Nobody wanted to have me, except for God," says Becky Harber, the much-loved and respected wife of Frank Harber, pastor of First Baptist Church in Colleyville, Texas.
About thirty-five years ago, Becky was born in the Edna Gladney Home (now called the Gladney Center for Adoption), a medical care facility for unwed mothers in Fort Worth, Texas. When she was only a week old, Vernon and Delores Florence and their sons Sam and Jay adopted her into their family and took her to their east Texas home in the town of Big Sandy.
Vernon and Delores Florence had been unable to conceive more children after having their biological sons but had desired to adopt a baby girl. Only eight months after completing the adoption paperwork, the agency called to offer the Florences the chance to adopt Becky. "We were told it usually takes one to two years," Delores recalled.
When Becky was about eight years old, her mother told her she was adopted. "We were in the bathroom getting ready to go to a family reunion. My mom said, 'Becky, did you know you were adopted?' I walked out of the bathroom and walked right back in, seeking a definition for that word 'adopted.' I don't remember the words she said. All I know is that when she was done, I felt so special."
Vernon Florence later told Becky he had been reluctant to tell her about being adopted because he didn't want her to feel any different than the boys. "That made me feel special, that he didn't want me to feel any less his child," Becky recounted.
In Becky's teen years, her mother showed her the adoption papers. Her birth mother was nineteen and her biological father was twenty-one at the time she was born. In processing that information, Harber has often thought, "Obviously they were old enough to have kept me.
"It may not have been her plan to conceive me," Becky said of her birth mother, "but thankfully she followed through with her pregnancy and my birth, giving me a chance at life."
Harber has a deep respect for her birth mother; in giving up her baby, her mother made the greatest sacrifice of love possible. While she knows little else about her birth mother, Harber learned that she became an attorney. "She went on with her life, learned from her mistakes, and made something of herself. I'm so proud of her-whoever she is and wherever she is."
Becky is also very proud to be part of the Florence family. "My adoptive parents are two of the best people you will ever meet." She credits them with helping her become the person she is now. "They taught me to be responsible and how to put others first. They taught me self-respect and taught me there wasn't anything I couldn't do. They were my biggest cheerleaders."
When talking to parents who have adopted children, Becky says they always ask what to do when their child gets older and wants to find his or her parents. "There is a curiosity there that will be with them forever." She remembered a time she saw a picture of a lady in a magazine that fit the description of her birth mother, and she couldn't help but wonder. She counsels adoptive parents to be supportive of their child's curiosity.
She has had opportunities to counsel a few pregnant teens facing the decision about what to do about their unborn babies. "When I see a young girl like that, I am more encouraging toward adoption," Becky said, while empathizing with two sides of the issue. "I've been the one who has been adopted, the one given a chance to live and to be part of a great family. I have also longed for a child when I was unable to conceive for four years. I feel the pain of the parents out there who would love to be able to adopt."
Reflecting on her statement that, "Nobody wanted to have me, except for God," she said God has had a wonderful plan for her life, and she hopes all parents experiencing unplanned pregnancies will realize God has a plan for their child as well. Quoting Jeremiah 29:11, 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 a hope and a future, Harber added, "Every day, unplanned babies are conceived all over this world, but no human being is a mistake. God has a plan and a purpose for each one of us, regardless of our biological parents' intentions."
Psalm 139 Project
Sonograms provide a window into the womb. Pregnant mothers who see their babies on sonograms are going to be far more likely to carry their baby to term. The Psalm 139 Project is designed to put sonogram machines in pregnancy care centers across this nation. January 16 is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. One way your church can help save the lives of babies is by helping to place these machines in pregnancy care centers. For more
information, call the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission at (800) 475-9127, or go to www.psalm139project.org.
Kay Adkins is a freelance writer based in Mountain View, Arkansas.