NATHHAN National Challenged Homeschoolers Associated Network

Christian Families Homeschooling Special Needs Children

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CHASK- Reaching Out

By Tom and Sherry Bushnell - Spring 2008


    Our eyes have been opened to the raw grief lonely and confused birth parents feel. Has Jesus put on your heart a desire to do more than just sing songs about helping the hurting or lost?

Through CHASK, we see first hand the results of ordinary people like you stepping out to minister the love of Christ. This blesses us so much!

Living a godly life as an example in our communities is important, but there are CHASK families that have chosen to go beyond their comfort zone. They have risked being made a fool in order to reach out. They have purposely chosen to walk into abortion clinics and hand out brochures. CHASK families walk up to people in grocery stores to share hope. They have walked into hospitals, found the hurting and ministered comfort and shared in their pain and their lives.

Granted, not all of us can leave our homes and reach out like this… but can we invite single moms and dads over for supper and share fellowship? How many of us are able to look past a rejected teen’s shoulder (complete with piercings) and see Jesus beckoning us to love them?
What about our local crisis pregnancy centers? Do they have a name of a mom needing a friend. Offer to take her out to lunch. Listen and share. Meet her needs as you are able or find someone who can. Your resources are so much greater than hers.


Raw Data...
Currently there are over 2,500 pregnancy resource centers us the US meeting the needs of women and providing alternative to abortion.
Yet last year alone, 1,325,610 babies were killed by abortion. Many who could have been saved if someone had spoken up in time to share hope and help. If you think that this is just happening “out-in-the-world”, statistics say that 43% of these women professed to be Protestant. Only 1% of abortions are done for cases of rape, and only 1/2 of one percent for incest. *All statistics are from the Alan Guttmacher Institute (Planned Parenthood’s Research Affiliate.)

This tells me that ministering hope to pregnant moms facing the birth of a baby with special needs is important….even up to the birth of her baby and afterward, not just in the first few months of pregnancy. Grief squeezes the hearts of birth parents. A birth mom may feel trapped, with no hope for the future. If she doesn’t have Jesus to trust, she may decide to terminate the pregnancy, just to relieve the momentary pressure. Family members, the medical community and friends who “hate to see you hurt”, can be a huge deciding factor in a mother’s choice to take the life of her baby.
Many CHASK moms say that they just cannot imagine taking the life of their baby… but remember, our heavenly hope makes all the difference.
Imagine not having Christ’s hand to hold, no grace to carry you through, and the people who love you trying to convince you that choosing life for your baby is a poor decision.

For every 3 babies, 1 is aborted.* To us this means that it is our children, grandchildren, neighbors, and friends’ children, that are becoming pregnant and getting an abortion. I am praying that God will open my eyes to women and teens who are needing help. Most of all needing hope.

Here is a letter from a woman who wrote to CHASK about her own experience about nearly getting an abortion, and how God touched her:
I’ve never been so excited about someone soliciting money than when I received your letter! (Editor’s note: Yes, we do send out fundraising letters. If you want to get a letter from us, send in a donation and you will be added to the mailing list!)
I’d wanted to give from a portion of some Christmas money I received. Your letter was God’s hand delivering an answer.
Nearly 11 years ago, I made the decision to abort my unborn child. While sitting in the clinic, I fainted! Just 15 minutes away from the procedure I changed my mind and was delivered from a life-time of anguish and not knowing my son, Gavin! Today I live, truly transformed by my relationship with Christ. My husband and I have 3 sons: Gavin (10), Brant (7) and Quinn (2). We are in the beginning stages of adopting an orphan. We have even considered a special needs adoption. You ministry and many others have helped renew my thinking to that which is Christ-like, instead of the filth this world offers. It is a privilege and honor to give on behalf of those facing an abortion on demand. Keep up the kingdom work. You are in our prayers.
With Christ’s love,
Alec, Kendra Harnden and the boys!!!
P.S. Your articles help me to live more compassionately toward people with disability. I was raised in a home and church that was always smiling upon those with special needs. God has given me a desire towards those with Down syndrome which was greatly initiated and has grown through NATHHAN. Thanks…

Through CHASK, women have been lead away from doing permanent harm to their bodies, emotions and mental stability. A CHASK mom (who needs to remain anonymous) visits the abortion clinic in her home town every once-in-a-while. She enters the clinic with some CHASK brochures tucked into her purse. She carefully places some CHASK brochures on the waiting room table here and there and then sits down in the waiting room to await her turn to ask some “questions” at the desk. As women come in, she watches them pick up the brochure and read it. She knows that today several woman have been exposed to life choices.
A book I was reading recently told the story of a woman who aborted her baby, after much consideration. She actually felt a close relationship with her unborn baby, but felt she couldn’t handle caring for a baby right then in her life.
Years later, after being married, and giving birth to a baby girl, 7 months later, she became depressed (even suicidal). Thinking off and on about her now dead baby, had not disturbed her severely… until now. The whole situation literally haunted her. She was hardly able to function.
In a mental facility, she was able to get help in at least identifying her desperate need for help. She came into contact with a competent counselor who assisted her in walking through her pain. This was not a Christ-centered book, and the resolution was not a Christian one, where the woman came to know Jesus. In fact, through a set of circumstances, she settled in her mind, by “realizing” that her new baby daughter was the baby that she had aborted.

In spite of the strange ending, this touched my heart. How deeply the sting of abortion touches the deep emotions of women who are unsuspecting. They think that getting rid of the “problem” solves the immediate crisis. But in the long run it does not. It only creates a monster load of pain.

