Funds raised from the sale of Choose Life specialty license plates are distributed to qualified organizations that provide counseling and material assistance to pregnant women considering placing their unborn children for adoption, including pregnancy resource centers, maternity homes, and adoption agencies.
Following are some powerful adoption stories that helped to make the Choose Life license plate a reality in Texas!
Erin and Dale Butler built their family through infant adoption.Read More
Testimony of Erin and Dale Butler and sons Andrew, 6, and Joseph, 3
Home City: Granger, TX
We are adoptive parents who have built our family through infant adoption. Adoption as an alternative to abortion is a lifelong journey that provides hope and peace for all parties involved. Once a birthmother has made the selﬂess decision to place her child with a forever family, there is hope for the child’s life, what he or she may become. There is also hope for the adoptive family to finally be able to share in that amazing love of a new life!
We support the Choose Life license plate bill because of the positive impact adoption has had in our lives and in many of our friends’ lives. The gift of life is something everyone should be able to experience. The positive impact the license plates could have on pregnancy resource centers’ efforts to promote adoption could expand that gift to many more loving homes.
Lori DeVillez of the Austin Pregnancy Resource Center looks forward to how funds from the Choose Life license plates can help her volunteer-based staff offer adoption as another viable option to the women they serve.Read More
Testimony of Lori De Villez
Home City: Austin, TX
The Austin Pregnancy Resource Center would benefit greatly from the creation of a Choose Life license plate in Texas. Along with a growing network of pregnancy resource centers in Central Texas, we serve women who find themselves experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and look to us for assistance and guidance during this difficult time.
Here at the APRC, we have already helped four women place their babies for adoption into loving homes. We believe the funds generated by the sale of the Choose Life license plate will help to train our primarily volunteer—based staff to make adoption another viable option for even more women facing an unplanned pregnancy.
It is very important that the women who come to us know there is help available and are given their full range of options, including adoption. It is our desire to reach every person who finds herself in an unplanned pregnancy and offer the help she needs in the most efficient manner possible.
Todd and Cindy Ashby adopted two of their three children.Read More
Testimony of Cindy and Todd Ashby
Home City: Austin, TX
We are adoptive parents. Two of our three children are adopted. We support the Choose Life license plate as a way to honor the special people who are considering or have placed children for adoption. As adoptive parents, we have the joy, honor, and privilege of raising these special children. The Choose Life license plate also is a statement of how we value life.
Briana Feiler knew from her experience working at the Austin Gabriel Project Life Center the need for training to discuss the option of adoption with clients.Read More
Testimony of Briana Feiler
Home City: Austin, TX
I am a pregnancy consultant and the coordinator of the Gabriel Project Life Center here in Austin, where we worked with more than 800 women last year. Part of my job is to speak with women who are pregnant, helping them realize their options and help them during this critical time of making decisions for themselves and the lives of their unborn children.
Most of the women who come to us experiencing crisis pregnancies have no idea about the many options available to them. For us to be able to present the full spectrum of parenting options is crucial—this includes the compassionate option of adoption.
But to be able to do so effectively requires training. I can speak for myself and my staff at the Gabriel Project Life Center: We desperately need the type of adoption training organizations like Act of Life provide. But this training costs precious time and financial resources.
For this reason, we wholeheartedly support the Choose Life license plate because it has the potential to help make this training possible for counselors like us, and to provide us with key resources that we can use when assisting women in the consideration of adoption for their unborn children.
Chris and Kate Raeder chose the path of life when faced with an unplanned pregnancy.Read More
Testimony of Kate & Chris Raeder
Home City: Austin, TX
My husband, Chris, and I came to our strong pro-life values through a very personal experience with adoption. I was in college and had been dating Chris for only three weeks when I discovered I was pregnant. Undergoing the same emotions any young girl in this situation would experience, I was literally inundated with the recommendation to “just get an abortion.”
Despite the very real temptations to go down that path, I had an absolute clarity of mind that proved much stronger—an unshakeable awareness that this was a baby, my baby, and his
life was in danger. I spent the next nine months making all my decisions based on one question: “What is best for this baby?” The answer was obvious: adoption.
I have been abundantly blessed in my life for this choice. Chris and I separated during the pregnancy but through this experience we saw qualities in one another that we never would have seen otherwise. We were reunited years later and married. We now have five additional children together and our home is full of love, joy, and energy.
Pursuing adoption has additionally saved me from a lifetime of pain, regret, and despair that would have been my lot had I pursued an abortion. Additionally, three years ago my son Robbie’s adoptive parents supported him in his desire to meet us. He ﬂew out from New York to visit us, and we now look forward to his visits every summer. He is amazing!
Chris and I are so excited about the Choose Life license plate bill as a wonderful way to bring the choice of life into the consciousness of other Texans.
Kimberly Speirs put her words into action when she adopted her son Michael.Read More
Testimony of Kimberly Guidry Speirs and Michael Francis Speirs
Home City: Austin, TX
My story regarding infant adoption is two-fold: I used to take hotline calls for women in crisis pregnancies. We never told them what to do, just provided them with the pros/cons of parenting, abortion, and adoption. When I’d get to adoption, the women would always say they weren’t interested. I’d say “That’s fine what about OPEN adoption?” Once they learned that with open adoption they had the power to choose the adoptive parents and possibly even be involved in the child’s life, they would do a 180.
