Focus on Life feature
To connect to various organizations in Pro-Life, Crisis Pregnancy and Post Abortion Care or Adoption – Click here
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by Dr. Laura Lewis
“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” – Jimmy Dean
There is something about the innate goodness of humankind that replenishes us when facts do not. In the midst of mounting COVID-19 infections and a seeming lack of control over a disease not yet understood – the simple stories of kindness remind us of our capacity to still care for and serve others – to be kind, just because.
For those of us with a faith foundation, in times of uncertainty we anchor ourselves in the unwavering hope of our God in whom we trust and who gives us peace in the storm. Others may have different ways to settle the storm in their hearts. In these turbulent times, I have witnessed the power of good news to bridge our differences and connect us as people– connecting people in need and people who may be afraid, with people who are stepping into the chaos to help.
The good news stories push through the social media feed because they feed our hope – the elderly man singing through a nursing home window to his beloved; the pregnancy care centre volunteer dropping off diapers to a single mom in need; the exhausted doctor whose face is bruised from the protective mask yet pushing on because of the need; the parking lot of a community hospital transformed into a worship service.
Good news stories highlight the kindness that reaches us all. These “simple” acts can be overlooked in the busyness of life. But in times of uncertainty, kindness shines bright and is a currency that has no boundaries of geography, politics, faith, or opinion.
I think we’re seeing something here. As the layers of life are reduced and simplified, so too are the divisions. Ultimately, we are all people with a capacity to love and care for others. Kindness builds a bridge and unites us.
We have an opportunity to navigate the COVID-19 storm with kindness and compassion. And my hope is that when a new normal is established, we remember the glue of basic human kindness that has bridged many gaps.
Everyday across our nation, local Crisis Pregnancy Centre staff and volunteers are responding and helping those in need – they are an essential service in their communities. They are bearing good news and building bridges with kindness. I encourage you to reach out to them – send a thank you, pray for them, donate to their work – let’s all help where we can.
Dr. Laura Lewis is a physician and she serves as executive director of Pregnancy Care Canada. PCC is the best practice association for member Crisis Pregnancy Centres nationwide.
by Tandela Swann,
AMARIS Adoption and Family Support Services
It is a good time to talk about what adoption means for us as Christians as well as what the process looks like for Canadians feeling the call to adopt.
When you begin to consider your own ‘adoption story’, as it applies to our Father God adopting us into His family, the message in the gospel to “care for the orphans” takes on new meaning. “We love because He first loved us”…1 John 4:19. In my own personal adoption journey, I can truly say that I have been privileged to see and understand, in a more profound way, the heart of God towards me and His unfailing grace through it all. As Max Lucado puts it, “If anybody understands God’s ardor for his children, it’s someone who has rescued an orphan from despair, for that is what God has done for us. God has adopted you. God sought you, found you, signed the papers and took you home.”
Although this call to living for others is very clear, that does not mean that God calls each of us to adopt. Just as He gives different gifts and callings to each of His followers, so too is the call of God for the orphan and the fatherless. Some may be called to provide practical support to a family stepping up to open their home, while others might be able to offer some financial support for the process. Others may offer babysitting to give the parents a break, or open their home sporadically to offer much-needed respite care. As churches, we have the unique privilege of having a ready-made community that can come around and alongside adoptive and foster families to ensure that the child has the best chance for a successful placement.
If you are one of the few who feel called specifically to open your home to a child in need, you have a few options in Canada. Your first option is adopting through our Children’s Services, which are children in care. These children have been removed from their homes for a variety of safety or abuse concerns. If you choose the fostering route, your family would be focusing on eventually reuniting that child with their biological family. If you choose the adoption route, those children have been declared permanent wards of the province and are looking for permanent, forever families. You are able to adopt privately through a non-profit agency in your province. The two private options are either domestic or international. In either case, you are responsible for the costs associated with the assessment, training, support, and travel to pick up the child. The majority of domestic private adoptions are considered ‘open’ adoptions, where there is some form of ongoing contact with the biological family of the child throughout the child’s lifetime. Although international adoptions generally do not specify ‘openness’, the reality is that adoptive children who know their biological roots and have connections with their birth families tend to be emotionally healthier and have a stronger sense of who they are. That, combined with the fact that most young people can find anyone via the internet, makes it very difficult to have any adoption without some degree of openness to it.
As an adoptive mother of three children internationally, my belief is that there needs to be a strong commitment to the child’s home country and culture before looking at a cross-cultural adoption. As much as the expectation is for that child to embrace the culture and language of Canada, you as adoptive parents should be embracing their home country language and culture. Their history and culture is a huge component of who they are as people, and that needs to be celebrated in the home.
Whether you feel the call to adopt, or would just like to support a family who is, we all have a part to play in caring for vulnerable children.
To connect to various organizations in Pro-Life, Crisis Pregnancy and Post Abortion Care or Adoption – Scroll down
Pregnancy Care Centres in Calgary, Strathmore and Airdrie
by Brian Norton
To meet this challenge, 10 years ago the Christian Advocacy Society initiated an experiment: To create a nationwide, web-based outreach for women experiencing an unintended pregnancy or struggling from a past abortion.
