I survived an abortion. I was the smallest of triplets, born five months premature. We all lived. Samanthawas born perfect. Sandra was born with no legs. I was a mess. I weighed just over two pounds and was born without a lung, an ankle bone, a heel bone and three vertebrae. Sandra and I were left on the doorstep of the Edna Gladney Home, an adoption service, by the doctor who performed the botched abortion. Sandra was adopted by a family in Los Angeles. My birthmother kept Samantha.
My adoptive parents, William and Frankie Saunders, had adopted a boy six years earlier and were anxiously waiting to adopt another child. At 35 years old, Frankie had accepted that she would never be able to get pregnant, and her heart wanted a little girl. Then one night they got a call saying that there was a very sick baby girl who needed a home. Without hesitation, Frankie said, “We’ll take her.” They got in the car and drove up to get me. I needed special care for the first year of my life, but my new parents patiently nursed me to health, giving me every treatment I needed. They said I was an answer to their prayers.
Most people can remember their parents fighting, at least occasionally. I can’t. Neither can my brother. We prayed together every morning and we ate dinner together every night. My parents were also very open with me about my adoption. When I was seven or eight years old, I noticed that I looked different from my parents. I have blonde hair and green eyes, and my parents both have dark hair. They told me as much of the story as I could handle at the time, and they always allowed me to ask questions.
God blessed me with an amazing adoptive family, but I have had my share of struggles, too. I am sixty years old now, and I have only been walking for the last four years. I have had a total of 22 surgeries. If not for these painful reminders that I was aborted – if my birthmother had carried me to term and placed me for adoption – I would have welcomed her with open arms when she found me recently.
I make and sell jewelry out of a small shop. One day, a woman with blonde hair and green eyes walked into my shop. Instead of browsing through the store, though, she came behind the counter. My body tensed, ready to fight or flee. Then she told me she thought I was her baby. She asked me if I was the smallest of triplets. Lord help me, I wished she was after my money instead. All I felt was anger and deep resentment. I asked her to leave. She has contacted me twice since then. Last time she showed me a picture of all three of us sisters with her on the day we were born. She filled in parts of the story that I didn’t know. She told me she loves me. I told her I need some time. I know I need to forgive her, and I have been praying every morning with my adopted mom for God to heal my heart, but I’m not there yet.
I have a good life, and I believe God has a purpose for me. I have wonderful children and grandchildren, and I volunteer regularly at the local pregnancy care center. I was even asked to share my story at a conference in front of 300 people recently, a terrifying honor. I live with my adopted mother, who is 95 year old and still sharp as a tack. She watched out for me for years, and now I’m watching out for her. My dog loves me. She was the runt of her litter, with a gamut of health problems. Just like me.
I celebrate four birthdays: the day I was born, my due date five months later, the day I was adopted, and the day I gave my life to the Lord. My life hasn’t always been easy, but I guess I have a lot to celebrate!