ALL of them ended up asking for phone numbers of open adoption agencies when we’d discuss that. I had learned about open adoption as a result of attending a five—hour course on the subject in Kentucky. It was great to be able to provide these women information on a choice that they never even knew existed.
I was lecturing at the University of Louisville in Kentucky when I was called out for an
emergency message. I learned that a birth mom selected me to adopt her baby. Twenty-three hours later, she delivered Michael. I was there when he was born. She and I talked afterward and she told me that she was afraid I’d think she was a horrible person for bringing a baby into the world under those circumstances. I told her that was the furthest thing from my mind. Her selﬂess act answered 15 years of prayers for me and brought a new little life into the world. She was—and still is—a hero to me. She has three other children, and I take Michael to visit them about once a year. I send her photos every few months and talk with her on the phone occasionally. She’s now pursuing her degree and is getting her life on track.
The Choose Life license plate depicts two of the three legal choices available to women facing crisis pregnancies. It does not say, “Don’t have an abortion,” but rather it simply promotes the parenting/adoption choices. How can anyone be opposed to that? To me, anything that provides women with additional choices is a logical, reasonable, and good thing.
Michelle Stepp faced tough choices with courage, choosing adoption for her son Eli.Read More
Testimony of Michelle Stepp
Home City: Hutto, TX
I have been through some things in my 25 years of life that I never thought I would experience. At the age of 19 I was experimenting with all sorts of drugs, and by the time I was 20, I was addicted to several of them. I was in the whole drug scene for a couple of years.
About four months before I found out I was pregnant, I decided I had had enough. I was staying in a drug house because I had nowhere else to go, and it was raided. I then moved from house to house for the next two months until I finally ran into an old friend from high school who introduced me to some new, “better” people. One of them gave me a place to stay, and another gave me a chance at a job, where I still work.
About one month after moving in with this friend, I found out I was pregnant with my ex’s child.Like I said, I have been through some things in my life that I never thought I would. You know,the things you hear about and tell yourself, “That’ll never happen to me.” Well, getting pregnant being unmarried was one of them. On top of that, I chose to put my child up for adoption.
That was the toughest decision I have ever had to make. I fought with it back and forth throughout my entire pregnancy. You can ask my mother. I came home one night and told her,“OK, I am going to keep him. I will figure out a way to make it work.” Then a week later I came home bawling because I knew it would be near impossible, and that my child deserved better.
The HOPE Pregnancy Center in Hutto helped me so much throughout the entire process and made it a lot easier than I expected it to be. The woman who runs it was always there for me,even after hours. She answered all of my questions, and for the ones she didn’t know the answers to right away, she would find answers for me. She is the one who set me up with the most amazing adoption agency, Generations Adoptions. She also let us use her office for the meetings. All of this for nothing! She was great. I had so many questions, and I had no clue where to start.
We ended up finding the perfect adoption agency, the perfect family, and I now know that I made the right decision. We have an open adoption with the adoptive parents, so I get to see pictures of my son on a regular basis. One day, when he is ready, I will get to meet him.
Adopted herself, Julie Stobbe founded the adoption awareness organization Act of Life to equip pregnancy center staff to confidently discuss adoption with their clients.Read More
Testimony of Julie Stobbe
Home City: Midland, TX
I have been asked many times why I would support the Choose Life license plate bill. For me it is very easy to support this initiative. You see, I am the face of a “crisis pregnancy.” I stand before you today, having been knit together in the womb of a frightened teenager. Thankfully for me, my heroic birth mother gave me life and provided parents for me through adoption.
She did not “put me up” nor did she “give me up.” Too often we use these types of phrases when speaking about adoption. They do not truthfully represent the reality of a birth mother’s choice. We put houses up on the market to sell or cars up on blocks to rotate tires. Birth parents that choose adoption do not put up babies; they create families. Adoption is not “giving up” either. Actually adoption is giving to a child. My birth mother gave many things to me: love, a chance at life, a home, a family, and the circumstances to pursue all my hopes and dreams. Though she chose not to be my full—time parent, she made sure I had the best parents any child could have. She made a loving, sacrificial choice, and I honor her and I love her deeply for it.
I am just one life. How many other lives can be affected? The Choose Life license plate bill can play a significant role in saving lives and creating families for future Texans.
The Dave Thomas Foundation tells us approximately 100 million Americans are touched by adoption. This is a significant way families are created. Probably like many of these families, for years I assumed most people understood adoption, and that in the case of unplanned pregnancies counselors would present adoption as a parenting choice.
However, Dr. Ed Mech’s research(1) on pregnancy counselors revealed:
- 40% do not mention adoption with their clients
- 40% provide inaccurate information about adoption
- only 20% present adoption accurately
Clearly a great deal of education needs to occur. It is from this lack of knowledge and from a desire to see the great myths of adoption dispelled that I established an adoption awareness organization called Act of Life. We offer adoption training to pregnancy centers across the state.
1. Edmund V. Mech, Orientations of Pregnancy Counselors Toward Adoption, US. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Population Affairs, 1984.