Pregnant at 18, girl deos something wonderful

21 04 2018

Kelly Clemente found out she was pregnant when she was 18. She had just finished her first semester of college, and up until then, described herself as your typical “all-American girl.”

She got good grades, was a member of a sorority, and ran on the track team.

When she saw that pregnancy test, “My life is over,” she thought.

“I was like, it doesn’t even matter. Nothing matters anymore,” Kelly told The Daily Signal.

Kelly, unlike most girls her age, was familiar with the implications of an unplanned pregnancy. In high school, she volunteered at HOPE in Northern Virginia, a nonprofit that creates gift baskets for mothers faced with an unplanned pregnancy.

Although she shared compassion for them, Kelly had bought into the stigmas about birth moms. “I’ll never be one of those women,” she thought.

But she was wrong. At 18, Kelly became an unplanned pregnancy statistic. “I was no better than these women that I was creating baskets for,” she said.

After crying and feeling nothing but noise and chaos, Kelly thought of her little sister, who her parents had adopted into their family from Central America.

“I thought of the joy she brought into our family, and for the first moment after hours of crying, I felt calm, and I felt peaceful,” Kelly said. “I knew that I needed to make the decision that my sister’s birth mom had made.”

Kelly would carry her baby to term, and place him—or her—for adoption.

But first, she’d have to tell her parents.

‘Parents’ Worst Nightmare’

Within days upon learning she was pregnant, Kelly had to figure out how to come clean with her parents. “I expected them to be angry,” she said. “Parents’ worst nightmare, right?”

First, she called her mom from school to say she wasn’t feeling well.

“I was concerned enough to go to school to see firsthand what was going on,” Susan Clemente, Kelly’s mom, said.

The two went grocery shopping together, but Kelly avoided sharing the news. Sensing something was wrong, her mom invited Kelly to come back home.

“That entire ride home, I never once told you that I was pregnant,” Kelly said, speaking to her mom about that day. “You told me later that you just knew.”

“I did,” Kelly’s mom replied.

When they got home, they sat on the living room couch and talked so intently that the sun went down without anyone noticing. When her dad, Mark, arrived home from work, he asked, “Why are you all sitting in the dark?”

At that moment, Kelly had to confront one of her biggest fears—telling her dad she was pregnant.

“I could tell something was going on,” he said of the two sitting in the dark.

Almost in the same breath, Kelly broke the news that she was pregnant—and going to place the child for adoption.

Instead of responding with anger or disappointment, Mark told The Daily Signal, “I just remember being so grateful and proud.”

“We’d hoped that we had raised you that way,” her dad said, speaking to Kelly. “So the fact that you didn’t even entertain that thought [abortion], to be honest, it was a very proud moment.”

After that, Kelly moved back in with her parents and set up an appointment with Bethany Christian Services, an organization that facilitates private, faith-based adoptions.

‘Little Treasure’

Walking into Bethany Christian Services, Kelly was expecting “the wrath of God” to be on her.

“I’m going to an adoption agency, and I’m going to be judged,” she said. But when she walked in there, “I never experienced any of that,” she said.

“They showed me what it was like to walk with someone through the hardest time of their life when they are feeling so down on themselves and so alone, they were there.”

Shawn and Dave Hansen were the second couple Kelly and her mom met with in the adoption process.

“It was so obvious that these were the people that would have her little treasure,” her mom told The Daily Signal.

But finding them was the easy part. Kelly was 18, in college, and still pregnant.

‘Where’s My Choice?’

“Being pregnant and being in college is never really a great thing,” Kelly said. “I found out very quickly who my true friends were.”

At one point, she told a friend on her track team that she was pregnant and placing her child for adoption. His response was less than supportive.

“If you don’t get an abortion, I will lose all respect for you,” Kelly remembered him saying.

“I was horrified,” Kelly said. “You call yourself pro-choice, but where’s my choice? It’s my choice to choose adoption.”

Then, two weeks before the birth, Kelly got a phone call from the baby’s father’s best friend informing her the father—Kelly’s boyfriend at the time—wasn’t being faithful.

“I was devastated,” Kelly said. “This is someone I knew for eight years, this is someone I trusted. I’m having his baby. We had conversations about getting married.”

Hearing that news was the second hardest news to take over those nine months, Kelly said. Her entire identity had already been shattered, and her relationship now was, too.

