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Single Mother Knew ‘Life Was the Choice’

Whitney McCluskey
Whitney McCluskey, center holding photograph, chose an open adoption for her baby Josiah. With her are, from right, adoptive parents Mike and Tabitha, Whitney's grandmother Barbara Dyer, Whitney's stepfather Keith, Whitney's older son Ashton, Whitney's mother Denise, and Whitney's "spiritual mother" Dawn Adkins.

GEORGETOWN, Texas (BP) – Abortion was never an option for Whitney McCluskey.

After earning a master’s degree in biblical counseling during her fourth stay in a residential Christian drug treatment facility, she was sober.

She was telling others of the Lord’s goodness and teaching her then 13-year-old son Ashton abstinence before marriage while attending Eden Westside Baptist Church in Pell City, Ala.

Ashton Teague holds his younger brother Josiah.

“I was doing exactly what I wanted to do. Doing what I had prayed for. I was helping women get their children back who had lost them from a drug addiction. And so I was doing everything I wanted,” 35-year-old McCluskey told Baptist Press. “Then one night, out of the blue, I called an ex and well, ended up pregnant.

“I was so depressed when I found out, because I felt I had let so many people down. Here I am. I’m sober. I’m sharing my testimony. I’m living for God. And then I make one mistake,” McClusky said. “I wouldn’t say it’s a mistake now, because obviously we got Josiah out of it and I wouldn’t change anything for the world. But the way I was thinking in that moment was I messed up.”

McCluskey’s dilemma was whether to become the single mother of two sons, or whether to choose adoption for her unborn son. She wavered nearly until Josiah was born on Jan. 12, 2022.

“Honestly, I did not make the final decision until I was nine months pregnant and I was going into the hospital the very next week to give birth. It was up ‘til the very end. I was back and forth my entire pregnancy.”

Everyone close to McCluskey seemed to have an opinion of what was best.

“You want to keep your child; you’re gonna regret this; you’re gonna do this…”

McCluskey reached out to a friend she considers her spiritual mother, a counselor who had helped her through drug addiction treatment at Radical Restoration Ministries Texas in Georgetown.

She moved to Texas for clarity and to escape what she felt was incessant judgment and input from those around her.

“Everybody thought I was crazy. I quit my job at seven months pregnant and moved to Texas. No idea what I’m going to do. And so really, the whole experience was stressful. It was very stressful.”

McCluskey chose to place her newborn in adoption through Lifeline Children’s Services, a Christian adoption and foster care agency with a legacy of protecting life in the U.S. and internationally.

McCluskey sees God’s hand in her choice of the adoptive parents, Mike and Tabitha. Usually, Lifeline chooses the adoptive family.

“It was funny because when I first started looking at Lifeline and looking at families, I saw this one family and I said, ‘If I choose to adopt, this is who I’m going to go with,’” McCluskey said. “Nine months later, not knowing they were still going to be available, they were. The way God just worked it all out, it was all in His hands. The whole thing was just God.”

McCluskey met God early in life, despite a tumultuous youth.

She began using drugs at age 14, she said, and would attend church while high on drugs.

“My drug of choice was everything. The older I got, the worse the drug got,” she said. “Towards the end of my addiction was meth and heroine, and I was on the needle. That was towards the end. It got to that point.”

Now sober, she has her own apartment, attends church while seeking a church to join, tithes and pays her household bills. Successful sobriety came during her fourth enrollment in drug treatment. She tells of an encounter at the altar before God.

“I remember telling God I’m tired of looking left and right. I’m tired of seeking validation from drugs, and from men, and from everything but You,” McCluskey recalled. “I knew that people could be set free because I’d seen it around me. I knew people could do it but it hadn’t happened for me. And so I was mad. I was angry. Why hadn’t this happened for me?