top of page
  • shawnmariespry

Adoption Not Abortion

"It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us." ~ 2 John 1:4

First Things First, Congratulations!!!

Beautiful girl sitting on a park bench in Holland, Michigan on a sunny May Day, next to pink tulips in bloom

Isabella Marie finished her freshman year well at Hope College! "I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:3-6

A lovely woman and man, faces next to one another, with a cupcake between them, on the table, that has a little saying on a toothpick, "He Asked"

Aaron and Bailey are weeks away from their big day, with much joy and anticipation. "And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God." Philippians 1:9-11

A right-handed baseball player pitching from the mound on a sunny day

RHP, #8, Aaron Ray Spry threw a wicked cutter and grew to be an outstanding servant leader during his half-decade on the Spring Arbor University Baseball team. Head Coach Ryan Marken has these telling words to share about Aaron: “What a tremendous young man. Aaron was an absolute joy to be around over the last 5+ years. I loved watching him work at his craft everyday and I loved watching him pitch in big moments, but my very favorite thing about Aaron is his heart toward people. As a coach and as a father of boys myself, to watch a young man genuinely care about the people around him gives me great joy. He is going to make an incredible husband to Bailey and a great father. I’m so proud of who he became in his time at SAU. I love that kid. He deserves the best."

"In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." ~ Philippians 2:5-11

A man outside in front of a bell tower holding his diploma just after graduating from Spring Arbor College

Cheers to Aaron, who graduated from Spring Arbor University on May 13, 2023, with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering! Aaron has a bright future ahead with an engineering job waiting for him in West Michigan. "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." Philippians 4:8-9

Cheers to Hailey Kate Spry, who graduated from Indiana State University with a Master's of Science in Physician Assistant Studies on May 6, 2023! Here she celebrates with husband Jacob. "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:4-7


Your Baby, Your Choice: Closed Adoption, Open Adoption

A father and mother gaze lovingly at their newly adopted infant daughter in August 1970

I never refer to Bennie and Bonnie Shellnut as my "adoptive parents" except when writing about my adoption. They have always just been "my parents". Here we are in August 1970 after my adoption.

I don't think about her often, but when I do consider my birth mom, I am filled with admiration. She carried me for nine months inside her body, sustained me, protected me, birthed me then allowed another family to have me. Truly amazing love.

Most U.S. adoptions before 1980 were closed, so adoptive parents and birth parents did not share information. The child's cord to her birth mother was cut literally and figuratively.

My parents told me from the very beginning that I was adopted and adoption is good. It breaks my heart to see parents who adopt try to keep this a secret. Undoubtedly, one day the child will find out he/she was adopted. This dishonest approach by adoptive parents will harm their relationship with their child.

My parents always told me the truth. My birth mother was not in a position to give me everything she thought I needed, so she allowed me to be placed in a loving home with two parents who could. My adoptive parents said that they would support my search for her when I became and adult. And they did.

A page from a photo album, with three photos, various collections of family members--parent(s) and children, smiling with text about how the family came to be through adoption and birth

One of my most treasured gifts is a photo album my mother made me, chronicling my life from adoption through college graduation. Here is a portion from one of the pages.

My adoptive parents never treated me any different than my sister who is their biological child. I was always made to feel just as loved and special. (I did have to do more of the vacuuming but that had nothing to do with me being adopted.)

I was a reflective child and thought about my birth mom and even wrote her some letters on my birthdays. As I grew in my Christian faith, I came to understand the greatness of adoption exemplified by God's love for and pursuit of me--a child adopted into His family. I am so grateful for my earthly and heavenly adoptions.

When I became an adult, my parents helped me strategize a search plan and went to great lengths helping me. My dear father, Bennie, knocked on strangers' doors following up on leads and my dear mom, Bonnie, came with me to meet a woman that was in the same maternity ward as my birth mom. My adoptive parents were never insecure about their position. I know that their loyalty to Jesus informed this confidence--they understood the significance of being adopted themselves.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. ~ Ephesians 1:3-10

Over these past three decades, my thoughts on adoption have shifted. When I was younger, searching for my birth mom, I was sad that I had not had an open adoption in which there was sharing between my adoptive and birth parents and myself. When I turned 18, I was angry at the laws which prevent me from knowing my surname at birth, which would be an easy link to finding my biological family.

If I had been born after 1980, and my birth mother had not officially registered that she did not want to be found, I would have the right to my surname at birth. But being born before 1980, I only have the right to that information if my birth mother specifically granted it. And despite checking the registry for many years, she never granted that right. (Subsequently, I did make contact with her through an intermediary at an agency. So far, she has not wanted to meet. And I still do not know my birth name.)