At a low point, Kelly walked out to her parents’ driveway in the middle of the night. She laid down on the road, in the dark, and prayed that a car would come run her over.

“I want to die,” Kelly remembered thinking. “I can’t handle this. This is too much for me.”

At that moment, Kelly said she heard a voice from God telling her to get up. So she did.

“I got up, and I said, ‘OK, I know that this sweet baby did nothing wrong, so I don’t want him to get hurt, so I’m going to have this baby and then I’m going to take my life.’ Because I was so broken, I didn’t think there was any meaning left.”

But then the voice came back and said, “No, I’m not done with you yet.”

“At that moment, I knew that I was loved by a really big God who had a really big heart, that didn’t judge me by my pregnancy and still loved me so much,” Kelly said.

A few weeks later, her water broke, and Kelly gave birth to a healthy baby boy.

‘An Answer to My Prayers’

“Those three days I spent in the hospital, he was mine,” Kelly said of her birth son, Alex. But after those three days, it was time to place Alex with his adoptive parents, Shawn and Dave Hansen.

“I don’t sugarcoat that because it’s real life and I loved this child so much, but I couldn’t give him a father, I couldn’t give him brothers and sisters for a long time, I couldn’t provide him with what felt like anything he deserved.”

She then walked to the hospital chapel, said a prayer for everything to be OK, and at that moment, Dave and Shawn walked in.

“I was like, wow,” Kelly said. “They truly are an answer to my prayers.”

Handing her baby to another family wasn’t going to be easy, even though the family was the living embodiment of her prayers.

“I thought the hardest day of my life would be finding out that I was pregnant,” Kelly said. “It wasn’t.”

“The hardest day of my life was driving away from that hospital without a baby. I had never felt more empty in my life. I was physically empty, and I felt so alone.”

Kelly made a decision that in today’s society, few women do.

In 2014, the latest data available, 18,329 women in the U.S. chose to place their children for adoption. That same year, more than 900,000 women chose abortion. According to the National Council for Adoption, a nonpartisan group that advocates adoption, for every 1,000 abortions and births to unmarried women, there were only 6.9 adoptions.

‘It’s Over Now’

Kelly gave birth in September 2008, and returned to college in January. Much like the pregnancy, the transition back wasn’t easy.

“I remember everybody just telling me over and over again, ‘It’s over now. It’s over. Aren’t you so glad that this is over?’” Kelly said.

But she felt differently.

“I was fine without drinking, I was fine without sleeping around. I had lived a life I was proud of while I was pregnant, and I wanted that to continue but I was feeling so much pressure to just be that fun sorority party girl that I was before my entire life changed. No one seemed to wrap their head around the fact that my entire worldview had been shifted.”

Today, Kelly is 28 years old. She graduated from college and went back to receive a master’s degree in school counseling.

“My heart is for children,” Kelly said. For now, she’s teaching preschool and hopes one day to be either a school counselor or a voice for teen moms and teen birth moms.

“I want them to know that they have value and their life isn’t over. They have their whole life ahead of them.”

She also wants birth moms to know that children placed with adoptive families “are not lacking in love.”

Her son, Kelly said, “not only receives love from his adoptive parents. He receives love from me, he receives love from my parents, there’s so much love to go around.”

Kelly chose to have an open adoption with Alex and his parents, and sees him a couple times every year.

After enjoying time together, Kelly said, “You would think that it would be this emotional thing where I’m so upset that my birth son is going back with his adoptive parents.”

“It’s not,” she said. “It’s this beautiful thing where he’s happy that he’s seen me, I’m happy that I’ve seen him. He knows who is parents are. He knows that I’m not mom. One day I hope to be a mom, but I’m not his mom. I get to be birth mommy.

And that’s OK with me.”





What is Your Marriage Worth?

18 03 2018

Many years ago I listened to a preacher share about how his wife would leave the television on at night and sleep off and they lived in a country where you pay based on how long you keep the TV on. Leaving the TV on therefore increases the television bill.

That attitude of his wife would annoy him and he was always angry at his wife for doing that yet it continued. It was obvious it was going to become a strain in the marriage.

Then one day while ruminating over this issue, I asked myself, “Is your marriage not worth fifty dollars extra at the end of the month? If this attitude of your wife will mean an extra bill of fifty dollars, is it too much to pay for peace to be in your marriage?”

