November is National Adoption Awareness Month. From a young age, Sharla Ynostrosa’s parents told her that she was adopted. Her mother and father continually shared their joy with her and encouraged her to view being adopted as “something special.” Sharla says she never viewed adoption as a hardship and always saw her family as a blessing. Although she knows that not everyone has such a positive experience and that adoption is an extremely difficult journey for the birth mother, she has always viewed adoption as a “loving Life option.”
Sharla was born December 30, 1963, and adopted three days later. Sharla’s parents were inspired to adopt when they couldn’t have another child. Her mom’s brother adopted a baby 11 months before Sharla was born. Sharla’s sister-in-law was also adopted. While Sharla reflected on her story and the stories of her adopted family members, she realized that they were all born before the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the United States through all nine months of pregnancy. Sharla realized that babies just like her were being killed through abortion instead of adopted.
Throughout her life, Sharla carried a positive message about adoption. She always encouraged families who were adopting and shared her story with other people who were adopted. Sharla became more involved in the Pro-Life movement through praying at the Planned Parenthood clinic in San Angelo, which closed in 2013. While she was praying, Sharla met women who had undergone abortions and expressed their ongoing grief. She says, “My heart broke for them, hearing their stories.” Sharla fully realized for the first time that the Pro-Life movement, including adoption, is a way of loving both the mother and the child.
Later in 2013, Sharla’s personal commitment to the preborn and to her positive message about adoption became a public ministry. Wendy Davis stood for an 11-hour filibuster on the floor of the Texas Senate in an attempt to defeat legislation that would protect preborn babies who undeniably feel pain from abortion. As Sharla watched abortion advocates from across the country heap praise on Davis and rally around her message of death, Sharla knew she needed to write in to her newspaper. Her piece was published on the Fourth of July and is a letter to “precious babies in the womb.” Sharla wrote,
I’m writing this letter to you, the innocent victims of abortion. Please know that there are many pro-life people and organizations that are praying for you, we are fighting for your lives. There are so many moms and dads who would love to adopt you, who are on a long waiting list in hopes of adopting a baby just like you.
Sharla had found her voice, and with the encouragement of her family and friends she started a blog to share her Pro-Life adoption message. She told Texas Right to Life in an interview, “The more I wrote, the more I read, the more I had to say.” She didn’t expect the blog to reach many readers, but soon found that readers in countries around the world were finding her message. Even as her blog expanded, Sharla and her husband, Jim, felt that they were called to do more to spread their Pro-Life message. They considered getting billboards with their adoption message, but realized that billboards would not be long-lasting. Instead, they decided to invest their money in self-publishing Sharla’s many blog posts as a book through Christian Faith Publishing.
The book, Adopted and Blessed: Words from My Heart, includes Sharla’s story, stories from her Pro-Life outreach, and above all the message that adoption is a loving and beautiful solution to many crisis situations. Unlike a billboard, the published book will be a lasting message. Each book that is purchased or donated Shala views as a seed that may take root.
A message that Sharla emphasizes in her Pro-Life outreach is that adoption saves generations. To illustrate the power of this, Sharla includes two photos in her book. The first shows Sharla with her son, his five children, her daughter, and her daughter’s three children. The picture next to the family portrait is entitled “Without Me,” showing the empty chair and bench where the family posed. The message is clear. Not only does abortion take the Life of a preborn child, abortion prevents future generations from being born. Sharla reminds us that without adoption, all of us would be missing people who have touched our lives, a powerful image during National Adoption Awareness month.