Article from the Fayetteville Observer:

Donations fund purchase of ultrasound for Bottle for BUFA        By Chick Jacobs

AnnaLeigh was born with no last name.

That she was born at all was a bit of a miracle.

Now a bright 8-year-old living in Hope Mills, AnnaLeigh now has a last name, Holmes. She also has a loving family, two huge cats as pets and a story that helped raise thousands of dollars for a local crisis pregnancy center.

"She's our little miracle," said Susan Holmes, AnnaLeigh's mom and the spokesman for Bottle for BUFA. "And through her story, we hope that many other families will be able to share a miracle of their own."

BUFA stands for "Baby Up For Adoption." It was also AnnaLeigh's official last name when she was born in Tallahassee, Fla., in 2003. Her birth mother, then 15 years old, had planned to terminate her pregnancy at four months and visited what she thought was an abortion clinic.

"It turned out to be a crisis pregnancy center," Holmes said. "While there, she had an ultrasound. She saw her unborn baby, heard her heartbeat.

"She said, 'That's real!' and busted out crying. From then on, she chose to have the child and let another couple adopt her. And we're so thankful she did."

Universal story

It's a universal story, according to ultrasound specialist Greg Gribble. He was fine-tuning the new ultrasound machine purchased by AAA Crisis Pregnancy Center in Fayetteville this week.

"You hear the same story time and time again," he said. "When they can see the baby, when they can hear a heartbeat, it changes everything."

AAA Crisis Pregnancy Center had been trying to coax an antiquated ultrasound machine along for several years. The machine had been around as long as the center was open, 27 years, and had reached a point where repairs were impossible.

"We'd look for replacement parts," Gribble said, "and they just didn't make them anymore. Technology had grown by leaps and bounds."

But the new machines were pricey, about $25,000. The center asked the community for donations. When that request reached Susan and Shannon Holmes, a little light clicked.

"God used the ultrasound machine to save AnnaLeigh's life," Susan Holmes said. "So I felt a real need to help save others."

Spare change

The couple launched a spare-change campaign. They asked people at their church and at Fayetteville Christian School, where they both work, to drop any spare change they had into empty baby bottles. The campaign, called "Bottles for BUFA" grew into a grassroots campaign across the city.

"BUFA was the last name AnnaLeigh had on her crib in the hospital," Susan Holmes explained. "She didn't have her mother's name, and legally they couldn't put our name. So she was Baby BUFA until we took her home."

The campaign eventually raised $3,500 in change. Recently, a private donor matched the fundraising efforts, helping the center purchase a new ultrasound machine. It arrived in late June.

"All those people, giving just a little will help save the lives of other babies," Holmes said. "Just like it saved the life of our baby."

Published: 12:00 AM, Wed Jul 20, 2011Published: 12:00 AM, Wed Jul 20, 2011

Staff writer Chick Jacobs can be reached at 486-3515 or jacobsc@fayobserver.com<mailto:jacobsc@fayobserver.com>