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Aug 25, 2015

When Jessica Mullen began doing sidewalk counseling outside of abortion clinics, she was surprised by how little adoption was considered or even presented as an option for women facing an unplanned pregnancy. Most women she encountered saw their options as abortion or parenting, and many weren’t financially or emotionally ready to parent. On the pregnancy counseling side, Jessica heard the “Choose life!” message loud and clear without a clear plan to help prepare women to parent. She was surprised that neither side seemed to be talking about adoption as a third option.

In 2014, Jessica founded OptionAdoption, a Charlotte, North Carolina, ministry that seeks to present adoption as a viable, life-giving option for women facing an unplanned pregnancy.

“Beyond telling women to ‘choose life,’ we need to be ready to meet their other needs,” Jessica said. “When a woman does choose life, we talk to her about her options if she can’t parent. We want to take abortion off the table and replace it with adoption. Parenting and adoption are two life-giving options that glorify God. That’s what drives us.”

According to OptionAdoption, about two percent of abortion-minded women choose adoption, and Jessica believes this statistic could change if more women understood what adoption is all about. Education is big part of the ministry’s mission.

"Unless someone has adopted or placed a child for adoption, they often don’t know how to talk about it," Jessica said. "When we counsel with women [who are] considering abortion, 90 percent of the time they think we’re talking about foster care. Sometimes they themselves experienced foster care, and they don’t want that for their child. Most have no idea they could make an open adoption plan.”

Jessica’s own adoption experience sparked her vision for the ministry. After years of infertility, she and her husband pursued adoption. Their daughter’s birthmother was young and scared when she discovered she was pregnant, and she had considered abortion. Knowing how close Jessica came to never knowing her daughter moved her to take her faith from the protected comfort of church Bible studies and small groups to the front lines of ministry where daily life and death decisions were taking place.

“God is bigger than any circumstance that we find ourselves in—nothing is too big for Him,” Jessica said. “Just like the women OptionAdoption counsels, I’ve been in situations that felt so big that I didn’t know how I could ever get out of it. God sees us in those moments of desperation, and He always makes a way out.”

Listen as Jessica shares more about OptionAdoption with Kris Fassee, Bethany Christian Service’s senior vice president for clinical operations.

Bethany's Every Child audio podcast engages leading voices from ministries, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and the arts to discuss issues relevant to children and families. Topics often include child welfare, family preservation, social justice, and culturally appropriate social services in developing countries.