• Josh Anderson

More Than A Little Hope

Sarah McCollum didn't plan to become pregnant. And she knew her life would never be the same when she found out she was expecting. As part of our Scholarships for Hope campaign, Sarah shares her story of how her daughter Hope has changed everything for her in some big ways.

An unexpected pregnancy for Sarah resulted in more than a beautiful daughter named Hope.

Twenty-four years old, working two restaurant jobs, knowing I ultimately wanted to work in the medical field. But in what capacity was my life directing me? Of course, I was in no hurry to really figure all of that out because I had steady income, a variety of friends to hang out with, and no significant worry in my world.

Living my life with no real direction, I spent another night out—hitting a couple of bars, enjoying several drinks, and feeling fearless. I poured my heart out to the guy I was “in love” with, unbeknownst to me at the time, that night, my life would change forever.

A few days later I instinctually felt I was pregnant.

Still living with my mom at the time, I began scrambling. "How do I take a pregnancy test without her finding out?" I thought. My days were spent working double shifts between two restaurants. And there were windows of time that she wasn't at home.

The first pregnancy test I took at home while my mom was at work. I hid them in my nightstand drawer. I took at least one at work. They were all positive.

A coworker told me about the Hope Pregnancy Center not knowing exactly what they had to offer. I took the leap, knowing this could be my only option of confirming what I already knew without anyone else finding out.

It was between shifts. Leaving Boone, headed to work in Blowing Rock, I stopped in and took the free, medical-grade, pregnancy test. I sat there waiting—an absolute nervous wreck, hoping and praying that maybe, just maybe, I had false positives from my “home” tests. Not to be.

April walked in and said “You’re pregnant”.

I burst into tears. I sat there in a daze listening to her read over and flip through pages detailing my options moving forward. I left the Center with an appointment scheduled for a free ultrasound to confirm my pregnancy.

"I knew from the beginning there were only two options for me—keeping my baby or putting my baby up for adoption." —Sarah McCollum

I walked out knowing that there was no way I would be able to pull it together to work that night. I called in and will never forget the words I heard on the other end of the phone after I cried hysterically, “I just found out I’m pregnant.”

Difficult Conversations

I was immediately told, “Okay, you have the night off, but I want you to come straight here! I want to see you. I want to talk to you. I want to know you are okay.” In that very moment my support system began to form around me.

But I knew the next few conversations were going to be some of the most difficult conversations of my life. I knew I had to tell the baby’s father and I had to tell my mom.

I started with my baby’s father. His response was shocking. He asked and told me that I knew I could not have that baby. I had to have an abortion, he said. It was just a bunch of cells anyways, he said. If I had this baby I would ruin his life. I was infuriated. My response was simple, “I will not kill my child for you!”

This conversation began a rollercoaster of tumultuous, as well as a select few joyous, conversations and interactions we would have over the following nine to ten months.

Fortunately, the conversation with my mother was drastically different from the one I had with the father. And honestly it went far better than I ever imagined. My mother was supportive—apart from her initial, split-second, reaction followed by silence—of the journey upon which I was about to embark.

We talked, in detail, about the journey I had been on over the past few days and jumped right into discussing the future of keeping my baby or putting this baby up for adoption.

"I knew deep down that I would not be able to give this baby up for adoption; the bond I would form with this baby would be unbreakable." —Sarah McCollum

A Baby Girl Named Hope

On December 5, 2011, I found out I was expecting a baby girl. I was excited for my life as a mother to a girl, but I was simultaneously scared knowing that the odds were high I would be embarking on the journey of parenthood alone, without my daughter’s father.

The greatest excitement in finding out that I was going to have a baby girl was knowing what her name would be. I say that God named my baby girl. The word hope surrounded me throughout my entire pregnancy.

It began from a bracelet that my mother and I wear engraved with Jeremiah 29:11. It continues with Hope Pregnancy center, a blanket with "Hope" knitted in the center that I saw at her father’s house, and finally in the many prayers that were prayed over me that I would have hope throughout my pregnancy.

My baby girl’s name is Hope.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." —Jeremiah 29:11