Behind the Lens :: Adoption

parkergraceUntil the summer that I turned 19 I thought I knew what life had to offer.. In one year, my parents got a divorce, I dropped out of high school, I got pregnant and had an abortion, and my own brother was ripped out of my life only to be seen behind a glass window.

I expected to be hurt. I expected that no one wanted to be bothered. But, I knew I could smile through anything.

I was 18 the first time my eyes ever met a positive pregnancy test. Sitting there, on a toilet in a little house I was completely and totally caught off guard. I had notexpected this. I stared hard at the stick that was changing my life; like a tiny plastic magic wand with pee all over it. I double checked the instructions hoping I’d got it wrong. Oh how I wanted it to be wrong.

I spent the next 4 weeks pretending the test was wrong. Living as if there wasn’t another heart beating inside of me, I filled my body with unbelievable amounts of cocaine and vodka, all the while, saving and borrowing money for the $250.00 abortion. Smiling.

I went to a Pregnancy Crisis Center to get the proof of pregnancy I needed in order to get an abortion. It was free. I endured the kindness from the older women who volunteered there. I even sat through all of their pro life videos. I smiled the whole time. They told me my due date was Feb 19, 1999. I went home and scheduled my abortion appointment for July 14, 1998. The amount of drugs and alcohol I was using increased. On July 5 I was kicked out of my house. I slept in a park, couch hopped, and used people. Still smiling.

I was relieved, when I drove into the parking lot of the West Side Clinic to find the protesters had taken the day off.  It was a Tuesday. I was prepared for this day. I’d done everything they’d said to do. I’d taken a warm bath. I packed my bag with everything they had listed. I also brought $250.00 cash, my I.D., and proof of pregnancy. Smiling, I walked into the clinic.

I struck up conversations with everyone in the waiting room.  I sat next to a young couple who was aborting their baby that day because it just wasn’t good timing.  On the other side of me was a dancer who was worried because they said she had to be off of her feet for 6 weeks. Behind me was a mother and her 14 year old daughter. The mother said she just couldn’t wait to put all of this behind them.  I was there because I was afraid to tell my mom I was pregnant.

I remember getting a sonogram that day.  I giggled when I asked the woman, who wouldn’t smile at me, if it was a boy or a girl. She didn’t look at me but she said, “It’s a boy.” I knew she couldn’t know and I wondered why she said that.  She kept looking at the tv screen where she could see my baby’s heart beating. parkerbirthmoms

During “the procedure” (the moment I ended my child’s life) I was fully aware of what was happening.  My heart started beating really fast because I had justchanged my mind but I knew it was too late. My baby was in pieces somewhere close by. Heart not beating.

A few hours later I was resting at my friend’s house in their parent’s bed.  The pain I felt was extraordinary; both physical and emotional. I writhed. I sobbed.  I wanted to take it back. The next morning when I woke up, my heart was hard. Still smiling.

But Jesus…

I spent a lot of years convincing myself that I was an exception. That I hadn’t been effected by my abortion.  I started to believe in Jesus when I was 22. Although I hadn’t given my life to Him yet.  But in my belief, I believed that I needed to tuck this abortion thing into the dark parts of my heart. He could just let me handle that because I was under the impression that he only dealt with nice girl problems.  But Jesus didn’t just die for good girls.

Jesus didn’t leave me laying there on that table in the abortion clinic.  He’s walked a long hard road with me, loving me, repairing me, putting broken pieces back together, and giving me reasons to really smile.

But Grace….

I gave my life to the Lord, like, no take backs, gave my life to the Lord. on Aug 26, 2012.   I gave him cigarettes too.  I was a 2 pack a day smoker and he told me to give him my cigarettes and he would give me something even better than sitting on my porch smoking.  He gave me photography.  He gave me birth photography.

