COEUR d’ALENE — It's lonely to be a kid without parents, dreaming of a family to call your own.
Emma Jenson, 14, of Rathdrum, was once that dreamer. But everything changed when she and her little sister, Aubrey, 11, found a loving family. Where once Emma knew sorrow and emptiness, she now feels joy and comfort. She and her sister now know love.
"After I was adopted, I would come home and there was food on the table for me every day and we would all eat as a family," Emma said to the crowd of about 100 people gathered in the Skate Plaza parking lot Saturday morning. "After I was adopted, I had a mom and dad. I had two people that actually loved me and cared for me. After I was adopted, my whole perspective on the world changed."
Their adoptive mom, Jenn Jenson, shared the story of how they became a family during Right to Life Coeur d'Alene's 39th annual Right to Life March and Rally.
It started when Jenn received a 6 a.m. phone call from a friend who worked with the girls. The friend told Jenn she had a dream that Jenn and her husband would adopt them.
"I'm like, 'What? I'll call you back,'" Jenn said. "After that, my husband and I prayed and we just didn't feel it was the right time."
About a year later, the topic came up again, but they weren't prepared to take on two kids. Finally, the following year, Jenn got serious and asked God for guidance.
"I said, 'God, what door do you want to open? Because I'm getting old and you haven't made me a mom, but I have this yearning to be a mom,'" Jenn said.
The next day, Jenn got her answer in the form of a phone call from the friend letting her know the girls were officially up for adoption. The friend said, "If you want them, they're yours."
"I talked to my husband and I said, 'I will go whatever direction you want to go in, I just feel like we're supposed to meet them,'" Jenn said.
They Skyped online and it was immediately apparent that it was meant to be.
"Aubrey said, 'I've never had a daddy before,' and that was it. My husband said, 'Well, you've got one now,'" Jenn said. "That Friday we went down, we signed paperwork with a lawyer before we even met them because we knew that was where we were supposed to be. Then we met them and we fell in love."
Although adoption is a long process, Jenn said, it's a beautiful gift.
"They think they got the most out of it, but we got the most out of it," Jenn said, causing her girls to giggle. "They are the most generous, the most kind, the most hopeful little girls, young women, that we could have ever known.
"They're happy and they make us happy every day. I've never seen kids wake up most mornings happy," she said. "The gift of adoption is a gift both ways. It seems scary, but it is a beautiful gift."
The Jensons shared their story during the Right to Life event as a way to illustrate the beauty that can happen when unplanned or unwanted pregnancies aren't terminated early.
Many attendees held signs that read "I choose life!," "Pray to end abortion," "Life is the first inalienable right" and other pro-life sentiments.
Amanda Owen of Hayden attended the rally with her husband and their five children and another on the way. Owen said their family went to the rally because they feel "that babies deserve a chance."
"Everyone deserves a chance. We want our kids to see that also," she said. "We talk about it and they get sad when they hear that babies are dying. They want to be out here helping also. Everyone wants the message to be out there that abortion needs to stop. Babies need that chance."
The rally is held in conjunction with Right to Life rallies across the nation that take place on or near the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion, Roe v. Wade.