NOTE: Commentary is made as a private citizen and not as Regional Coordinator for Silent No More or Leader of Rachel's Hope, unless otherwise stated.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

A Story of Courage and Love

Patti works as a sidewalk counselor and is involved with many pro-life organizations such as 40 Days for Life, Lutherans for Life, Savethe1, His Nesting Place and Horizon Pregnancy Clinic. She feels volunteering with these groups enlarges her world view on abortion and other life issues.  She strives to do her part to promote LIFE and trusts God to do the rest.

Welcome to my world – and what a wonderful journey it’s been.  I am so grateful for my life. It has been 59 years since joined my family of destiny.   When I say family of destiny, I mean that all of us have a family of origin, our biological family, and some of us have a family of destiny – that family that takes us in and although we are not biologically connected, we are indeed family in every other sense.   So my family of destiny was my adopted mom and dad and my adopted older sister.   I grew up San Pedro, the greatest little city in the world and graduated from San Pedro High, Class of 1973.  
I learned that I was adopted when my older sister blurted it out during a sisterly argument, “Well, YOU'RE adopted!”  I asked my folks if it were true, and they both said, “Yes.”  They told me the stork delivered me to the hospital, and they picked me out.   Not knowing where babies really came from as I was only 6, I just thought everyone was adopted!  

I grew up and finally learned where babies really came from and what being adopted meant.  I wanted to know more about my birth family.   Did my birth mother ever think about me?   Why did she put me up for adoption?  Didn’t she love me enough to keep me?   Was she forced to give me up?  Did I look like her?  
I often thought of my birth parents, and I began to become really serious about meeting my birth mother after I had my own children.  I wanted to SEE her, I wanted to thank her for the gift of life, and I had questions that needed answers!   During the 50’s adoptions were closed.  That means that any identifying information of the birth parents is not available, including family medical information.  

I knew that I may have a long hard road to find my birth parents if I ever did.   My adoptive mom was very helpful and provided me the legal documents that finalized my adoption.   I saw just two pieces of information.   A last name "Baby Longhenry" and the city where my birthmother was born - St. Paul, Minnesota.   I prayed for days and then I thought – I should just call 411 – logical first step.   I prayed and finally picked up the phone.  I called 411 and obtained four numbers of Longhenry's.   I called the first number and needed to go no further … the man that answered was my birthmother’s cousin, AND he was that ONLY relative that knew of the birth and adoption.   He was the one my birthmother had confided in!   I was floored and knew that this was my gift, my miracle from God.   He said he would call my birthmother for me right away. I waited and after two days, my biological mother called me, and I heard her voice for the first time.
Her name was Dotti, and she was living in Spokane Washington.  Unable to keep her secret (ME) any longer, she told her family about me and soon was on a plane to meet me. As we shared our lives, she told about the circumstances of my conception and birth.   I expected to hear a tragic but romantic love story, but instead I heard the shocking news that she was a victim of rape and could not cope with keeping the child of a rapist, so she gave me up for adoption.    My father never knew about me, and she never saw him again.  She didn’t go to the police -- she was too ashamed.  She never told anyone about the rape except her cousin in Minnesota  - the one I called on the phone - with his promise not to tell a soul.  

She found herself pregnant and alone.  There are those would say a child conceived by rape is disposable, of little value, damaged goods, bad genes.   In fact, many people who say they are pro-life except in cases of rape and incest.   Many of our respected senators and congressmen who say they are pro-life carry the same conditions along with some clergy.  Praise God my mother didn’t believe in exceptions.  She knew in her heart that I was precious to God and that my life had value.  It did not matter to her how I was conceived; she only knew she was pregnant with an innocent child
I asked her about how she felt carrying me for nine months.  Wasn’t I a constant reminder of what she suffered?  Did she resent me?  Did she consider aborting me?  She said that she was traumatized by the rape, but if there was anything good that could have possibly come from it, it was me.   She said when she found out she was pregnant; she knew she loved me.   From that violent and traumatic event, she considered something wonderful happened – me!    She wanted a healthy baby. She wanted a mother and a father for me, so she gave me to a family and trusted God that I would have a good life, and she always prayed that someday she could meet me.  I had thought that I was a burden to her, something to “get rid of, give away.”  How wrong I was and I had to face that I had not believed that every baby deserves a birthday.   I believe it now. Do you?

