Angela Forker is not your average photographer. Like many, she uses her photos to tell a story, but her work is special because there is always a deeply emotional element that makes every photo session unique and meaningful.
Angela, a wife and mom, started out doing photo sessions of newborn babies, a popular trend for the past decade or so. She shares that in 2018 during a time of prayer she said, “God, I pray my photography would save lives”. Quite a bold prayer, if you ask me.
God responded and gave her a project called “The Precious Baby Project“, whose purpose is to “spread hope and raise awareness for babies with special needs”. God has since used Angela’s work to help families who are burdened with the various aspect of caring for special babies with unique medical needs.
I’ll let Angela explain what happened the following year:
At the beginning of 2019 I prayed, “God I pray that my photography would somehow lead people to You.” I was so shocked when God spoke to me to start a series documenting women’s abortion stories. I had never thought of doing anything like this! I mostly only photograph babies, and my work is bright, cheerful, colorful and whimsical. For this new series, I would be creating dark and almost haunting photos of post-abortive women that would tell their stories of pain and regret after having had an abortion. The happy part of this series is that it would also focus on the healing they have found.
To be honest, when God first spoke to me about doing this series, I had a bit of an argument with Him. “Why me, God? I’ve never had an abortion. I’m not the right person to do this. Besides, if I do this, then people will think I’ve had an abortion!” Just as I was arguing with Him, God filled me with His great love and compassion for these women. At that moment, I knew that God had a great plan to use this series of photos in a powerful way. I realized then that it was the answer to my prayer that God would use my photography to lead people to Him. I couldn’t stop crying. I gave my photography to Him and told Him I would do whatever he wanted me to do.
Soon after, Angela started a new project called the “After the Abortion Photography Series” which, in about a year’s time, has generated a lot of reaction – especially on social media. Word spread quickly and Angela began to receive messages from women, and on occasion men, requesting a session with her.
“When post-abortive women and men see these photos on my Facebook page, they reach out to me and express an interest in partaking in this series. They tell me their story of pain, regret and grief. Many tell about substance abuse, addictions, suicide attempts and self-harming. From their story I pull out quotes that I can work with as I plan out their compelling photos. Then they travel out to me for a very unique photo shoot. Some drive hours and others fly out for their session. Many have expressed how healing this experience was for them! Once I have edited their images, I include their quote on their photo and post it to my Facebook page.”
Creating visual images of the inner turmoil and transformation of each woman is only part of the work that Angela does. There is a spiritual battle that surrounds each session and Angela sees her role as a warrior fighting on behalf of the captives, as depicted in the photo below.
After the Abortion Photography Series
Karen, Marcie and Kathy are three women who bravely sought out Angela because they no longer wanted to live obscurely in the shadows, but to face their demons and step out into the sunlight. There is no question that each experience set these women on a new path of redemption, hope and newness of life. I’ll let them tell you in their own words.
Related: Can God Forgive Abortion?
She was a minor who was forced by her mother to end two pregnancies as a way of dealing with mistakes instead of facing them in a healthy way. Suffering in silence and overwhelmed with guilt, Karen was finally able to come into the light.
“Over 30 years ago, I had 2 abortions. Not two babies like I had planned, but 2 abortions- planned by my mother, who saw my pregnancies as nothing but an embarrassing inconvenience that she wanted to get rid of and never have to think about again. Afterwards, I wasn’t permitted to acknowledge my grief…but for all of these years it has silently been there.
“Participating in the After The Abortion Project, for me, was a way to tell others that my babies existed… they mattered…that not everyone that has an abortion wants one, and that the feelings of emptiness never goes away. I didn’t fight hard enough for my babies. I was young and didn’t have enough courage to stand up to my mother.
“It is my hope that a young pregnant mom will see my pictures and have the courage to stand up to whomever is making her feel forced to abort. I also hope that mothers with a young, pregnant daughter will see my pictures and realize that abortion is not the answer.
“After participating in the project and being photographed, I feel more courage to continue my healing and even help others… and I am forever grateful.”
She was very young, unmarried and found out she was pregnant. After two weeks of dreaming about motherhood and one day holding her child in her arms, she was taken by her parents to the “doctor’s office” to take care of the “problem”.
Hope was snuffed out forever on that day. She spent years struggling with depression and guilt. She resorted to cutting as a way of punishing herself and attempted suicide as a way to escape the constant heartache declaring, “The world would be a better place without me in it because of all the awful things I had done”. See more of Marcie’s photos here.
“When I first met Angela it hadn’t even been a year since I had first told anyone about my abortion, so I was pretty new in my healing process. My first thought was, “This is a really neat project but I would never take part”. But the Lord had other plans .
“I was very apprehensive when it came time for my photo shoot but Angela was amazing throughout the entire process. From the very beginning, she let me know that she was praying for me as we prepared for the shoot.
“The shoot was not easy as it brought back a lot of regrets and unpleasant memories but Angela was very supportive through it all. Once I was through and saw the photos, it helped me to realize on a deeper level that I was truly forgiven and am a changed person now. It has also helped me to be more open in sharing my story in hopes of helping others who are hurting.”
She was a college student who fell in love. Near the end of their senior year, her fiancé introduced her to a family member who then took her captive at gunpoint and began to rent her out to other men for sex. For several years Kathy was utilized in the sex trafficking world. When it was discovered that she was pregnant she was told at gunpoint to either abort the baby or her family would be killed.
In the years following her freedom from slavery she struggled with feelings of shame, guilt and low self-worth, which led to self-harming. While she continues in therapy, her trip to see Angela marks a significant turn in her healing process.
“God had His hand in every aspect of my trip to Indiana. When my hotel accommodations didn’t work out as expected, Angela immediately invited me to stay at her home. She and her family welcomed me with open arms and made me feel like part of their family.
“For 3 intense, emotional days, Angela did several photo sessions with me. She was so kind, sensitive, and considerate of my feelings during all the photos. At one particular session at the Botanical Conservatory, God allowed me to have a HUGE breakthrough moment regarding my years in human trafficking, and it was amazing to see God work.
“The 3 days I spent with Angela truly changed my life. God has used her to help me start to heal in a way I never thought possible. I feel like, through this experience with her and her After the Abortion photography, I finally have found my voice.
“When people see my pictures, I don’t want them to see me; I want them to see past me to my Savior who is healing me and making me whole again. I want people to know they’re not alone, and that there is hope through Jesus Christ. God used Angela to show me that. I was once a victim. I am a survivor. And now, thanks to Angela and her allowing God to use her kind and caring heart to help heal my broken one — I am finally a thriver, through Christ.”
Each story is unique, yet hauntingly similar. These three women were forced to have abortions, as is the case in many scenarios. However, even more women have voluntarily aborted their own babies and have lived to regret it. This article is dedicated to all women who ache to be healed – and forgiven, yet find themselves so underserving.
Angela shares, “God is using these photos and these ladies’ stories to speak where words may not reach people. These photos are showing people that you can’t just have an abortion and think there won’t be consequences. These women have carried this great pain for decades! Thankfully, many are finding healing through God. Their stories and photos of redemption are touching many lives, showing them that God is merciful and loves each one, offering them forgiveness and healing for their broken souls.”
If you are a Christian, God has given you a ministry. Have you discovered what it is yet? Will you have the courage to say what Angela said as she offered herself before the Lord, saying, “God, use me to lead people to you”?
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