This Thanksgiving morning I am particularly thankful for a group of foresighted Christian leaders here in the valley who came together 25 years ago to form the Valley Pregnancy Center.
The center celebrated its 25th anniversary with a gala earlier this month that featured a video with interviews with the founders. Comments by pastors Earl Heaverly (Valley Christian Center in Dublin) and Leron Heath (Valley Community Church in Pleasanton) both emphasized that the core principle guiding the founders was to demonstrate the love of Jesus for women dealing with an unplanned pregnancy. It stands in sharp contrast to the protesters outside of abortion clinics and the bitter political debates.
The founders' video related the faith step of signing the lease on the tiny storefront on Amador Valley Boulevard in Dublin that would be its home for more than 20 years as well as the huge step of faith that founding executive director Barbara Saba took to leave her secure corporate jobtake a substantial pay cutand lead the center. Celebrating 25 years and hundreds of babies born to moms who used the center to make their decisions drew more than 500 people to Casa Real.
They heard testimonies from two womena 22-year-old college student who became pregnant while in what she described as a "toxic relationship", visited the center and carried her son to term. She's now employed, enrolled in college working toward an engineering career and told the crowd that the pregnancy and her son were "the best thing that ever happened to me."
The other client who shared was a married woman with two sons (13 and 8). She told people how she had become pregnant with what could have been her second child and learned at 17 weeks that the baby would be born with Down's syndrome. Worried about the potential impact on their other child, she said they followed fear and aborted the baby. When asked how she felt after the abortion, she described feeling a deep void and a sense of loss.
Her family moved on with their lives and they started to attend church after their son started asking about Jesus from his Christian preschool program. That led to regular church attendance, Bible studies and finally to the 13-week post-abortion counseling program at the pregnancy center. She described that program as a time of healing.
She became pregnant again, again with a boy that prenatal tests determined would have Down's syndrome. This time she carried him to termhe celebrated his 8th birthday on the day of the gala. His mom now is training to be a counselor in the program.
Since moving to the Atrium building next to Stoneridge Mall, the number of clients have grown significantly. Ads on the kiosks in the mall coupled with a radio program have let more women know about the resource that is provided at no cost to them. The gala raised about $125,000 that will go directly to services because an anonymous couple underwrote the full expenses of the event.
For more information, please see www.valleypregnancycenter.com