(Life Defenders) I remember being a happy child. I had simple joys then. Some toys, some sweets, my playmates, a VHS tape of The Sound of Music, my beloved dog and my doting parents made me feel the luckiest kid on earth. But an experience suddenly burst my happy bubble when I was about nine years old. It was the 16th of January, a big feast in our small town is being celebrated. It was Sto. Nino’s fiesta (Feast of the Child Jesus). I remember being glad because there were no classes that day. Therefore I was allowed to watch The Sound of Music even if it wasn’t Friday.
I also remember seeing my mother with a somber expression. She went upstairs to the master’s bedroom but before she did, instructed me to follow her after a couple of minutes. I did as I was told. I entered the room having no idea that my life was about to change. My mom smiled at me but I noticed the smile did not reach her eyes. I smiled back and tried to cheer her up with a tight hug. It was then that I realized she was crying.
“What’s the matter?” I asked her.
“Anak (child), do sit with me on the bed.”
I obeyed. She took a deep breath and looking into my eyes started to say:“Do you remember the story we used to tell you about our friend’s daughter? Our friend who adopted a baby who survived abortion, and then the baby grew up to be a bright young woman?”
“Oh, that story!” I smiled a bit, remembering the story I’ve heard a number of times from both my parents. I always loved that story and admired the strong young woman who survived abortion.
With another deep breath, my mom continued. “Dona that is your story. You are that bright, young girl.”
I thought I must have misunderstood my mom.
“I beg your pardon?” I asked, my voice just barely over a whisper.
“Dona you are the abortion survivor. Your biological mother had an abortion but you survived. And then God gave you to us. And now you’ve grown into a bright young woman,” she explained.
There was a lump in my throat. I lost my voice. My mind was reeling to process everything. This means I am not my parents’ daughter. This means my whole life has been a joke… everything’s make-believe. Oh, God the times I disobeyed my parents! How could I disobey them when I owe them so much!
My thoughts went haywire.
“Dona are you okay? Please be okay. Remember that we love you very much. It doesn’t matter if you are adopted. We love you just the same. Nothing will change.” I heard my mom say, but she seemed far away because I could barely hear her.
She was wrong. Everything has changed. I have changed. I felt like a different person. I looked at my hands. It was strange that I felt like I was another person. But I knew I needed to say something. “I’m okay,” I said, trying to convince both my mom and myself that I was. My mom hugged me. I realized I was crying albeit silently. Tears were flowing down my cheeks.
I asked my mom for details. I wanted to know what happened. She said that she didn’t know my biological mother. But according to the birth attendant/abortionist (not a medical professional, traditionally called hilot in the Philippines), my biological mother was a young woman, some weeks pregnant. “I want to have an abortion,” she said, and the pilot obliged, for this was her “job” (abortions are done secretly because it is illegal in the Philippines).It was not specified what specific type of abortion method was used but whatever it was, my biological mother bled and they thought the abortion was a success. But after a while, my biological mother realized she still felt the symptoms of pregnancy — body malaise, nausea and vomiting.
At last she obtained a pregnancy test kit and was shocked to learn that she was, after all, still pregnant! She went back to the abortionist and demanded to have another abortion.
By this time, I was already a five-month-old fetus in my mother’s womb. “That would already look like a baby (not a fetus) when I do the abortion now. I cannot do it. Let’s just have a compromise. Wait until you are to give birth. I will deliver the baby and you can just leave it here. Anyway I am sure it will die soon,” was what the abortionist said. My biological mother agreed.
Nine months is considered the full term for pregnancy, but the odds had always been against me from the very start. I was born prematurely at seven months. I weighed only three lbs. and was covered with wounds all over my body. The abortionist seemed to be right. I looked like I was going to die soon. But then again, I seemed to have been beating the odds ever since. As agreed, my biological mother left me to the abortionist. The abortionist really did not have any intention of caring for me. She was just waiting for me expire. Surely such a frail and sickly child would not survive longer than a few hours. But a day after, I was still alive. Frail and weak, I survived for three days without the proper care and medical attention that I so badly needed. On the third day, my adoptive parents came to see me….
Read Dona Marie’s entire story at Life Defenders.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published at Life Defenders and is reprinted here with permission.