Catholic Adoptive Parenting Columnist Heidi Hess Saxton
Catholic Mom Columns
Birth Mother…” A Mother’s Day Tribute
This morning I received a phone call from the producer of WDEO’s
“Kresta in the Afternoon”. She asked if I knew of any Catholic
women who had made an adoption plan for their children. They wanted to find
a way to honor these courageous women during the week of Mother’s Day.
I was delighted when my dear friend Karen agreed to be interviewed. Like
Miss Terri (see last week’s post,
Thank God for "Real" Family),
Karen is someone who came into my life at a particularly trying time, and
who continues to be a source of inspiration to me.
Sixteen years ago, Karen placed her infant daughter with a loving couple.
She was already raising one child on her own, and knew she couldn’t possibly
handle a second. “Leah is sixteen now,” Karen says. “I promised her adoptive
parents that I wouldn’t contact her before she is eighteen, but she is in
touch with my grandmother.” For years her other daughter, Stella (now a
beautiful young woman) was angry about her mother’s decision to relinquish
her sister. “But now she says she understands. She sees what it takes to
raise a child (referring to her active son, Calvin). And she finally gets
Though her life is not without its challenges, Karen inspires me because she
was able to take the inglorious trajectory of her life and turn it around.
Married to Dan, a loving partner and friend, Karen uses her tremendous
people skills and organizational savvy to keep a large consulting firm
running smoothly. Her children continue to be a source of joy, and she was
recently reunited with her own birth family.
The best thing about Karen, however, is the loving heart that drives her.
When I got married in 1999, she and Dan and their family flew all the way
from California to run the reception – attending to all the little details
that made our big day an event people continue to talk about years later.
One of my favorite memories is of she and Dan leading the children’s
reception, helping the clamoring swarm to break open a heart-shaped piñata
full of treats. Still, she found time to follow me around, making sure that
my Diet Coke stayed full and cold.
This is a woman who has known heartache, and yet it has softened her and
made her more compassionate. Later, when I thanked her for what she did on
my wedding day, she responded quietly, “Well, my wedding day was a bit of a
disaster, and I promised myself that if I ever had a chance to help someone
else, I would.”
How can you not love someone like this?
So finally, on this Mother’s Day week I’d like to thank you, Karen. Thank
you for never giving up. Thank you for doing the right thing, even when it
hurt like crazy. Thank you for not closing up on life, but continuing to do
your best and bravest each and every day. You inspire me.
Most of all, thank you for being you. I love you.
I’d also like to write a little note of encouragement to the women out there
who are struggling with misplaced guilt over the prospect of making an
adoption plan. Yours is one of the most brave and truly selfless acts any
human being is ever called upon to make. Because of your willingness to
bring your child into the world, rather than take the “short cut” of
abortion, you are a true mother regardless of what the future holds.
On behalf of your child, and the adoptive parents whose life you are about
to touch, thank you for being so brave. You will always remember your child
in your heart, and think of him or her often. But your courage will give
four people a chance at a better life: your child, his or her adoptive
parents, and yourself. Of that you can always be proud.
|Heidi Hess Saxton and her husband
Craig are adoptive parents of two children from the foster system.
Heidi is editor of "Canticle" magazine, a publication of
Women of Grace.
A convert to the faith since 1994, Heidi is also a graduate student of
theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan, and a
frequent contributor to CatholicExchange.com. Visit Heidi's blog
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