Riley’s Story: Choosing Life, Choosing Adoption

Riley and Family

My name is Riley, and I am 19 years old. I am the birth mother of two beautiful children whom I have chosen to place for adoption. I became pregnant with my son at 17, the summer before my senior year in high school. I was blessed to be embraced and supported by my family although they were disappointed. Many people insisted that I have an abortion, especially because I was still in school. “It’s your senior year! You’ll miss out on all the fun!”, “Your future is going to be ruined!” The birth father even offered to pay for one. I knew in my heart that abortion was wrong; so I surrounded myself with people who could support me through all of the criticism.

Being pregnant in school was not as challenging as I expected. I was treated with courtesy and respect, and I was even given special amenities to feel comfortable. I decided to finish school at home and graduated soon after the birth of my son.

I had adoption on my mind my whole pregnancy, and I made my final decision when I was 7 months pregnant. I prayed this simple yet powerful prayer, “God, I want to do Your will… just set it up for me.” He was faithful to do just that! I met the adoptive parents soon after. They were perfect! We have such a beautiful relationship that God has authored.

I became pregnant with my daughter when my son was 6 months old. Telling my family was difficult, I thought that I should have “learned my lesson.” I felt very ashamed. I made the decision to live in a maternity home for the majority of my pregnancy, and it was a wonderful experience. During my stay there, I realized that I was making the same poor decisions over and over again from a place within me where I was hurt. I had to go to God for my healing. Finally, I realized my worth, which empowers me to make better decisions.

I decided to place my daughter for adoption with the same family as my son. It is so touching to see them interact. They adore each other! I have come out of the other end of my experience, and I am stronger, more compassionate and more confident than ever. I have grown more in these past two years than I ever have in my life. My children have completely changed my life. To be entrusted with such a special gift is revolutionary.

To any woman in a similar situation, embrace your motherhood! It is the most meaningful thing you will ever do. Choosing life, especially in a crisis situation, is the ultimate act of love. Love is unselfish; it is putting the needs of someone else above your own. It is refreshing in the midst of the negative world we live in.

Follow peace. Follow God. Choose Life!


Riley is sharing her story to show others the beauty of adoption. If you have a story to share, contact Beth Rahal at

It’s a GIRL: An unexpected adoption story

Ashley and Charles Baldwin got the surprise of their life when they learned that they would soon be the parents of a baby girl! Here is the story of two pro-life activists who have gone above and beyond to help a young mother and to save her baby girl:

Baldwin FamilyWe received a phone call two weeks ago that has forever changed our lives. We were informed that there was a 15-year-old girl who was pregnant and seriously considering abortion. I was put in contact with her immediately and I could just hear her trembling with fear through the phone. She has big goals for her life and a painful home life that left her feeling like abortion was the only option.

We visited two different Pregnancy Resource Centers. After our visit to the first one, she was still leaning towards abortion.

I took her to lunch, and then to the mall to pick out some bigger clothes since her cute little bump was starting to show. Charles and I prayed fervently for a miracle, that God would just reveal to her how precious her little baby is, who was growing inside of her, and that everything I said to her would be from Him. I asked her to remember that at 25 weeks, her baby was already fully formed, and only need to get bigger and develop her lungs a little bit more.

After more counsel at Corona Life Services, and an ultrasound, she had a change of heart.

“God is in control, you are just His vessel” is all I remember saying to myself as she invited me back to the counseling room to reveal her decision: “I have decided to let the baby live”.

My eyes filled with tears of joy for the precious baby on the ultrasound screen. I was happy enough then, but then came the announcement: ‘I want you and Charles to be the parents.’

Grateful, blessed, undeserving, excited, nervous, these are just a few words to describe how I felt in that moment.

When I got home that night I shared the exciting news with Charles and we both began praying fervently for the Lord’s wisdom and discernment. We understand that there is a possibility our birth mom could change her mind after the baby is born. We know that the adoption process is a long road to travel, but we are moving forward with the adoption and pursuing our daughter as the Lord has provided.

