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Exchanging palm trees for stately oaks, I deposited my firstborn child at a respected evangelical college this summer. It was an outcome nestled in the farthest reaches of my imagination when I was a pregnant college student 20 years ago. Dark, hopeless thoughts assaulted me throughout that pregnancy. I envisioned myself impoverished and alone or, in rare sunnier moments, as a bohemian heroine of sorts, dragging my grateful child along on my adventures. Still, I decided to keep my biracial baby after the counselor at the home for unwed mothers advised me to put him up for adoption. She said, "You're going to marry a doctor or lawyer someday, and what will his friends think?"

Though I was completely inadequate to the task before me, I didn't ever want my child to think I had given him up for adoption because of the color of his skin. So I determined to become the parent he deserved.

When he was a month old, I was accepted, at my interview, into Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia. As the admissions officer urged me never to stop painting, I glimpsed my mother across the street walking the baby in the stroller, and I knew instinctively that I didn't have it in me to both be a mother and pursue a dream in a distant city. These experiences were the seedbed of authentic faith as I began to surrender to love.

'Same Mom; Different Dads'

Not long after, an unlikely prince rode into our lives. I find it nearly impossible to separate the Lord's redemptive work from my husband's powerful love. He didn't make the mess, but he also didn't shrink from entering into the fray the way some men do—those who, despite their own sins, run from the consequences inflicted upon the women and children they leave. His lavish devotion ...

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A Laughing Child in Exchange for Sin
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In the Magazine

February 2004

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