ICEJ support of Israeli pro-life efforts brings hope to bundles of joyPublished on: 12.7.2022
By: Laurina Driesse
Sarah, Elora, Anna, and Olene* come from quite different walks of life, yet when faced with an unexpected pregnancy each Israeli woman had an exceedingly difficult choice to make.
Though welcoming a new life is usually a joyful event, for these women the news of pregnancy induced a crisis of fear and panic in lives already overwhelmed by economic insecurity and many other burdens and challenges. Despite this, they chose life for their babies – even though it was far from an easy decision.
Their choices also were not made alone. Each woman sought pro-life counselling and received practical support which helped them make their life-giving decision. The role of the counsellor is critical, since they walk alongside the mothers all through their pregnancy. In addition to receiving emotional healing, these mothers also receive practical help with such baby essentials as a crib and sheets, stroller, and baby clothes as well as vouchers to buy other infant necessities during the first year of their baby’s life. This aid gives them a glimmer of hope, knowing that they are not alone on this journey.
“The ICEJ currently supports some 14 Israeli mothers with babies in their first year of life, and we are so grateful these mothers chose to keep their beautiful little ones who bring such joy,” explained Nicole Yoder, ICEJ Vice President for AID and Aliyah.
Recently, Nicole learned about the mothers’ personal stories and how their babies are doing.
Sarah is a strong-willed and independent 18-year-old currently living with her parents in central Israel. When she was 16 years old, she became pregnant and chose to have an abortion. Not long after this, she ended up in another relationship with a man who turned out to be disreputable and she wound up pregnant once again.
This time, she felt that she was old enough to have a baby and presented this idea to her boyfriend. Unfortunately, he was unsupportive and threatened to leave her, throwing Sarah’s life into turmoil over what to do next. Taking comfort that her mother and grandmother were supportive, Sarah decided to seek help with some Israeli pro-life advocates. Thanks to ICEJ’s sponsorship, she received the love and support she needed to choose life for her baby. Her grandmother was by her side during the complicated birth which resulted in a C-section, and on May 7th her beautiful little boy, Matan, was born.
He was born only a week after her beloved great-grandfather passed away, and Sarah shared with Nicole how this little one is already bringing joy and comfort to her family. Sadly, however, Matan’s father left Sarah and the path he took landed him in jail.
Elora also lives with her parents in a town near Beersheba, in southern Israel. She was just 24 years old when she gave birth to her twins. They recently celebrated their first birthday on April 5th and are both crawling and have some of their teeth in.
Though she is not working at present, Elora is thinking of how she can give her children a good life and hopes to be able to continue with her studies. She is grateful that her parents help take care of the twins, noting, “Without my generous donor’s support and the physical help of my parents, I would definitely have sunk and suffered from depression.”
With the twin’s father living nearly three hours away in Eilat, he rarely visits and when he does, he only stays for an hour. However, his recently expressed interest in becoming more a part of their lives has left her hopeful.
Meanwhile, Anna’s precious little girl, Eliana, is bringing much love and laughter to her family as she babbles away in her own secret little language. She turned one year old on the 18th of June and is already standing on her own, but not yet walking.
Anna has two other small children, ages two and three years old. Sadly, Eliana’s father was violent and abusive to Anna, and she is now left to raise her three children on her own. Although the situation is tough, when asked how she is managing, she tries to remain positive.
“Whoever has faith is not afraid,” Anna assured Nicole.
She is extremely grateful for the love and support that she has received, sharing what an enormous difference it has made in her situation.
Olene is married and her little girl, Alona, recently celebrated her first birthday on May 15th. She wore a new dress for this special occasion. Olene has six other children who all adore their baby sister. However, only two of the other children live with their mother, while the others live most of the time in boarding schools. Her eldest daughter returns home every two weeks to help her mother and to work a little on the weekends.
Immigrating to Israel a few years ago from Ukraine, Olene was filled with hope as she started her new life in the Promised Land. In the past, she experienced two miscarriages and four abortions. While sharing with her counsellor, Olene explained that she feels guilty and ashamed about all of this.
When Alona was five months old, Olene again became pregnant and contacted her counsellor. Although her husband wanted the baby, in the seventh week of her pregnancy, she had another miscarriage.
Olene’s husband is hard-working, and they dream about moving to a bigger home. In the meantime, Olene is currently a stay-at-home mother who is focused on her family. Thankful for the support offered by the ICEJ sponsorship over the past year, she sends a big ‘thank you’ to all the donors who have chosen to help them and strengthen their family!
There is such a huge need to support many more babies here in Israel. It is estimated that every year there are approximately 40,000 abortions nationwide, and last year the State paid for 18,000 of these abortions regardless of the circumstances surrounding this decision.
It also is common that abortions occur with married couples who think they cannot afford another baby.
And in response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade in the United States, the outgoing Knesset just passed a law making it easier for Israeli women to obtain abortions – which means the battle to preserve young lives here is only intensifying. Your generosity is enabling the ICEJ to continue strengthening families and preserving life in Israel! If you would like to join with us, a gift to our ‘Future and a Hope’ Fund will help us offer assistance to many more Israeli mothers with young babies.
[*Names are all changed to protect privacy]