OnlineCare is a free and confidential service. Having someone to talk with makes a difference. We help “reach the unreached” with information, referrals, resources, and personalized support by means of password-secured communications.
Importantly, OnlineCare does not inadvertently take potential clients away from the local pregnancy centre, but by our referrals we significantly increase attendance at physical centres.
Our first online client was a teenage girl residing in a remote, rural area. The nearest CPC was 100 kilometres away. This young girl’s situation was the very reason our outreach was created.
Since this first client, our site has received 126,415 visits. Furthermore, we have provided care and resources for hundreds of women and men in every province and in the remote north.
Words from a pregnancy client: “Thank you ever so much for all the information and keeping in contact with me. It is wonderful to have someone helping me through this.”
Words from a post abortion client:
“I want to thank you for helping me recover [from my sorrow]. I never thought I was going to be able to feel free again. God bless you.”
With COVID-19’s social distancing, our unique online resource is in need more than ever.
Weeks ago, we completed a total makeover of our site, fully financed by a crazy-generous designated donation. If you would like to consider a gift to help maintain our life-changing outreach, we will be grateful. Please visit us at onlinecare.ca.
Brian Norton is former executive director of the Christian Advocacy Society and co-founder of OnlineCare Canada.
The largest pro-life benefit in Canada, The Wilberforce Project’s Alberta Benefit for Life, is going virtual on May 30, 2020. Each year, the Benefit raises awareness of the devastation of abortion in Alberta to help support life-affirming legislation, pro-life politicians and the next steps in protecting girls, women and the pre-born.
The world has been shaken by the recent Covid-19 virus. People have come together to take steps to help preserve human life, especially for those most vulnerable. Tragically, the killing of pre-born children continues daily in Canada.
This year, pro-life Albertans from all over the province are invited to join us from home. We understand that COVID-19 has many challenges for us all but we are excited to offer powerful, pro-life content into the homes of even more Albertans during this time of isolation. We will also come together under #goingLIVE4LIFE through social networks like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The first 1000 guests to register at www.AlbertaBenefitForLIfe.ca will receive a Benefit in a Box gift package that includes a dessert and program information for the event.
In this time of isolation and hardship, we hope that the message for life will go viral and inspire respect for every stage of life! Please join us in the fight for human rights for all by showcasing the first-ever virtual pro-life benefit to your audience. We would be delighted to discuss the event further.
Please do not hesitate to call if you have any questions or concerns: (587) 400-1780 or email@example.com.
When the door to the abortion clinic didn’t open right away, Elizabeth* noticed The Back Porch and decided to come over to the other side of the street. That’s how we met her one past summer. New to Canada, she felt quite anxious and lonely with her husband working out of town. Taking care of her young son alone left her feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Pregnant again, the thought of having another baby was so daunting to her… She scheduled an abortion.
After speaking with Elizabeth and listening to her story, we could tell that she understood that there was a life within her – a baby with a beating heart – and that abortion would end that life. She was conflicted.
After a few more conversations she told us “if this baby is born, it will be because of you!” We were grateful to be able to provide ongoing support for her and are so overjoyed to share that Elizabeth eventually gave birth to not one, but two precious baby girls – twins!
This is the work of the Back Porch. A ministry of the Alberta Life Issues Educational Society, the Back Porch is a pregnancy information centre across the street from the abortion clinic in Edmonton, AB. Our goal is to compassionately educate on life issues and provide social, emotional and material support to women who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant.
We are an 11th hour ministry. Because God calls us to protect the vulnerable and defend the sanctity of human life, we minister to the abortion-vulnerable, often moments before their scheduled abortions. We are privileged to be able to speak into the lives of women in this sensitive time and seek to empower them. When a woman recognizes her own strength and worth, she is then able to recognize the infinite value of her pre-born child. This is how, through the grace of God, the Back Porch changes hearts and saves lives.
*Name changed to protect client privacy.
Celebrating 40+ years of free pro-life education in schools!
For more than 40 years, Calgary Pro-Life Association has been offering free, life-affirming presentations to students at their schools. Over the years, we have been encouraging youth in grades 5-12 to consider their value and the value of each person around them. Our speakers reiterate that we are unique, integral parts of the ‘puzzle’ of the world for the duration of our lives. We may not realize where we fit in until suddenly, finally, we do – just like a puzzle piece. Whether we have found our place in life or not, the important thing to remember is that each one of us is important, and we are all connected throughout our lifetime.
Through two interactive presentations, Respect You: You Matter and Respect Life: You are a Miracle (fetal development), students learn that they don’t always get to know how they fit into the world, but they cannot let that discourage them from seeking their purpose and truly living. They discover how to nurture the gifts of their physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual aspects; these elements make each of us strong so that we can achieve our purpose. Sometimes when we are in a classroom, the exact words that someone needs to hear that day are heard; even though it may not be shared with us until later. We have this message for them: “I hope you see God’s purpose for my life when we meet, and if we meet again. And I hope your words and actions also reflect God’s love to the people you connect with everyday, because you matter.”