Unlike me, my wife is not a morning person. I can wake up by 2:00am, work till 5:00am, go back to bed and still get up by 6:00am and start my day. For my wife, I literally have to drag her out of bed in the morning. Her day begins only after she has had her bath.

In some homes, the wife is the one who goes to the kitchen to heat up water for the family to bathe. I guess it comes naturally with women. In my home, heaven help me if I wait for my wife to do that. I will wait for a long time. So I have resolved to make that my responsibility.

Even with the kids I will still have to be the one doing that in the morning because my wife is not a morning person. If that is the price I have to pay for peace to be in my home, it is worth it. We are talking about the price of peace.

One of my friends shared with me how his wife will never monitor the fuel gauge when driving. It is when the car finally stops that she realizes the car has run out of fuel. Guess who she will call? The husband. He will have to be the one to sort out the problem.

After several of such calls he had to find a way around it. He ensures the fuel tank is full at the beginning of the week which will take the wife through the week. That way he does not get any phone call that the car has stopped. It is the price of peace for him.

When I was working on this article I requested that people share some of the prices they have had to pay to maintain peace in their homes. I got a lot of responses that revealed that no marriage is perfect. The reason we see certain marriages as better than ours is because the parties in those marriages are ready to pay certain prices to maintain peace in their homes.

Let me share a few of the responses I got.

“In my home I just have to tolerate my husband’s attitude. He has this habit of talking over issues repeatedly. He can talk, talk and talk when a situation happens and will nag you till you fall over. So to allow peace what I do is try and keep my mouth shut. No argument, no talking back or simply walk away so that peace can reign.”
-Ajo

“I usually don’t turn off the lights in a room when I’m done using it. At the beginning of my marriage, hubby will tell me to always make sure I do that when exiting the room, but after correcting me several times without change, he decided to just check back anytime I leave a room and will help turn the lights off. He just stopped complaining and started helping me do it. Eventually, I had to determine in myself to be more aware and I’ve gotten better doing that.
-Olu

“My wife has a thing for matchsticks. After using one, she keeps it for ’emergency’. This act irritates me. No matter how long we discuss this (more than 9 years now) she still does. So I decided to dispose them and then I offer her a fresh one should an ’emergency’ arise.”
-Dapo

“I don’t pressurize my husband to do or not to do anything, especially something he really wants to, or really doesn’t want to do. Putting pressure on him will only irritate him. I keep quiet and I pray instead. That way, I have peace and also get what I want. On the other hand, my husband will always hang the mosquito nets, switch off the lights and unplug my phones, because I always sleep off. He has stopped complaining. He will do the job instead.”
-Bisola

Those were just a few of the several responses I got about the price of peace that people are paying in their homes. A lot of other people were encouraged when they saw that they were not alone. You think you are the only one having an issue until you listen to others.

Sometimes we need to do things we don’t like for the sake of peace. If it is not too high a price then why not just do it and move on with our lives? Not every battle is worth fighting.

That is why it is important to be able to lead yourself because for these people whose reports we just read you find that either they or their spouses took responsibility for peace. That is part of what personal leadership is about.

I could have picked a fight with my wife for refusing to get up from the bed in the morning. Hamzah could have picked a fight with his wife for that thing with the matchsticks.

Fatimah’s husband could have picked a fight with her for always forgetting to turn off the lights. But personal leadership helped us to take the other route thereby maintaining peace in our homes.

Now this does not mean you will never have to correct each other in the relationship or continually be in endurance mode throughout the marriage especially when it has to do with abuse. That is a completely different matter. You don’t endure abuse. But instead of fighting over why your spouse always presses the toothpaste tube from the middle, why not buy a second one so you have yours and he has his and both of you have peace? Has that not solved the problem.





