By Sherian Wilsher-Berteau
My name is Sherian Wilsher-Berteau. Some of you knew my dad, John Wilsher, he was a deacon here. He oversaw the building and was the first hospital administrator of what is now Baptist Hospital. My mom is Lorree Wilsher and my sister Vicki Turner, both Godly women. My family have been longtime members at FBC. I grew up in Fernandina Beach and this church starting when it was downtown.
I come before you with a very personal story of why we all must fight for the rights of the unborn. When I was 19, I was in college and in a relationship with my high school sweetheart. We had been together for several years, even discussing engagement and marriage. He was my first love. While in college, our relationship became sexual and I became pregnant. Being young and naive, I did not realize I was pregnant for several months. I knew something was off, so during spring break I went to our family doctor and he confirmed I was pregnant. I immediately told my boyfriend, and his response was to question the paternity and abandon me. So, I was left to deal with this on my own and go home to tell my parents. Understand this was 1972 and abortion was not yet legal. A girlfriend of mine knew a doctor that performed abortions, and though I was frightened and not at all convinced that was what I wanted, I agreed to go to the appointment she set up. I know God was always looking after me, because after the doctor examined me he determined I was further along than I looked and it might be risky. That was all I needed to hear and jumped up and ran out of there. I dropped out of college, and went home to have my baby. I’m sad to tell you at that point in time, our pastor, church family at FBC and many family friends shamed and shunned me. I am glad that attitudes have changed and become more compassionate. I have never understood why Society does not hold the fathers responsible, but are willing to totally blame unmarried mothers.
After much soul searching I decided with my parents to put the baby up for adoption because I did not feel I was mature enough or financially able to raise a child on my own. Thank God I had a loving and supportive family, because it was a trauma that affected me and my family throughout my life. We were all heartbroken by this difficult situation that I had gotten myself into. And to make matters worse, the father returned home (we both grew up here in FB), denied he was responsible, and proceeded to spread lies about me and our relationship.
I had a healthy, beautiful baby boy on August 5, 1972, that was adopted through a private attorney in Jax that my dad knew. At that time, birth mothers were not allowed to see or interact with the baby or know who the adoptive parents were, everyone was kept anonymous. But my mom did sneak me into the hospital nursery so I could see him before he was taken.
In August of 2010 my husband received a certified letter from Tampa addressed to me at my home while I was in NC. He called me to ask if I knew anything about, which I didn’t, so I told him to open and read. Much to our surprise it started out “ you don’t know me, but I think you are my birth mother….” I had joined online sites that helped connect birth parents and adoptees, but he succeeded in finding me first after 38 years! We both got very emotional, but rejoiced at the news. My husband had known about my story since we got engaged back in 1982. My son and I spoke on the phone and thru emails and agreed to meet as soon as we could. My prayers were answered when we met and I saw that he looked like a combo of me and my dad, not his birth father! We now have a close, happy relationship and see each other as often as we can. He is happily married to a wonderful woman and they have 3 grown boys. His adoptive parents were very encouraging and supportive and I have met with them several times too over the years.
Now, my dad passed away in 2009, so he never got to meet Jay. But, during a later conversation with his adoptive mother, she told me the hospital nursery accidentally left the ID bracelet on him with my last name “ Wilsher” on it, which she saved and later told our son. Then Jay told me he used our last name to search online and actually found me through my dad’s obituary! So Dad was helping connect us from Heaven! God is so good!
While my story has a happy ending, I know many don’t. It would have been easy to let this destroy me- but with my loving mother, and Gods grace, I survived. I also want any woman that hears this to know, you can get past this hurt and go on to have a happy life. I met and married a wonderful man, ( for 41 years now-we have 3 great adult kids, and 3 grandchildren! God truly does turn ashes to beauty.
I have great sympathy and compassion for all women that go thru the difficulties of an unplanned pregnancy. I have even more compassion for the women that decide they have no alternative but abortion. No matter the current social acceptance, the sadness and trauma of abortion for women is downplayed by Abortion centers, our culture, and most political leaders.
Don’t be fooled by the word smithing that goes on by calling abortion “Reproductive Healthcare,” when in fact it’s the exact opposite of healthcare! “We should be in control of our own bodies,” when in fact, if we were really in control of our bodies, there would be no unplanned pregnancies! Or, the “my body, my choice” when in fact it’s a child , not a choice- another separate human being formed and created by God.
These are my personal views-not necessarily the views of The Nest, but I cannot understand, in this day and time when there are many forms of birth control readily available why we are still having millions of abortions. Please understand that in no way am I advocating that it’s God’s intention for us to have sex outside of marriage, even though I made that choice. But we also have to face the fact that it is a widespread reality in our world. Even though sex outside marriage goes against Gods Laws, personally, I would much rather have sexually active women have access to birth control to prevent unwanted pregnancies than to have to make the painful choice of giving up a child or abortion.
I know this is a hard and personal subject. But as Christians, we must do a better and do a more compassionate job of counseling and supporting all women who are in this situation. We must also do more to stand up and let our voices be heard for the Sanctity of Human Life and support Women’s centers like The Nest. We need to understand when a woman has an abortion, she is not just ending that child’s life-she is eliminating generations of potentially world changing humans.
I pray everyday hearts and minds will be changed, and on demand abortions will be called what they really are-Generational Genocide. Giving up your child for adoption is very difficult and life-changing, but abortion is life-ending. Each God-Given life is fragile and precious, and we must protect each one. May God guide and direct women going through this-and may He forgive our country for our part in this genocide of generations.
Thank you for allowing me to tell my story-I hope it helps any family going through this. Trust God-His timing is perfect, and His grace is sufficient and His Mercy, abundant.
The views expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal Florida