Almost three years ago, Katie Garcia suspected she might be pregnant. Panic was her first reaction. She was a new LVN who worked full-time and dreamed of getting her RN. She was unmarried. Her doctors had told her for years that she couldn’t have children, so pregnancy was not in her plans and she was afraid a baby would prevent her from going back to school.
Katie showed up at Options Clinic at closing time, and Summer and Tiffany stayed open to take care of her. Despite her fear and panic, Katie clearly remembers that day—with overwhelming gratitude.
“Summer answered the phone. She could’ve said ‘Hey, we’re closed,’ so I’m really thankful she loves the Lord. I’m really thankful for her heart to just say ‘Come on in.’”
Katie walked through the doors of Options Clinic that day filled with “silent panic, the most silent I’ve ever been, besides sleeping.” Despite her fear, she remembers walking down the hallway and seeing pictures. She remembers the warm environment.
She remembers Tiffany.
“She was warm and welcoming. Knowledgeable. She didn’t talk over me. Just very, very nice.” Tiffany made the whole experience pleasant, despite Katie’s panic.
“Tiffany was very positive. No judgment. But Tiffany, being in the position she’s in—the atmosphere or the anointing she carries or God telling her where she can talk to someone and where she can’t—I’m very appreciative of her sensitivity. She’s very nurturing.”
That was the first time Katie visited Options. The second time, she went back with Justin, now her husband. “He didn’t believe I was pregnant. He kept saying ‘Are you sure this is real?’”
Summer and Tiffany were both “very nice, very welcoming” on this second visit. And Katie and Justin left with something that made the pregnancy very real to both. “They give you your first picture in this little silver paper frame. They try to make it more special, more real. It resonates. That frame makes it a big deal. It’s shiny and silver.” Katie shakes her head. “Justin saw everything.”
After that visit, they both knew the pregnancy was real—and they were both all in. Several months later, they married quietly. Their son, Riggin, was born soon after.
“I wouldn’t give Riggin up for anything. Even in his worst two-year-old tantrums,” Katie says with a rueful laugh. Riggin copies everything she and Justin do and say.
“Riggin ‘reads’ the Bible,” Katie says. “I read the bible study to him on my phone and I try to pray over him every night. And Riggin takes the phone and scrolls through it and waves his hand in the air while babbling.” Katie beams with pride. “This has to make God proud!”
Instead of having to give up her dreams of becoming an RN, Katie is now back in school and working part-time. Despite her busy schedule and full life, you can see the happiness in Katie’s eyes—and the determination. “I keep a picture of my son on my phone, and people always ask me why I’m looking at it. Because he’s my motivation.”
Katie says being a wife, mother, and student is tough, but realizes she is fortunate. “Years ago, I met a woman with two kids, unmarried, and she’d just gotten her bachelor’s degree. She said, ‘You can do it, but it’s going to be hard work, especially with kids.’ And now, after having a kid, I can’t imagine being a single parent with two kids and trying to get my bachelor’s in nursing. Even now, with help.”
Wife. Mother. Student. Nurse. Katie wears a lot of hats these days, but her joy and love shine through every word. What does she have to say about her life?
“God is good.”
Written by Misti Pyles, Grace House Volunteer
For some clients, Grace House is more than just a pregnancy assistance center. It’s a place they can take classes to learn about parenting—classes about shots, kid-friendly foods, what babies should be doing at different stages, and infant CPR. It’s a place they can get ask questions or get help with items they need. And, for some clients, Grace House is a home away from home.
Aryan is a two-time Grace House client with a toddler and a newborn. When she found out she was pregnant with her son, she was in her senior year of high school and she wanted to graduate early, but couldn’t because she was in college classes and didn’t want to waste the time she’d put into those classes, or the money. Then she went to a Teen Parenting class at Weatherford High School and met Rosemary.
At first, she was skeptical, and Rosemary didn’t think she’d be back. But Aryan did come back. Every week. She enjoyed the classes and they gave her confidence that parenting was the right choice—and a choice she could excel at.
After her son was born, Aryan kept coming back. When she found out her son needed special formula that was far outside what she could afford, she didn’t know what to do. She knew he needed the formula, but there was no way she could afford it. So, she came to Grace House. Someone had just donated a huge amount of that special formula, and they were able to help her with formula for a long time.
But that’s not the only reason Aryan continues to come back to Grace House. It is, she says, like a home away from home. She sees her mom friends here, and they sit on the couches and talk while their kids play. It’s a break from the stresses of their lives.
Then there’s Rosemary.
“She’s like my mom,” Aryan says. “Any time I’m stressed or worried or need someone to talk to, I can talk to her.” Those talks with Rosemary are a lifeline for Aryan, who works full-time and goes to school while caring for her children and her fiancé.
When Aryan went to Options Clinic to confirm her second pregnancy, she didn’t tell Rosemary, because she didn’t want her to be mad.
