History of Harbor House
Testimony of God's Faithfulness
Karla Eberle, Founder and Director
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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
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.
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.
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
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
with my husband and my friends behind the idea,
God used circumstance to move my plan forward even
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.
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.
1998 Karla Eberle/Harbor House Maternity Home, Inc.
All rights reserved.