Danielle shared her experince with everyone at the 2012 Gala and Casino Night...
Good evening everyone. My name is Danielle Nicholson, and I am truly honored to be able to share my story with you tonight, and to express my undying love for my daughter who will enter this world on or around December 13th 2012.
Our story begins on April 16th, 2012, the morning I stared at 2 positive pregnancy tests with unstoppable tears streaming down my face. As I sat in my bed, mind racing, I now had simple, yet frightening proof that I was in fact pregnant. I now faced the reality of breaking my mom’s heart and revealing to her the new life growing inside of me. After quick deliberation in my ever so confused mind, I realized I could never hide this from my mom. Although I knew I was going to crush her with this news, she was (and still is) my everything and I needed her support. Telling my mom I was pregnant was the first step that I would take on this long journey that would start the beginning of the rest of my life.
Once my mom got over the initial shock of her daughter being pregnant, reality set in and she dropped the bomb on me. She told me I would need to find somewhere else to live, that a baby was not welcome to live in her house. I was in complete denial. At 20 years old, I had never lived anywhere but with my mom. I then turned to my family for some sort of comfort, support or positive ideas. But as soon as I told my aunt, my “favorite” aunt, someone I almost worshipped, someone I adored, that I was pregnant, her initial reaction shocked me to the core. She said, “Well you’re going to give this child up for adoption, aren’t you? It wasn’t conceived out of love; therefore you possibly couldn’t adequately care for this baby. It needs a mom and a dad.” Hearing her say that floored me. I’m sure the facial expression I gave her was something unimaginable. I couldn’t believe what I had just heard. God gave me this sweet little baby for a reason. This child is a precious gift specifically for me. Adoption or abortion never once crossed my mind. Hearing my aunt, someone I looked up to and loved dearly, say this to me made me feel like she had no faith in me. Like my child could never be loved by her. But my defense immediately kicked in. I was blessed with this baby and I will do whatever I have to make sure my child is healthy, happy and safe. So after processing my family’s reaction to my pregnancy news, I had to go back to dealing with my mom. I had found out that my mom had received information on the Paul Stefan Foundation, which we then realized was only 2 miles away from our home in Orange County. At our interview at the Paul Stefan Foundation, I was unreceptive to the incredible opportunity in front of my eyes, simply because I didn’t believe my mom would actually kick me out. A few days later, I realized she was very serious. My anger toward my mom was indescribable. I felt as if she was abandoning me. I needed her the most right now and she was throwing me out to the wolves, into the real world with nothing to fall back on. No college education, no job, no nothing. I was beyond upset, I was livid. Being the stubborn individual that I had unfortunately grown to become, I opted out of moving to the Paul Stefan Foundation because my cousins had offered me a place to live on their farm. At the time, I figured this would be a better option and opportunity because I would be with my family. However, that decision turned out to become a slow, agonizing nightmare. I was simply in prison there. I had no freedom. I couldn’t do anything there without being yelled at. The mental stress was affecting me and my unborn child dramatically. I confided in my friend about the torment I was facing on the farm. She then came to my rescue. After deliberation with her family, I was then welcomed with open arms into their home; another decision I would very soon regret. Not even 3 weeks after moving in with my friend, I was being told I needed to find somewhere else to live due to the fact that I couldn’t find a job. My chronic depression then hit an all time low. I was devastated, terrified. So insanely scared that I’d become homeless. My motherly instinct kicked in to full drive. I was determined to make sure my daughter, my sweet angel had a safe place to be born into. So I turned to my mom, begging her to let me come back home; pleading to her that I’d be homeless if not. Her tough loving response was, “You’re an adult now, a big girl. You’ll figure it out. You can’t run to me anymore to fight your battles. You have to learn how to do it by yourself. Your baby depends on you.” That night, I consumed my sleepless night in prayer. At that time, God was all I had. I knew He had mighty plans for me. I just had to trust Him. The next morning, miraculously, all I could think about was the Paul Stefan Foundation. I had hope. I quickly called Evelyn and explained to her my dilemma. Within not even 2 weeks later, this angel, whom you all know as Evelyn James, was driving me and my belongings to paradise, a little piece of heaven, known as the Paul Stefan Foundation set in Orange County. That night was the first time in almost 4 months that I unpacked my belongings. After a few nights in that house, I knew I was safe. I knew my baby girl was safe. Every ounce of pain and depression I had experienced the past 5 months was miraculously gone, vanished. Cast back down into hell where it belonged. Peace, hope and unconditional joy had replaced all hurt. The anger I had felt toward my mom had now turned to understanding and forgiveness. The 5 months of chaos and uncertainty I had just faced, taught me so much. I’ll never take the small things for granted again. Such as a bed, a dresser, a mirror, a closet, a T.V.; just a few things I’ll work myself to death for to make sure my daughter will never go with out. She is my determination, my motivation, my smile, my laugh, my world, my everything. My daughter has literally saved my life. If I had never gotten pregnant with her, I honestly don’t know if I’d still be alive. The life I was living prior to being pregnant was deadly. My baby girl has caused me to change completely, for the better. I thank God every day for the gift He gave me in the form of a baby. My love that I have for her surpasses any love for anyone or anything I could have ever imagined. And I haven’t even met her yet. If it wasn’t for Randy and Evelyn James, I’d be on the street somewhere trying to survive. In danger, in torment, in agony, depressed and lost. Without their love and concern for women and children, I, as well as every mother and child that came before me and will come after me, would have no hope, no future. But with this beautiful, Godly, miraculous foundation, I can stand in front of you and say that there is hope.
We pregnant mothers from the Paul Stefan Foundation have new lives growing inside of us just like any other “normal” pregnant woman and situation; children that will grow up to be someone important, someone special, someone that could potentially impact America or the world one day. I know my daughter is one that will join with me to impact Africa. From the age of 14, my ultimate dream and goal has become to create a franchised group home for orphaned children in Africa, because I believe that every child deserves a bright, successful future despite what they may have faced and weathered in their past. Just because I got pregnant unexpectedly, doesn’t mean my dreams vanish. It just means I have to factor my child into my dreams, and pray that hopefully my dreams will ultimately become her dreams.
Children are so precious. The gift of life is unreal. The amazing things God does to a woman’s body in unthinkable. Every child is a blessing no matter how they were conceived or came to be. John 16:21 says, “When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.” No matter what circumstances a pregnant woman may face throughout her pregnancy, that woman always experiences joy once her child is born. Children are the definition of love and joy. Every bit of anguish experienced before that precious child enters into this world truly does vanish. Anguish is then replaced with overwhelming happiness. God’s gift of life is phenomenal; something cherished; a true blessing from heaven.
So even thought my stay at the Paul Stefan Foundation has just begun, the impact it has already made on me and my unborn child’s life will last forever.