I cannot say the exact moment that it happened, but I remember thinking from a very early age that I need to help those who cannot help themselves. The driving force behind this idea came from my mother. Although my mom spent her entire childhood in a children’s home (orphanage), or “The Home” as she affectionately calls it, she never once complained about her circumstances or felt deprived. Instead, she raved about her experience and spoke of how lovingly she was cared for. At six months of age, my mom was removed from her parent’s home due to severe neglect and abuse. She was malnourished and in need of blood. She became a ward of the state and was cared for by an handful of Catholic nuns, one of which I am named after. These women sacrificed themselves so that others could thrive. They worked around the clock with these children, offering them experiences they would not have had otherwise. I have heard so many wonderful stories about the women who cared for my mom and some of her siblings.
At one point, my mom remembers her birthmother (and aunt) coming back and “taking” her from The Home. She recalls this time period as extremely stressful, as she was returned to her parent’s care, or lack there of. Her father was an abusive alcoholic, who committed crimes that should have landed him behind bars. Her mother, having a total of 13 children that survived beyond infancy, was described as absentee, a heavy drinker, and not able to stand up for herself or her children. (Unfortunately, that scenario was all too common in that time period and did not receive the attention is deserved from law enforcement.) During this “period of captivity”, my mom devised a plan to save up some money and high tail it back to “The Home”.
As she planned her escape, she recalls a feeling of calmness over her, knowing that she was led by the Holy Spirit and God’s angels. Although having no idea how to get back to “The Home”, she gathered some belongings and headed out to the bus stop, a three mile walk. Living out in the country, she had no idea when the next bus would come; however, as soon as she arrived at the bus stop, the bus pulled up and heavy rain began to fall. God was definitely leading this journey! Once she arrived back in the city, she hopped in a cab and gave him the address to The Home. The driver gave her a puzzled look and asked if she was running away. She replied, “If I were running away, would I be running to an orphanage?” Off they drove and soon she was back at The Home. When the cabbie told her the fare, she did not have enough money and asked him to wait while she went inside to ask for additional change. The cab driver told her not to worry about it and wished her luck.
My mom lived at “The Home” until she was sixteen years old and her eldest sister was old enough (eighteen) to claim guardianship over her. She went on to attend “Business School”, where she learned shorthand and other administrative skills that would help her find employment. She was able to get a good job, an apartment, and be on her way to starting her own life. Even though her entry into this world and conditions that surrounded it were less than ideal, God provided her exactly what she needed: loving people to care for her in a safe environment.
When I think about the reasons (and there are many) I feel God leading us to adopt, my mother’s amazing story always comforts and guides me. Psalm 68:6 says that “God places the lonely in families” and working through mere humans is the means by which God attempts to do this. We are humbled, honored, and gracious for the opportunity to open our hearts and home to God’s children.
Romans 8:15 “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
|Gonzaga Children’s Home|
|The Amazing Caretakers|