The Bible says that “Children are a heritage from the Lord” and they are a gift (Psalm 127:3). Being involved in the pro-life movement for close to 10 years now, and being a Mama to a cute 1 year old little girl, I know how blessed I am to be chosen as this baby’s mother. We are just so honored and grateful that He has entrusted us with adopting and raising our precious baby girl due this August. It is a privilege to watch how God is orchestrating the whole thing!

How can you help?

Baldwin Family 2Baby Stella Kate Baldwin is due in just 3 months! As the Baldwins are preparing to welcome Stella into their home, here is what you can do to help:

  1. Pray. Pray for the Baldwin family, for the birth mother, and for their baby girl. Pray for the young birth mother as she courageously carries her daughter. Pray for peace in her decision to lovingly place her child in the arms of the Baldwins. Pray also that the Baldwin family are blessed with all the resources and support that they need to care for their growing family.
  2. Financial support. This unexpected adoption will cost the Baldwins as much as $7,000.Despite the gracious pro bono services of a pro-life attorney, the family will have to cover the cost of the homestudy, paperwork, court fees, background checks, and medical and personal costs associated with the birth mother. If you feel compelled to financially support this young couple, please consider donating to their campaign. Click here to learn how you can contribute.
  3. Share this story. Social media is a powerful tool! Share this story on your Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc. so that others may reach out to support this family.

Thank you for your support of this family! Every prayer, kind word, and generous gift is appreciated.

Questions? Comments? Please contact Ashley Baldwin to find out more ways that you can support the Baldwin family.


Cosmo & the A Words

Cosmo March 2014 coverFashion, sex advice, dating tips, and celebrity gossip, Cosmopolitan’s glossy pages dictate what’s hot and what’s not to an audience searching for advice, pleasure, and distraction. As one of the most popular women’s magazines, Cosmopolitan reaches millions of women with each publication and internet post.

In reviewing a variety of Cosmo articles, it is true that the magazine will occasionally provide a quick post on pregnancy-related tips and comments. However, Cosmo’s audience may look no farther than the cover girl’s edited curves for avid promotion of fabricated beauty. (If you’re waiting for stretch marks and hips, don’t hold your breath!)

Looking beyond the superficial, we discovered a few interesting pieces that reveal Cosmo’s relationship with the A words (i.e. abortion and adoption). While we won’t be ripping these magazines from your hands, we do ask that you take a moment to consider the message that Cosmo sends our lady friends, particularly the moms and birth moms among us.  Then, we will discuss how you can combat pregnancy stigma in the media.

What is Cosmo telling women about abortion and adoptionLet’s find out!

“How Our Abortion Changed Our Relationship”

Cosmo- Abortion- 2In a January 2014 article entitled “How Our Abortion Changed Our Relationship,” Liz Welch shares the stories of 4 couples who chose abortion. She highlights statements from Cecile Richards, President Planned Parenthood and #1 cheerleader for abortion “rights.” Richards comments on a generational shift which has resulted in men becoming more involved in the abortion process. “These men care deeply about the women getting an abortion,” Richards states.

Here’s a quick recap of the couples’ stories:

  • Cindy, 23, shared the story of her 2nd abortion. At the time, she felt that the pregnancy interrupted her plans and that it would present a financial burden.  “I had all sorts of plans, and becoming a mother that young was not one of them.
  • Kristina, 24, talked about the confusion, anger, and emotional turmoil that surrounded her pregnancy and her abortion. I had this idea that once I ended the pregnancy, I’d be fine. But I’m not the same person I was, and I never will be. I felt conflicted…and then angry at myself for feeling that way… I would not do it again.”
  • Brittany, 23, shared the strains in her relationship. “Brandon wanted to come, but I told him not to. Instead, he sent a check for $500… I was so pissed. I thought, I have to get this thing done, and he gets to sleep in? … Later, when I told Brandon I had been 10 weeks along, he Googled what that looked like and the image shocked him. I did not want to see it… I got mad at him a lot that summer. He was going out while I was in bed, watching movies, healing — not physically but emotionally.
  • Emily, 32, said, “It was the humane thing… and it devastated us.” Emily and her husband, Dave, talked openly about the abortion of their preborn son, Aaron Jack. “I thought since I do this for a living that I was going to be fine. But then two days later my milk came in, and I completely lost it.”

