Come back with me a few years to 2010 and sit in my office as I innocently returned a call to Michael Moore, a man I did not know. Little did I realize how dramatically my world would change in the following moments:
“Thank you for calling me back, Mrs. Noble, I have a personal matter I would like to discuss with you dating all the way back to 1970. I’ve been trying to find my birth-mother . . . and your name came up in my search.”
This startling statement knocked me off my feet. In 1970 I was a single graduate student, desperately trying to end my pregnancy. As I collapsed back in my office chair I wondered—could this man be the baby who survived my two abortion attempts and was placed for adoption?
Just days before this phone call, a young man called, “Mom!” during the night, and I felt led to pray, “Lord, help my son,” thinking of my grown sons. Was this man’s search for his birth-mother an answer to that prayer?
For forty years, I had kept this secret from those around me. Now as I faced my past once again, I prayed God would redeem that dark time and take away my shame and fear. In answer to my prayers, He did much more. . .
The young man’s voice sounded urgent.
“What is it, son? Are you in trouble?” I spoke out loud in the dark room as I sat bolt upright in bed. It was a Thursday night in October of 2010.
Where did that voice come from? I wondered. Immediately, the thought came that it might be a prompting to pray for our younger son, Clark, a Marine helicopter pilot on deployment in the Middle East. But it also could have been our older son, Mark, who was in school in another state studying physical therapy.
“Lord, help my son! Lord, please help my son. Lord, please help my son.”
On my knees beside the bed, the frantic prayer gushed out over and over. When the prompting began to subside, I glanced at my husband. He was still sound asleep. Exhausted, my face wet with tears, I lay down, and eventually dropped off to sleep.
As soon as I awoke the next morning the voice in the dream came to mind. What was that about? Why had I prayed, “Lord, help my son,” instead of using their names? I usually do not dwell on my dreams, but that voice and my response felt unusually vivid. It must have meant something important, but what?
I entered the phone number. It was routine; just like any call return. But this was to be no ordinary conversation. At that moment, I had no idea how fundamentally my life was about to be turned upside down.
“Mr. Moore, this is Elizabeth Noble returning your call from this morning.”
“Mrs. Noble, thank you for calling me back,” he said in a very polite voice. “I have a personal matter I would like to discuss with you dating all the way back to 1970.”
My thoughts swirled. 1970. What could this be about? The voice was obviously a younger man. What could he have to discuss with me from forty years ago? Oh, God! 1970!
“I have been trying to locate my birth-mother and your name turned up in my search. I would like to talk with you about that, if you are willing.”
“If you do not want to talk with me, you can choose to hang up now,” he added.
I collapsed back into my desk chair. I tried to respond, but I could only manage to stammer something about calling him back after work.
Michael said, “The first thing I meant to say to you is, thank you for bringing me into the world. I am so glad to be alive. God was good to me, placing me with Momma and Daddy. They have given me a wonderful home and have been great parents. I’m also grateful for my wife and marriage and my beautiful children. At one point I was afraid we might have to adopt. I was desperate to have offspring of my own so I would have someone I was really related to.”
I knew I could not take credit for bringing him into the world. I swallowed hard and pressed on to the subject that was making my heart feel heavy.
“Michael, maybe I should not tell you this, but I feel I need to be honest with you. The reason you were premature was I had attempted a late-term abortion.”
I braced myself for his response.
“But, thankfully, by the grace of God, you survived.”
Michael looked into my eyes. “It does not matter,” he said. “It’s okay. I knew that trying to find you might reveal some things I really did not want to know. I have been prepared for that. The non-identifying information from the state adoption reunion registry was compiled by a social worker. She mentioned an abortion attempt in her summary notes. That was probably more than she should have included in her report, but I’m glad I had that information in advance. So I knew a little bit about that already. But it just does not matter.”
He put his hand on mine. “God has forgiven and redeemed all that,” he continued gently, “and you shouldn’t worry about it anymore. The important thing is I’m alive and healthy. I’ve had a good life and I’m just so glad to finally meet you.”