One of the perspectives we don’t often hear about is that of the birth grandparent. Each mother who finds themselves in an unexpected pregnancy has a family surrounding them, and the life they are carrying affects those family members as well. Phyllis shares her remarkable story of surrender to Jesus, when she didn’t know where else to turn.

Phyllis pictured speaking at New Life’s annual Gala in 2017.

“Our life took a dramatic turn when our youngest daughter Nicole turned 16,” shared Phyllis, Nicole’s mother. “One day, Nicole told me she was not feeling well so I took her to the emergency room. They said they would run some tests to try and figure out what was wrong with her.”

Halfway through the appointment, the nurse came in and asked Phyllis to leave. When she was allowed back into the room, Nicole was in tears. “My mind was racing, thinking they had just given her a devastating diagnosis. Initially she didn’t want to tell me, but then she simply said ‘Mom, I’m pregnant.’”  

Phyllis’ response was to immediately embrace her daughter, and pray over her and this new life. “When I walked out of the room, a nurse walking by asked if there was anything she could do for me. I asked her if she would pray, and she told me she already had. That was a small glimpse of God’s grace to me in that moment.”

Phyllis pictured with her husband and three daughters

As a mother, Phyllis had so many emotions in the following months. This news of Nicole’s pregnancy deeply affected each member of their family. “My husband was initially very angry; my other daughters had various emotions as well. Sometimes all I wanted to do was protect Nicole, and then other times I struggled with anger over the situation.

In some ways I felt robbed of the happiness and joy that you are supposed to have when you find out you are going to be a grandma for the first time.”

It did not take long for news of Nicole’s pregnancy to spread through her high school. As her mother, Phyllis was heartbroken to see how her daughter was being treated in school. Nicole’s friends ignored her, the baby’s father wanted her to have an abortion, and the other students were very cruel with their words and on social media. As things continued to get worse, Nicole finished her semester and then transitioned to online school at home.

Even though we had always been pro-life, Nicole was considering abortion because of all of the pressure she was receiving.”

Phyllis pictured with her daughter, Nicole

“We didn’t know where to turn and then our youth pastor at church referred us to New Life Family Services.” As Nicole began meeting with a social worker at New Life, she decided abortion was less of an option and her heart turned toward the ideas of parenting or adoption.

“I personally really struggled with the idea of Nicole choosing to parent. I had to process my own emotions and what that would mean for my life. I was looking forward to having an empty nest in a few years, and knew if she chose to parent this child, it would all change. It was hard to wrestle through all of this, while also knowing I wanted Nicole to make her own decision. And of course I truly wanted to support her no matter what, but it wasn’t easy. Again, I had to rely on God to give us the grace to get through.”

At New Life, Nicole’s social worker helped her think through what life would be like if she parented this child, and what it would be like if she chose adoption. Phyllis remembers, “One of the best things we were able to do was to talk with another young woman who had placed her child for adoption and her mom. Hearing their story changed our opinion of what adoption looked like.”

“As we began the process of looking at prospective adoptive families, we felt the weight of this big decision. Nicole requested to meet with one of the waiting adoptive families and our first meeting with them was amazing. We felt an immediate connection with this couple and just felt like God had put them in our path at just the right time. When we got in the car after our meeting, Nicole said she knew that they were supposed to be her son’s parents and she was excited to tell them.”

Nicole pictured with her birth son

Just a few months later, Nicole gave birth on the 4th of July. The adoptive parents arrived at the hospital the next day to meet their new son and spend time with Nicole and her family. A couple days later, New Life hosted an entrustment ceremony at the hospital as a way to signify and celebrate the physical transition from the birth mother to the adoptive family.

The entrustment ceremony was really beautiful. But then it came time to leave the hospital, and my grandson went home with his adoptive parents and we went home with empty arms. It was such a mixture of emotions, it is hard to describe. Adoption is incredibly beautiful, and it is also incredibly difficult. There were certainly times, especially in her grief, that Nicole questioned her decision, and I questioned these things myself. However, as we processed through our grief, God was so present with us. We know He will never leave our side, even in the hard times.”

Because of the decision for adoption, Nicole has been able to go back to being a teenager. She has graduated high school and is now attending college.

This journey has been hard, but blessed. God reminded all of us that in the midst of our bad decisions, He is working all things together for the good of those who love Him. My grandson is one of God’s masterpieces and he is a blessing.”

“The adoptive parents have become a part of our family and we are so blessed to be able to see my grandson on a regular basis. They are such amazing parents for him, and he is one happy little boy. They keep us updated with pictures of him and let us know what his newest achievements are – the good ones and the bad ones!”