Melissa Ohden had spent her entire life knowing that she was adopted and that her life had started off as a four-month premature baby who had to fight for her life. What she didn’t realize was that a very important part of her story was missing.
“I knew that I had been very sick and very tiny, and the doctors didn’t have a very good prognosis for my life,” she told CBN. “I didn’t have a lot of questions about that growing up, because I guess to me it didn’t matter because I was healthy. I was in a great home. I was loved, and life was good.”
At the age of 14 this all changed for Melissa when her older sister had an unplanned pregnancy and was in the midst of considering abortion. Hoping to stop her daughter from making this choice, Melissa’s mother Linda knew it was time to finally share the entire story with Melissa and her sister.
“She just kind of blurted it out,” Melissa remembers. “She said, ‘Melissa, your mother had an abortion during her fifth month of pregnancy with you and you survived it.”
There is no doubt that this news came as life-shattering shock for the young Melissa. She went on to find out that her teenage birth mother had been given a saline injection which should have ended Melissa’s life after five months of pregnancy.
Instead, God had much greater plans for her life. After the abortion procedure had ended, a nurse found the tiny two-pound baby Melissa crying from the discarded medical waste. What followed was a very scary time for the young infant. Due to being almost aborted and born prematurely, the doctors had no idea what medical issues would be discovered as Melissa grew.
Another issue would be finding parents that would be willing to adopt a child who was so at risk medically. However, God soon revealed a beautiful plan for the little life that had been saved.
“They told us all the things that could be wrong with her because of the premature birth,” Linda reflected on the moment that they decided to adopt Melissa. “But as soon as they put her in my arms, I knew she was going to be fine. She was just beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.”
For the next 16 years Melissa went on a search for her birth parents. Confused as to why they tried to end her life and filled with the pain of feeling so deeply unwanted, it was hard for Melissa to move on with this new insight into how her life had began. She so desperately wanted to be a mother herself one day, but knew that she needed to heal from these deep wounds first.
Melissa was able to track down her birth relatives only to find out that her birth father had passed away. After contacting her maternal grandparents it was decided that there would be no further contact past them to her birth mother. In a letter that she received from them she was given some photographs of her mother and it was in those pictures that Melissa found peace.
“I couldn’t recognize anything about myself in her,” she shared. “That was a huge moment in life too. I went, ‘Lord, I get it. I’m not her. I wasn’t supposed to be her. I’m me and I’m a wonderful gift the way You made me.’”
Now a mother herself to her daughter Olivia, Melissa knows that her purpose in life is to share the story of her miracle birth and encourage other mothers to go the route of adoption over abortion.
“People can say all the time, ‘You shouldn’t have lived. How could you have lived?’ For me that answer is very simple. It was the Lord. He had every hand in it. The Lord packaged me this way and He made me the person that I am to go forth and share His message.”