Instead, Rosemary told her, “It’s going to be okay. We’re going to get through it.”
And they did.
There was a complication in the second pregnancy, and she had to go to multiple appointments a week, but Aryan kept showing up. She even invited Rosemary to the hospital when she was in labor the second time. Now she visits Grace House with both of her kids.
“I get so stressed out and I bottle everything up and Rosemary and I talk and I feel better, and we talk about life, we talk about kids, and we talk about how I stress out,” Aryan says with a laugh as she holds her newborn daughter. “I just love her.”
When asked what she would say to Grace House’s donors, gratitude fills Aryan’s voice as she cuddles her tiny daughter closer.
“They bless so many people. They may think they’re blessing one person, but they bless every single one of us. Anything they donate helps: clothes, pacifiers, socks, the smallest thing helps. More than they know. They might not think how much they’re blessing someone, but it does.”
Gratitude might not be a strong enough word.
“If Grace House weren’t here, I don’t know what I would have done in that situation. Because I don’t know of any other place around here that helps pregnant moms,” Aryan says.
Aryan is no longer a scared high school senior pregnant with her first child. Now she’s mom to a toddler and an infant, she works full-time, and she goes to college and prepares for nursing school. She is, as Rosemary says, a star.
What would this star mom say to anyone who’s pregnant and worried how hard life is going to be?
“You’ll be okay. Life is hard. No matter what. You just have to do it. No matter how hard times get, you still have your baby to raise. Everything you do affects your baby’s future, so if you’re contemplating school, go to school. You don’t want to struggle. Your kid will see that, and you want better for your kid.”
Grace House: a home away from home. Pep talks included.
Written by Misti Pyles, Grace House Volunteer
Jennifer came to Options Clinic uncertain of her pregnancy decision. She was recently divorced from her husband, had a fling with a friend, and now suspected she might be pregnant. The potential father had left the state, and she had no intention of telling him about the pregnancy. Despite the complicated scenario, Jennifer had some very definite ideas about what she wanted to do.
Jennifer discussed her pregnancy options with her advocate at Options Clinic, Emily, who answered her questions about adoption. Emily encouraged Jennifer to think through all her options and not rush into a hasty decision. And Jennifer didn’t. With parenting not an option for her situation, she had only two choices. While she couldn’t be the parent the baby needed, she could make the brave choice to give the baby a loving family.
Jennifer came back for her sonogram appointment with her mind made up: with the full backing of her support system, she had decided to place for adoption. She already had an appointment to meet with an adoption agency to discuss her plans and felt very confident that she was making the best decision for the baby and herself given her circumstances.
The sonogram revealed that she was seven weeks pregnant, and Options Clinic kept in contact with Jennifer throughout her pregnancy. The caseworker at the adoption agency supported her while she was pregnant, and Jennifer remained confident in her decision to place for adoption. She knew her road wouldn’t be easy, but it would give her baby a life with parents that wanted a baby more than anything but couldn’t have one without help.
Jennifer decided on an open adoption plan and selected a couple she was very excited about, calling them “the most precious people ever.” She referred to the baby as “their baby” and “their newborn,” and couldn’t wait to see the journey they were about to embark on.
Later that year, she delivered a baby boy and placed him in the arms of his adoptive parents. Seeing the love in the new parents’ eyes as they looked at their newborn son made every step of her journey worth it.
Two years later, Jennifer came back to Options Clinic for a pregnancy test. She and her husband were back together, and this baby was his. She continued to keep in contact with her biological son and his adoptive parents, and still felt she made the best decision for herself and the baby. Though her first baby was not her husband’s, he supported her decision to carry the pregnancy and make an adoption plan. Jennifer attended classes and received support at Grace House Pregnancy Center during her second pregnancy.
Around 45% of pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned leaving many women struggling to prepare for a baby they weren’t quite ready for.1 Grace House provides classes like Preparing for Baby, Baby’s First Year, How to Dad, Breastfeeding, and Infant CPR, allowing parents-to-be to learn while also providing them an opportunity to earn credits to use in the Boutique, which offers maternity clothes, baby clothes, baby equipment, diapers, and formula.2
Only 5% of adoptions in the U.S. are closed adoptions, so Jennifer’s experience with getting to know prospective parents is not unusual, although the birth mother can choose the level of contact she is comfortable with.3 67% of privately adopted children have pre-adoption agreements.4
And since birth parents agree to the amount of contact with the adoptive family, they won’t need to worry about how their adopted child is doing. According to the 2007 National Survey of Adoptive Parents, most adopted children—85%—are in excellent or very good health.5 Information like this and her familiarity with the adoptive parents gave Jennifer peace of mind and confidence that she had made the best decision for herself and her baby.
It gave them both bright futures.
- Guttmacher Institute
- Grace House Ministries
- American Adoptions
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
*Names were changed to protect the privacy of the former client.