This world needs…a heart of gold


I talked to my son today….my son who has kept every greeting card he ever received, and hauled them from dorms to apartments, and finally to his home.  His young wife smiles over such sentiment.

I chatted warmly with him… my son whose best man at his wedding last summer ended his toast by saying, “…and we all know Chris has a heart of gold.”

Yes, he does, this son of mine who also caused my husband and me many sleepless nights and not a few gray hairs during his teenage years and early adulthood.

My son was magic on the saxophone and a master of math.  But we are most proud of him for working so hard to put his life back together after those years of poor judgment and bad choices.  He has just begun a new curriculum in engineering, while working about 50 hours/week in  a restaurant.

But the most important thing I want to tell you about my son is that his life is a miracle. 

You see, my son is adopted, and he was born a few years after Roe vs Wade said that he wasn’t a child, but a “choice”  His birth mother was a teenager, in the middle of her first year in college.  How easy it would have been for her to make the “choice” —to extinguish that heart of gold, that ear for music, that little baby who filled the hearts and arms and lives of my husband and me with so much love and joy and purpose.

But this young woman chose life.  And it wasn’t easy.  I know her story.  I’ve even met her. She gave up nine months of her plans and dreams so that my son…her son…could live the life God gave him.

And when the time came, and he was born, she almost changed her mind, because giving him up was so hard.  But she wanted a family for him; she wanted stability and support that she was unable to give.  And so she made the ultimate sacrifice.

I can’t imagine how much God loves this woman who chose life for my son.  But I am sure there is a great reward waiting in heaven for her, and all those like her who so unselfishly bore pregnancy and endured childbirth for a child they would entrust to someone else.

When we brought our son home from the adoption agency, I asked if I could write his birth mother a letter to try in some small way to thank her.  (How do you thank someone for giving you their child…to be your child?)  As I placed my letter in the envelope, my husband handed me a sheet of blue paper.  On it, he had written a poem, the first line of which read:  Thank you for caring and letting him live.  And each stanza contained that same refrain.

O Dear God, I thought!  What if she had not let him live?  What if she had taken his life…snuffed it out before anyone even knew?

It could have ended that way….my son’s life.  It ended that way for over 55 million other unborn babies.

Thank you M, for your courage, your sacrifice, you love, your willingness to put your child first.

Because of you, there is a young man poring over his calculus and physics books, with his new bride cheering him on.  And oh, did I mention his stash of greeting cards…no doubt some from you in there.

And his heart of gold?  Surely that came from you too, along with his brown eyes.

M, you are my hero!

Thank you for caring and letting him live!


30 thoughts on “This world needs…a heart of gold

  1. I’m looking through tears at this screen. That handsome smiling face is the face of a ‘choice’ that every stressed out, panicked, unexpectedly-pregnant young woman can choose to make. This is a wonderful post.

    • Thank you, Nancy. I love that picture of Christopher. He was six years old when my husband took it, and it absolutely captured Chris’ spirit. He was such a cutie 🙂 But then, I’m rather prejudiced. I wanted to write something pro-life for the dreaded anniversary week of Roe vs Wade…but I wanted to emphasize the positive.
      I think seeing the face of a child is so powerful. That’s why ultrasound has been such an invaluable tool for saving babies. Thanks for your tears, dear Nancy. You too have a heart of gold! Love and hugs….

  2. You do realize, don’t you, that ANY human being on the face of this earth could have been aborted? This isn’t an alternate fate relegated only to adoptees. As an adoptee myself, I get tired of hearing this from every single person who discovers I am adopted. “You are so lucky, you could have been aborted!!” they will proclaim, when yes, I think this is something that has crossed my mind once or twice. It seems to me (from what you have written) that your son’s mother never even once considered abortion – so to thank her now for not choosing something she didn’t choose to begin with? Seems like a slap in the face. To her, and your son.

