Though Christina Beahan grew up in a big Polish/Dutch family in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the road that got her there was not a straight one.
Christina was born Maria Clara Mora in Medellin, Colombia, to a poor maid who was unable to care for her. As a result, her birth mother brought her to an orphanage run by nuns who cared for her for 14 months, until the Beahan family arranged to adopt her in 1983.
During an interview on “Christopher Closeup,” Christina said she always knew she was adopted. Part of that had to do with the fact that she didn’t physically look like the rest of her family. She recalled skinning her knee at the age of three and telling her grandmother, “Look, Grandma, inside we’re all the same color.”
Yet none of the Beahans ever made her feel like she didn’t belong. She said, “My mom is one of 10 kids, and all my aunts and uncles live pretty much in the Grand Rapids area, and all my cousins. So everybody was really close, Outside of the obvious differences of skin color, there was nothing that would have ever made me feel like I didn’t belong there.”
The knowledge that she was adopted also never bothered Christina. Instead of resenting her mother for giving her up, she says she is grateful for the beautiful sacrifice she made in giving her the opportunity of life with a loving family.
Christina’s parents showed her love, emphasized the importance of education, and grounded her in the Catholic faith by going to church as a family every weekend, praying at every meal, and sending her to Catholic school.
That spiritual part of her life has continued into adulthood as Christina, now a single mother of three, gives talks on behalf of the Birthline Lifeline Ministry in the Diocese of Palm Beach. The group provides sonograms and counseling to women that are in crisis pregnancies.
Why did she get involved since she already has a full plate with parenting, work and school? A man named John Wynne gave a talk at her church one weekend about his own experience as an adopted child. He encouraged others who had been adopted to share their stories to better promote its positive effects.Christina says, “I definitely think [adoption] should get more press. I’m a grown woman and I’m very blessed that I was adopted and had this great life. And giving people another option instead of having to think about abortion [is important]. I think that if they pushed adoption, more people would look into it.”
Christina admits that she even considered giving her third child, a son, up for adoption because she wasn’t sure she could support him. Things worked out, however, and now she’s grateful that she’s raising her son herself. Regarding motherhood, she says, “When my first daughter was born, I looked at her and I could not believe this amazing, beautiful thing that came from God – that I gave birth to this child. I was so in awe and so in love with these sweet children when they came into my life. Motherhood has made me a stronger person in general.”
Prayer and faith are the cornerstones of Christina’s life, getting her through difficult times. She says, “I hold on to the promises that are in the Bible, that God is always here with us, and He’s always taking care of us, even when bad things come and even when times get really hard and you don’t know if everything’s gonna work out…It all works out in its own time. I’ve definitely experienced that, being a single parent.”
Christina also has a message for everyone who might be going through an unplanned pregnancy: “I’ve had friends that have gone through it. The child is a blessing, whether you planned it or not. It’s either a blessing for you, or it’s a blessing for somebody else. There’s always somebody out there that is looking to adopt, that wants children to love. Open your heart up for this child or open your heart enough to give the baby up adoption.”
(To hear my full interview with Christina Beahan, click the podcast link:)
Christopher Closeup podcast – Kerry Weber, Part 2, and Christina Beahan
(Graphic via Bowman Family Adoption Fund)