CHASK stories from the last few months.
If only we could leap off this page, and give you all a big hug to say thank you!

The grandmother of a birth mom with mild mental disability, contacted us regarding finding a placement for her great-grandson due in May. This little guy has Down syndrome. They were very open to bigger families and just wanted someone to love him dearly and care for him. 4 CHASK families were willing to share their hearts and homes with him and their CHASK bios were sent to the birth mom to look at. After talking with several families and seeing their joy in the whole idea of raising her son, the young lady decided to try parenting, with her grandma’s help. They are very grateful for CHASK families continued involvement in their lives.
One of the hard things about working with CHASK is learning to let go. That’s right, letting go and letting God manage a hard set of circumstances. This was one of them. We only wish the best for this mentally challenged little birth mom and her precious grandmother who has a heart to help her granddaughter and great grandson with Down syndrome.

A pregnancy care center called us regarding a birth mom with severe eczema. The doctors were insisting that the medication that she takes will make the baby severely handicapped. This brave birth mom has opted to forego the medication for now, although the pregnancy makes the eczema worse. The medication she took may still have had an effect on her baby, but she is unwilling to terminate and has decided to leave the results in God’s hands.

A homeschooling mom called us and counseled with us several times. Her husband left her and her young children, leaving her without a way to make a living and now pregnant with #5. We were able to find a church and church family to comfort her and make a way she could survive and carry her pregnancy without having to work out of the home.

Nancy is a mom who was 5 ½ months pregnant with a baby at the time she called, and has an older child with autism. She is completely overwhelmed and was contemplating an abortion to ease her stress. Thankfully Nancy was able to spend some time counseling with her local crisis pregnancy center. CHASK provided information and one-on-one support for helping her cope with autism and a new baby.

A very sweet NATHHAN mom called us. She had just found out her baby boy had Down syndrome. Already exhausted with the care of 6 children under age 13, including 2 with different special needs, she felt totally overwhelmed. They were strongly looking at the idea of placing him for adoption. Several NATHHAN moms, that have already walked a mile in her shoes, were able to surround her with encouragement and love. The Lord made a way for them to keep their baby.

A mom in TX called with an urgent request. She had been planning on placing her baby for adoption and had been working through an attorney. When it was found out that she had been taking alcohol and drugs during pregnancy, the potential adoptive family declined. Now, days to delivery, she had no family for her baby. The state was looming, waiting to take her baby, considering her now an unfit mother. A CHASK family was found within 24 hours and everything was ironed out. This blessed baby boy will be welcomed at birth into the arms of a loving Christian family that will raise him to love Jesus.

A family in South Carolina spoke a Guatemalan dialect called “Q” and some limited Spanish. (No English) A CHASK family was located that was able to communicate enough with them and counsel them about adoption versus keeping their baby girl, who was going to be born with spina bifida soon. They decided to keep her.
A family in Texas, where the mother spoke only Chinese, needed to decide about whether or not to place their baby who was born with Down syndrome up for adoption. A CHASK family found someone who spoke Chinese and could talk with the birth mom.

A family from India, who also had a baby girl born with Down syndrome, through the help of CHASK, decided to keep their baby! Overcoming huge cultural hurdles, we are very happy for them.

A single mom called us, with tears in her voice. She had just found out that her 29 week old unborn baby had 1 P 36 deletion and cleft lip. She felt that she was not able to care for a baby with special needs. She decided to give her baby life, and chose a CHASK adoptive family for her daughter. (See page 54 for story).

Shaina was planning on giving her baby up for adoption. She worked with an attorney / agency. All was going as planned… until ultra sound revealed that her baby has holoprosencephaly and hydrocephalus. CHASK was able to locate several adoptive families for the birth mom to choose from.

Today, Judy called us from California. A few days ago, she had gone in for an abortion. When they did the routine ultrasound before the abortion, she was found to be too far along to legally do the abortion in her state. She really felt like she was between a rock and a hard place. No abortion. No help. For the last few days, she had been looking for an agency to assist her in finding a home for her baby boy. Because she had been drinking alcohol before she knew she was pregnant, no agency will agree to place her baby. One adoption law firm told her to contact CHASK. Within 2 hours, we had 4 families for her to look at as potential families for her baby.

Because of you, we can confidently say to a birth mom, looking for help so she does not have to abort her baby, “YES! We can find a home for your child, no matter how potentially disabled he / she might be.”

Your generous giving is testimony to the world that Jesus Christ loves grieving birth parents. He has not forgotten them in their time of need and neither have you. Birth moms, who choose life for their baby with special needs of any kind, have an up-hill battle in the medical field. If they do not find out about CHASK, and they cannot parent a child with special needs, then termination, in their minds, may be the only choice.

We are homeschoolers with special needs, with a unique ministry to the unborn with medical concerns. Help us share Christ’s love with families facing disability. Families who do not know our Heavenly Father and Christian parents are both struggling with grief, need the encouragement that only you can give. Jesus lives in you and it is apparent. No longer is “disability” an excuse to kill an unborn baby.

We appreciate your extra kindness in sharing a generous donation right now. There should not be a single child that we turn away, because of lack of funding to answer phones and contact potential adoptive parents.

Your compassion is very much needed today. Perhaps you know of someone who can help you assist birth parents. Get together, pray and ask God to open your eyes to pain and hurt around you in your community. Support those ministries that are meeting the needs of parents facing the idea of disability in their lives for the first time. Let them know that by God’s grace, they will succeed.