However, my heart has shifted on this matter. When my birth mother chose to place me for adoption, she chose to sever ties. In most regards, she became anonymous to me (I do have non-identifying information such as her hair and eye color and nationality). This anonymity is what she wanted. This, I believe, is an extremely selfless and healthy approach to adoption. It also allowed my parents complete independence and though it left me wondering, I never pined for another parent I thought I knew.

With open adoption, I think birth mothers hold on to things that may be best left behind, at least for a time. I am no expert and I know there are exceptions, but I think open adoption complicates things for everyone involved. Please feel free to email me or share your thoughts in the comment section below.


A Tale of Two Mothers

In my role as a volunteer counselor at a pregnancy care center, I would meet with mothers who learned of an unintended pregnancy. Sometimes, they suspected it and would have it confirmed on the spot after a pregnancy test. Others came already knowing. All were concerned about not being ready for a baby.

I met with Clare when she was eight months along. This was not her first baby. She was in a very complicated relationship and not sure she was ready to parent another child. She was very interested in adoption. I shared my story.

She was embarrassed to admit that if she did chose adoption, she wanted a closed adoption. I assured her that it was a very good option. She didn't think the baby's father would agree to adoption. Ironically-- cruelly--she could have aborted this child moments before her birth without his consent. We gave Clare the name of an adoption agency. She never contacted the agency and we lost contact with her.

I hope more moms and dads will consider adoption. Especially since there are upwards of two million couples waiting to adopt a child. I hope more birth parents will consider closed adoption, for the good of everyone involved. But open adoption is, of course, better than abortion.

Vera's Story

I met Vera when she was in her first trimester of pregnancy. I told her that her baby was like no one else, unique from fingerprints to soul, made for good. She was sure she was not ready to parent. I told her that she was smart and strong and has lots of help, physical and emotional resources, but that adoption is also an excellent option.

Her reply is hard to forget. Sadly, it's not too surprising, as it reflects a timeless condition: selfishness. Like the mother King Solomon identified as the deceitful mother in I Kings 3, Vera said she'd rather kill her baby than let someone else raise it.

Vera did not say "kill", she said "abort", which is the same thing.

A Wise Ruling: I Kings 3:16-28

Now two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. One of them said, “Pardon me, my lord. This woman and I live in the same house, and I had a baby while she was there with me. The third day after my child was born, this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there was no one in the house but the two of us.

“During the night this woman’s son died because she lay on him. So she got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side while I your servant was asleep. She put him by her breast and put her dead son by my breast. The next morning, I got up to nurse my son—and he was dead! But when I looked at him closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn’t the son I had borne.”

The other woman said, “No! The living one is my son; the dead one is yours.”

But the first one insisted, “No! The dead one is yours; the living one is mine.” And so they argued before the king.

The king said, “This one says, ‘My son is alive and your son is dead,’ while that one says, ‘No! Your son is dead and mine is alive.’ ”

Then the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword for the king. He then gave an order: “Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.”

The woman whose son was alive was deeply moved out of love for her son and said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!”

But the other said, “Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!”

Then the king gave his ruling: “Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother.”

When all Israel heard the verdict the king had given, they held the king in awe, because they saw that he had wisdom from God to administer justice.

Giving Vera the benefit of the doubt, maybe she wasn't sure that the "thing" inside her was a living person. Maybe she was not aware of the settled science of embryology. Maybe Vera had bought the lie that a human fetus is just a clump of cells.

If, like Vera, someone isn't convinced that the preborn human is a person worthy of protection, might it be best to err on the side of caution? Absolutely!

Like the person in charge of demolishing a house, who right before detonating the explosives, thinks she may have seen movement inside the house, would she in good conscience continue the demolition? Of course not!

Mother, you are uniquely charged with providing a safe and nurturing environment for your baby to grow. Just like a Polaroid photo that when taken, is not visible until enough time has elapsed, babies need time and protection to develop. And if you are not ready to parent, act selflessly, lovingly--allow another family to raise your child. Thank you, LORD, for adoption, birth moms and adoptive parents.

You can also view this video and many others HERE at What Would You Say? from Colson Center

107 views2 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Jenni Halterman
Jenni Halterman
May 21, 2023

Thank you for helping us to understand adoption better. Thank you for reaching out to these women with crisis pregnancies. There is such a need. ❤️


May 21, 2023

Thank you for this beautifully written work. Our eternal journey is full of joy and sorrow and the ordinary mundane of life. The Word of God you quote is our wisdom, nourishment and gives life meaning.

May you and your loved ones be blessed and continue to flourish on your journey. Keep writing!

bottom of page