    • Hello, and thank you for commenting. Yes, I do realize that any child conceived has the potential to be aborted. But, “unplanned” babies are certainly at the highest risk…whereas those who are “welcomed” may perhaps face abortion if they are later deemed not perfect by today’s standards.

      For the unplanned child in the womb, there are basically three fates awaiting him/her: the mother will decide to carry the child to term and raise her child herself or with the support of family members; the mother chooses to abort the child (this is the choice for close to one out of three pregnancies in the U.S.), the mother realizes that she does not have the resources (emotional, financial, family support, etc.) to care for her child, but finds killing her own baby abhorrent, and so she makes an adoption plan. This is the rarest of the three far.

      Before abortion was legalized, it was not even difficult to adopt multiple children. The family who lived next door to us when I was growing up had four adopted children. But in the 1970’s, waiting lists to adopt became almost endless, and the wait itself often dragged on for years. Many couples eventually gave up.

      Why did this happen? Part of the reason is that changing values made it more acceptable for unmarried women to bear and keep their children. But we know what else happened. We know because we have statistics from the Center for Disease Control and the Alan Guttmacher Institute which have set the number of surgical abortions since 1973 at over 55 million.

      Before abortion was legalized, many of these millions of aborted babies would have been placed for adoption. So, you see, there is a connection.

      My son is an only child, and neither he nor his dad and I wanted it that way. We re-applied to adopt a second child when he was two, but were simply told, “there are no babies…” The agency had placed only six infants the entire previous year. Surely you are aware of tens of thousands of couples traveling out of the US and adopting children from all over the world. Sadly, this is extremely expensive, and many who wish to adopt cannot afford to go this route.

      Having said all of that, I can understand your resentment at being singled out as a special case…an “abortion survivor,” when perhaps you were never in danger of abortion at all. But, there can be no denying that nowadays, millions of babies do meet their deaths in the womb when 40 years ago, they would have been protected by law, and placed for adoption or raised by extended family.

      But, let me make it clear that I do not think infertile couples have a right to anyone else’s child. Our infertility is our own problem, and it is no one else’s responsibility to provide us with a “ready made” family. However, when a woman like my son’s birth mother chooses to give her baby to a couple longing for a child, well that is an inestimable gift. I have read your blog, so I know you don’t like that term “gift,” but I assure you that every child is a GIFT..whether born into its biological family, or entering it through adoption. All children are gifts from my lexicon.

      Finally, I would never presume to ask my son’s birth mother if she had ever considered abortion. However, she appreciated my husband’s poem so much that she kept it for twenty years, and even brought it to her reunion with our son. She also made his birth father a copy…and me as well. And my son, well he has always realized that being adopted makes him a bit different in some ways, but he knows that he is loved by the family who raised him as well as the woman and man who gave him life. Now that he is married, hopefully he will one day have children in whom he will experience both blood and family united, and that for him will be a special joy.

      I wish you well in finding peace with your own situation. Please feel free to comment here at anytime. Thank you and God bless!

  3. Patricia, Like Nancy, I read this through tears.. I’m speechless at such a personally revealing and beautiful post. You’re son and daughter -in-law are precious and beautiful. M was courageous, but so are you..for accepting the Lord’s will and reaching out to this young woman who certainly had a choice in her decision.
    God bless you all as you continue to witness to the message of life.
    Love you always and +

    • Caroline, it’s wonderful to have friends who cry with me…joyful tears this time. I love you all! Thank you for your lovely words. I am enjoying having a married son, and my new “daughter” who turns the ripe old age of 29 this Monday. They got engaged on her birthday last year.

