By Nicole Rocco
We hope you are inspired by this young woman’s amazing story. Afterwards, she told us how she finds great joy in praying at Our Lady of Grace Monastery where Father Steven Boguslawski, O.P., is chaplain to the Dominican nuns. She also attends Mass at the Dominican parish of Saint Mary’s in New Haven. Thank you for your support of the friars who continue to tirelessly foster a culture of life!
A little over twenty-four years ago, a twenty-year-old woman named Sarah was put in an incredibly difficult situation. She was raped. A few weeks later, her nightmare became a reality when she realized that she was pregnant. It was already a struggle to care for her beautiful one-and-a-half-year-old boy, Michael, especially after his father died in a boat accident. Sarah started to question God, wondering how He could let all of this happen to her.
Her family was completely unsupportive of adoption, so much so that she hid her pregnancy from them. Sarah made her decision alone–leaving the hospital with mixed feelings–but never once doubting that she made the right one. On November 1st of every year she would think of the little girl she named Elizabeth Ava and wonder where she was now.
Elizabeth ended up being placed with a couple struggling with fertility issues. On the couple’s part, this was the culmination of eighteen months of waiting–from the time they applied for an adoption to when they were contacted and told that a birth mother was delivering a baby girl. Eighteen months of torturous waiting that other couples don’t have to experience. The couple moved baby Elizabeth into a modest house in Guilford, CT and changed her name to Nicole.
Nicole’s parents adopted two more children after her: a baby boy named Jordan and a baby girl named Kiana. They played sports, went to church, and enjoyed friendships. They succeeded and they failed. Today, Kiana is a senior at Sacred Heart Academy. She is strong and sweet blessing to everyone she meets. She just finished applying to college and is an incredible soccer player. Jordan is now twenty years old. He just finished Air Force basic training a few weeks ago. He is witty and sarcastic and makes his friends and family laugh. And Nicole–that little girl called Elizabeth Ava at her birth–well, that’s me. I’m twenty-four years old. I just finished my Master’s degree in social work and I am looking for a job like many of my friends. We are a typical family and have always seen ourselves this way.
About two years ago, a letter came in the mail that brought things full circle. It was from my little sister Anne, the sister I never even knew I had.
With encouragement from my adoptive dad, I met Anne. Eight months after that initial meeting, Anne and I visited our birth mother, Sarah, and our brother, Michael. Sarah openly shared her experience of placing me up for adoption. She said it was a difficult decision, but also the right one. She knew raising the child of her rapist would cause her to resent me, and how that was no life for a child. She did think about abortion, but then I would never get a chance at life, and she would never get to do something great for a couple in need.
I understand that, whether through a rape or an “accident,” women can end up pregnant without the ability to raise a child. I cannot tell anyone what decision to make, but I do know that adoption can be an amazing thing. I hope none of you will be faced with this decision. If you are, I want you to know there will be people to support you: family members, friends, and your parish. It will not be easy, but an adopted baby will touch the lives of so many people. God has a plan for all of us, and I hope that my adoption story helps you to understand what respecting life is all about. I thank God every day for the gift of life.