HOLLY BEACH, LA, October 11, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Nothing could have prepared Joyce Everett, 71, for the sheer excitement of stumbling upon a washed-up bottle with a message inside while beach-combing along the Louisiana coast with her husband Dan four months ago.
But when Joyce, who volunteers at local pregnancy center, hurriedly opened the bottle to unroll the mysterious message, her excitement was suddenly extinguished.
“We will always love you,” the handwritten message read. Two sets of initials, A.W. and D.P, encircled by a heart appeared under the message.
Curled up inside were two ultrasound pictures. The first showed a clear and distinct image of a tiny baby measuring 1.15 cm, about eight weeks gestation. The date on the picture: May 30, 2013.
The second picture, taken exactly one week later, showed the woman’s womb, but this time empty. The initials of the patient appeared as ADM.
The name above each picture was the same: Planned Parenthood.
Joyce told LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) that she “knew immediately” what she had found on that summer day, June 17.
“The name ‘Planned Parenthood,’ and the ultrasound of the empty womb one week after the first one, told me that an abortion had been carried out,” she said.
Pro-life activist Abby Johnson, who once directed a Planned Parenthood center, told LifeSiteNews that it is not uncommon for a woman to ask for the ultrasound pictures of her baby after an abortion. “We would give them a before and after picture, one with the picture of her child and one with her empty uterus.”
“At times, women would ask for the picture before their abortion started, but we would explain to them that it was our policy to give out photos after the abortion was complete. We couldn't take a chance that they would see their baby and change their minds,” she said.
Joyce said that when she saw the ultrasound pictures, “my heart just dropped.”
“This was a baby. The mother was probably a young woman by the looks of the hand writing — maybe a teenager — and she just needed more information than she had.”
The name of an abortion provider appearing above the images, and the fact that the second image shows an empty womb exactly one week after the first was taken, leaves little room for any other interpretation but abortion, said Joyce. She related that Texas and Louisiana require that ultrasounds be performed prior to and one week after an abortion.
“I was very sad, that was my first feeling,” she said. “It was very sad that this person had been in a position where she felt that abortion was the thing she should do, that she hadn’t known of any alternative.”
Joyce believes that the woman tossed the bottle with its message into the sea with the hope that someone would find it and come to know the unspeakable, deep-seated grief that the woman experienced.
“Why does a person put a note, a letter, a picture into a bottle, and seal the stopper in, and throw it into the sea if not in the hope that someone will find it and know the story that could not be spoken?” she asked.
Rebecca Kiessling, a pro-life activist who was conceived in rape, told LifeSiteNews.com that the story reveals how “post-abortive women figuratively and now literally bottle up their emotions.” She hopes that the mother will come to know that her message has been found and that people are standing by, ready to help her process the trauma caused by the loss of her baby to abortion.
Joyce believes that God guided her, a volunteer at a pregnancy resource center, to find the message in the bottle so that the mother, and others like her, could be reached with a message of love, compassion, hope, and forgiveness.
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If she could meet the young woman who cast her abortion woes into the sea, Joyce said she would like nothing better than to hear the story behind the message in the bottle. At some point during the conversation, she would gently tell the woman that what happened “does not have to define your future.”
“I would tell her that if she is suffering from her loss, then there ishelp for her. Abortion is not an unforgivable sin. And it is not something that we should turn our backs on or try to cover up or hide, but to face it, and deal with it.”
“God knows the heartache and the sorrow in every act. There is no tragedy He is unacquainted with, no sin He will not forgive,” she said.
Joyce hopes that, whether a meeting happens or not, the young woman will seek help through post-abortion counseling from places such as Project Rachel,Silent No More Awareness Campaign, or Rachel's Vineyard.
Abby Johnson agrees with Joyce: “I would tell this woman that there is healing from her grief. I would encourage her to get in contact with a pregnancy center in her area, so that she can begin the healing that only comes from Christ.”
The baby at the center of this drama will never be forgotten. The two ultrasound pictures have been framed and mounted on a piece of drift wood pulled from the ocean. Everett plans to hang the piece at the ABC Pregnancy Resource Center in Lake Charles, Louisiana, where she volunteers as a counselor.
She said the piece just might help an abortion-minded woman entering the center to see how devastating abortion is for both the mother and the father.
“The young couple’s yearning for ‘something more’ is evident in the initials encircled with a heart,” she said. “It seems evident to me that this couple did not know the alternatives available to them, did not know of the resources and people who do care how they feel, who could of told them of the regret and heartache they would experience.”
Even if Joyce never gets to meet the mother, she is glad that at least one of the millions of victims of the worldwide abortion holocaust will receive the remembrance deserved by all.
“This baby, God's infant, will not be forgotten – not by his parents, not by me, and not by the many who hear this story,” she said.