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Why Did My Birth Mom Give Me Up?

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“I was raised in a loving Christian home. I knew I was loved, I never questioned that. But one day when I was eight years old at school, I had these friends of mine look at me and say, 'You're weird and different,'" recalled Steventhen Holland. Growing up, he never felt out of place within his family, until one day at school, kids pointed out he looked different. 
“I come home that day, I sit on the edge of bed with my mom, and I find out in that moment that I was actually a foster child at seven days old, and officially adopted by my family at two years old,” said Steventhen. “That's the first in my life I ever remember feeling broken and asking God, 'Why? Why would a mother not want her son?' That cut really deep for me as an eight-year-old. Was I really loved? Was I wanted? Struggling with my identity and where I fit."  

Steventhen continued, “When I was eight years old, I had been given this information. It was eight pages of typewriter paperwork from 1982. It had my birth mom's name in it, and then it had broken information, but that's all I had. I kind of knew a little bit of where my roots were from, but that identity and worth was found in trying to find it in everything but the Lord. And it wasn't until a night at a church service that we were having a revival. I just knew in that moment this Jesus I'd heard about my whole life, I needed a relationship with Him. So, I came running in the middle of the service to an altar and fell on my knees and accepted Jesus as that broken little eight-year-old boy. Even though I had a relationship with Him, it was the sports and trying the dating life and all those things, but nothing seemed to fill that void.”

Steventhen excelled at sports during his college years, where he majored in youth ministry and met his wife. He recalls a difficult time, “I'm youth pastoring in Florida at this time, and my wife and I decide we want to try to have children, and she gets pregnant. We have a miscarriage, and it literally just breaks our heart, and we're both asking, 'Why, God?' So we get through that loss and we actually have Isabella, a successful pregnancy, and then we have our third pregnancy. We lose another baby, and it messed me up. It broke my heart, just as a dad and a husband excited to be dad and having to go not through one loss, but two.”

Steventhen paused, “This is where God found me, literally this broken dad and husband, just seeking Him out, really crying out, 'God, why?' I was depressed and God met me right in that moment, and He said, 'It's time to look for your mom.'"

Pouring through those eight pages and searching the internet, he was able to locate his birth uncle. Two months later, he traveled to meet him. “He told me that there were six siblings. My mom was one of six, and all of them except for him were mentally handicapped,” says Steventhen. “My mom only functioned as an eleven-year-old child. So at eighteen, when she aged out of the system, their parents had actually died. She was alone, had no family, no resources, so she became a ward of the state of Georgia.
She was placed into a mental facility, and what my uncle told me, standing in his living room that day at twenty-seven, was, 'Your mom was actually raped by five men, and you were conceived in that way, and you talk about two grown men weeping and crying.' To hear that kind of news all those years, wondering, 'Why would my mom not want me?' We knew that she made it somehow to Chattanooga, Tennessee, and made it to this little town where I grew up.”

He continued, “It just happened to be a family that had four kids of their own and had a miscarriage two years prior, and God opened their home to actually bring one more child in. They were foster parenting because of a loss that they had and brokenness that they had, and God was about to restore that through me.”

“Can you imagine this woman? She has no money, no job, no family, no resources, so the only option that they were giving her was, 'You have to abort.' But by the grace of God, she literally ran away from this facility to save her baby. Even as only an eleven-year-old mental mind, to me it's a miracle.”

He pauses again, “My uncle got quiet. He looked at me deep in the eyes, and he said, 'You know what? Your mom is alive. She's five hours south of where we sit right now.' He said, 'Do you want to meet her?' So we jump in the car and drive five hours south and I get to meet the lady I call my hero, Mama Glenda.”

Video excerpt:
“You had a little boy when you were about 18, and you missed that little boy. The family that you gave him to take care of, their last name was Holland. So his name is Steventhen William Holland.”

Steventhen continues, “One thing that I didn't even know that I needed that she said to me was, 'I love you, son. I would have never given you up if I could have kept you.' I didn't even know I needed that closure in my heart. But just to hear her say that, all those questions of why in my life were answered, and that she loved me, she cared about me, she wanted me.”

They got to spend 11 years reconnecting before Glenda's passing in 2020. Stevethen is now a national pro-life speaker and has helped raise millions of dollars for pregnancy care centers across the country.

“It just amazes me that today I'm a dad of three beautiful daughters that wouldn't be here if it wasn't for that choice to choose life,” he smiles as he says, “it's so amazing that I literally have been in 39 states and I get to stand on stages, and raise support, and awareness for these beautiful organizations that are fighting for life, affirming life every day.”

“When I get to share our story, I get to champion and honor my mother, because she truly is the hero of the story when it comes to my life. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for her and it's truly an honor to get to carry that torch and to keep her name alive. 'Mama Glenda, I love you and I thank you for life.'”

For more information about Steventhen Holland, please visit his website:, and to learn more about the ministries Steventhen is involved in, please visit:

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About The Author

Karl Sutton

Karl Sutton has worked in Christian media since 2009. He has filmed and edited over 200 TV episodes and three documentaries which have won numerous film festivals and Telly awards. He joined CBN in 2019 and resides outside Nashville with his wife and four kids. He loves cycling, playing music, and serving others.