Khalif Herbin is football player for the Temple University football team, but he almost never had a chance to play football. It’s not that he doesn’t have the grades or the athletic ability to play on team. It’s the mere fact tat he almost wasn’t here at all — as he came close to becoming another abortion statistic.
The Philadelphia Daily News recently profiled Herbin’s story of how his mother decided not to have an abortion when his adoptive mother talked her out of it. Here’s a great story that comes just one day after we celebrated our moms.
In September 1994, Jones received a long-distance call from a cousin she’d never been close with, Denise Herbin (pronounced UR-bin). The voice sounded frantic, saying she was going to have an abortion. So Jones immediately drove from North Jersey to South Carolina. Then the two headed back to Montclair. Three weeks later, Herbin gave birth to twins. The girl died. The boy weighed 4 pounds. Herbin told Jones she didn’t want him. Jones, who was 30, took the baby home with her.
“I think it was meant to be,” she said.
Khalif isn’t the only Herbin child whom Jones adopted. There’s also Khadijah, 20, and Malik, 18. And she has a biological child, Eric, 27. When the children were young, Jones was involved in an abusive relationship. Ten years ago, a tendon disorder in her hands caused her to lose a job with the U.S. Postal Service. She’s had more physical issues since. Now on retirement disability and married, Jones works part-time as a crossing guard.
“It wasn’t as difficult as people think,” she said. “It was just raising children as a single parent. That’s all it was to me.
“I never saw them as not being my children.”
On Khalif’s birth certificate, there is no father’s name. Nobody from the family has seen or heard from Denise in more than 15 years. There were times when Khalif admits he was “embarrassed” by his situation.
“I felt like it was used against me in a way,” said the third-year sophomore, who redshirted last season. “I got over that. Tons of people don’t have any parents at all, or parents that don’t care. My mom put her life on hold so I could have a better future.
“I’m not supposed to be here. My mom was going to get an abortion. I’ve come to understand just how fragile life is, how important the small things are. Just being able to wake up. I know in the back of my mind, a lot of people didn’t wake up today. Or they might not get to sleep tonight.”