The presentation, which focuses on the miracle of human life from the very beginning, invites students to see photos and watch a short video about the science of fetal development and the beauty of life inside the womb. The life-size, plastic fetal models, along with our presentations, are seeds of knowledge and understanding for more than 4,500 students in Calgary and southern Alberta. By the time the presentations end, the young people have heard that their life – and each one of our lives – represents a distinct miracle of God! That’s what it means to be pro-life: to recognize that our body, mind and soul are gifts deserving of respect. When we understand the sanctity of life, we can be more open to the gift of our life, and new life that may come in the future, whether we think we are ready for it, or not.
Every year, teachers invite Calgary Pro-Life Association into classrooms to share our presentations with their students. The programs supplement the human sexuality, religion, health, and science curriculums. The presentations are offered free of charge. In September, we expect to receive requests from teachers earlier than usual to make up for the presentations that were missed due to COVID-19.
Join our mission – to raise funds to support our free programs for another year in schools. This year’s Hike for Life fundraiser has no boundaries. It is a virtual event that can be done in your community! There are contests and awards as well. Visit www.calgaryprolife.com and follow the menu to sign up online.
I am sure we all can think of someone who we know that has had an unintended pregnancy. The feelings that can be swirling around can be very paralyzing. Sometimes so much so, that they might feel their only option is abortion. Consider referring them or better yet, bringing them to the Pregnancy Care Centre. They will receive unconditional love and educational information on all of their options. We understand that when in a pregnancy crisis, no option is easy. However, all the information is needed to make a decision. They will receive support and help in areas that may have felt hopeless. We will be there for as long as is needed.
For the woman who has chosen or been forced into an unwanted abortion, and is suffering from grief, anxiety or many of the other negative emotions, we have an Abortion Recovery Centre. A place to come and journey with a client advocate who will companion her through the healing journey. There is freedom in receiving forgiveness, God can, and does forgive.
For more information, call the Pregnancy Care Centre, 780-424-2624 or visit our website www.pregnancycarecentre.ca.
Pregnancy Care Centres in Calgary, Strathmore and Airdrie
There won’t be any spring barbecues, no graduation parties, no weddings; not yet. But we can go outside. We can eat in our backyard. There is a sense of freedom, but it will be different.
There will still be conversation, but it will be by Zoom or Facetime, or over the fence with a neighbour, and the occasional driveway chat where we check in – but from a distance. We will still catch up. We will still celebrate: together yet apart. And it will look different.
Now, imagine that you are expecting your first child. This pregnancy hasn’t been without challenges, but you are determined to make this work. You have sought help – and found a place where you can get support. It’s a struggle, but you are doing it! You have a job; you have a place to live. You can do this. You want to do this.
Then – there’s a curve. This virus that everyone’s talking about becomes part of our life. It is shaping our country, our city, our community, and our home. There will be support available, but it all takes time.
We are told to stay home, to stay indoors. Only buy groceries when you run out. Plan ahead. Bake bread. Make your own jam. Sew your own facemasks. You were barely hanging on before. Now, everything is so much more complicated.
This is supposed to be a special time. A time for you to bond with your baby. To learn how to care for this little one. To introduce her to your parents, sister, friends. To watch her grow and adapt to her changes. But you’re on your own – like never before – at a time when you need people – like never before.
At the Pregnancy Care Centres in Calgary, Strathmore and Airdrie, we’re here for you. Now, more than ever, you will need support. And we will be there, even though it looks different.
Our volunteers and staff are working long hours to make sure all of our clients are cared for. We continue to do new client intakes since pregnancy-needs don’t pause in a pandemic. In the first month of social distancing, we put together and delivered more than 50 hampers of necessities, including layettes for new babies.
We are becoming more creative in our approach. Beginning this week, we have started virtual classes for clients, including: prenatal, life skills, fatherhood, and financial literacy classes. Our first prenatal class had 37 people registered, demonstrating the extreme need for this service.
We’ve also been able to advocate for clients who are in stressful situations. One client found herself homeless and in the wrong city after her job situation evaporated. She wanted to get back to Calgary but was without a safe place to stay. With a lot of hard work and many phone calls, our staff was able to find her a temporary place to stay, with a permanent place to go when her two weeks of quarantine were up. Her friend – who was helping her out – commented, “you are the only people who will call her back, thanks for being there for her.”
So, things are different, and yet they are so much the same. Our clients have needs – both physical and emotional. We can only be there remotely, but we will still be there. And our client numbers continue to grow. Pregnancies still happen. Stable situations become unstable. More layoffs are inevitable, and the needs are bound to become more significant. But we plan to be there. But it looks different.
This is the time of year where we hold our baby bottle fundraiser. Maybe you’ve seen the bottles in your church, perhaps you’ve filled one. It seems like a little thing, but all those bottles represent 10 percent of our annual budget. So we will hold the fundraiser, but it will look different. We will be asking people to give online. Will you help and become a virtual change-maker?
Go to www.pregcare.com to donate.
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