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Our unplanned family

Thank you to Ken and Pearl Van Dellen for sharing their family’s story with us.

Published on Feb. 27, 2017 - When we held our family gathering just before Christmas this year, my wife, Pearl, and I were struck by something stunning for which we are very grateful. Every one of our descendants resulted from adoptions following unplanned pregnancies.

Below are two photos showing all of them. We used these on our Christmas cards and letters this year.

Here is the family of our daughter, Lisa, and her husband, Greg. Pearl and I adopted Lisa from Bethany Christian Services, while Greg’s parents adopted him from a different agency. Lisa and Greg are both Calvin College alumni. Greg is CFO of a medium-sized manufacturing company and Lisa has long been a caregiver for intellectually challenged adults.

Their children are: Ally (Rice University 2015), employed by Baylor University School of Medicine; Austin (Hope College 2016), employed by an accounting firm in Denver; Drew (Kalamazoo College 2017), member of the 2016 U.S. Paralympic Soccer Team in Rio, where he scored the winning goal from midfield in the last four minutes of their final game; and Anna (Hope 2019).

This family of three is our daughter, Kara, and her husband John, with son Ian. We adopted Kara from Bethany Christian Services about two and a half years after Lisa, and John’s mother was also adopted. John is an Aquinas College alumnus and Kara is a Calvin College alumna. Kara and John are both high school teachers with master’s degrees. Ian is still in high school, but we expect great things of him.

Of course, it is wrong to put a greater value on one human life over another, but, as proud parents and grandparents, Pearl and I believe that the world would be a poorer place without anyone in our family.

Lisa, Kara, Greg, and John’s mother were all born as a result of unplanned pregnancies before the “right to choose…” was discovered, and it stuns us to think that had Roe v. Wade occurred only a few years earlier, some or all of our descendants might have been conceived by women who could legally choose to abort them. Thank God that didn’t happen.

We hope and pray that many future women with unplanned pregnancies will choose life for their unborn children rather than choosing that other horrible alternative.

When Lisa was in 7th or 8th grade, she learned about abortion. That led her to give an oral report to her school class about adoption and abortion, which she closed with, “I’m glad my birth mother didn’t abortion me.” We wonder how often our daughters think of that.

This photo shows our daughters on Kara’s first night in the big bed at around 18 months. These girls aren’t blood relatives, but they’re real sisters to this day. It’s hard to think that kids with backgrounds like these are ending up in dumpsters.

If you’d like more information about adoption or want to find an adoption agency near you, visit our pregnancy help page here.

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