Part 1 of 2
Editor's note: This is the first of two articles on Kim Hayes's experience walking with one family over decades after first serving them in pregnancy help.
Starting in 1991 I volunteered at Pregnancy Distress Center (later renamed Pregnancy Decision Help Center - PDHC) in Ohio. While I thought this was scary “front line” work, a client I would meet in 1994 would challenge my perception.
The day I met Martin and Shaomin started like any other, but now I envision a smile on Jesus’ face as He understood what would be accomplished through the Holy Spirit in our lives.
As I drove into the PDHC office that day, Focus on the Family’s radio broadcast featured former abortion provider Carol Everett.
At the time Heartbeat International’s office was adjacent to ours and a nurse, Judy Schell, was working there that day. We chatted about Everett and the powerful work she was doing as our day started.
The first clients of the day emerged, a Chinese couple. Language issues were immediately evident because I only speak English.
“My wife need a pregnancy test,” stated Martin.
We worked together through the client intake sheet with Martin communicating questions to his wife Shaomin in Chinese, and then relaying an answer to me.
Inquiring about past pregnancies Martin responded, “We have one child, she is in China. Also, my wife have three abortions.”
My heart sank as I asked about their plans should her pregnancy test be positive and he answered, “Oh, she must have an abortion.” They both were smiling at me as if we were talking about the weather.
Later, I would learn how either no information or false information was given to them with previous pregnancies that were government mandated to end in abortion. At this point I prayed the pregnancy test would be negative, but two bands appeared quickly.
I prayed, “Lord, there already is a little one here; a little one that must be protected. But how?”
Judy saw me emerge from the testing room and observing my face, she asked, “Kim, are you okay?”
“No, this test is positive,” I shook my head. “I have to go in there and somehow convince them that the financial problems they see are not as important as the little one they cannot see. Besides that, she’s already had three abortions.”
Having given her a recap of the language issues and their apparent disconnect with the reality of what an abortion does, Judy counseled me, “Just get in there and take it slowly. Feed them a little information at a time and let it soak in, then go on.”
Peggy Hartshorn, Heartbeat’s longtime president, board chair and pro-life advocate, had not only taught our team of volunteers the L.O.V.E. approach (listen & learn; open options; vision & value; extend & empower), but I had the benefit of hours watching her apply it. She had often been my trainer as well during my in-office experience hours.
This situation would test whether one could adequately apply the L.O.V.E. approach in the midst of a language barrier with your client, and it would have been helpful for Peggy to walk through the door and help with this one.
Prayerfully I delivered the test results, and Martin and Shaomin stopped smiling. I simply continued with information. Shaomin was eight weeks pregnant which would give her a due date of approximately April 20, 1995. The Holy Spirit kept me on a slowed pace as I had been counseled.
This initial meeting would go on for two hours.
I would provide fetal development information, he would interpret it to his wife, and they would smile and nod. This continued with information on housing help, healthcare programs, prenatal care, material aid for the whole family and even food.
Each string of information was greeted with more smiles. His only counter statement was, “My wife will have to have abortion.”
It was stunning how they continued to receive facts like two eager students in a classroom. Later I would realize they were both highly intelligent, well educated in their fields and life-long students always open to learning more.
Finally, as I had run dry on information, I asked their thoughts having learned about all this, and Martin calmly stated with the same smile, “But she could still not have the baby because it would not be right.”
“What do you mean the baby would not be right?” I asked.
“Because Shaomin took cold medicine when she did not know she was pregnant and she has been spotting blood,” he answered.
Then I offered Judy’s expertise as she was a nurse and inquired if they would be willing to talk with her. Without hesitation Martin consented to this suggestion.
When I returned with Judy, Martin was standing looking at the fetus models in the corner of the room. Shaomin gave us both a sweet smile as we entered.
Judy addressed Martin, “Kim told me you had some concerns about the baby.”
Martin repeated the cold medicine statement and Judy reassured him the baby would be fine and that spotting happens in many pregnancies during implantation.
Then we offered them a fetal development video to which both of these eager students gave immediate consent.
Judy explained further as the tape played. I paused the tape at eight weeks so Shaomin could see this was how far along her baby was in gestational age.
Shaomin appeared very excited. The reaction was wrongly read by my mind.
At the end of the tape Judy filled in additional information about the scarring that takes place with repeat abortions.
“Do you ever think you would like to have another baby?” Judy asked.
“Yes perhaps,” Martin answered. “But not now, we do not have money for that now.”
Judy reiterated the programs I had already offered them, and demonstrating he’d gotten all that, Martin stated, “Yes, she said we could even get food.”
Shaomin laughed in response to his next interpretation as she said something to him in Chinese.
Seeing our curiosity, he told us, “Shaomin says, ‘Only in America could such a thing be.’ In China when we are hungry, the only thing you can do is go into the streets and beg for food.”
Completing the review of available community programs Judy again asked their thoughts on going to term.
“No, we cannot,” was the response. “Must have abortion.”
Judy pressed on, “Would you be willing to see a doctor?”
At this point, PDHC did not have ultrasound services so it was hard for me to even guess how Judy would arrange for a doctor’s visit which included an ultrasound. Going forward I would realize how revolutionary my co-worker was with this idea.
It was my task to go find a doctor who would take this on with the obvious time constraints of being in the midst of this decision. I called my own OB/GYN’s office, the physician whom I knew to be a Christian and bold supporter of life, Dr. Clifford Raymond.
