To know how Aggieland Pregnancy Outreach came into existence, it is helpful to know a little about me. I have been married since 1983. My husband, Scott, and I have two darling sons and have lived in College Station since 1995. I am a registered nurse and I worked primarily with adult heart patients before my children were born.
When we got married, I was in the middle of nursing school and Scott was beginning medical school. Being a young, married couple with no income, we did not want to start a family for a while. Once we were through with our education, we felt we were ready to begin a family, but no babies came! We chose not to seek medical treatment for infertility. We decided we would rather adopt a baby.
At the time, we lived in a small town in Southwest Texas. Some friends from our church called us one night in great distress to say that their daughter was pregnant. She was a freshman in college. These parents did not know that Scott and I were thinking of adopting a baby; they were just calling for advice. Scott discussed the medical needs Erin (pseudonym) would have and then we talked about the options Erin was considering. At that time, she was trying to sort through the options of parenting versus adoption. We referred her family to a social worker at an adoption agency to guide them. We told them we had spent time with this agency because we were thinking of adopting a baby ourselves. We knew this agency would not pressure Erin one way or the other, but they would just help her think it all out. You can probably guess where this story is going….she decided on adoption.
When we heard her decision, I said to her mother, “If she would like for her baby to go to someone she knows, we would love to adopt him!” Well, she started crying and said, “That’s what we’ve been praying for, but we didn’t want to say anything!” We adopted that sweet little baby boy born October of 1992.
Our second child, Benjamin, came along in a similar set of circumstances. His birthmother used to baby sit for my brother’s children in San Antonio. When she told my brother she was pregnant, my brother told her about us and asked if she was interested in meeting us. He grilled hamburgers in his backyard a few weeks later and we met with she and her family for the afternoon. She wrestled with the decision of parenting vs. adoption for the rest of the pregnancy. Benjamin was born August of 1995 and his birth mom decided to place him into our family. Adoption is such a life-changing experience….that these two women would trust us with their children…truly humbling. We have loved these women from the beginning and we have maintained a relationship with them and their families all these years. We have watched as they have fallen in love, gotten married and given birth again. It has been such a joy to be a part of their families.
Our boys always knew that they grew in their birthmother’s tummy and when they came out, we adopted them and they became our little boys. The type of relationship we have with our sons’ birthmothers is known as open adoption. It all sounds so simple when you put it down on paper, but what is difficult to convey is the extreme emotions that surround the whole process. As joyous and happy as it is to adopt a child through open adoption, there is an equal amount of pain experienced by the birth families who loose the opportunity to be the “everyday family.” I am told that grief lessens through the years as birthparents enjoy seeing their first children thrive and enjoy life.
In the Fall of 1997, Scott and I were wanting to adopt third baby. A friend of a friend suggested we call an agency in Oklahoma that she knew about. We made that call and found it to be a most unusual and interesting agency. Actually, it was a Christian ministry to pregnant girls. Adoption services were added as a benefit to the girls they were serving. A few days after that phone call, there was a story in the local newspaper stating that Planned Parenthood was planning to build an abortion clinic in Bryan. That bit of information, coupled with the previous phone call to the adoption agency, stirred me up like few things have stirred me before. I knew that I wanted to form an organization like the one in Oklahoma to help girls choose life for their babies and give them a true helping hand during their pregnancies.
You see, when I think of abortion, I think of my boys, J.T. and Ben. If their birthmothers had chosen abortion, I would have never had the chance to hold, feed, rock, sing, chase, tickle, or tackle my two wild ones. My heart aches at that thought. I know there are hundreds of other couples with empty arms who would give anything to adopt a baby.
My husband and I have both been Christians since we were teenagers, and it is clear to us that we are all valued by God from the time we were conceived. The Bible says in Psalms 139, “My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth. Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them. How precious are your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!”
So in the Fall of 1997, the idea was conceived to begin a ministry or outreach program to pregnant girls. I know that pregnant girls face hundreds of issues that cannot be solved by only advising them against abortion. Aggieland Pregnancy Outreach (APO) was formed to help girls choose life for their babies. Some will choose to parent their babies, and some will choose adoption. We know that many have had previous abortions and others will choose abortion in the future. It is not our desire to condemn those girls; rather, we want to show them how to get help and healing from the problems of past abortions and show them how they can have a great relationship with Jesus Christ (Visit the Hope for my Future page). As part of our service to pregnant women, we added adoption services for those who feel adoption is the best choice for their baby. We feel that Open Adoption serves the children well and has proven to be a wonderful experience for the Schams’ household.
As for me, I have a great time getting to know the girls through this organization. In 2007, I was honored to receive a Jefferson Award for my volunteer service with APO. Our whole family was flown to the awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. I was also humbled to receive a Points of Light Award as well as both Presidential and Governors Awards for Volunteer Service.
My husband and I attend Connecting Point Church in College Station and have been blessed to see God move in so many ways there. Our boys have grown up and moved out of the house, but they continue to live in College Station. When I am not at the APO office, you can probably find me working on some new project around the house. I have built brick sidewalks, flower beds and a pond. I am also an animal lover. Many people who enter our house feel they are coming to the Schams’ zoo…so beware!
You can email Kim at: firstname.lastname@example.org.