From Drug Addict to Restored: One Woman’s Joy in Mother’s Day as a Birth Mom 

Jordan Estabrook - 10 May 2024

As Mother’s Day quickly approaches, hugs, gifts, and beautiful blooms are bestowed upon mothers across the nation. Hidden in the traditional and precious families celebrating their own personal queen are women like Whitney Harris: a nurse, Christian, and birth mom. For her, Mother’s Day holds an entirely different meaning.  

Before giving birth to her son, her life was in shambles, riddled with alcohol, sex, and hard drugs.  

Ever since high school, Harris was more interested in partying than church. Pushing aside the restraints of religion, she started drinking in high school, and by the time she was 18 years old, her partying increased – guys, clubs, drinks, and drugs consumed her Southern California life. At one point, she became hooked on meth, prescription drugs, and heroine. 

“My lifestyle led me to heroin use,” explained Harris. “I became homeless and had to steal. I was in and out of jail, and I prostituted myself to get money for drugs.”  

At 25 years old, Harris checked into rehab for the sixth time, where she became pregnant by another rehab patient. Four weeks later, clean and sobered up, she decided to take a pregnancy test.  

“I was so broke that someone gave me $20 for the test. I got one, took it in Starbucks, and walked outside and waited,” Harris continued. “This day changed my entire life – I saw two lines. When I read that test, I was so scared.”  

LEARN MORE: Standing With You

Harris describes being overwhelmed with fear. Given her situation, she felt she couldn’t offer her child a stable home financially or a father to help him grow.  

“I was crying, broken, empty, depleted,” Harris recounted. “I told God I can’t go on any longer and please help me. He said come with me and you’ll never have to come back to this life again. I decided after a few minutes to follow Jesus.”  

Resolute in her newfound faith, she made the brave choice to place her child for adoption through Christian Adoption Services, despite the birth father’s initial hesitancy and immediate desire for their child to be aborted.  

When looking through potential adopted parents for her son, Dana and Darren caught her eye. She met with them two months before the delivery, describing it as an incredible encounter. Immediately, she knew she wanted them to be her son’s parents.   

What surprised her even more was their desire to have her in their lives.  

“They told me they wanted me to be a part of their life, and I was so scared,” Harris said. “I didn’t want to have an attachment to him, but they wanted me to be a part of his life.” 

After holding her son, Maverick, in her arms, she felt a deep love and peace in letting him go.

Though Dana, Darren, and Harris agreed to three visits a year, that soon went out the window. Maverick knows her as “Milly” and sees her regularly, even attending her nursing school graduation at Liberty University.  

Thanks to Maverick and his parents, she pursued nursing, saying, “When I was going through labor and delivery for three days, there were some nurses who took good care and cared about me as a person. They made a huge impact, and they made me want to be a nurse.”  

Yet, on Mother’s Day, Harris admits it can be an emotional day, but credits Dana for her care towards her.

“Birth moms will say Mother’s Day and your child’s birthday are hard,” explained Harris. “It feels odd – I’m only celebrating my mom and I know I’m a birth mom. I know that Dana and Darren have lavished me with love. As much as she’s celebrating that day, she always thinks of me, too. She gets me gifts and writes me a long message. I know that her heart always goes out for me on that day.”  

Even in the grief, Harris experiences so much joy and fullness in life, with a new career, restored family relationship, and love for her son. She wants birth moms to feel the same, even on Mother’s Day, stating: 

“I would like to speak to any young woman who finds herself scared, pregnant, not knowing what to do – your story’s not over – this is the beginning. Jesus changed everything for me. There’s a beautiful life. Even though it’s a challenging journey to go through adoption, you won’t regret it. There are challenges, there’s waves, and ups and downs. It is a choice like none other.”  

On Mother’s Day, Students for Life of America (SFLA) admonishes the sacrifice of all mothers, whether it’s for a long or short time, whether it’s through adoption or birth.  

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