Imagine being a nanny and taking the night off. You’re
dropped off at the movies but your ride is drunk and
can’t pick you up. So you start walking to a home quite
a distance away. It’s late, around midnight, and you’re
walking as fast as possible. But not fast enough to escape
eight young men on a street corner in St. Louis. That’s
what happened to my mother, Ann, in 1956.
She finally made it home after being beaten and raped by
each man. Not telling anyone, she packed her bags and
headed back home to her parents. Three months later she
learned she was pregnant.
Being well aware she was carrying nothing less than a
baby—her baby—Ann was determined to give birth. She
was horrified to hear her doctor say, “I can take care of it for
you,” even when abortion wasn’t legal. She stood her ground
and informed him he would not "take care of it.” As a result
her mother refused to believe she’d been raped. Who could
possibly want a child of a rapist? My grandmother wanted
me dead. Like many women in similar circumstances, Ann
was pressured to abort but refused.
My mother is my hero. She gave birth on Valentine’s Day
1957, placing me for adoption. Secretly allowed to see me
twice a day, she held and loved me for two weeks. At three
months I was adopted by a couple who couldn’t have
children. Like most daughters, I became a “Daddy’s girl.”
They always told the story of my dad seeing me for the
first time. They wanted a boy, but when my Dad saw me
he immediately took me into his arms and refused to give
me back. A WWII veteran who watched the flag raised at
Iwo Jima, Daddy was my personal hero, too.
I was wanted, loved, and given the gift of three loving
parents thanks to a woman who understood the gift of life.
In 2005 our eyes met again and she told me her story. As I
wept for her she patted my shoulder and said, “Honey, stop
your crying. I’ve forgiven those men, and look what God has
done. He’s brought you back to me.” She had prayed for 48
years for my return.
My adoptive parents are deceased and my birthmother’s
only other child died in 2010. So as mother and child we
have only each other now. I’ve never met anyone who
regrets giving life but I have met many who regret taking
it. I am forever grateful.
Juda Myers heads the nonprofit organization CHOICES4LIFE
whose mission is to educate society about the worth of every
human life and to restore respect to women who chose life
after conceiving in rape. She believes that, “Women are
strong enough to love their children even in cases of rape.”