      One of these days, I’m going to write an in-depth post on adoption. It really is a unique journey. I am no longer in contact with dear M. I think it became too difficult for her after about a year. I think my son may hear from her occasionally. She lives quite a distance away. But she will always own a very special piece of my heart. She really is my hero. These women who choose life are so courageous, because adoption is not a popular choice in our culture. It’s basically keep “it” or kill “it”..which is so very, very sad. God bless your family, for your witness to life! I get so excited just thinking about my potential grandchildren!!! What a blessing a baby is…new life. It’s so wonderful. My son and his wife love children. Yay! Maybe they’ll have a dozen 🙂

      I’m up much too late, and still haven’t decided whether to go on my beautiful, silent four day retreat which begins tomorrow. It’s a two hour drive, and the schedule is very demanding. Not being a morning person….I always offer up my total exhaustion. But having been sick, and still experiencing some pain and fatigue, I’m not sure what to do. I keep listening, but the Lord isn’t talking! Oh dear! Well…I will have to decide tomorrow when I wake up.
      If I disappear from the blogosphere, you’ll know I’m there, and praying for you and all of our dear, precious friends. I carry you in my heart.
      Love and hugs always…..

      • You can’t imagine how happy I am to find out…you’re not a morning person LOL
        I try so hard…: )
        I’m glad you’re well enough to at least have a choice about going!
        Take care of yourself…xxxoo blessings and +

        • Caroline, I’m so surprised! Somehow, I got the impression that you were an early riser. Yay! Welcome to my world 🙂 I try too, but hate to go to bed, which means I can’t crawl out too early. Retreats are brutal in that way for me, cause you have to get up at the crack of dawn if you are to make it to Mass. By the time I get home, I’m in the zone…as with jet lag. But, it’s all worth it.

          BTW, I went back and forth on what to do about my retreat, and in the end decided I would drive down tomorrow. It’s a two hour drive and lots of back roads…I’ve gotten lost before. I was so tired this morning that I just didn’t feel up to getting everything packed and making the long drive. But I don’t want to miss the whole retreat, so I’m getting there tomorrow in the afternoon…I hope. Say a little prayer, please. And I’ll say many for your and even write down your intentions at the Masses.

          BTW, since you are a night owl, you might want to join the NONS, which Nancy founded….Night Owl Nuns. She’s so funny! So far, I think she and I are the onlhy members, but we’d love to have you 🙂

  4. Also reading through tears. Rejoicing, I think . . . still sad thinking of all those who don’t navigate to the path of self-giving love and . . . somehow trust God to bless their hope and prayers for the child and find awesome parents like you and your husband.

    Touched to read about this miracle who is your son, and the loving choice and action of his mother, and the Providence and love of God to direct this precious heart of gold to your hearts.

    Love that your engineer hubby wrote a poem. Imagine you are protecting his privacy (I am working on that!) to not share more, but this refrain is precious, “Thank you for caring and letting him live.” Thank you for reminding me that there are women out there like his birth mother!

    • Colleen, tears? You too? Such beautiful hearts you and the others have! I love you.
      I will never, ever forget the sacrifice my son’s birth mother made. I have loved her from the moment we were told that we would be parents.
      Yes, it is so sad that more mothers with unplanned pregnancies don’t choose adoption. When I hear them say that they had an abortion because they couldn’t bear to “give my child to strangers..” I want to SCREAM! What kind of insane logic is that!!!!

      My engineer hubby has written many poems. He is something with that. When our son went on senior retreat in high school, we were each to send a sealed letter to the school for him to read on the retreat. I thought mine was really great, until I read my husband’s. He had compared my son’s life to the Joyful mysteries of the Rosary, and said that we still had to live the 5th mystery…finding Jesus in the Temple. He was relating that to our son being found again in God’s Holy Church by returning to the practice of his faith. I was so impressed!

      And..he never reads my blog, but I did send him a link to this post last night, thinking he would enjoy it. Later today, I found he had sent it out to several friends and business associates! Actually, I was very touched by that. God bless him.

      I’m glad you were a bit uplifted reading about a young woman who chose life. I read your most recent post,and I know it’s tough out there on the front lines, when they don’t choose life. God bless you, and thank you for your beautiful comment. Always in my prayers…xoxox

  5. Patricia,

    Thank you for sharing your son’s story. He looks so happy in the photos!

