This month, we focus on fathers who have shown love and care and have taken responsibility for their wives, girlfriends and children. Many of the women who come to Be’ad Chaim for help are not protected or covered by a man. They are as widows and orphans. They are afraid, alone and often very poor. A survey revealed that the primary reason for abortion for 40% of women was because they were unwed and 12% said that they were pressured by their partners to abort. Another 12% didn’t even tell their partners about the pregnancy. When asked, “If the father of your child had taken responsibility to parent, giving you financial and emotional support, how much would this have influenced your decision to abort?”, 26% said very much and 7.5% said moderately.
What are the laws concerning the rights of a father when his partner is pregnant? None. The baby (fetus) is considered to be part of the mother’s body and the father has no right to decide about his child’s life.
We pray for men to take responsibility for their children, for comfort for men who carry the weight of having pressured their partners to abort, and for those who grieve because they remained silent or found out too late about a pregnancy. “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.” (Malachi 4:5-6)
As I honor fathers, I want to mention the Chairman of our Board, Tony Sperandeo. Recently, we convened for Be’ad Chaim’s Annual General Meeting, during which we voted for our Board and our annual budget. Once again, Tony was unanimously voted to be the Chairman. Since 1988, Tony has been a father to the prolife movement in Israel, a founding member and Chairman of Be’ad Chaim, and a faithful spokesman and protector of the lives of the unborn children.
”As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust."
With a second grader and two very active one year old twins, Henry and Miriam are very busy keeping their boys out of mischief. Henry and Miriam work as a team, both of them cooking (Henry is a professional chef), and taking care of their three boys.
In a previous newsletter, I shared about the tremendous faith and courage of this young couple, who despite doctors’ strongest recommendations to abort at least one of the twins, stood firm for life. The twins were mono-mono- , sharing the same sac, and one of the twins had a cleft lip. They heard statements from the doctors such as:
“This is the type of pregnancy that is a good reason to abort”
“You’re walking a fine line.”
“We’re playing Russian roulette.”
“There’s every chance that both of them will die.”
“Don’t get your hopes up.”
Miriam and Henry trusted God to protect their boys, knowing that whatever happened, they would love them. They couldn’t understand why they should take their twins’ lives rather than give them a chance. The boys, Elchai and Elroy, were born a few weeks early, both healthy, and needed to stay only two weeks in the premature baby ward. Elroy had a slight cleft lip that was repaired with plastic surgery when he was five months old. You can hardly tell the boys apart now! Miriam and Henry say that now that the boys are walking and climbing, the real adventures have begun! (You can read Miriam's whole story on our website.)
Dalia and her husband are happily married but suffer from financial pressures and can barely pay their rent. Her husband, Dov, had worked as a delivery man but after a serious car accident he lost some of the use of his arm and hasn’t been able to work. When the couple found out that they were pregnant, they decided that abortion was the best option, as they could not see how they would be able to support a child with their finances being so strained.
Thankfully, Dalia discovered Be’ad Chaim. She commented how she particularly valued the support her counselor was able to offer and shared that it was thanks to that counselor that they decided to continue their pregnancy. On April 10th, adorable Raz was born to the great joy of her parents. A few weeks after the birth, our offices reopened, and Raz’s father, Dov, came to take clothing from our baby boutique and his voucher to purchase baby necessities. He exuberated with great delight as he told me how much he adores his baby daughter. He shared lots of photos and this video. I thanked him for sharing them with us. He laughed and said that he’s much more than grateful to us for our help. I told him how wonderful it is for me to see him so excited, to which he replied: “Who wouldn’t be?!”
It is a gift to know that our help, with the help of our donors, has made such an impact on this couple who considered abortion because of finances. They were fearful that they couldn’t afford to have a baby, but Be’ad Chaim’s help gave them the confidence to choose life and to enjoy their precious Raz. Dov said that people were always asking, ‘what will you call the baby?’ He’d answer “a secret”. Raz means “secret.”
Ali and Makda are refugees from Eritrea. Ali is one of the most remarkable, hardworking men whom we have seen in our office. Three years ago, we helped this precious couple when Makda was pregnant with twins. After the birth of the twins, Makda's mental health deteriorated and she needed to be hospitalized for a season. When she returned home, she became pregnant again. Despite huge obstacles, the couple decided to continue the pregnancy with our help. Baby girl Arasma was born a year and half ago. Makda subsequently became very ill and has been hospitalized for most of the time since the baby's birth. Ali has been taking care of their four children, a son in first grade, the three year old twins and now toddler Arasma. All of the children are in school or daycare, including afternoon lunch programs, allowing Ali to work all day cleaning homes to support the family. When he comes home, he cooks, bathes and cares for the children. Recently, Makda was released from the hospital, but she is not able to care for herself. Ali must help her dress and take care of her.
