February 1, 2019


Birth mother, daughter remind us that adoption is a loving option

Our faith teaches to value all human life—from conception to natural death.

That’s why it hard for us to comprehend how more than 60 million children in their mother’s womb have been killed since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions legalized abortion on demand in 1973.

That’s also why many of us, Catholics and people of all ages and various faith traditions, march in Washington each January to offer our heartfelt prayers through the pro-life movement. This year, crowds estimated at 100,000 or higher let their voices be heard.

It’s also why our hearts ached last week when we learned that on Jan. 22—the 46th anniversary of the high court’s action—New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Reproductive Health Act, legislation that effectively removed restrictions on abortion in New York. The new law allows abortions to be performed by any licensed medical personnel throughout the duration of a pregnancy “when necessary to protect a patient’s life or health.”

Many of us cannot comprehend New York’s decision to expand abortion rights that, in effect, offer no protection to an unborn child. Despite the tragic news, we must continue to pray for the conversion of those who think this law is a necessity.

But while we offer those petitions, we also must take the time to rejoice and offer thanks to God for the times birth mothers in unexpected or challenging pregnancies have chosen life.

Chances are, you won’t hear these stories in many secular media venues, but Catholic press publications and others who embrace life are eager to share them with readers.

We learned of one such example thanks to a Catholic News Service article written by Zoey Maraist, which shared the story of Carol Tessier participating in the national March for Life on Jan. 18 with her birth mother, Margaret Teece Nagella. The two met almost a year ago after Margaret gave Carol up for adoption nearly 45 years before.

A few weeks after abortion became legal in the United States, 18-year-old Margaret, a high school senior, realized she was pregnant. The oldest of a Catholic family of nine children, she knew from the very beginning that she would carry her child to term.

“There was no question in my mind. I really didn’t even consider abortion,” she said. “I knew it was an option, but it wasn’t an option for me.”

Because she was hesitant to tell her parents, Margaret went to Birthright, a pregnancy resource center, who then brought her to Catholic Charities. With the support of a woman from adoption services, she told her parents about the pregnancy. Her parents came with her the day she formally signed the papers to place her baby for adoption.

Margaret got married a few years later and had three sons, but she thought about her firstborn child often.

It was Carole who took the steps to find her birth mother. In 2017, she was doing some online shopping when she saw a deal for Ancestry.com. Knowing her adoptive mom was interested in testing her own DNA, Carole bought her a kit. Then she bought one for herself. In addition to her heritage, she found the name of her birth mother and grandmother. Carole soon found their addresses and sent them each a letter and photos. Then she waited.

“A few years before all of this happened,” said Margaret, “I had a feeling in my spirit that one day my daughter might try to find me, and it would happen through my mother.

“One day at work, my mother calls me and she was beside herself with excitement. I went to my mom and sat in her kitchen with her. She had the letters and photos that Carole sent.”

Margaret and her mother, Irene Teece, reached out to Carole to let her know they would get in contact soon. First Irene sent a letter. Then Margaret.

They met in person last March, and their relationship has continued, including riding together on a bus and taking part in the March for Life.

In an interview, Carole said she was always thankful for her birth mother. “She chose life for me when many others in her shoes might not have. I have always felt so incredibly blessed because of her selfless act and have always felt this previously unknown mother was a hero. Now, God has given me this most amazing gift by allowing me to finally know and love her.”

We hope and pray abortion proponents are made known of this story and its powerful message: where life is concerned, adoption is a beautiful gift.

—Mike Krokos

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