Sarah McLachlan’s $15 music video gives $150,000 to charity

1 12 2017

Fools do nothing when they think the can do little. Canadian musician and song writer, Sarah McLachlan may not have done much to ease the sufferings, injustices and hunger in this world, but she did something, she did what she can. A successful musician, she could have spent 150,000 USD to produce her music video, “World on fire” with all the glamor and glitz, but she decided to use her camera phone instead, and spent just 15 dollars and donated the rest to charity

“World on Fire” music video opens with the singer sitting on a simple chair in a barren room on an otherwise empty set. A title card comes up: “What’s wrong with this video? Well, it cost only $15.” Then the song, featuring the lyrics “The more we take, the less we become / A fortune of one that means less for some,” lists where the rest of the typical $150,000 cost of the film would have been spent (“a producer would cost $7,500”). The twist is that McLachlan’s video dollars are used not on those typical production costs but to help poverty-stricken children and women in Cambodia, Niger, Bangladesh, India, and other struggling countries. (That would-be producer’s salary instead bought “6 months of medicine for 5,000 patients” in a Nairobi health clinic.)





I offered a teen robber my coat to keep warm by Julio Diaz

30 11 2017

Julio Diaz, a social worker, was returning home to the Bronx after a long day at work. Just after he got off the train, a teenager held him up at knifepoint.

This is the story:

So I get off the train. You know, I’m walking towards the stairs and this young teenager, uh, pulls out a knife. He wants my money. So I just gave him my wallet and told him, ’Here you go.’ He starts to leave and as he’s walking away I’m like, ’Hey, wait a minute. You forgot something. If you’re gonna be robbing people for the rest of the night, you might as well take my coat to keep you warm.’ So, you know, he’s looking at me like, ’What’s going on here?’ You know, and he asked me, ’Why are you doing this?’ And I’m like, ’Well, I don’t know, man, if you’re willing to risk your freedom for a few dollars then I guess you must really need the money. I mean, all I wanted to do was go get dinner and, uh, if you really want to join me, hey, you’re more than welcome.’

So I’m like, ’Look, you can follow me if you want.’ You know, I just felt maybe he really needs help. So, you know, we go into the diner where I normally eat and we sit down in the booth and the manager comes by, the dishwashers come by, the waiters come by to say hi – you know so… The kid was like, ’Man but you know like everybody here. Do you own this place?’ I’m like, ’No, I just eat here a lot.’ He’s like, ’But you’re even nice to the dishwasher.’ I’m like, ’Well, haven’t you been taught you should be nice to everybody?’ So he’s like, ’Yeah, but I didn’t think people actually behaved that way.”

So I just asked him in the end I’m like, ’What is it that you want out of life?’ He just had almost a sad face. Either he couldn’t answer me or he didn’t want to. The bill came and I look at him and I’m like, ’Look, uh, I guess you’re gonna have to pay for this bill ’cause you have my money and I can’t pay for this so if you give me my wallet back I’ll gladly treat you.’ He didn’t even think about it he’s like, ’Yeah, okay, here you go.’ So I got my wallet back and I gave, you know, I gave him twenty dollars for it.

You know, I figure, uh, maybe it’ll help him – I don’t know. And when I gave him the twenty dollars, I asked him to give me something in return – which was his knife – and he gave it to me.

You know, it’s funny ’cause when I told my mom about what happened – not mom wants to hear this but – at first she was like, ’Well, you know, you’re the kind of kid if someone asked you for the time you gave them your watch.’ I don’t know, I figure, you know, you treat people right, you can only hope that they treat you right. It’s as simple as it gets in this complicated world.

Story courtesy of Storycorps.org





Great Teen returns a wallet full of cash on camera! 

21 09 2017

With so many dark things going on these days, it is refreshing to see some light; this time from a teen, 18 yr old Tyler Opdyke who  found a wallet full of cash ($1500) as he was walking on a side walk. Guessing that the wallet belonged to the house next door, he went to the house and tried to return it. He rang the door bell several times but the owners would not come out. Realizing that they were watching him from a security camera facing the door, showed the wallet to the security camera, dropped it at the door and backed away.

A woman, Mellisa Vang,  watching from the security camera inside, seeing the stranger and not knowing what he was up to did not open the door… as any prudent person would not.

“I usually don’t open doors to strangers,” she said.

But when the boy left, she came out saw what it was: her husband’s wallet! The boy had found it and was trying to return it, she felt deeply grateful when she realized the wallet was filled with cash and her husband’s credit cards.

Luckily the boy returned to check if the wallet was still there and when she and her daughter saw him again through the camera, they rushed downstairs, flung the door open and embraced him.


The woman posted  his  honest act on her Facebook page and it has since gone viral.

This is a great story, a great example for all the teens out there!






