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Ruth Graham: When Your Daughter Says 'I'm Pregnant'

Share This article Ruth Graham remembers vividly the day her sixteen-year-old daughter, Windsor, sat on her bed and with tears in her eyes, told her mom she suspected she was pregnant. The next months would be marked with lots more tears, struggles and conflicts. It would also be a time when Windsor would make one of the toughest decisions any mother ever makes…to release her child. Ruth tells how her emotions ran the gamut from anger, guilt, sadness and an intense desire to save her child from the pain she was suffering. This event was life changing for everyone involved and Ruth says her experience has taught her that an unplanned pregnancy for a teen always is a life-changing event for all parties.

Ruth and Windsor’s journey to her decision to release her child began with a trip to the doctor’s office. Ruth was wisely counseled to first go and confirm that in fact there was a pregnancy. Not only does this step help in maintaining the new mother’s health, but emotionally, it allows everyone involved to begin sorting the emotions that first try to tell you this is all a bad dream and if you ignore it, it will go away.

Windsor and Ruth’s relationship was stretched and tested through the months leading up to the birth of Windsor’s daughter. There were misunderstandings both ways. Ruth knew that as much as she wanted to stop Windsor’s pain and somehow rescue her daughter, she also needed to allow her to experience the pain and work some things out for herself. Windsor saw her mom’s position as unsupportive and cold at times.

During this process of pain and struggle, Ruth reconnected with Sara Dormon. Sara, a clinical psychologist, had already assisted other young women through the birth and adoption process. As she talked with Ruth and then Windsor, she would gently challenge Windsor to think through relationships and responsibilities for the best decisions. She was able to invite Windsor into her home to work through the process of what would happen when the baby came. Sara provided a safe environment where she could gently challenge Windsor to think through everything. As a result, Ruth now sees her daughter and others like her as very courageous in the respect that they made an incredible self-sacrifice to do what ultimately is best for their child.

Ruth was pleased that, from the beginning, Windsor did not want an abortion. While Ruth and Sara both feel strongly that adoption offers the best for the child, they certainly advocate keeping and raising the baby over the option of abortion. Windsor finally decided that she would release her child – a decision Ruth says they all struggled with very deeply. When Windsor knew that she wanted to at least consider adoption, Sara helped her meet potential families and eventually choose the family who is now raising her child.

Ruth says through it all, she came to understand grace in a new way. She sees the bigness and greatness of God – that He is bigger than this situation you find yourself in. She saw how God was sovereign and was in control even when she and Windsor each felt to out of control. She is confident God will show you what to do and will provide for you as you walk out an unplanned pregnancy. She admits that at times she didn’t know what good would or could come of this– but knew that God would be there. Now she sees that they are helping many others with the book, I’m Pregnant…Now What? and with the compassion and understanding she learned in her circumstances. She also held onto a scripture in . It says, “ The LORD our God said to us in Horeb, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain…” and she knew that they would move on from this place in God’s time.

Ruth’s primary ministry is to those “broken and suffering in the pew.” She says though women with unplanned pregnancies certainly fit into this overall heading she doesn’t see herself as a poster child for the Right to Life movement, but more a minister to the hurting in a wide variety of circumstances. Ruth says, “We have been where you are.” She wants to offer support to young birth mothers who choose to carry their baby to term in a culture that says they don’t have to. But she warns, parenting is a long road. It’s a position you hold for the rest of your life. Though releasing a child for adoption is self- sacrificing, it is the best decision for your baby because every baby deserves a mom and dad.

Ruth is careful to point out that a mom or dad doesn’t need to put their pregnant teen through a grueling litany of their mistakes. She reminds us that the dad of the prodigal son didn’t meet his returning son with a list of the wrongs, poor choices and shortcomings. He left God to work on the heart of his son. She encourages parents to recognize the same and let God do His part. She says teens especially don’t need to be told they messed up. They already know that. They don’t shame or guilt to be reinforced. Families need to seek help and support and begin to deal with where they are, not reliving past mistakes or choices.

Sixteen months after releasing her first child for adoption, Windsor had another unplanned pregnancy. This time she chose to raise her child. Wyatt is now 8 1/2 years old. Ruth is proud of her daughter who went to college and completed her degree and is a good mother to Wyatt. Windsor was married June 17, 2005.

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