Dotti died within two years of our meeting, but I am thankful for the time I was given to get to know that very special woman.   I'm thankful that I was able to tell her what a brave, and loving thing she did for me and to tell her how very grateful I am for my life.  Members of her family told me that Dotti was not the same after we met.  She was at peace; she had more confidence and faith.   She was able to finally see and touch me, and meet her grandchildren.   Dotti was my miracle, and I was hers!    
I can’t honor my birthmother without also honoring my adoptive parents.   I don’t know whether they knew the circumstances of my birth, but if they did, they didn’t care.  They had a healthy baby girl, and they loved me completely and unconditionally.   I had the life every child should have, and my parents taught me by loving example.  I think the most important thing they did for me was to bring me up in the church.   I went to church every Sunday, including Sunday School.  A foundation my mom and dad gave me that has carried me through life – faith in God.   He is my strength, my refuge, and my life.   I know that there is nothing impossible with God.   These Christian values were of the utmost importance to my adoptive parents, and they instilled these values and Christian morals in me.   

I thank God each day for the wonderful life I have had.  I love to tell people about how much He treasures every life, no matter what the circumstances of conception.   I am not my father, nor am I my mother.  I am NOT the product of rape!   I am me.  I was created by a loving God, and my life is valuable.  And so is the life of every baby conceived -- of infinite value and a priceless gift from God.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A Strange Thing Happened in Dallas

This past weekend I traveled to Dallas, Texas to attend the Pro-Life Women’s Conference. Not being a great fan of flying, being nervous for three hours up yonder took its toll. I arrived at the hotel exhausted and ready to sleep. When I checked in the gal asked me if I wanted to keep the charges on my American Express card.  I thought it odd because I didn’t have an American Express but let it slide and gave her my Visa card.  Receiving the key, I took the elevator to the fourth floor of this expansive hotel, and I swear up and down my room was practically back in San Diego.  I got to the door and there was a “do not disturb sign” on it, and the key didn’t work.  I dreaded the walk back to the lobby (I also had a blister on my toe) so decided to call the front desk instead.  They apologized for the error and directed me to meet the bellman at a room on the twentieth floor.  I limped back to the elevator and once again that room was also practically in San Diego, but the key worked, and I was happy to settle in my home away from home. 

The time change messed up my already warped sleeping pattern, and I woke at 3:00 a.m.  I readied myself really early then ventured to the lobby where (thank God) they had a 24-hour coffee shop.  I enjoyed several cups of the life-saving nectar while reading from my Kindle, then decided to walk around and get acquainted with the area.  Before I knew it, it was time to check-in and get my registration packet.  After the room fiasco, you can imagine my response when told my packet had already been picked up.  I calmed myself down, thinking one of my Silent No More sisters secured it the night before.  I contacted them, and neither one had.  Hmmmm   The weekend was getting weird.  No one could figure out what happened but after I provided my registration verification I was issued another packet and went happily on my way to meet up with my friends, do some networking and listen to some outstanding scheduled speakers....trying to put the minor inconveniences aside. 

Due to lack of sleep the previous night, I was ready to turn in not too long after dinner.  All I could think of while going up the elevator was that comfortable bed.  I trudged the twenty miles (okay, maybe not that far) to my room and lo and behold, the key didn’t work.  I was a little miffed.  I called the front desk again, and they told me they PURPOSELY locked me out because there was some confusion as to who was supposed to be in that room.  They apologized and sent someone up to give me a new key.

Come to find out there was another Patti Smith registered, not just at the hotel but at the conference.  It was her room I originally went to; it must have been her American Express card (she’s grateful I was honest and didn’t leave my charges on her card – lol), and the conference staff thought one of the Patti Smiths must have been a duplicate.  Mystery solved.

With the number of attendees at the conference, I was not able to locate my “other self”, but strangely enough, she commented on a post on the conference Facebook page after she returned home.  I “friended” her and sent her a message, introducing myself.  She too had been locked out of her hotel room because of the confusion.  We chatted back and forth and then more strangeness.  We have spoken at the same type of pro-life functions (Knights of Columbus, Memorial for the Unborn, Defund Planned Parenthood) we both have Chihuahuas, she has family near where I grew up in Washington State, some of our past experiences were the same, and we are both writers and poets.  She also lives about seventy miles from me and will be at an upcoming conference in Pasadena (let’s see if we both get registered!). 

We are both dedicated to life but from different viewpoints.  I am post-abortive and speak out against abortion because of the pain and suffering I experienced afterward.  She is a child of rape whose mother courageously decided against abortion and gave her up for adoption.  Her story is amazing, and you will be touched when I share it in my next post. 

God works in mysterious ways, and obviously with a sense of humor by the manner He brought this new friend into my life.

