Kristi Hofferber has a message when she speaks to conferences and organizations across the United States. The message is that every life is valuable, despite how it was conceived.
And she is living proof.
When she was 30 years old, Hofferber, who knew she had been adopted as a newborn, learned that she was conceived through rape and incest. She learned that her biological father was her birth mother’s own father and he had abused her mother for 20 years. She learned that she had five biological siblings. And she learned that four of them had been aborted and one was miscarried.
Hofferber was the second of those six children. Her mother had miscarried the first baby. She hid her pregnancy with her second child as long as she could. When she realized the baby would not be her way out of her abusive situation, she agreed to place the baby girl up for adoption. She was forced by her father to abort the other four babies.
When Hofferber speaks about the value of the life of the unborn, she wants her audience to see her and to know that she, too, would have been aborted if her biological father had anything to say about it.
“I was conceived in incest, but created by God, “ Hofferber says. “When I hear someone say they are opposed to abortion except in the case of rape and incest, I think ‘Well, then you think I should have been aborted.’ I am still made in the image of God, no matter how I was conceived. God still has a plan for each one of us.
“Why should the punishment for rape and incest be placed on a completely innocent child? That, in essence, only serves to protect the person who committed the crime.”
Hofferber had always known she was adopted. She had been given up for adoption in May 1978 when she was three days old. Her adoptive parents were unable to have children of their own.
“God placed me in the arms of two very loving people who took me in and provided me with unconditional love, support and opportunities that shaped the foundation of the person that I am today,” Hofferber says.
“My adoptive parents have always been open with me about being adopted for as long as I can remember. But I didn’t know the whole story. I had always wondered — always had a restlessness of needing to know more about where I came from.
“I was hesitant to ask my parents for more information. I was grateful for the life they had given me. But I had reached a point in my life when I knew I needed to learn more.”
Hofferber’s adoption was closed, but her adoptive mother had worked at the hospital where she was born and had come across the name in hospital records. She didn’t know any more than the name until an article appeared in the local newspaper 13 years later. A woman whose name matched Hofferber’s birth mother was pressing charges against her father for 20 years of sexual abuse.
“I was speechless! This had never in a million years crossed my mind,” says Hofferber. “I went from having about a dozen questions in my mind to having hundreds.
“I knew this was all God’s timing. I could not have handled this at a younger age. But at 30, I was more grounded in my faith and I knew God wanted me to learn this then.”
It didn’t take long for Hofferber to locate her biological mother on social media. A week later, she was making plans to drive two states away to meet her birth mother and half sister. She describes it as a wonderful and emotional visit. Hofferber, however, is not currently in a relationship with her biological family.
“There are lots of differences between us and lots of dysfunction in that family. I need to protect my own family from that,” says Hofferber. “But I am glad for the opportunity to thank my biological mother for choosing life for me. Despite all of the struggles she had growing up, she chose life for me.”
Hofferber says it’s difficult to describe the emotions she has from knowing she is the result of rape and incest.
“I feel terrible for what happened to my birth mother over a 20-year span, but I am grateful I am here because of it,” she says.
Hofferber never met her father. He served 18 months in prison. By the time she learned about him, he had another life and another family. While he was still alive when she reconnected with her birth mother, he has since passed. She knows that he did ask forgiveness from his daughter for the abuse.
After learning the circumstances of her conception, meeting her birth mother and other biological family members, and working through the emotions that followed, Hofferber says she realized her calling was not in the banking industry where she had been working for 10 years.
She went back to school to pursue a degree in social work. She says her calling is to help mothers and babies.
“By sharing my story, I hope to help other women facing a difficult pregnancy see the value of the life they are carrying,” she says. “There are options for them, including adoption.”
Hofferber’s adoption story doesn’t end with her. Her husband, Rev. Mark Hofferber, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, Hoffman, was also adopted. He was not adopted at birth and knows little about his biological parents except that they asked that he be placed with a Lutheran family.
The Hofferbers also have two children, both adopted. Their son is 15 and was adopted from Korea, and their daughter is four and was adopted from Kristi’s biological family.
“Our children know they are adopted and we will tell them about their biological family when they are ready,” Hofferber says. “We will tell them about our stories, and we will tell them that the four of us are here today because our mothers chose life.”