His life is difficult, but he is a cheerful, deeply grateful and gracious man. Because of his very difficult situation, donors have agreed to sponsor him in our Operation Moses project for another year, allowing him to receive monthly vouchers to purchase baby items and family needs. The family has also been registered with a food bank so that they can receive meat, vegetables and other staples. A volunteer brings them these items. It is a gift to see men like Ali who are faithful, hardworking and grateful for any kindness to him and his family. Please pray for healing for Makda.
Yarin, a bright child, celebrated her first birthday during the coronavirus lockdown. Her mother, Victoria, had meningitis as a toddler and is disabled, yet she is loving, caring and holds down a job as a daycare assistant. Social workers thought that she wouldn’t be competent to raise a child but she’s proved them wrong. Yarin had been in daycare so that Victoria could return to work after the birth, but when the lockdown started, both she and her partner, Ofer, lost their jobs.
Victoria has been rehired back at her job but Ofer is still looking for employment. Yarin is growing up in a loving home, not far from doting grandparents. She is, however, in need of physical therapy. Although she can sit alone and crawl, she is not able to stand or take any steps. Her legs are not stable enough to balance her weight. Next September, Yarin will be enrolled in a daycare that specializes in children with delays in gross motor function. We covet your prayers for her. Ofer and Victoria work together to care for their precious Yarin. Ofer would often come to the office for our monthly mothers’ meetings to learn more about how to parent his daughter. Although the only father at the meetings, he was not shy and would ask questions and learn all he could. It was always a blessing to see such an involved, caring man.In another month, Victoria and Ofer will be married in a small ceremony. When the corona crisis has passed, they plan to have a larger reception. They have really made a life together and have even succeeded in pooling their limited resources together to purchase an apartment. With her job and disability allowance and his prospects for eventually getting rehired, they feel they can meet the payments and raise Yarin with dignity. They have expressed their gratitude many times throughout the year for the help that they received from Be’ad Chaim. It has been a joy to see them flourish as a family despite obstacles.
Malka is an Orthodox Jewess, married with six children, all teenagers. When she discovered that she was pregnant again, she had been struggling with deep depression and sometimes could not even leave her bed.
Malka’s husband was worried particularly since she had lost a baby in the past and this had been a very traumatic experience for her. He knew she was worried she might lose this baby as well, but she was also apprehensive about the birth itself. She was in desperate need.
Thankfully Malka’s husband made contact with us. The couple met with our caring counselor who assured them of her emotional support and the practical support that they would receive through our Operation Moses project. (A bed, stroller, bath tub, and monthly vouchers to purchase baby items for twelve months after the birth.)
Yonatan was born by C-section on the 16th of April this year. Malka is thrilled but still needs a lot of support. She said that her husband is a huge help, and wakes up at night to keep her company while she nurses their new son. He also cooks for the other children. She feels that she can rely on him and knows that he is in charge. Yonatan has brought even more laughter to the household and his siblings love to play with him.
Ilanit is an Ultra-Orthodox Jewess. Her husband, Aviel, studied at a yeshiva (an institution of Torah study) and didn’t work. Shortly after their wedding, when she was only 19 years old, Ilanit became pregnant with twins. She felt so young and fragile, but in her community, there is no other way of life than to be a young mother and to raise a very large family. This was her new role and she wanted to be the best mother that she could be.
During the pregnancy, Ilanit developed severe arthritis. She spent most of the time in the hospital and was not able to work. Aviel took a break from his yeshiva studies and got a job, hoping to earn enough money to at least pay the rent. In their Ultra-Orthodox society, this is a big sacrifice because the ultimate honor is to devote oneself to Torah study. Usually, it is the women who work and the men study all day. Ilanit heard about Be’ad Chaim and met with a counselor in Jerusalem. She has particularly valued the support and listening ear that her counselor was able to offer. Having someone who listens, cares, and is non-judgmental was a great gift for Ilanit, as was receiving practical help through the Operation Moses program.
Prior to the birth, Ilanit contracted the corona virus. In April, she gave birth while sick. Aviel and Ilanit named their babies Eli and Leah. After the twins were born, she wasn't allowed to see them for four days because she was in isolation. This was the hardest thing for her! She said that she felt useless and humiliated. But Aviel has been there for her – encouraging her and helping with the twins. Now they are all together at home. The family has moved closer to his parents who are helping them financially and with the care of the children.
We are grateful that some restrictions from the corona virus have been lifted so that we can again plant trees in the Gardens of Life. These important Gardens are a place of memorial and honor for unborn children. In recent years, many men and women have come to the Gardens to find healing and comfort after the loss of a child.
Recently, a young Taiwanese journalist visited the Gardens and prayed together with our prayer hostess Laurel. The journalist, Sarah, planted two trees in memory of the two siblings who were aborted by her parents. Although Sarah’s parents do not yet see the wrong in abortion, Laurel and Sarah prayed for them to find God’s love and forgiveness.