Why we hurt our kids when we don’t want them to struggle like we did 

19 09 2017

A man, an avid Gardener saw a small Butterfly laying few eggs in one of the pots in his garden.
Since that day he looked at the egg with ever growing curiosity and eagerness.

The egg started to move and shake a little.

He was excited to see a new life coming up right in front of his eyes.

He spent hours watching the egg now. 

The egg started to expand and develop cracks.

A tiny head and antennae started to come out ever so slowly. 

The man’s excitement knew no bounds.

He got his magnifying glasses and sat to watch the life and body of a pupa coming out.

He saw the struggle of the tender pupa and couldn’t resist his urge to “HELP”.

He went and got a tender forceps to help the egg break, a nip here, a nip there to help the struggling life and the pupa was out. 

The man was ecstatic!

He waited now each day for the pupa to grow and fly like a beautiful butterfly, but alas that never happened.

The larvae pupa had a oversized head and kept crawling along in the pot for the full 4 weeks and died!

Depressed the man went to his botanist friend and asked the reason. 

His friend told him the struggle to break out of the egg helps the larvae to send blood to its wings and the head push helps the head to remain small so that the tender wings can support it thru its 4 week life cycle. 

In his eagerness to help, the man destroyed a beautiful life!

Struggles help all of us, that’s why a bit of effort goes a long way to develop our strength to face life’s difficulties!

As parents, we sometimes go too far trying to help and protect our kids from life’s harsh realities and disappointments.

We don’t want our kids to struggle like we did.

Harvard psychiatrist Dr. Dan Kindlon says that over-protected children are more likely to struggle in relationships and 

with challenges.
We’re sending our kids the message that they’re not capable of helping themselves.
To quote clinical psychologist,

Dr. Wendy ‘s Moral:

“It  is  Our Job  to  prepare  Our  Children  for  the  Road & Not  prepare  the  Road for  Our Children”





Acid attack victim woman to kill herself but meets Pope Francis 

12 09 2017

​​

For Consuela Cordoba, life had no meaning anymore. Hit by the depth of human wickedness, she had lost faith in humanity and wanted out. She was going to kill herself and had set a date with death and an appointment with a doctor who will kill her (Euthanasia is legal in Columbia)

Once a pretty woman, with chocolate colored skin and gleaming white teeth accentuated her dimpled smile. All that changed in 2000 when her ex-boyfriend poured acid all over her. He was arrested and spent just one month in jail, but for Consuela, nothing would ever be the same again.

She will spend not one month, but the rest of her life breathing through straws tubes sticking out from what was once her pretty nose. Her face or what remains of it must be covered at all time with skin mask or it would desiccate on contact with sunlight. Her life was over. 

After countless surgeries, she finally succumbed to despair. Wickedness has triumphed and evil has had his way with her. There was nothing. She would help her ex-boyfriend finish what he started so that his complete and utter triumph over her would be final. She will end her life and that was that. She paid the required fees to the death doctor and a date was fixed. 

But just before the date arrived, Pope Francis visited Columbia and met with her. 

She was one of the crowds but Pope Francis spotted her and asked them to bring her to speak with him. 

When she stood before him,  she made a simple request, ‘Papa, give me permission to end my life for I am tired of this world”

Pope Francis crushed her into his arms and looked deep into her eyes and said, ‘No”

“Why,” she asked him, weeping and shaking from the magnitude of love she be-held in his eyes

“Because you are very beautiful and I love you”.
That was it.

That moment was all it took.  She changed her mind. 

“I will never kill myself,” she swore to herself.

 Rather, she will live on, determined to be a witness and an inspiration for millions of other people, victims of wickedness. She will give hope to the raped, to those suffering violations of any kind. She will turn the great evil done to her into something good. In her suffering she will share in the sufferings of abandoned children, of mutilated girls and of starving the world over. She will offer her pain in expiation for the crimes of war and injustice throughout the world. In-short her agony will pay the ransom for girls kidnapped and sold into prostitution and slavery in Europe and all over the globe. Her beauty so cruelly and brutally erased she will accept, in exchange and in atonement for those beautiful women who misuse their beauty in pornographic ways to ravage the hearts of men lead and lead them into sin and addiction ruining their families. For every ounce of diabolical hatred with which her ex-boyfriend poured acid on her, she would pour out all her love for every creature for the rest of her life.








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