A gift I can’t imagine not getting

The following article was published in the Journal and Courier on May 30, 2013 and is reproduced in its entirety below.

Recently our second daughter Karis walked across a platform at Purdue University and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering.  My wife Kris and I could not help but think of all the joy Karis has brought to our lives and family.  We also contemplated how tragic it would have been had abortion ended this story before it had barely started.

Twenty-two years ago an unmarried young birth-mother and birth-father entered a community hospital.  By then they had made two heroic decisions.  First, they wanted their baby to have the gift of life regardless of the pain, sacrifice, and inconvenience it caused them.  Second they believed that it would be best in their case to place their baby for adoption because they were convinced they could not provide a stable home environment at that point in their lives.

A few days later our family received a call asking if we would adopt their little baby girl.  Our  five year old daughter Bethany had been praying for a sister as my wife and I struggled with infertility after her birth.  It is impossible to describe the celebration this new gift of life created in our home.  We named our baby girl Karis, the Greek word for grace.  Psalm 127:3 took on an entirely new and fresh meaning — “Children are a gift from the Lord.”

Over the last twenty-two years we have done our best to provide a loving home for Karis.  She has been a blessing to our family, our church, her schools, and our community in every conceivable way.  The Lord allowed us to subsequently adopt another child, our son Andrew who has special needs.  To watch our daughters help care for and love their brother who is blind has been a thing of exquisite beauty.  The Lord has enabled Karis to delightfully live up to the meaning of her name.

After graduating as a valedictorian at Faith Christian High School four years ago, Karis entered Purdue on an academic scholarship.  She is now taking her newly minted engineering degree and entering the work force for a drug manufacturer in our state.  Only God knows what additional ways she may serve and enhance our world in the days ahead.

In some ways this article is a plea to birth mothers contemplating abortion.  Yes, I am a man which disqualifies me from speaking on this topic in the minds of some.  And yes, this decision is intensely personal with a myriad of extenuating circumstances to consider.  But I would gently suggest that our experience demonstrates that the decision is personal for two individuals, not one.  Had Karis’ birth parents ended her life in abortion, they would have stopped her beating heart.

Some progressives say that there are not enough people willing to adopt all the babies whose lives are currently ended in abortion.  That is an outrageous lie.  Everybody involved in the adoption process knows that the number of loving homes prepared to adopt a child today is immense.

Please also keep in mind that a biological parent can choose a variety of ways to interact with his/her child after the adoption.  In Karis’ case, we have had the wonderful privilege of reconnecting with both her birth-mother and birth-father who are now a cherished part of our family.  They can now share in and celebrate the very life they allowed to continue.

Karis is exceptionally bright.  Who knows what contributions she might make to our culture in the days ahead?  Her productive work will add to the tax base and help fund social security for others.  Most importantly, her sweet character will be a blessing to everyone she meets.

It is true that in our culture, once a child is conceived the biological parents have a choice to make.  Our family would urge you to let your baby live.  After all, you may be carrying the next Karis.

Steve Viars
Dr. Viars has served as a pastor and counselor at Faith since 1987. He is an author, national speaker, and Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Biblical Counseling Coalition.