Praying for life
While I’ve often looked at the 15 minutes Shaomin and Martin spent with Dr. Raymond as the “game changer” in this story, I realize now what happened leading up to the appointment meant more.
Calling every prayer support network I knew of, I asked people to pray.
In a September 9 letter to Martin and Shaomin, I laid out the details of picking them up for the appointment along with the details of why we were going the “extra mile” to help them. Not something I’ve ever explained to a client before, however the Holy Spirit would show me over and over how important this was to communicate.
In the letter I asked them to compile a list of the household and furniture items they needed. Had I walked into their apartment before this inquiry I would have not asked for a list—they needed everything.
The letter also stated, “You may be wondering why Judy and I are helping you. Often in our country money is the motivation behind what people do. There is no money involved in this for us, we are both volunteers.”
It went on to detail how God loves us, so we love others. That we serve Jesus and have a relationship with Him, just as they would have a friendship with a family member or close friend.
This would be the first time I presented the Gospel to them. After that I lost count how many conversations we had about salvation, forgiveness, grace and love and what the Bible has to say about all of it.
After learning much more about my new friends, it was clear why the Holy Spirit directed me this way.
Both of them were hard workers who deeply believed you don’t receive anything except by working for it. Without explaining my motives, they would have been embarrassed by our assistance.
September 13 was the date of the doctor appointment. I met with Dr. Raymond prior to the ultrasound. Since he had already had a conversation with Martin and Shaomin, the doctor stated, “I think that they won’t be convinced that the baby is normal unless they see the ultrasound. There will not be a charge for it.”
Dr. Raymond confirmed she was nine weeks along.
“Baby!” was the first English word (except for ‘thank you’) I had ever heard Shaomin speak. Fifteen minutes into an ultrasound and they emerged with smiles and ultrasound pictures beaming so proudly.
An interpreter had accompanied us to the doctor’s appointment. She confirmed that Martin and Shaomin were uncertain of our motives. Friends, they had said, warned them that there must be some money in it for us.
Thankfully, I came prepared with a Chinese Bible to give to them and I placed it in Martin’s hands, saying, “Perhaps this will help you understand better what I tried to explain to you in my letter.”
In the weeks and months leading up to the baby’s birth, God poured out blessings on this couple, my new friends. There were times when Martin would be at a mechanic shop or someplace trying to communicate with a stranger and get me on the phone to “interpret” the conversation.
While I still don’t speak Chinese, I did learn to speak “Martin.”
A family in need
Slowly it was revealed that most of what I knew about them initially was their cover story. They had not come to America to attend the Ohio State University. Instead, Martin had escaped China and then Shaomin quietly followed. Neither of them had a green card.
Their “visitor” status would not allow them to receive any financial help from the government to cover medical costs. However, there was a program through Riverside Methodist Hospital for foreign students that covered 75 percent of the costs. The other 25 percent was donated anonymously.
God would move in the hearts of people to whom He led me in order to provide abundantly for the expectant parents.
Shaomin took part in PDHC’s Partners program. Angie Zimmerman was a social worker in that program who helped find better housing and additional material aid for them. Nancy Lei, the Chinese translator continued to attend doctor’s appointments with Shaomin. Angie also connected the couple to a local Chinese church so they could attend Bible study.
When I first visited their apartment in the seedier part of the OSU campus, it was to deliver some items.
There were no lights in the hallway leading to the apartment. A man limped past me and I said, “Are you okay?” He responded, “Yeah, I got shot the other day right here in my apartment.”
Eagerly I pressed onto the apartment finding only a twin-sized bed and little else inside other than some personal items. Shaomin greeted me with a huge smile and presented me with gifts (a little Chinese doll and a couple other trinkets for my children).
Before being able to secure a new apartment, which happened by the end of the month, we were able to deliver many items. This included a full-size bed, refrigerator and food. Their car was perhaps not entirely unfixable, but the estimates to fix it exceeded its value substantially.
Out driving one day on errands, I was again praying for Martin and Shaomin’s needs when I was directed by the Holy Spirit to stop in a used car dealership. Inside I introduced myself to the owner and shared the story of my new friends’ needs.
This business belonged to former OSU player, Bob Murphy. It turned out we have a mutual friend, one of his teammates and a lifelong friend of mine. Soon Murphy would become fast friends with Martin.
At Murphy’s direction we filled the radiator of Martin’s car with some “instant repair” concoction and lots of water and managed to drive it into the auction where that car and another donated car were auctioned off for enough money to purchase a reliable replacement car.
On Thanksgiving Day Martin called me after having spent the day with their new friends from the Chinese church for a traditional Thanksgiving celebration.
“I do not know the English words to tell you how much we thank you,” he said, his voice filled with emotion, which is unusual for him.
“Everyone who gave their time and other gifts to you are all Christians and we hope you would give thanks to God,” I told Martin.
“Then we thank God,” he replied.
Tweet This: “Then we thank God” - gentleman grateful for pregnancy help for his wife and family
On April 20, 1995, a beautiful boy was born to Shaomin and Martin. They asked me to name him because, “He doesn’t belong to us,” they said, “he belongs to you and God.”
So, the baby’s name is John, which means Jehovah’s gift. He instantly became the pride and joy and focus of their world. Martin and Shaomin continued to be dear friends of my family.
But there were still many things to work out, especially seeking to secure their firstborn child, a daughter who remained in China with family members.
See part 2 of Kim's story with Martin and Shaomin HERE.