    ” And when the time came, and he was born, she almost changed her mind, because giving him up was so hard. But she wanted a family for him; she wanted stability and support that she was unable to give. And so she made the ultimate sacrifice.” What a wonderful woman M sounds. She also has a heart of gold.

    I can just imagine the very bittersweet moment when your son was given from his birth mother to you. Such a gift for you, but knowing what a beautiful soul you are, I am sure you also felt sadness for M who wouldn’t get to bring up her baby.

    I am also impressed that your husband writes poetry! My husband doesn’t read my blog either. I think he is afraid he’ll read something about himself and feel self-conscious (not that he minds me writing about him!). But like your husband, mine supports me and is proud of what I do. I think it is so beautiful your husband shared your post link with friends. Yes, your story is so special and needs to be shared. thank you!

    God bless!

    • He really was such a happy child…so full of life and mischief 🙂 Thank God for memories..cause they grow up so fast!

      Fortunately, we were not present when our son’s birth mother said good-bye to him. A social worker took him from the hospital. I don’t think I could have held it together, had we been present when she kissed him good-bye.

      Adoption is very much a bittersweet process. In a perfect world, it would never happen. One of the great sufferings which women who choose adoption for their babies must endure is being endlessly asked: How could you give away your baby to strangers?

      Can you imagine how much it must hurt to hear that…after you have made the choice to give your child life and bring them to birth? And then after agonizing over your decision..wanting so much to keep your little one, but knowing that they would spend most of their time in day care because you have to work or go to school or both? Not everyone has extended family waiting with open arms.

      People even used to tell me that: How could she give him up? Made me so angry! How dare they question her love! Sometimes, the greatest love is letting go, and she was the only one who could make that decision.

      I apologize for sounding a bit militant here, but there is a real movement out there to discourage adoption, and it embraces the idea that every child should remain with its biological matter the circumstances. I have gotten a few comments from people of this mindset, and it makes me very sad, because I know so many happy families with wonderful, well-adjusted adopted children…..just as there are biological families of children who are miserable and feel like misfits. Each situation is unique. I respect those who struggle because they were adopted, but they need to accept that not everyone does.

      Sue, so sorry for venting in my response to you. Your comment just happened to be mixed in with those from the anti-adoption crowd.

      Love you my friend. Thank you for seeing the joy on my little guy’s face 🙂 BTW, going on retreat tomorrow. Prayers for you and yours! xoxo

      PS Andy sounds like a good sport! Yes, it was sweet of my husband to share the link..and I was much surprised 🙂 And sometimes, he even writes me a poem!

      • Patricia,

        You said, “Sometimes, the greatest love is letting go, and she was the only one who could make that decision.” I can really see that! People say such hurtful things. They never really put themselves in another person’s shoes and try to understand. I find this a lot with grief. Please feel free to vent any time. I will always listen. That is what friends are for. And if I ever offend in any way, please tell me. Knowing you, you’d handle me gently! We should all be prepared to listen and learn.

        Thank you for your prayers! You are of course in mine.

        • Patricia,

          Careless use of words! Some people, of course, do have compassion for other people in situations other than their own, and they try so hard to show empathy. I didn’t mean to imply ALL people say hurtful things. We don’t really need to have experienced the same things. We just need to be care, to listen and do our best to see things through another person’s eyes. I do go on! Sorry!

          • I love that you “go on.” 🙂 I know what you mean. Sometimes people say the “wrong” thing, but they meant well. That’s very different from people deliberately trying to be hurtful. I love everyone who speaks out of compassion…even when they really don’t understand. I’m certainly in that category too, when it comes to things I’ve never experienced…like the loss of a child (thinking of a dear friend who lost her only remaining daughter last year…lost the first one in infancy years ago.) I can only stammer to her. Thank God, she has great faith, but she suffers so much. Come again, Sue 🙂 xo

        • Sue, you are so kind! Thank you for volunteering to be my “ventee” (?) 🙂
          People really do say hurtful things..and I got another one tonight. They just show up and judge you without having a clue to who you are or where you’ve been or your back story etc. Of course, they are coming from a deep wound from within…otherwise, why strike out at strangers who are only sharing something beautiful in their own life?

