It took me three days to really come out of denial and get the courage to tell my alcoholic mother, who now I know, was pedalling as fast as she could. It was all she could do to get the other kids off to school.. She said, “You’ll have to go take of this thing. I can’t handle it. Come back when it’s all over.” So I got in my little Volkswagen with fifty dollars in my pocket and began driving down the west coast of California toward Los Angeles. Not really knowing where I’d wind up or what would happen. In those traumatic days I can remember looking for God, trying to find out where God was in all the confusing moments of my life.
Flipping through little Gideon Bibles in dirty old drawers of Motel 6’s. I would tearfully and surprisingly come across a verse of scripture I’d like to read to you from the Old Testament. It’s recorded in Psalm 139, familiar to many now, but news for me. These verses in the Old Testament, I have to be honest with you, I wasn’t really sure they counted because they were in the Jewish half. I’m am so glad that the whole thing counts. What it really was for me to see King David speaking to God and revealing to us so many things when he said in Psalm 139 beginning with verse 13, “You made all the delicate inner parts of my body and you knit them together in my mother’s womb. I thank you for making me so wonderfully complex. It’s amazing to think about that You were there while I was being formed in utter seclusion. You saw me before I was born and scheduled every day before I began to breathe.”
To me this was a nail in a short place in my life. I was coming to the conclusion, not knowing what I was going to do, that maybe I was an unwanted child and unplanned, but apparently God is the one who decides about life. I believe that even though a couple might decide when to make love, God decides when to make life. If the Bible is true, and it is, then there are no illegitimate children. That would be the thing that would help me so much to make my decision about whether or not I would have an abortion. I have to be honest with you, thirty years ago there was no planned parenthood, county funded, taxpayer paid for clinic. Any friend would have taken me there and felt very noble to help me get rid of this thing I didn’t deserve. I’m very grateful that it wasn’t available to me. I’m no hero. I have no hateful thing in my heart for women who’ve had an abortion. I have too many friends who have suffered through an abortion. They have a missing piece too, that’s not coming back.
I was grateful that in the throws of deciding all of this I would find out some direction from God about life. I would make the decision that for me abortion was too permanent an answer for my temporary problem. Almost as if I was a delivery girl, I had to deliver this thing to life and find a way to go through the months that would be ahead, knowing in my heart, that I’d have to find a way to make the little tiny life of Jesus in me grow up big enough to cover for my mother and father and all I would need in order to make it through what was ahead.
I wound up her in Los Angeles and I found a wonderful church through the yellow pages that had the most loving people in it. A big roley, poley couple from the South were always out in the lobby hugging you. The big kind of people that when they hug you, honey, you are hugged. It didn’t take them too many weeks to say to me, “Honey, we can tell a girl who needs square meal and place to stay. We’re not exactly blind. We can tell what’s going on here. Dad and me been talking and were fixing to ask you all to come live with us. We just live down the block there and just come on in.” I not only found a couple that would say, “Oh, don’t have an abortion, Oh, naughty,” but would say,” What can we do? Let us help you. Let us enable you.”
Moving in with this beautiful old couple and living out the months of my pregnancy was so precious to me because anyone who’s been a birth mother will attest to the bonding that happens to a child you bear in your womb. That child was becoming special to me and I wanted to make the right decision for that child. For me, I decided I wanted that child to have a mother and a father and all the things that I can’t provide so I decided to sign up at LA county adoptions to relinquish that child at birth. I gave birth to a baby girl in the county hospital, in not a good situation. I would never get to see the child or hold the child.
Really, for me, that was the biggest missing piece of my life. That baby would be placed on the county adoption rolls never to be seen. I knew records were closed but I said to myself,” You’re so young, You’re going to have plenty of other children.” I never would have imagined that would be the only child I would ever give birth to. I know that there are people who listen to my voice who’ve had things happen in their life and there’s no easy explanation for it. There’s no little scripture you can massage over it and make it ok because you have a missing piece. I understand that. I would learn in the weeks and months that would eke out afterwards that even though pain is inevitable, misery is optional, for people who have a connection with God, the God of missing pieces.
I would wait till I was 29 to marry because I wasn’t very trustful of men. I would meet my prince. Well we know how it’s supposed to be, ladies, when they come along. When mine came riding along in the sunset, he had two kids in the saddle with him, when they went riding by there. Nothing would go normally in my life. How ironic, this beautiful man, I thought, “I’m going to give him the acid test”. I told him about my missing piece before we were married. He seemed to understand because his first wife had been a beautiful gal who gave him two beautiful little girls and when they were 3 and 6, died with a brain tumor very suddenly. He knew about missing pieces. He knew about things that there are no easy answers for.
