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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Doctor Said to Abort or She Would Die, by Kirk Barker

I didn't know I was lost until I was saved and I had no idea that the path I was living could nearly result in another person dying.  I am Kirk Barker and I am the founder of Cameron's Chance Pro-life Advocacy.  I went from being a non-believer, to a believer, to a follower of Christ Jesus.  Because I was a non-believer, I was blind to God's miracles -- most significantly, the miracle when God saved my wife and son 16 years ago.  

For a good part of my life, I was a non-believer.  Although I'd been raised in church until the age of 12, once my parents divorced, I turned my back on God.  I denied God.  My parents had stopped taking me to church.  I couldn't understand why life was the way it was.  One excuse I used was, "If there is a God, why does He let bad things happen to good people?"  

Chassidy and I were living together for about three months before she became pregnant around Christmas, 2001.  We planned on marrying, but didn't feel rushed to do it anytime soon.  God was not at the forefront of our discussions.  We may have talked about religion or faith from time to time, but God was not a part of our decision-making or lifestyle.  On January, 12th, 2002, when we learned she was pregnant, abortion was not a consideration because we knew abortion was wrong and we knew we would be getting married anyway.  We were scared, but definitely happy about it at the same time.

However, Chassidy soon became very sick.  She lost 42 pounds in just one month and was hospitalized most of this time.  The doctors never gave an official diagnosis, but by mid-February, the doctor told us, "There is nothing more that we can do.  If you don't terminate the pregnancy, she will die."  At about two months into her pregnancy, we knew that meant the baby would die too.  So there was no question of her life versus the child's life.  

Both of us were devastated.  We were crying, sad, and scared.  We had already suffered so much with her health deteriorating, then to be told to abort was even more difficult.  This was not a place you would ever want to be in.  I didn't want to lose the love of my life and I didn't want to lose my baby.

Unfortunately, we took the doctor's advice -- a decision we made together.  We got the procedure all set up.  On February 26, 2002, we went to the abortion clinic -- The Women's Center in Nashville, Tennessee.  Chassidy had been released from the hospital.  The clinic was about a 30-minute drive from our home.  We really didn't want to go through with it.  We were about to lose our son.  I can't even remember the car ride.

We parked our car and as we began walking toward the clinic, we saw pro-life supporters.  Chassidy was a little nervous about them because she didn't know if they were going to start yelling at her.  But instead, they approached us with friendly smiles, and love and kindness.  I remember them pleading with us not to go through with the procedure.  We told them we didn't want to abort, but explained our situation.  They apologized for our predicament, and prayed for us. I was very appreciative and thankful that they cared for us even though they didn't know us.

We can't thank God enough for the pro-life supporters He put on that sidewalk that day.  I know many people call them protesters, but in my opinion, they are not protesting anything.  They are there sharing God's message of life -- that every child is a blessing.

Sadly, we proceeded into the clinic anyway.  Just before we were about to sign what we call "the death certificate" to our son, God answered those prayers and intervened.  My wife looked at me and said, "I don't care if I die.  I am not going to kill our baby."  I was relieved in that moment, and just had hope that she would somehow get better.

We got up and walked out.  

Afterward, we just went about our lives.  I was working.  She was resting at home.  Two weeks later, God healed Chassidy.  She stopped throwing up and was better in every respect.  She never went back to that doctor who told her to abort.  Thankfully, she found a new doctor who she felt took really good care of her and the baby.

The rest of the pregnancy was good once she got feeling better.  Our son Cameron was
born full-term on September 16, 2002, perfectly healthy, with no complications.  The first words out of Chassidy's mouth were, "Oh gosh, he looks just like Kirk!"  

Three weeks later, on October 5th, we were married, but we didn't even marry in a church -- merely through a Justice of the Peace.  It was years before we finally gave our lives over to Christ.

Today, we have an awesome 15 year old son.  Praise God!

However, that decision to terminate our son, even though we didn't go through with it, weighed very heavily on our hearts for many years.  It tore at our hearts.  It made our lives very difficult.  We were angry at ourselves, angry at the doctor, and angry at the decision we had made.  We could barely talk about it.  

We went on to have another child.  This time, Chassidy lost 30 pounds at the beginning of that pregnancy.  But with what we went through with the first pregnancy, we assumed she would be able to fight through it and be okay, and we were right.  Our daughter Caitlin was born March 15, 2004.  

Life went on.  In early 2007, we ended up getting custody of our niece and nephew when they were one and two years old.  We were just happy-go-lucky folks, taking things as they came.

Then in April of that year, we lost everything in a house fire.  Our son Cameron at age three had climbed up high to get a box of matches, lit a match, dropped it on a chair setting fire to the chair, which rapidly spread.  Thank goodness, my wife was able to quickly get all four children out of the house without any of them being harmed.  The rental home burned to the ground.  The only belongings we had were in the car, which included my son's t-shirt that ironically read, "Future Firefighter." Today, we can laugh about that part of it, but at the time, it was devastating.

Shortly after the house fire, we began attending church, knowing we were missing God in our lives.  Initially, it was short-lived.  Again we were away from God, just living our lives.  But then my wife became disabled with RSD -- reflex sympathetic dystrophy, and I ended up getting custody of my 12 year old daughter from a prior relationship.  We knew that all of our children needed more structure and that being in church and growing closer to God would also strengthen our marriage. 

In 2012, I was baptized, but I didn't truly become a follower of Christ until God directed me to build a Christian community group for special needs teens.  God moved my family and me to a land where we didn't know anyone, to build something nobody heard of.  This made my faith in God even stronger.  This situation made me understand that God provides for his children -- that everything we have, everything we go through, is by His grace.  I now understand that God will open the doors when He sees fit, and that everything is on God's timing, not on our timing.  I came to understand that I had been living my life wrong up to this point.

My redefining moment was when I was blessed to have the opportunity to share our abortion testimony at a Catholic Church.  I had been in a non-denominational Bible study -- a men's group, when a priest walked in, believing God had told him to be there that day.  Somehow, I began to share about our experience.  I'd very rarely ever told anyone about this difficult story.  The priest then asked me to share it at his parish, and this was life-changing for me, and for our family.

My son Cameron knows his story now and he's of course thankful that we didn't kill him and
he is very pro-life!  He's even spoken at events with me.

Because we waited so many years to act, we can't go back and thank that person on the sidewalk.  So God put it on our heart to share our story to be a light to others.  Through all of this, God healed our hearts. 

Last year, we wrote a post on our Facebook page Cameron's Chance Pro-life Advocacy.  This post was written to thank the person on the sidewalk and to encourage others:

"We will never know your name. You may not even know that God placed you there to save our son. 14 years ago, you stood on that sidewalk and prayed for us.  It was your prayers that helped save our son.  Words can never express our gratitude for what you have done.  Let the words of this message be a constant reminder of the great work that you do -- to be a reminder that you made a difference.  We didn't know who you were, but you cared for us as if we were your own.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  We are forever grateful. God bless!"

Bio:  Kirk Barker is a husband and father of three, Founder of Cameron's Chance Pro-life Advocacy, and pro-life speaker and blogger for Save The 1.