I'm going to share part of my life story with you today. I would like you to receive my story with love and not condemnation. I would like to dedicate this to my two oldest boys who gave me permission to tell this story despite their feelings. They said that abortion is a much bigger issue than their feelings and if this would stop one person from having an abortion it would be worth it.
If you've seen the movie " A Beautiful Mind " it might give you a glimpse into what my mother was like. My mother has schizophrenia like the main character in the movie and my father left when I was 3 because he couldn't deal with her illness. I'm not sure how he expected her to cope with 4 children on her own with no financial support either.
In my younger years I was fortunate to have good grandparents. And in my pre-teen and teenage years I had great friends that are still friends to this day. Their parents would take me into their homes. The odd time I would stay for a month or more at a time, when my mother was in the psych ward at the hospital---sometimes because she had tried to commit suicide. These people would feed me, clothe me and even take me on holidays. One surrogate mom even tried to give me an allowance because I did chores along with her own children.
I had great teachers who encouraged me to take part in sports and other extra-curricular activities. I was involved in everything possible. It helped me to escape from my home life where I didn't get along well with my siblings. Mostly because we were all trying to survive in our own way.
My oldest sister left home at 16 and was married at 18. My brother finished high school and became a welder and an alcoholic. My sister just 20 months older than I, got pregnant at 17 and brought her baby home to live with my mother and me, so that she could graduate from high school. And my mom's, on again off again, boyfriend of 16 years was an alcoholic. They would sometimes drink away the weekends, so we were often left unattended.
Growing up without a father and with a mother who couldn't be there for me emotionally, left me searching for love. I was outgoing, I worked hard at school to seek approval and I was a jock. All these attributes helped me get through some pretty tough years. Plus we were on welfare, so I had to prove that I wasn't TRASH! I didn't want to be associated with my family. I was the one that did well in school. I was the one that played on most of the school teams. I was going to be somebody!
When I was in grade twelve, I had had a boyfriend for about a year. I was aware of his drinking too much, sometimes he'd even hit me if I looked at another guy. But he loved me or so I thought. I didn't know what love was then. I didn't realize that love was when someone respects you enough to wait until you're married to have sex. Love is helping someone be the best they can be. I didn't learn that until I was much older. Anyway, I ended up pregnant.
Remember, I couldn't turn to anyone in my family and my boyfriend said that his parents would never understand. Nobody would ever find out if I had an abortion----- that seemed to be the only way out. I was alone at the hospital and I traveled alone home. I remember these ladies in the other beds across the room talking about "these young girls getting abortions and not caring about their babies." It was horrible to listen to and it was too late. I remember crying and crying, when one of them came over and asked if I'd like to talk about it. I said, "No!" and continued crying alone.
There was no big fan fare when I got home. There was no announcements cards to send out. If abortion was something to be proud of, we would receive congratulation cards or some kind of memento besides turmoil and pain. I never told anyone for years and tried to live as if it never happened. It was such a burden to have a skeleton in the closet. When we don't keep things in the light they seem to haunt us forever.
That was how I justified my abortion and I never learned the truth about abortion until 12 years later. During those years I worked, put myself through university and eventually met and married a Catholic man. I also became a Catholic. I was so proud because now I had arrived at "the good life." We were married for a couple of years when I got pregnant. We were very excited. But God works in mysterious ways because for some reason I was left alone in the delivery room on the day of my child's birth. My husband went with the nurses to clean up the baby and the doctor was called out of the room. I was alone with my thoughts and wept bitterly over the murder of my first child. It didn't really hit me that it was murder until I held my live baby in my arms. He was beautiful! How could anyone kill an innocent child! That was the beginning of my healings 12 years later and still continues today, over 30 years later.
But God had an even bigger lesson in store for me. To shorten a very long story, my marriage fell apart after 2 children and of course I was still searching for love. I found myself in a rebound relationship and ended up pregnant and alone. That's when I stopped myself long enough to ask the question, "What in the hell was I doing with my life and to my children?" What was I going to do? I called my priest and told him about my situation. Do you know what he said to me? He said, "I love you the same, Bonnie." That was the day I made my head to heart conversion. I knew and felt Jesus love for me through Father Clair's words. Those words were like the Father taking back the prodigal son. I knew then, I couldn't have another abortion because I knew I would be murdering another human being.
But what was best for this child--to be raised in a single parent home or to be raised by two loving parents. After much prayer and counseling I decided to go the route of adoption. I chose a couple who had already adopted a child, as I wanted my child to have at least one sibling. And they were Catholic-- that was important to me as well.
It was difficult to tell my boys that their baby brother or sister was not going to stay with us. They would hug and kiss my big belly and would ask God to bless their special "gift baby". They were 5 and 3 years old at the time. I explained that this was one of God's ways of giving people who couldn't have babies a gift of life. I wanted the best for my baby because I knew the pains of growing up without a father and with a mother who couldn't be there.
The day the baby was born was a day full of mixed emotions. I had chosen life for my child. I was so grateful! But I would be leaving my baby in someone else's arms. I spent the day rocking, feeding and selflessly loving that child before I gave him over to his new family. They struggled too! They were so happy to have another child after suffering through 12 miscarriages to have their children. But in taking someone else's baby home they felt a great sense of sadness for me and my boys left behind.
I wrote a letter to him that I gave to the parents to give to him when they felt he was old enough to receive it. I never thought I would see him again--except in the pictures they were going to send. But God is good! The parents continued to call me and we saw each other quite regularly. We have attended his first communion and confirmation. We have camped together and we celebrate Christmas and his birthday together every year. He introduces me as his birthmother but he calls me Bonnie.
It has been as wonderful an experience as any adoption can be. There is peace in my decision to place my son in the care of a loving couple, however, it doesn't stop the pain I still feel. This was the most difficult decision of my whole life but God has showered me with many blessings because of it.
I would like to leave you with this one thought. You wouldn't be here today if your parents had said "yes" to an abortion. So go home today and thank them for the gift of your life.