With each story, the author allowed for the couples to share openly and honestly, without adding any comments or critique. It certainly took great courage for these couples to discuss these heartbreaking moments with a national audience. Unfortunately, what we read is a great lack of support from the men to seek out other resources and even to be strong for these women when they were going through such turmoil.

Yes, we agree that men should become more involved in women’s pregnancies and in the discussion about options. Yes, we agree that we should hear more of these personal stories about abortion. However, Cosmo has failed their female audience.

Cosmo gave the “okay” for men to hand over a check and wipe their hands of this situation. Sure, the men added a comment or two about their experience, but what good does this serve the women involved and the female audience? Shouldn’t men be offering more than conversation– like compassion and support?

In addition to trivializing the significance of this decision (i.e. that abortion kills a child), this article fails to provide a proactive solution to the problem. Instead of encouraging their audience to seek out resources and a full range of options and support, the article ends abruptly with a suggestion to call Exhale, an organization that supports abortion. The article fails to provide information for resources that could assist other women in similar situations so as to help them make a fully informed decision.

These stories, while difficult, noted common reasons for why women make the desperate and devastating decision to abort their child. Unfortunately, each reason could have been addressed with the right resources. Rather than wait for women to make such a emotionally devastating (and life ending) decision, it would have been appropriate to provide a proactive answer to their female audience by including information for seeking out resources.

Hope is not lost


Cosmo- Adoption- 2After reading several other Cosmo articles promoting abortion, one would think that all hope is lost for this media empire.  (See here, here, and here.) Nevertheless, a recent article featured the other rarely seen A word– adoption. 

In Liz Welch’s March 20th article, “I Placed My Daughter for Adoption, But I Didn’t Give Her Up,” Jessa Speight shares the confusion, anger, sadness, and eventual peace that she found in adoption. At the end of the article, Jessa emphasizes the empowering choices of the birth moms to whom she now ministers.  “These women leave feeling less alone and more empowered. They realize their lives are not over and that their choice, however painful, was always made out of love for that child.”

With this article, we are grateful that the author took the opportunity to highlight a birthmom and her experience with adoption. This effort acknowledges the hundreds of women who pursue adoption as a loving choice to better benefit their child.

Cosmo: Here’s Your challenge

Let’s be honest. We don’t expect a magazine like Cosmo to ditch the pro-abortion posts and join the chorus of “Abolish abortion!” In a perfect world, it would be wonderful if they opened their eyes to the emotional and physical harms of abortion. For now, our expectations are simpler. We hope that in future posts the magazine will promote a greater support for pregnant women by promoting resources and support. We hope that they will move away from such articles as “How to Handle Your Best Friend Getting Pregnant” (which emphasizes the selfish “betrayal” of friendship caused by pregnancy) and instead promote more life affirming articles like “I Placed My Daughter for Adoption, But I Didn’t Give Her Up.

What Can I Do?

The media has a powerful influence over our society, and it can certainly effect a woman’s morale, decisions, and perceptions of motherhood and pregnancy options. We encourage you to speak out against the stigma against pregnancy and to promote life affirming support and resources. Offer your stories. Share resources. Empower women to make an informed choice for parenting or adoption. Here’s what you can do:

  • Get on social media. On Facebook and Twitter, post pregnancy help information, such as the phone number and services of a local pregnancy resource center. Post life affirming messages, articles, and images. Like and follow groups that offer support, assistance, and encouragement for moms. If you are more tech savvy, create a YouTube channel to offer viewers a peek into the mom life or to promote education about pregnancy, parenting, and available resources.
  • Join social media campaigns. Remember the campaign #WhatWomenNeed? Cecile Richards and her pro-abortion cronies tried to promote abortion, and pro-lifers responded with pregnancy support, resources, and true compassion. Stay alert for social media campaigns like this, and join in the action!
  • Write a blog. If you are a mom, put your fingers to the keyboard! Share your stories, tips, and encouragement. You can also fight against stigma by writing blog posts that counter other blogs to point out misconceptions and assumptions.
  • Get active in a pro-life groupIf you are a college student, join your pro-life group, and encourage them to take part in the Pregnant on Campus Initiative. With more people committed to the same goals, you can make great changes happen!




