“I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:14-16
My life was changed forever in the blink of an eye. Everything I knew about myself collided with a new reality: I was unwanted, rejected, and aborted.
I grew up in a loving, Christian home and have known I was adopted as far back as I can remember. It was a wonderful thing in my house, which was full of conversations like “we wanted you” and “we chose you.” Meeting my birth mother when I was 21 just seemed like something I should do after I met my sister Rachel’s birth mother. I never could have imagined that thanking my birth mother for choosing life for me would turn into the most life-changing and identity-altering moment of my life.
In that moment, my birth mother, Tonya, told me she had had an abortion while she was pregnant with me at thirteen years old.
Miraculously, she explained, I had survived the abortion procedure even though it successfully aborted my twin and was meant to abort me. She went on to share her experience of being told that abortion was the only choice for her and how she had delivered me alone in a hospital room 10 weeks prematurely before being forced to place me for adoption. I remember thinking that the dislocated hip and club feet I had been born with then made sense. As my birth mother continued to relive her abortion experience from so many years ago, instead of thinking about what this news meant for me, I became captivated by the look on her face and the pain in her eyes as she kept repeating, “Your life is a miracle, Claire. I am so sorry!”
The new reality meant I was aborted, but I had survived.
I was unwanted, but adoption had made me wanted. I was rejected, but God’s hand had clearly been on my life. I was dehumanized, but God had called me by name. I was an accident, but I was also created with a purpose that was bigger than I could have ever imagined.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
The things I heard in that room that day didn’t define who I was. My circumstances and experiences do not define me. Rather, my inherent humanity, dignity, and worth define who I am, because that is who God says I am. He calls me by name just like He calls you by name. He also calls you worthy, forgiven, redeemed, and restored if you know and trust in Him.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
When you escape the grip of death and realize that God has big plans for your life, there’s no turning back. During the past eleven years since I learned about my survival, I have spent my time advocating for women like my birth mother. Every woman deserves to know she is supported, worthy, and strong enough to choose life, whether through parenting or an adoption plan. I have also shared my story across the country in the hope of humanizing the unborn child, educating audiences on what abortion is and what it does, supporting organizations who are serving women and families in their communities, and offering a message of hope in a culture that desperately needs healing and restoration.
More recently, I had the incredible opportunity to share my real-life story in my new book, Survivor: An Abortion Survivor’s Surprising Story of Choosing Forgiveness and Finding Redemption. It is full of stories and personal experiences—from growing up as an adopted child and meeting my birth mother to starting a family and sharing my story with millions across the world. It has been the honor of a lifetime to be an advocate for women and the unborn and to write my story in Survivor so that people know they are not alone in their struggles, hardships, and desperate moments.
The same God who made a way for me will make a way for you. Similarly, the same God who called me to boldly proclaim and stand for truth and life is calling you. Together we can create a culture that truly values life in all stages under all circumstances.