The mother of a former Heisman Trophy winner and current National Football League standout is coming to town to share her life-affirming message of hope.
Years ago, doctors advised Pam Tebow to terminate her pregnancy for medical reasons. Tebow stood on her Christian beliefs and carried the child to term. That child is New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow, one of today's most well-known national sports celebrities, giving his mother a national platform in which to share her testimony of faith.
Dierdre McCool, executive director of Deaconess Pregnancy and Adoption Services, said Pam Tebow was chosen as guest speaker of the agency's 2012 Angels of Destiny fundraiser luncheon Sept. 20 because her story is similar to that of many women and families experiencing unplanned or unintended pregnancies.
“We run across women whose doctors have recommended abortion either because of sexual assault, medication or special needs,” McCool said.
She said the agency touts adoption as an alternative to abortion and “there's not ever been a child that we haven't been able to place for adoption.”
A longtime mission
McCool said Deaconess Pregnancy and Adoption Services began as a Free Methodist outreach to unwed mothers and orphans in Indian Territory.
She said a group of Free Methodist women started the Holmes Home of Redeeming Love, in Guthrie, to support and shelter unwed mothers and their children.
McCool said the home eventually was connected to Deaconess Hospital in Oklahoma City. She said the hospital and the pregnancy and adoption services agency are no longer intertwined but both continue to share a ministry focused on aiding individuals in the community.
McCool said the unwed mothers who were cared for in those pre-statehood days and for years afterward were outcasts who were often denied an education and a chance to improve their lives.
“They were really marginalized by society,” she said. “The goal of the (Free Methodist) women really was to provide an alternative for them, to give them an education and to affirm them.”
McCool said that same caring approach is used for the agency's current clients, who are given life-affirming information about adoption as a viable option for their circumstances.
“When people interact with our staff they realize that we're very woman-focused and we're there to help with their needs,” she said.
A metro area woman who preferred to be called only by her first name, “Jacque,” said she experienced the center's care firsthand.
She said several years ago, she was drugged and raped and found herself pregnant as a result of the sexual assault. “Jacque” said she made an appointment to have an abortion but changed her mind in the doctor's office.
“I was crying. I said ‘I can't do this,'” she said, her eyes filling with tears.
The young woman said she was raised in a Christian home and she decided to tell her parents, one of whom directed her to the Deaconess agency. The son she gave birth to three years ago was adopted by a family she helped choose for him.
“Jacque” said she initially was reluctant to get attached to her child, but through adoption counseling, she learned “what a beautiful thing adoption was. They were with me every step of the way.”
She said she spent several days at the hospital with her newborn and has an ongoing relationship with his adoptive parents.
“I really feel like babies are God's gift, regardless of how he's conceived. He has purpose,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Corcorans of Norman were on the receiving end of an adoption just as recently as eight months ago.
Curtis and Beth Corcoran already had six adopted children when they got a call about baby Silas, a black infant with Down syndrome.
The Corcorans, who are white, said the child's race and special needs did not matter to them, only that he needed a home and they had a loving one they could provide for him. Through the Deaconess agency, the couple took Silas home about a week after his birth.
The couple said his adoption, their seventh, feels right and they have made connections with his birth family members so that he will get to know them.
Beth Corcoran, 32, a stay-at-home mom, said Silas has had two surgeries due to a heart condition but he is thriving now.
“He's a real blessing, a wonderful baby,” she said.
The couple said their church, Trinity Baptist Church in Norman, is full of families that have adopted children.
“I think as Christians we are advocates of it because it's very obvious that the Bible calls us to take care of orphans,” Beth Corcoran said. “It's a beautiful picture of what Christ did for us.”
Curtis Corcoran, 30, an information technology specialist at Chesapeake Energy, agreed.
“As Christians, how can we not see our part in that? There's so much need out there, a lot of hurt in the world and a lot of kids need homes.”
McCool said funds raised through the agency's fundraiser luncheon will help the organization develop future programs, including the development of a plan for finding homes for an increasing number of older children being placed for adoption.
She said she thinks this increase is the result of more grandparents trying to raise grandchildren and finding it too difficult for health or other reasons. She said troubled economic times, to some degree, may play a role, as well.
“Our desire is to find great homes for these kids,” McCool said.
“We're trying to be very proactive and visionary in what we do and how we meet the needs of the community.”