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The History of Harbor House


 A Testimony of God's Faithfulness

    by Karla Eberle, Founder and Director

Preface ||  1  ||  Chapter 2  ||  3  ||

Chapter 2

DAWN, WHOM I HAD BECOME FRIENDS WITH at the home, had been praying that I would not deliver my baby until I had made the commitment to turn my life over to Jesus and to follow him. Two weeks past my due date, on a Friday night, I did just that. If I had known that that was all that it would take to deliver, I would have done it much earlier!

I don't remember a lot of the labor and delivery except that it went quickly. There were no flowers in my room, and no visitors to see me or the baby. I was not allowed at first to see or hold my son because that was the hospital's policy on adoption. It was such a lonely time. I finally got to hold him just before I left the hospital. It was so neat. I named my son Joey, and a few days later I left the hospital with him.

While in the hospital I remember phoning my mother to let her and my dad know that I had had the baby. They questioned me as to whether or not I still wanted to go through with the adoption. That was the first time that it hit me-I didn't want to place my firstborn son for adoption. There was so much pain. There was the pain of knowing that this is what I needed to do, and the pain that my heart felt as I got ready to say goodbye to my son.

Joey and I returned together to the maternity home. We got to spend about three days together. My parents came to take me home, while Joey stayed behind, then went on to his new home the following Tuesday. The coming Sunday was Easter and I had wanted to be home with my family for that holiday. But at the same time, I felt so guilty for leaving my son, and for leaving him in a hospital for his first holiday. What kind of mother would abandon her son on Easter?

I felt a great deal of guilt, but I knew too that the guilt wanted to grow into an excuse not to ever leave. I needed to go and to just do it. So I didn't even tell my parents that the baby was in the building, and they never got to see their first grandchild. I was having a hard time being strong and didn't see how I could answer any more questions. With my arrival back at the maternity home, many had come to me and said, "What a cute baby!" and asked "Are you sure that you want to do this?" The questions bothered me. I wished that everyone would leave me alone and just let the decision be done. New York's law would not allow me to sign the finalization papers on that day before I left, so mom and I had to return to sign about a week later. Then there was only a picture of my son there for me to have.

I remember signing the papers and at that exact time feeling such a deep, strong feeling that I was doing the wrong thing. It was as if an inaudible voice said "No-don't do this!" How Satan loves to deceive us. He knew that God could use this sacrifice very powerfully in my life and the lives of many others if I would be obedient to God.

When returning to my home town I still did not tell anyone of the pregnancy. I carried this deep dark secret all alone so I would not tarnish the family reputation. I was well into my senior year before I finally confessed that I had a son and that I had made an adoption plan. These things that happened were so significant in my life. I thought at the time that God allowed this pregnancy to bless another family with a child that they would not otherwise have had.

The next year I went away to college in Toledo and got involved with a group of people there working to open and operate a crisis pregnancy center. Again I felt the feeling-"this is God's purpose." It was not until college that I told the baby's father of his child (today the law is different and an adoption cannot be done without the father's knowledge). He was very hurt, he had lost something that he never had the opportunity to know he had.

It was not until after I returned home from college and I met my husband Doug and we were married, that we were faced again with what God wanted for our lives. We both had a passion to serve him.

In 1990, after attending a pro-life march in Washington D.C., I felt compelled to get involved with crisis pregnancies again. We had seen so many people marching and carrying signs during one weekend in April, but what were people doing the rest of the time to help young girls to not have an abortion? It was a question that troubled both of us. After we were home the tug continued on my heart.

I had trouble sleeping. A few weeks later, for three straight nights in a row, I woke up from my sleep feeling certain that I should start a maternity home. I talked to Doug about it, not sure how he would take it, and he told me I should write out a plan. And so I did. It is amazing the things God can do.

As my plans came together, I shared them with two special women in my life. I thought that they would tell me how crazy I was and that I was silly for doing this. But those words didn't come, only encouragement and support.

Now with my husband and my friends behind the idea, God used circumstance to move my plan forward even more.

One of the two womenwhom I shared my plan with, a friend named Karla Rieth, was at the time serving as an officer of the local Mercer County Right-to-Life organization. She encouraged me to take my plan and present it at the monthly meeting.

Right-to-Life operated a 24-hour crisis hot-line as well as other assistance through a service called Abortion Alternatives, that was handled by a loving local couple named Tom and Marilyn Rable. They took calls in their home at all hours of the day and night. Many, many times they provided girls in distress the needed comfort and support, and if necessary even housed them temporarily. They had done this for an unbelievable 17 years, ever since the Roe vs. Wade decision first legalized abortion nationwide.

Tom and Marilyn attended the June 1990 meeting where I presented my plan. But before I nervously stood up and made my presentation, Tom stood himself and made an announcement. He and Marilyn couldn't keep Abortion Alternatives running any longer. A family member needed attention with some health issues, and something had to give way in their schedule. The hot-line would need to be shut down. Tom had not known my reason for being there that night. God had, as always, timed it perfectly.

Preface ||  1  ||  Chapter 2  ||  3  ||

© 1998 Karla Eberle/Harbor House Maternity Home, Inc. All rights reserved.

Related Links

Ordinary Miracles: True Stories of an Extraordinary God Who Works in Our Everyday Lives
by Rebecca Montgomery, details the story as given to the author. Available through Amazon.com

Gibbons Hospital

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