WOODBURN, Indiana, November 8, 2013 ( – The 17-year-old woman had been terrorized, humiliated and crushed by what had happened to her. She had been raped. Now, to make matters worse, she was pregnant. Her mother had forced her to visit a back alley abortionist, to solve “the problem.” But at the last moment, Sandy decided not to go through with the illegal procedure. The year was 1972.

Two weeks later, Sandy’s father suddenly died. Her entire world had now completely come crashing down upon her. All she wanted was her life back. All she could wonder was what was to become of her and the little new life beginning to stir inside her…

Last month something remarkable happened to Monica Kelsey, 40, that confirmed to her that no life, no matter how it came to be, is a mistake: She found a diamond in a field of plowed dirt. 

Monica had been abandoned by her raped birthmother, Sandy, at a hospital two hours after being born and was soon adopted. She grew up completely unaware of her turbulent beginnings. It was only three years ago that she connected with her birthmother and heard the true account of her life for the first time. 

“When I found my birthmother she said to me: ‘It’s amazing how something so beautiful has come out of something so horrible,’” Monica said in an interview with 

When Sandy unexpectedly passed away this past March, Monica connected with relatives at the funeral who had not even known of her existence. “I prayed for a relationship with my birth family,” Monica said.  “When I finally found them, no one knew about me. I was literally the family secret.” 

Monica decided to travel from her home in Indiana to Arkansas last month to explore her roots. She wanted to experience for herself the sights and sounds that had been a part of her birthmother’s life.

During her stay, Monica and a few of her newly discovered relatives decided to try their luck treasure hunting at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas, the only diamond-producing site in the world where the public can find real diamonds and keep them. 

Geologists believe that a volcano brought the diamonds to the surface about 100 million years ago. Diamonds form deep in the earth at extremely high temperatures and pressures. Less than one percent of the 150,000 visitors to the park each year find a diamond. 

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After two hours of poking about the 37 acres of plowed eroded volcanic surface at the park, the group, with wet clothes and dirty shoes, decided to call it a day. But as Monica went to pick up her bucket and join her newfound family, she noticed something on the ground glimmering in the sunlight. Stooping to pick it up, she knew immediately what she had found: a yellow diamond. 

“It’s amazing how I found this shining sparkling diamond in a field of dirt,” she said. 

Park staff confirmed the find. The diamond, the 400th found that year, weighed just over half a carat (56 points).

For Monica, finding the diamond was filled with the deepest significance. It suddenly dawned on her that she, conceived in the horrible act of rape, was really her birthmother’s “diamond in the rough”. 

“I did correlate finding this diamond as a kind of sign that my life [despite its rough beginnings] is still shining, that the sparkle is still there,” she said. “God took my birthmother's deepest pain and turned it into the most precious of jewels.” 

“I just praise God that my birthmother was strong enough to walk out of the abortion clinic,” she said. 

Monica, a firefighter and medic who is married with three children, has become a public advocate for children conceived in rape after first learning of her beginnings. 

She said that she used to be against abortion “except in the case of rape” – that is, until she “became educated.” Now she will tell anyone who will listen that her life “isn’t any different than your life simply because of the way I was conceived.” 

Monica will gently tell people that “abortion has never fixed a rape, it never has and it never will.” 

“Abortion just adds more trauma to rape and makes the child a victim as well, but unfortunately by the mother’s own hands,” she said. 

Monica believes that women who become pregnant by rape should think about the new life flourishing inside them as their own “diamond in the rough.”

“There is a diamond in this pregnancy that will shine later on, you just have to let it grow,” she said. “Girls today don’t give themselves enough credit about how strong they can be.” 

Monica plans to make a necklace with her diamond, leaving it uncut. She will wear it in memory of her birthmother’s sacrifice to give her the greatest gifts of all, life and her adoptive family. 

“She is my hero, she truly is.”

Monica says she has nothing but gratitude for the choices her raped mother made.

“Life is sacred. Life is precious. Life is a gift. Thank you, Lord, for my birthmother.”

Follow Monica’s pro-life work on her website and on her Facebook page


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