          Oh..grief. I can imagine you’ve run into some clueless remarks where that is concerned. I guess at these times, we just have to forgive, and to pray for those who say hurtful things…whether knowingly or unknowingly.

          Oh my, I can’t imagine you ever offending me. You are a joy! When you aren’t making me laugh, you are making me cry…but in a good way.

          Can you believe the shingles came back? Yes…not as bad, but I’ve been sick since right after retreat. I’m hoping February will be a better month for me!

          I love the exchange of prayers. Thank you so much! Love to my friend across the sea…….xoxo

          • Hi Patricia!

            I was writing on the computer, and noticed your comment soon after it entered my inbox. I am so glad I saw it. I am very sorry to hear about the return of your shingles. I will pray! Actually, I never stopped praying. What a trial for you. Sending you a big hug. I hope you feel better soon. xxx

          • Sue…keep the prayers and hugs coming! I know…shingles twice in a row. I think maybe they hadn’t completely gone away, and I exhausted myself on the retreat. I see my doctor tomorrow, so hope he will pronounce me on my way to a final recovery. I have so much to do! Am behind in everything, and the house is still in disarray from the painting job. I was supposed to go order new carpet. Ah well….God likes to do these things sometimes 🙂 But, I am really tired of being sick.

            Thanks for stopping by 🙂 xo

  6. I’m glad that the young woman who gave birth to your son did not give in to the lie that I did. But I won’t go into that ugly chapter of my life here…What a sweet face Christopher had at 6! And I’m so happy your prayers for him have come to fruition in the way that they have. He and his beautiful wife look very much in love. May God continue to bless them and you, who, in your own way, also said yes to life when you gave that adorable little boy a loving home.

    BTW, a friend of mine adopted 3 children from China. She doesn’t celebrate their birthdays, she celebrates their “Gotcha Day!” I had never heard that expression before but I love it! And you 🙂

    • Joyce, right after my conversion I used to go to confession every week, to my wonderful Irish pastor, and I would re-confess all of my worst past sins. Finally he said to me, “I don’t care who you were; I know who you are. He said it with such tenderness that it was as though I heard Jesus Himself. I found such comfort in those loving words.

      Thank you for your lovely words about my sweet son…the greeting card collector 🙂 He and his bride seem very happy. I’m really enjoying being a mother-in-law, but grandma would be even better..LOL. I read your comment to Caroline re that, and I laughed, because I used to feel the same way. I don’t think I would have been upset at all…just excited. BTW, does your daughter have a date set?

      Three children from China…how wonderful! I so wish international adoption had been available when we adopted our son, so that he could have had siblings. It may have been on a limited basis, but I never heard a thing about it, and never knew anyone in those days, who had gone that route. I’m so happy for your friend!

      Well, my scabbed over face and I hope to leave for retreat tomorrow. I could have left today, but didn’t quite feel up to it. The Lord has just not been allowing me to do things “my way” lately…at all. Boo Hoo! ; )

      Anyway, many prayers for you….and a big hug. So glad we’re friends! xoxo

  7. Just popping back in again, to let you know that I linked to this post on The Breadbox Letters today, where I thought we could join in the March for Life by having our own little mini-march :). I keep looking at your precious son.. he reminds me so much of my own little boys at that age. Same exact hairdo, same kind of shirt!

    • Hey Nancy, sounds like we might be about the same age. So you got married at 12 too?
      I still love that haircut…probably because it reminds me of my son during those precious pre-school and early elementary days.
      And the shirt, I still remember…OshGosh. What I wouldn’t give to spend just one more day with that six-year-old! I often say: If I knew he would grow up so fast, I would have never gone to sleep…just stayed awake and watched him all the time. Thanks for sharing your memories! xo

      PS Hope you got my thank-you on your blog, for linking up to me!

    • Amy, so nice to see you here…and thank you for the kind words. I will visit you soon…was on retreat when you commented here, and then got sick again…long story. It’s been a rough month. But, I look forward to getting to know you and your blog. Blessings, Patricia

  8. Dear Patricia, have I told you before about my dad being adopted?
    He was “abandoned” as a 1 month old infant and found in the grounds of a hospital way back in 1917. He went from one foster family to another until he was finally adopted at 14 years of age.
    He never had animosity toward his birth mother but presumed he may have been conceived out of wedlock in the war years and that she couldn’t keep him herself.
    He was a very loving and devoted husband and father and devout Catholic and I am so thankful that he was allowed to live out his life and leave us his legacy. Part of which was his great love for poetry, which my brothers and sisters and I enjoying dabbling in too 🙂
    It’s a sobering thought that had times been different then, his mother may have had easier access to abortion and chosen it.
    I am here today because she chose life for my father. Blessed be God and may she be at peace with Him now too!
    I also have a very close and dear friend who is adopted and rejoices for having been raised in a wonderful loving Christian family.
    And youngest son at 25 is hoping to adopt some day too. Not for infertility issues but because he has always wanted to give a family-less child the joy of being loved and cherished.
    Dear friend, you and your husband are heroes! and Saints!
    You are living icons of God Himself, Who has adopted us all into the bosom of His eternal family!
    Thank you..thank you!! much love in Jesus..Trish xx

    • Dearest Trish… sorry for taking so long to respond, but I actually got a second bout of shingles! It’s much milder, but still laid me low this week. I’m feeling better now, and hope it completely clears up and stays away!!! Perhaps taking off for retreat before I was completely well wasn’t such a bright idea…but it really was a lovely weekend in the silence with Jesus.

      Your dad sounds like he was a wonderful man. Thank God his life was spared. It’s amazing how much one life touches so many others…like your dad and mom and you and your siblings, and your children..and someday grandchildren and on and on…. I would say that YOU definitely inherited your dad’s gift for poetry, and have blessed me with it many times.

      Yes, so many babies are aborted now…millions, when there are countless arms and hearts longing for them. What a terrible tragedy!

      When you mentioned God adopting us, it reminded me of my son at about six, who one Sunday at Mass heard the reading from Ephesians which speaks of all of us being God’s adopted children. And, he looked at me with those big brown eyes, and the most beautiful smile and said: I’m special!
      Talk about a “heart melt” moment. He was so precious.
      But it’s true. If God speaks of adopting us, then adoption can only be a beautiful way to belong to someone. Love you..dear Trish xo

      PS How’s your tooth?

  9. What one decides to do when it comes to HER own womb is none of anyone else’s business and it is creepy that so many position themselves in the lives and wombs of complete strangers, as if you have some right to be there. You don’t.

    • Gypsy, when there is a separate, unique human being in danger of being destroyed in the most horrific way..being torn limb from limb, then it is the concern of everyone who values human life. It’s more than “creepy” to those of us who are pro-life that a woman could even consider killing her own child. It’s truly unthinkable. I certainly don’t care what you do to your own womb, but I care very much what happens to an innocent child…and so should you. How could you possibly not be horrified at the brutal and bloody deaths of millions of unborn children in this country? And…abortion is a multi-billion dollar industry which takes advantage of vulnerable women…many of whom are being coerced by parents, boyfriends and even husbands to destroy their babies. That’s hardly “choice.”

    • Hi Terry…not so much proud, as very, very grateful for the gift of a child to love so deeply, and with my husband, to become a real family. I had closed comments on this post because I was getting some truly hateful (yes!) ones from people who are very much against adoption. The intent of my post was to celebrate our family, our son, and to express gratitude to the young woman whose courage and love made it all possible. Thanks for sharing my joy, and taking the time to leave a kind word.


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