Hi, my name is Beth Beckley and on September 21, 2002 my life was changed forever. I was 15 years old at the time and a friend that was spending the night with me and I decided to sneak out of the apartment that I was living at with my grandmother. We met up with some other friends that we had in my apartment complex and one of the people there brought alcohol. We were all in the hot tub area with our friends listening to music when someone that none of us knew or had seen before comes in. At that point my friend that was staying me had drank so much that she got really sick and passed out so I pulled her into the gym area to tend to helping her feel better so that we could get up and go back home. The next thing that I remember is that man coming into the gym and turning the lights off. I asked him not to play around and to turn the lights back on and then he came up to me shoved me down and started taking my bathing suit off. Any time that I tried to yell or scream to my friends to help he covered my mouth and told me not to make another sound. I was so terrified that I did as he said so that the situation wouldn’t get any worse. After he raped me and finally left I laid there for a while in fear until one of my friends finally came in to check in on my friend and I and I began to tell him what had just happened to me. He just laughed it off and acted like it was nothing and told me to just come back out and drink with everyone. At that point I was so distraught about what had just happened that I just had my friend take me and my friend staying with me home so that we could go to bed and not get caught by my grandmother for sneaking out and I would worry about everything later. The next day I felt so afraid about what had happened the night before and getting in trouble for sneaking out that I chose not to tell my grandmother about what had happened and just deal with it to avoid any trouble in the future.
About 4 weeks after the incident I had starting feeling really tired and still hadn’t started my cycle and so one of my friends and I went to Walmart and got a pregnancy test and my deepest fear came true. I was pregnant at 15 years old!!! I was terrified!! I had no idea what I was going to do or how I was going to tell me family about everything!! Not only the pregnancy but how it happened and that the baby’s father is a rapist. My honest first reaction was that I can’t do this! I’ve got to find a way to get rid of this problem so that I don’t have to go through having a baby so young.
Posted below is my handwritten story (written in the Spring of 2003) of what happened next:
It was time to face the facts and tell my grandma about everything. I sat her down and told her that I was pregnant and about the night it all happened. The first thing that happened is that we both broke down and cried. We first went to the cops and told them what had happened and they interviewed everyone that was there that night to see if anyone remembered anything or knew who the person was that came in that night and no one did. So the pregnancy center set me up with a Christian adoption agency so that I could learn more information about it all and what my next steps were.
So I contacted the agency and let them know my situation and what exactly I was looking for when it came to someone raising my child. They then gave me several profiles of families that had several pictures and a story about who they were, what their hobbies and all were and what they do. Like a mini preview of each family. I looked through several profiles and I came across the one that said Holmes on the front and I immediately broke down and had butterflies in my stomach and started crying even before I could open the profile. So I called my grandma at work and told her how I was feeling and what had just happened whenever I had come across this profile and she told me to call the agency and let them know that I want to meet this family because we both knew that God was telling me that these were the people that he had chosen.
Not long after talking with the agency I then meet Susan and Shannon Holmes and instantly feel in love with them!!! Susan immediately ran up to me and gave me the biggest hug ever and told me how much that her and Shannon loved me already and how they had prayed for God to bless them with a little one whenever they got that call from the agency about meeting me!! God is so good!!! We instantly became close and began meeting every Tuesday for math tutoring, Chick-Fil-A, Krispy Kreme and American Idol!! God truly blessed me with the most amazing parents in the world for my daughter!!!
Now don’t get me wrong, even though I was blessed with the perfect parents for my little girl, it wasn’t always easy. I was still very in love and attached to my growing baby. So there were definitely times that I cried and worried if I would be able to go through with the process and not break the hearts of this wonderful family that I had grown so much to love!! That by far was the hardest part to get through. But I truly believe what helped me be more comfortable with the process was the fact that Susan and Shannon would allow me to be a part of her life and that she would know that I was her mother and that I would be able to watch her grow up. Most people think of adoption and think that that is the last time that they will ever get to see their child again. But now days more people allow the birth parents the opportunity to be a part of the child’s life not only for the birth parents but so that the child can have the experience of knowing about that part of their lives as well!! It is such a blessing!!!
