three.
That’s why what happened next was so weird. It was like part of my heart woke up that day. I could literally hear my heart quickening, and there was a voice in my head that said two distinct words: “My son!”
I had no information to back that voice up. Amy was pregnant, not me. She had not yet asked me to consider adopting him. We didn’t know it was a boy, because it was far too early to tell the sex. I didn’t even know for a fact that she would not abort the baby, because at the time that was a very real possibility. Nevertheless, the voice persisted. My son. My son. My son.
Through sheer force of will, I kept myself from offering to adopt when Amy mentioned that she may not keep the baby. I knew that I had to talk with my husband before I made an offer like that. He and I had always talked about adoption, even early on in our dating. But I had to be sure about how he would feel about it before I made a commitment like that. When I got home that day and told Doug, the first words out of his mouth were, “Give me the baby. I’ll adopt the baby.” I’ve never been so in love with Doug as I was that day.
Amy continued to weigh the pros and cons of giving birth. I believe the best way to be pro-life is to be pro-human, which means that it was crucial to me to be supportive and loving to Amy, even if she decided to make the choice that would break my heart. At the time, she had an unstable living situation and a tumultuous and emotionally abusive relationship that was very on-again, off-again (which meant she didn’t know for sure who the father of the baby was). She was addicted to cigarettes, alcohol, pot, and (although we didn’t know it at the time) meth. Her sometimes boyfriend told her that an abortion would be the right decision.
Soon after she found out she was pregnant, she broke up again with this man and in her hurt decided to go to a party and try LSD for the first time. She had a bad trip and felt guilty and more convinced than ever that abortion was her only option – that the damage to the baby would be too great if she allowed it to be born after the choices she had made.
I have never prayed so hard in my life. I prayed and sobbed. I made myself sick praying day and night and essentially joined in Amy’s morning sickness. I had been given permission to tell Doug, but not anyone else. This may have been God’s grace so I didn’t waste time talking to anyone else and instead just poured my heart out to God. My faith was all I had. This is the most intense spiritual warfare I have ever faced. I became the intercessor for my son’s life.
One night, Doug and I were tired and decided to go to bed early. Doug has insomnia, so this basically never happens at our house. Doug was out cold, but I was consumed with this burning feeling that Amy needed me. I couldn’t calm down. God made me restless. I knew in my heart I had to see Amy that night. So I texted her to invite her to go get some dessert with me and got up to put gas in my car. I told God if he wanted me to see Amy, that she needed to text me back accepting my invitation before I got home. She texted me back almost immediately.
I bought her ice cream, and the two of us talked about everything but her pregnancy. I didn’t bring it up. It was important to me that Amy never feel coerced or guilted about this. It was important to me that Amy felt loved and valued as a human apart from the baby she was carrying. When we got to the parking lot of her apartment, I turned off the car and she said to me, without looking me in the eye, “I scheduled my baby’s execution for Friday.”
We had a long talk. We talked about her feelings towards the abortion (the very fact that she called it an execution told me she didn’t feel good about this decision). I told her that Doug and I would love her, no matter what. I told her that Doug and I would help her raise this baby if she wanted to be a mom. I told her that Doug and I would take her baby and love him as our own. And even though it nearly killed me, I told her that we would love her even if she went through with the abortion. And I meant it.
Amy made the decision to keep the baby. She told her family about the pregnancy, and everyone opened their arms in support and love towards her. She canceled her Friday appointment.
This was only the beginning of the drama, and what eventually followed was months more of me interceding for Amy and the baby to be healthy despite limited food, unstable housing, heavy smoking, heavy drinking, and meth use. Amy and the man who did turn out to be the biological father got back together and broke up several more times. Amy was stressed out and depressed the entire term. It was a long hard road of not knowing what was going to happen, and my morning sickness lasted the full nine months. I prayed every day for God to filter out the toxins that Amy dumped into her body. My faith was all I had to go on.
Amy finally ended things once and for all with her boyfriend. She quit all substance abuse during her last month of pregnancy, which allowed Zak to be born without having to go through withdrawal. And despite all the hell that Amy put her body through, Zakary Elijiah Mills was born a beautiful, healthy, perfect baby at a whopping nine and a half pounds. His name means “Yahweh is God, and I am remembered by God”, which is a name that suits his story well.
Amy had a moment at the hospital where she told us that she didn’t know if she could go through with it. She had been happy about the idea of giving the baby to us before, but now that Zak was born it was real to her. That was a painful conversation for me, as I had loved this baby before even she did and I felt so sure that he was my son, my son, my son. I had to lay that down again and surrender. I was not going to try and coerce or guilt Amy about this. It had to be her decision alone. My husband and I were just there to listen. After sharing her feelings with us, she conceded that she did believe that we were the right choice for her baby. We took Zak home from the hospital, and he’s lived with us ever since.
I have no doubt in my mind that God has big plans for Zak. Not even two years old yet, and my son has already lived through a pretty dramatic life. Later there were court battles and custody disputes with the biological father. Although that was scary too, God has had his hands on Zak the entire time. He has honored my faith time and time again.
God’s promises are scary because they sound too good to be true. We are often afraid to hope that something that wonderful could really happen to us, afraid of being shattered if things don’t pan out. God’s promise to Abraham meant being a nomad for the rest of his life. God’s promise to Israel meant they had to face the wrath of their abusers. God’s promise to Peter meant risking being swallowed up by waves. God’s promise to me meant I had to surrender control over my life for three years – control I’m only just starting to get back now. We wonder what will become of us if God doesn’t come through. I am here to tell you that God does come through. You can have faith in Him and His scary promises.