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.