So after months of getting to know Susan and Shannon and knowing that they for sure where the ones to raise my daughter, I was at my very last check up with my midwife and my water broke. It was so great being able to tell them to head to Tallahassee because I was in labor and well sixteen and a half hours later on June 21, 2003 at 5:55 a.m. Autumn AnnaLeigh Holmes was born. She was born with a clef lip which at that time I had never heard of and knew nothing about. But she was so beautiful and perfect in every way!!! I spent the next 72 hours telling her how much that I love her and that I will always be there for her no matter what life brings or where she lives!! Honestly not saying I can’t do this I want to keep her was the hardest thing in the world not to say!! But all that God kept telling me was to think about her and Susan and Shannon. It wasn’t about me and even though that was the hardest decision I have ever had to make, seeing Susan and Shannon hold their little girl and seeing how much they loved her from first site was what made the decision so clear no matter how difficult!!!
And now its January 22, 2016, twelve years later, and I can’t tell you how much more that I’ve grown to love this family and our little girl!!! I’ve seen every bit of her life every single step of the way and AnnaLeigh knows that my family and I love her so much and for me that’s all that I could ever ask for!!! Don’t get me wrong I definitely struggled some after leaving the hospital and have missed her so much, but I couldn’t have given her a better life then the choose to give her the best life possible!! One that I was in no way ready to give her because I had no idea where life would one day lead me.
In 2008, at the age of 21, I was in a car accident that left me paralyzed from me chest down. My whole life changed in every way!! It was like being a baby again. I had to learn how to use the bathroom in a completely different way, learn how to get dressed, how to transfer from my wheelchair to other surfaces and how to get to and from everywhere now that I am unable to walk. I tell you this current part of my life because I think if I would have AnnaLeigh when this had happened I don’t know what I would have done. I was in the hospital of over 4 months and had no idea how to even take care of myself with my new life without the majority of my body none the less how I would’ve been able to take care of a then 5 year old little girl. Life has definitely had its challenges but now at the age of 29 I wouldn’t change even one of them. I have met and impacted so many more lives in this chair and would’ve never met my amazing husband that I have if it weren’t for these things in life that first led me to Susan and Shannon Holmes and our daughter AnnaLeigh!!! I couldn’t love this family any more than I do today!! They are one of the biggest parts of my life and have been there with me every step of the way for twelve years now!!!
The main thing that I want anyone to take from my story is that if you’re ever in a situation that I was in being raped and becoming pregnant or even worse with incest, there is another option!!! That baby’s life matters too!! My first thought was fear so the only way out in my mind was to get rid of the problem and thankfully I have the most amazing Christian family that said no and seeing that baby on the screen and hearing her heartbeat truly changed my heart forever!! This baby isn’t a problem he or she is a life and if you aren’t in a place of being a partent doesn’t mean that getting rid of the baby is the right answer!! I couldn’t imagine my life without my little girl and her mom and dad and you shouldn’t either. What I learned most about this chapter in my life is that it isn’t all about me, its about the baby and she is the most important part of the story. There are other options and there are people there to talk to that can help. Giving AnnaLeigh a life with her adoptive mom and dad has been the most rewarding decision that I have ever made and I know it will be for you to!!! I can promise you that!!! So please think twice, talk to someone about adoption and reach out to other that are in or have been in your situation and you’ll see that life is the most precious gift of all!!!
Thank you for taking the time to listen to my story and I hope that it helps anyone that needs to hear it. I’ve got lots more to say about the amazing 12 years I’ve had being a part of Susan, Shannon and AnnaLeigh Holmes lives and tons of pictures to show of the blessing that has come out of giving our little girl her life to live and how she has impacted so many people that she has come into contact with!! That I know that you can have to!! #ChooseLife
With love always,