I Was an Unwanted Fetus

Today’s my birthday. On May 25th I wrote about my spiritual birth in 1969 when God gave me a new heart via faith in Christ. But today is my physical birthday.

I was adopted as a newborn by Evan and Juanita Barley. As I heard the story, the arrangements were made before my birth. Presumably some girl in Houston was carrying an unwanted fetus. At that time, it was illegal for women to hire abortionists to kill their children. I have no idea whether or not my natural mother would have done such a thing if it had been an option. Certainly a “girl in trouble” would experience many conflicting emotions, including fear, and could at least feel a strong temptation to do whatever was necessary to address the situation. This is especially true if older counselors assure her that the baby is not a baby and the beating heart is not beating and that little Kevan would be better off dead–if he were alive, but he really isn’t, so it’s okay to kill him, uh, it. But, I thank God, that’s not how it was in those days, before the slaughter of the forty million began in 1973.

My adoptive parents are both deceased now. They were somewhat older than the average couple that has babies. On the other hand, I assume that my natural mother was somewhat younger than average–perhaps seventeen. That would put her in her mid-to-late sixties now.

I’ve never felt a desire to “connect” with my natural parents. My adoptive parents are my parents, and they’re all the parents I’ll ever need. But I’ve sometimes felt sorry for my natural mother. If she’s still living, this is the 49th time she’s looked out the window, or off into the sky, or maybe back toward downtown Houston, and remembered the Friday night when she passed through the valley of the shadow of death in order to bring me into the world, and wondered what her boy is doing on his birthday. She doesn’t know that he looks just like his “father,” has an IQ in the genius range, earned two masters degrees and a Ph.D., works in six languages, has played in a symphony orchestra, acted in plays, sung in choirs, pastored churches, and repaired toilets. She wonders about his wife and kids. She wonders if it turned out okay.

All she knows is that she’s glad, too, that she gave me life instead of death. She hopes that I know that she’s never missed my birthday. She hopes I understand why she gave me up.

And she probably sings a quiet little “Happy Birthday dear Kevan” when nobody is around.

Thanks, Mom.


  1. this is probably the 3rd or 4th time I have read this and it still makes me cry. You are one of the finest human beings on this planet and I am certain if she could know you, she would be so proud. I know I am proud to have been "picked" also to be in the same family as you. We were both lucky! I love you.

  2. Richard Froggatt says

    Happy belated birthday.

    God Bless,

    In JMJ, Richard

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