By Nita Johnson
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Laurel County Life Center Assistant Director Didi Hallman is well versed in knowing the statistics of abortion.
“Every minute, 26 babies are aborted,” she said. “When you compare it with the shootings in Sandy Hook and how terrible that was, with so many young lives lost, there are still more abortions every minute than there were lives taken in that shooting.”
With statistics such as those, Hallman and the volunteers at the Laurel County Life Center are always more than happy to promote the importance of life. In fact, the prayer vigil held on Monday night was to solidify the Sanctity of Life Sunday, which fell this year on January 19.
“We celebrate the Sanctity of Life on the Sunday closest to Jan. 22, which is the date in 1973 when abortion was legalized,” Hallman said. “We focus on the sanctity of human life because we believe God is the creator and He made man and woman in his image, so life is precious to God.”
Hallman added, in the 41 years since the monumental case of Roe v. Wade resulted in the legalization of abortions, more than 55 million babies have died.
That startling fact is another reason that more than two dozen people joined in the prayer vigil at the Life Center’s facility on Monday night.
The choice of adoption over abortion is an aspect for which Gloria and Chuck Inman are extremely grateful. After 12 years of marriage, the couple struggled with infertility and were unsuccessful in having children. They sought out several adoption agencies and were on the waiting list.
When the call came that the Inmans could adopt a child, the couple was elated. At just two weeks old, her adopted son Tyler became a part of the family. After several years and during one of the saddest times of Gloria’s life, a second call came about a baby girl who would join the family.
“My father had died exactly one month to the day that we got the call about Tessa,” Inman said. “It was one of the darkest times of my life.”
But the joy of her children is a blessing that Inman cannot deny. She credits their lives — and her family — to volunteers and counselors who work at Life Center’s such as London’s facility on South Main Street.
“Both Tyler’s and Tessa’s birth mothers were considering abortions,” Inman said. “They were both young and Tessa’s mother said if the volunteer at the adoption agency hadn’t answered the phone at 2 o’clock in the morning and counseled her, she probably would have had an abortion.”
Now a freshman at South Laurel High School, Tessa describes her life as “a great experience.” Through the love and financial stability of her adoptive parents, she has played basketball since age 5, has taken piano and guitar lessons, been involved in gymnastics, and has been active in her church. She is looking forward to performing with her school choir at Carnegie Hall and being a part of her school production of “Shrek the Musical” this spring.
Tessa follows in the footsteps of her brother, who was also a part of his high school choir and also performed at Carnegie Hall.
“Now Tyler is in pre-med school,” Inman said.
For Tessa, being adopted has opened avenues and opportunities that she may never have experienced otherwise. Her experience has prompted her to adopt children in the future.
“I’m blessed to be adopted,” she said. “I would tell my friends, if they were young and got pregnant, to consider adoption.”
“And even if a girl does choose adoption over abortion, the family and the community should support her,” Inman said. “I would like to see people donate more to this center here because if it weren’t for the volunteers who work here, we may never have had Tessa.”