He would remarry and my husband’s second wife would also be a terrific gal, beautiful gal, I could have looked more like her but I didn’t have time to get ready. She would be with him for a few years, helping raise the children until he took her to the emergency ward one day and in 24 hours she was dead with a very rare blood disease. How ironic it would be for me to be sitting in a Los Angeles county adoptions court swearing in adopting his two little daughters and wondering who sat here for me. Wonder what they looked like years ago? As any birth mother can attest, you go by birthdays and Christmas and mother’s day and you wonder, she’s two now, now she’s four, now she’s going to school. Is she happy? A million questions will go through your mind. I have only been convinced, because of what I’ve read in the Bible about God, that He would be able to keep that which I committed to Him.
I would let it go in my own mind knowing that was a closed chapter in my life. Never imagining a few years ago I’d be sitting at home minding my own business, I’d pick up the telephone. The voice on the end of the phone would say, “Hello, you’ve never met me but your my mother. I’ve been looking for you for 3 1/2 years.” This beautiful voice on the end of the phone would say that she really had two motivations for trying to seek me and find me over the years. One was she said, ” I thought you’d like to know that you’re a grandmother.”
I’m too young to be a grandmother. Wow! That was great news. Funny thing was, her second motivation to me would be sweeter than that. In that first conversation that child tried to do what she’d always dreamed someday she’d do, and that was she tried to lead me to Jesus Christ on the telephone. She started quoting me from the Bible. I have to be honest with you, I did let her go, to see if she’s any good. Actually, she seemed to know what she was doing. How wonderful it was to tell her , “Julie, I think you’re trying to lead me to God, but you see, you already did that many many, many years before.
We would discuss many things in our first telephone conversation. Mind blowing things, and would set our date to get a look at each other for the first time. Scary stuff. Nobody knew about this missing piece in my life. I’d not been honest and open and up front. I’ve done a lot of pretending and yet here it was on my doorstep. My terrific husband had said to me, “I want you to tell her before you meet, that she is a result of you being raped. I don’t want her to think anything less of you.” I said,” I’m not doing that, because I know what it is to be told you’re an accident. You are a mistake. You see, she shouldn’t have been born. I can’t do that. ” I remember my husband, wisely before we would meet for the first time, got a hold of Julie’s husband on the telephone and those two men talked privately with each other about this situation. It was so real to me because I was listening in on the extension in the bedroom. I tend to do that a lot. How wonderful it was as my husband told her husband what the situation was, he said, “You tell her if you think she can handle it, but we’ll leave that up to you.” I remember , Bob, Julie’s husband said, ” Wow, to think that’s what happened more that 20 years ago just to give me Julie.”
We would meet, and this beautiful gal would walk through the door of the hotel room looking remarkably like me. A mirrored image of me without the wrinkles and the cellulite and stuff. The first thing she’d ever say to me, as she passed me a baby, was, “Now go to your grandma.” Her big husband stood behind her sort of waiting his turn. I remember him sticking out his hand and saying, “I would like to shake your hand. I’d like to say thank you for not aborting Julie. I don’t know what my life would be like without her and my children.” Together we celebrated her birthday with one candle because it was my first birthday. We talked about so many things. I can remember her saying, “My husband told me about the rape. I had a hard time. For about three days I was depressed. I was confused. I was angry. I went to my minister and he began to show me all kinds of verses in the Bible and things. She said, ” Have you ever seen this Psalm 139? She said, “If this is true, then God wanted me born.”
Our reunion has been such a sweet and beautiful thing in my life. We had so many exciting things happen to us. Since the release of the book about all of this, The Missing Pieces, we’ve had all kinds of media interest and some very thrilling and challenging opportunities. I remember a mother’s day when Julie’s mother came here to Los Angeles and we two mothers held a press conference with one daughter. We talked about God being able to put together missing pieces in life. We talked about a God who’s able to make sense out of the nonsense that happens in our lives. We had such an interest from this media. I can remember being on a ABC talk radio show with a very caustic British fellow who wasn’t buying it at all. He said to me, “Oh, well, this is wonderful, yes of course,wonderful course, wonderful. It was God, it was God right from the beginning, wonderful. So God sent a man to rape you so you could have this baby, is that right?” I said, “No, at least what I know of the God of the Bible, is that He doesn’t cause evil. He’s the only one who can make good out of evil that happens in our lives”. I tell you I believe that. God is not the one who causes the floods and the earthquakes and the act of God things that the insurance company says He does. When Jesus was here He didn’t cause the storm, He calmed the storm. He said,” Peace be still.” The same as He wants to do in all our lives