This post was contributed by Beth O’Malley, Pregnant on Campus Coordinator. For comments and questions, please email Beth at





Adoption: Your Questions Answered

When faced with an unplanned pregnancy, one very important decision needs to be made- “Who will raise my child?” Will the mother choose to raise her child- alone or with the support of a partner and/or family? Or will she consider placing her child for adoption? Several factors may come into play when this mother makes her decision. She may consider her current relationship status, family support, financial stability, and emotional well-being.

Parenting and adoption decisions must be made with serious consideration to both the well-being of the mother and that of the child. For some new mothers, the idea of placing their child for adoption is a daunting prospect. They may not have previous experience with adoption, and therefore, the possibility is intimidating- and even frightening. Here are 7 frequently asked questions:


What is adoption?

Adoption is the legal process by which parental rights and responsibilities are transferred from one parent or set of parent(s) to another, ensuring that a child has the benefits of a permanent, stable, and loving adoptive family.

How can I be certain that my child’s adoptive parents will take good care of her?

Parents who pursue infant adoption are required to meet with an adoption agency representative, social worker, or other approved agent and complete a number of requirements, including a home study, to guarantee that they are emotionally and financially ready to parent. Prospective adoptive parents have to meet all criteria set by their home state as well as the agency in order to adopt. Also, if you choose an open adoption with contact between birthparents and the adoptive family, then you will be able to receive updates, pictures, and letters from the adoptive parents as your son or daughter grows up.

What is the difference between an “open” and “closed” adoption?

If you choose to have contact with your child and his or her family after the adoption takes place, this is called an “open adoption.” Contact may include letters and photographs, phone calls, or visits – whatever you and the adoptive family are comfortable with. In a closed adoption, contact is more limited; letters and photos may still be exchanged, but you could choose to do so anonymously, using your first name only, or sending information back and forth through another party. You can also choose to have no contact at all after the adoption has taken place. The level of openness in the adoption is up to you and the adoptive parents.

After a birthmother signs legal documents, can she still change her mind about the adoption?

Throughout the adoption process, the birthmother has the opportunity to receive counseling, weigh all of her options, and reevaluate her decision. She can always choose to make another plan up until the legal time as defined by the state in which the legal relinquishments were executed.

 What if the child’s father does not agree to the adoption?

A responsible, ethical adoption agency or attorney will try their best to locate the birthfather and inform him of his rights, though state law may require him to take action within a given time frame if he wishes to protect his rights. If the child’s father wishes to be involved in the adoption process and the birthmother agrees, he should receive the same counseling and support as the birthmother.

I cannot pay for my pregnancy expenses. Is there help?

If you do not already have health insurance, you may qualify for Medicaid, and your agency should also be able to help you secure coverage. Many adoption agencies will provide free legal services to help you plan for your adoption, and most agencies will also provide financial support for additional medical and living expenses, either directly or through referrals to local organizations that can help meet your needs, depending on what is allowed by state law. If you select an adoptive family for your child before you deliver, that family may also agree to help pay for your prenatal and maternity care.

Is there anyone I can talk to who has been in a situation similar to mine?

If you do contact an adoption agency, counselors should be able to connect you with other birth parents that have been in your situation, facing an unplanned pregnancy. They can tell you how they felt, explain what was most helpful to them, and provide additional support and encouragement as you consider your options. In the meantime, you can also read the birthmother testimonials on this website.


Looking for more information?

Read Stories from your Adopted Peers