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25 January, 2011

Babies are a Blessing

I had an entirely different post ready to write today, but I read my friend Caitlin's post about the surprise conception of her nephew and the death of her mother. By no means am I attempting to "one up" her. She honestly inspired me to tell my family's story that is very similar.  And it all began...

In January.  I remember it like it was last week.  I was at Saint Brigid, leading the youth group in a closing prayer and made the announcement that the next week were starting our Pro-Life service project and Life Night, and that we'd be going to the March for Life at the Georgia Capital in downtown Atlanta.

That night I walked in the door of my parents' house, where I was living at the time.  Two of my siblings, Alex and Katie, were still home on college break.  There was a weird, almost eerie quiet in the house.  I went straight up to my room and was on Google chat with some friends.  Suddenly, both Alex and Katie appeared in my room.

Alex asked if we could talk.  He asked me how I felt about his girlfriend, Deirdre. My brain instantly flashed back to David asking me how I felt about Paige. Who then told me he was going to propose.  I thought, that Alex and Dee were a little young to get married, but when you know you know.  However, the next question wasn't "Do you want her as a sister-in-law?" it was "How do you feel about being an aunt?"

That week was one of the most intense weeks of our lives.  Family meetings. Intense conversations.  Difficult realities.  They were living the college frat life, and suddenly found themselves responsible for a new life.  Given that they were 18 and barely 21, they had discussed, and strongly considered, putting the baby up for adoption.  My heart broke.

I knew Eric and I weren't married yet, and that there was no way we could afford a child, but I wanted so badly to offer to raise him/her.

And that's when my Dad stepped in.  He said "We are family.  This child, planned or not, is part of our family.  And if it takes all of us to raise him, we will raise him.  But I am not letting strangers raise my grandchild. I'd miss him even knowing he was well taken care of."  Ultimately, he left the decision to Alex and Deirdre.  And after a few more days of discussion, decided that they would keep the child.

Alex and I shared an incredible moment a week or so later when I was preparing to take the teens to the March for Life, Alex said to me, "You know, I can sympathize with mothers who feel like they have no choice and choose to abort their child.  It even crossed our minds.  But then I remembered all the years of the youth group going to the March for Life and all the talks and reasons Allen gave us for choosing life and I knew that we had to keep this baby, even if we decided to give him up for adoption."

Alex and Connor - July 24 2008

Just like my Dad promised, the whole family is raising Connor.  Alex and Deirdre are no longer a couple, but they work well as a team to provide the best they can for him. And our families have helped raise him, as promised. My mom takes him to school with her a few days a week where he attends the school's day care.  My dad and her dad watch him the other days during the week while Alex works and Dee has classes or works. He's back and forth for dinners and bedtimes.  And they work week by week to figure out his schedule for the weekends.  I've done my part to babysit him a few times over the years.  Despite the shuffling around, there is one thing that remains true:  Connor is the most loved baby I've ever met.  And he knows it.

Connor going to school with Nana

Deacon Dennis baptizing Connor

When we first found out that Alex and Deirdre were pregnant I told my former boss, Deacon Dennis, about the situation. And he said, "babies are always a blessing regardless of circumstance. remember that."  I shared this with my family.  A few months after Connor was born, both of my paternal grandparents' health took a turn for the worse. And by eight months after he was born, both of my Dad's parents died (within four months of each other).  During this time, my dad learned the reality of what Deacon Dennis said.  It finally hit him.  If nothing else, Connor was born when he was so that my Dad could have a new life to celebrate, and bring joy to his life, as he suffered the loss of his parents and mourned their death.  Babies are always a blessing.

We love you little man!!!

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