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Supreme Court - Got it Wrong (Again)

The recent Supreme Court decision, Woman’s Whole Health v. Hellerstedt, struck down Texas’ ruling that would have protected women’s health at abortion facilities. 
The court agreed with Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers that Texas law would limit access to abortion.  They argue "access" but let's get real ... they just don’t want to lower their profit margins.  Once again the almighty dollar is considered more important than life.  Not only can Planned Parenthood sell baby body parts, but also operate facilities without adhering to the same health codes as outpatient facilities and abortionists won't have to deal with their "mistakes".

When will people lift the blindfold and see the truth?  Yes, I am against abortion. I experienced the devastating after-effects.  BUT until Roe v Wade is overturned, there should be laws to protect the health and well-being of women seeking those services – to assure the procedure is safe and that the abortionist has hospital admitting privileges in emergencies. 
The pro-choice community should be appalled at the Supreme Court’s decision …. after all, aren’t they the ones claiming to be the protectors of women’s rights?  Hmmmmm.

This is far from over, and I for one will never give up fighting for life…The life of the child and of the mother. 
By the way .......
Planned Parenthood’s most popular
slogan needs to be changed:

Friday, June 17, 2016

Remembering Dad - A Father's Day Tribute


     My dad passed away on 2/24/16 so this is the first Father's Day without him.  I'm still shocked at his unexpected passing, but it is comforting to know he is once again with my mom, the love of his life. 
     To say I was been blessed with a wonderful dad would be an understatement and it would take up at least a year of blog posts to adequately convey my love for him.  With that in mind, I'll share a mere two or three precious and memorable moments:
     Some family friends had a go-cart and one day we all went to a large, empty parking lot. Dad was quite worried when I got behind the wheel because I was only nine or ten at the time.  He made the unfortunate decision of monitoring my motoring skills by walking in front of me. Lowering my helmeted head and envisioning a bulls-eye, I floored it...chasing him all over the parking lot.  (Evil child, evil child). I'm sure a YouTube video of that event would have accumulated a gazillion hits!
     When I was twenty-three, I was involved in a freak accident at a baseball game. The bat slipped out of the batter's hand and flew into the stands, landing on my forehead. (I ended up with a concussion, four skull fractures and twenty-eight stitches). Being the consummate comedian,  he would tell me my black eyes reminded him of the Tareyton cigarette commercial, “I'd rather fight than switch," I made an attractive raccoon, and my favorite … I looked like a boxer that went one too many rounds.

     This last memory affects me to this day....

     My dad loved Honky Tonk music, in fact, he passed while listening to one of his favorite CD's.  As a child, I remember him down in the basement, playing Big Tiny Little, Knuckles O'Toole and Eddie Barns, just to name a few.  On Saturday mornings, however, that music was a “call for duty”.  My sister and I knew the minute the music started it was time to “Police up the Area” (clean the house). To this day, whenever I hear that music I have a sudden urge to pick up a dust rag, in fact, I do. A while back, I came up with the bright idea to download his favorites albums to a CD since he didn't have a turntable anymore. (Not too bright, Patti). He and my mom moved in with us a couple of years ago and he played that darned thing all the dust in this house!!!!!

     Dad, you and I went through a lot in my sixty+ years, but what warms my heart and humbles me the most was your unconditional love.  The period in my life when I fell as far as anyone could, the days when I caused you unrelenting embarrassment and heartache, your hand was always there to pick me up and your arms were there to hug me.

I Love and Miss You So Very Much...

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Fathers Suffer Too

“Why didn’t you say something? I would have married you, or helped in some way.”  I heard those words upon telling a man I was dating I had an abortion ... The words and his tears (yes, he actually cried) still haunt me.
You see, in my “dark days” I was quite the partier and with one of my unexpected pregnancies, I had a choice of two fathers.  It’s not something I’m proud of, but sometimes the truth can be ugly.  Even uglier is my informing one of them several months after the procedure … A cruel way to get even for him not wanting to see me anymore.
The reason I’m sharing this part of my life, ugliness and all, is because the Silent No More Awareness Campaign dedicates the month of June to fathers who have lost children to abortion.  We have to remember, the aborted child is part of them as well.  The child they too wonder about … What would he/she look like?  What would he/she have become?  They also suffer the grief, and if an integral part of the abortion decision, the same guilt and remorse as the mother.
Contrary to who I was back then, the man I was dating had a conscience and a heart of gold ... someone caught in the middle of my path of destruction.  Although I made amends to God and my children, I never did with him. I don't know for a fact he struggled with the abortion for the past forty-plus years, but based on what I hear and read from other post-abortive fathers, he more than likely did. 

If I were to see him today, I would apologize for the pain I intentionally inflicted out of spite and commend him for his willingness to accept responsibility, even though the child might not have been his (if only I had been so willing).  I pray he was able to find peace and healing and that he has a happy, fulfilling life.
If you lost a child through abortion, there is hope and healing: