Part 2 of 2…..
Ten years. If you would have told me ten years ago that our life would look the way that it does today, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. At the time that Olivia was born in 2008, I was working in child welfare, we still lived in Sioux City, Iowa, and I had not yet had any contact with either side of my biological family. Although I had started sharing my story as a speaker with Feminists for Life during my pregnancy with Olivia, I had ZERO plans of making pro-life ministry my career.
Yet, here we are ten years later, and so very blessed. Two more pregnancies have filled those ten years, with the first of those ending in the miscarriage of our son, Gabriel, while the second was with our daughter, Ava, who will turn four this summer. (Four?!)
We now live in Kansas City, which has felt like home from the moment we arrived, and I left my full time job as a social worker nearly eight years ago and have never looked back.
Of course, most of these are “little” things that have happened in our lives. Although every little thing bears importance, and God truly does orchestrate these details of our lives, in reality, there are some pretty momentous experiences that have happened in the course of the ten years since Olivia’s birth at St. Luke’s Hospital, the very same hospital where my life was supposed to end by the abortion attempt in 1977.
My last blog post chronicled four of the God ordained miracles that have transpired since Olivia’s birth. Here are the final six:
6. I was contacted by a nurse volunteer, Michelle, in 2012. She had held and rocked me once in the NICU at the University of Iowa Hospitals. She never forgot about me, and we were so blessed to meet face to face later that year, and even a number of times since then. She is a great support to me and my entire family!
5. After we moved to Kansas City five years ago, I was contacted by one of my birthmother’s cousins, Susan. (If you’re reading this, ‘Hi, Susan!’). Susan was gracious enough to share more of my birthmother’s experience with me, and that’s when I learned that the abortion was forced upon her by my maternal grandmother. That’s how I also learned that she didn’t know FOR DECADES that I had survived.
Sadly, that’s how I also learned that it was my own grandmother that wanted me to be left for dead at the hospital. All of that is A LOT to take in, for you as you’re reading it, and, of course, more for me as I was living it, but I can honestly tell your that as painful as it was, it has brought me a lot of strength and peace to know the full story, and truly, the forgiveness that was planted in my heart long ago was allowed to further blossom, in accepting that my grandmother was responsible for so many things. Because she was human. Just like you and me. Broken. Just like you and me. Forgiven by God. Just like you and me.
4. Since 2007, I have been involved in a number of legislative efforts when it comes to protecting the sanctity of life. I spoke on Capitol Hill at a press briefing in 2007, in a lobbying effort for the Infants Born Alive Protection Act in 2018, and I testified before the U. S. House of Representatives in 2015 and the U. S. Senate in 2016. I’ve also testified in state legislatures in North Dakota and Ohio, and before members of Parliament in Australia and informally with members of the Irish Parliament.
This is truly God-ordained, because, to be honest, it’s not what I ever intended to do with my life. Years ago, I was interested in politics and law, but I fell out of love with it when I witnessed the treatment that I received as a survivor whenever I would share my story with people. And so, I wanted to stay as far away from politics as possible. Yet, here I am!
3. In 2014, I entered the Catholic Church. If you don’t know me well, let me just admit, that it was also one of those experiences that I never planned on having. One of those “things” that I never intended to do. But truly, God orchestrated events in 2011, during my miscarriage with Gabriel, and the Holy Spirit led me to the Church, and for that I am forever grateful. I am Catholic, and I am thankful for the Church’s role in respecting all life from conception until natural death.
2. After years of getting to know one another, my birthmother and I met face to face for the first time in 2016. It’s one of those very personal experiences that is hard to put into words, but I can say that it was life-changing—for me, and for her. Although I wish that I could undo all of the pain and suffering that she has faced in her life, through the forced abortion and then the years believing that I was dead, I look upon our meeting and realize that what man intended for evil, God intended for good, and no matter how many obstacles were put in the way, ultimately, God’s plans for us to be a part of each other’s lives ultimately prevailed. And we are, indeed, a part of one another’s lives now, communicating regularly and getting together as often as we can. 1. My book, You Carried Me, was released in 2017, and although out of all of the miracles that God has performed in my life over the last ten years, this is the smallest in my eyes, there are a number of reasons why I’m listing as #1.
These include: My birth mother contributed to the book. What a blessing that was for her to be able to share more of her story and for me to learn even more than what I had known before!
The book enabled both my adoptive family and members of my biological family to know the story of what happened, and had enabled me to leave a legacy of our lives for generations to come.
Publishing the book has brought about comfort for many people around the world who are struggling with their own issues in life, and I have heard from many survivors and their parents that the book is helpful to them.
And last but not least, the book has been read by a number of professionals who cared for me after I survived. And as much as it is a blessing for me to be connected with them, it’s even more so a blessing for them to know that I’m alive and well, and their actions and love had a great impact on my life.
When I was a little girl, my grandmother kept saying, “time goes so fast. It just goes so fast.” And she was right, as always. Time does, indeed, fly by. Happy 10th birthday to you, Olivia! Happy ten years of miracles to us all. I can’t even begin to imagine what the next ten years will bring to us all, but I know that in the midst of it all, we will be blessrd, relationships restored and reconciled, and God’s will will be done.