We were about to make the worst mistake of our lives. We had travelled to Englewood from almost two hours away, determined to have an abortion. We felt pressured by the problems we thought would arise, and we feared that our lives were going to end. As we were about to enter that horrible place [for the abortion], a man stopped us and helped us realize that there was more to consider besides the negative stuff running through our minds. He helped us get to Lighthouse to confirm how far along in the pregnancy I was.
As we were getting the ultrasound done, we were filled with joy when we saw our little “peanut” and his little heart pumping. Seeing our son for the first time literally changed our lives as we realized we had so much to live for!
Athan Patrick was born on October 5, weighing 8 pounds, six ounces. He brings so much happiness and love to our lives. He is truly the best choice we have ever made! ”
-Teen couple Victor & Margarita, served in Hackensack
Nia attended our spring banquet – along with her mother and infant daughter – and will resume college classes this fall.
Just back from her junior year at college, Kari walked into Lighthouse Pregnancy Resource Center feeling overwhelmed, scared and confused. Sitting in a counseling room awaiting the results of a free pregnancy test was the last place she ever expected to be. Yet Lighthouse was the first place that came to Kari’s mind when she suspected she might be pregnant; she recalled her church taking offerings for the center on previous summer breaks.
At the time of the pregnancy scare, Kari had been planning to spend her last college summer the same as the rest – full of parties and working. Then she would complete her senior year and begin her chosen career. Little did she know how her future would be rewritten by the pink lines of a positive pregnancy test.
An ultrasound by Lighthouse’s nurse manager confirmed Kari’s pregnancy and her worst fear. As a peer counselor began discussing options with her, Kari interrupted with, “Abortion is the best option right now. This is one of the most inconvenient times of my life to be pregnant.” A pregnancy was the last thing she wanted to add to her last semester before graduation, a strained relationship with her parents due to her lifestyle choices, a lapsed faith, and a grandmother who was dying of cancer.
“Abortion appeared to be a time capsule that could erase anything I had done in past and ensure this pregnancy was kept a secret,” Kari explained. At the top of her list of obstacles to overcome was the father of her baby. He already had a child with another woman, and while he had demonstrated some ability to be a good father and would at times discuss a future with Kari, he was not following through on his promises and was drifting away. Eventually a Lighthouse counselor lovingly confronted Kari with the need to make a decision regardless of their relationship status, and to picture a future for her and her child that may not include him.
For many weeks after her ultrasound, Kari wrestled with the abortion decision in her head. Several times she drove to an abortion clinic, but turned around each time. Once she even called Lighthouse for support right after leaving the abortion clinic. Friends told her to have the abortion. “Do it soon. It’s not a baby yet.” Kari didn’t want to reach out to her parents because, “They didn’t agree with my lifestyle at the time and they were already overwhelmed with my grandmother’s illness.” With obstacles mounting, she felt “so alone except for the support of the peer-counselors at Lighthouse.”
Kari began reading the small “Hope for the Future” New Testament she received from Lighthouse. While contemplating her decision at night, Kari would reach out and take the picture from her ultrasound, which she stored in that Scripture. “I formed a bond with my baby during those long nights.” She also became certain that this life growing within her was indeed a child and would tell anyone who disagreed, “No! I saw the heartbeat; it’s a baby!”
Before Kari made her final decision, she gained the courage and confidence to share the news with her parents. To her surprise, they were compassionate and wanted to support their daughter and grandchild. Kari’s mom and dad also visited Lighthouse to work through their many emotions and to discuss how best to help Kari.
After repeated visits to Lighthouse, a return to church, and reaching out to God on her own, Kari began to really consider what God desired for her life and the baby within her. One day she arrived at the center for her scheduled appointment, joyfully exclaiming that she knew, without a doubt, that God desired her to keep the baby.
Justin Jeremias was born on February 15, and welcomed with many joyful tears! He and his mom reside in the room that Kari’s parents specially built for them. Although his great-grandmother passed away just before his birth, the family believes that Justin’s life kept her alive much longer than the doctors had expected.
Justin also played a key role in Kari’s spiritual rebirth. She rededicated her life to the Lord and is now focusing her life on helping as many single moms as she can. She and Justin continue to visit Lighthouse, but rather than coming for support in a scary time, Kari comes to give back to Lighthouse and comfort other women with the comfort she received.
“I am in a good position to help others facing an unplanned pregnancy because I know firsthand how the center guided me to make the right decision, but never pressured me in any way,” Kari says. “When you feel like you have nowhere to go, having a place like Lighthouse with people who really care makes the choice of life possible.”