BETTENDORF -- People visiting the Women's Choice Center chapel may think a stained-glass window showing a woman holding a baby boy might be Mary and Jesus, but it's not. |
It's a picture of Violet Taylor and her son, Joshua Taylor, now 10, of East Moline. The Taylors also will be a noticeable part of an entry in Bettendorf's Fourth of July parade.
The center also is seeking other people to walk in the parade. For information, visit facebook.com/WomensChoiceCenter.com. ''Stand for Life'' T-shirts will be available at the parade.
Mrs. Taylor, her husband, James Taylor, and Joshua, were the first family to receive a free ultrasound, counseling and advice from client advocates when the nonprofit ministry was founded 10 years ago.
Joshua was the first of about 252 babies born to mothers described by center materials as ''previously abortion-minded or abortion-vulnerable women'' since the center formed.
James Taylor called Joshua "an extraordinary child. Everyone who meets Joshua and knows his story, believes he was saved for a very special purpose.''
Mrs. Taylor said she can't imagine life without him. ''I'm so glad I didn't follow my first instinct. Joshua is such a blessing.''
The Taylors had gone to the Planned Parenthood Clinic, across the street from the Women's Choice Center, at 2711 Happy Joe Drive, and made arrangements to go to Iowa City for an abortion.
''We only had 5 to 10 minutes before we had to hit the road to make it in time,'' Mr. Taylor said.
He had walked over to a trailer being used as the Women's Choice headquarters before the permanent building was finished, looking for something to read on the trip to Iowa City.
A staff member in the trailer didn't have any materials on hand. But as Mr. Taylor returned to his car, the man rushed out and asked if they could spare a few minutes to talk with then-director Kathryn Bohn.
Ms. Bohn met with the Taylors in their car, and persuaded them to follow her to medical director Dr. Karla Polaschek's office for a free ultrasound.
''I had never seen one before, or had it explained to me piece-by-piece,'' Mrs. Taylor said. ''When I saw hands and feet moving, I changed my mind and decided to keep my baby.''
At that time, life was tough for the couple. Each had just gone through a tough divorce ''and were caught in a whirlwind, with everything in the world working against us,'' Mr. Taylor said. ''I had lost everything and was starting over at age 50.
Mrs. Taylor, a Samoan native, was about half his age, when she discovered she was pregnant. She already had three children, and was thinking of returning to her homeland.
In fact, they met at a local laundromat where she was washing her clothes for the trip. A change machine had given her back only half of the $20 she put in, ''but this man talking on a telephone gave me $10, saying he would get it back from the owners he knew,'' she said.
When she finished her laundry, she discovered she had locked her keys in her car, and the same man helped her unlock the door, telling her she now owed him lunch. It was the start of their courtship.
''Then I got to marry my dream,'' Mr. Taylor said, referring to his wife. ''I've always believed everything happens for a reason.''
Cultural differences made it interesting and challenging, he said. ''Violet was from the other side of the world. She was raised like 'Tarzana.' Her grandfather was chief of a village, making her officially a princess. I was an old 1960s musician, a drummer.''
Mrs. Taylor also had lived in New Zealand, Australia and Hawaii, after leaving Samoa. She said she remembers as a child being told that America was ''God's Country,'' and thought that if that was true, then ''Jesus was here too. And I do believe this is truly God's country.''
''And if I've ever seen God reach into the world and stop something from happening, it was on that day we decided to keep our baby,'' Mr. Taylor said.
The stained-glass window in the center's chapel is a lasting reminder of that day, he said. The couple even got married in the chapel, with the window in the background.
About the Women's Choice Center
--Women's Choice Center, is a nonprofit pregnancy-help medical clinic ministry, founded 10 years ago by the Life and Family Educational Trust and operated under the medical license of Dr. Karla Polaschek.
--Free services include pregnancy testing, limited obstetric ultrasound, options counseling and post-abortion counseling to women and their family members.
--The center served 687 clients last year.
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