Jess Urban was a rebellious 17-year-old when she became pregnant by her boyfriend of only two months, and like many pregnant teens she was afraid to tell her parents. However, she told her dad and decided to seek counseling from a local pastor.
She said, “My pastor changed my life after that meeting. I knew what happened could not be undone and I needed to take responsibility for my actions, and take responsibility for myself and this growing child inside my belly. It felt like a weight was lifted—an epiphany, really.”
Thankfully, her dad didn’t encourage her to have an abortion; instead, he said she should consider adoption since he didn’t believe she was ready to raise a child. Her pastor also urged her to visit a local pregnancy center called Options Pregnancy Center, located in Fairmont, Minnesota. At the center, Jess was told about open adoptions, which allow birthparents and adoptive parents to meet each other, share information, and visit together as the child grows up.
Ultimately, this is what Jess decided to do even though she had lots of fears about the process. But before the adoption took place, she had many hurdles to overcome, such as facing criticism for being pregnant while in high school. She shared more about that experience with Pregnancy Help News. She said, “The first day of senior year, I was the talk of the school. News like this spreads like wildfire. All I remember are the snickers and badmouthing: ‘She’s pregnant?! What a slut’ ‘Oh my God – who’s the Dad?’ ‘Wow, she’s pretty stupid for getting knocked up.’ High school can be such a vicious place to begin with, let alone when you’re pregnant.”
Additionally, Jess’ boyfriend was giving her grief by suing for legal custody of the child because he didn’t want to place her for adoption. Eventually though, he did consent and they went through with their adoption plan. Their daughter, Zoe, was born with significant hearing loss because of an infection Jess contracted when she was pregnant. Unbelievably, after Zoe’s adoptive parents discovered her disability they returned her and she was placed in foster care.
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Then Jess handpicked a second set of adoptive parents for her daughter who understood disability because they were deaf themselves and already had three sons. Now Zoe is 11-years-old and her adoptive family believes her disability is more of a blessing than anything else. In fact, her adopted mother, Brandi Rarus, wrote a book about their journey called Finding Zoe: A Deaf Woman’s Journey of Identity, Love and Adoption. Remarkably, Zoe is very close with her biological mother and even stood in her wedding as a junior bridesmaid.
As LifeNews previously reported, although teen abortion rates are at all time low, adoption is not as common as it once was because of social stigmas and misconceptions. There are many people that believe a child who is adopted cannot be as loved or as healthy as a biological child and that adoption can be a damaging option for a family. But according to the U.S. Department of Health and Services, 85% of children who are adopted are in excellent or very good health, the same as the general population. And 81% of adoptive parents described their relationships with their children as very warm and close.