But Redemption….

parkeradoptiveparentsOn Friday, March 22, 2013…13 years, 8 months, and 8 days after my abortion, I met a girl who found Embrace Grace. A girl, who probably looked at her own pregnancy test and thought the timing was not right. She may have thought an abortion would be a quick and easy way to put it all behind her.  She may have even been afraid to tell people she was pregnant.  But she chose to do something amazing.

The Father, my Father who made my heart beat, plopped me right down in the middle of the birth of this amazing girl’s baby.  The baby that would not go to her arms the moment it took it’s first breath but would be passed to another woman.  This amazing girl chose to let her body be stretched, torn, and bruised so her baby could live, take a breath, and be loved.

My friend stood next to the amazing girl while she worked hard to bring their baby into this world. I was there when the baby was passed from the amazing girl’s body to my friend’s waiting arms.  10 years of waiting behind her and a lifetime ahead of her. In a moment of memories, breath, life, and happy tears my friend was holding the person who will call her “Mommy”.

I smiled.  I smile.

Written by Crissy Terrell and Photography by Crissy Terrell Photography

1 Year.



Tissue paper was flying as the birthday girl opened her gifts. She would pull each present out, inspect it quickly and then toss to the side because the gift bag always looked way more fun. Abby was the star of the party and every move she made, the family and close friends would watch in awe. We would all follow her around on her little trails she would decide to go on and giggle every time she did something cute (which was the entire time).

 I think the entire party I was either laughing or crying. There was so much love for this baby you could just feel it. Even though Abby was only celebrating her first birthday, her life already has impacted many.  

Most of you have read or heard the story of “Jayd.” She was a sweet girl that I had the honor to walk through a season of her being pregnant at 16 and made the brave decision of choosing adoption. (If you haven’t read it, I suggest you read here She had baby Abby last May and her life changed forever.

I want to introduce you to the face and the real name behind “Jayd.” Her name is Jordyn and she is STILL my hero.

Jordyn decided that after 1 year, she was ready to reveal her true identity. Along with this reveal, Abby’s birth father and boyfriend Josh would like his story to be heard (watch for his blog post tomorrow). He has been there with Jordyn from the dedication ceremony, at every visit with Abby, to the 1st birthday celebration. His life changed drastically this past year and he is excited to share his part of the journey.

Through this journey, Josh and Jordyn’s relationship has only strengthened. They have had each other to lean on in moments of mixed emotions. They both have grown closer to God and more confident in who they are. They are starting to see the impact on lives by sharing their story with others.

For Jordyn, this year has had its ups and downs of emotions. She gets to see Abby every other month and it is her favorite thing to look forward to. She still rests confidently in her decision to choose adoption, even on the hard days when her heart misses Abby so much. She just looks at her face and sees how happy she is with her adoptive family. She is being raised in such a great family and is loved by so many.

As I sat watching baby Abby opening her gifts while her adoptive mom, birth mom and birth dad sat next to her helping her, it just made me wonder that if girls that wanted to pursue an abortion knew that this could be an option, would they be more willing to save their baby’s life?

When a brave pregnant girl chooses adoption, there are usually 3 choices: open, semi-open or closed. But what if there is another choice?

The only story of adoption in the Bible was the story of baby Moses. His mom had to let him go so he could live. And even after letting her baby go, God still allowed her to have an integral role in her child’s life. Later in life, he knew who his birth mom was and loved her.

So what if there was another adoption option? An option that had more strategic visits and connections that strengthened the bond between birth mom and child? Sure there would need to be structure and rules made to enforce protection of adoption mom and this option isn’t for everyone … but I’ve seen firsthand how, with the right adoptive family and the right birth mom and dad, it could be a relationship that is life-changing for everyone.

We will post frequent updates on Josh and Jordyn and how their lives unfold. God has such great plans for the both of them. They want to be a light and voice for the unborn and to bring awareness to adoption.

Even when it’s not easy, the reward is great.


Josh (birth dad), Tanya (adoptive mom), sweet baby Abby, Jordyn (birth mom)







Written by Amy Ford

Photography by Rachel Kevil