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March 2018

“One is the loneliest number,” the singer lamented. And it’s pretty much true. Even with all his silver bullets, the Lone Ranger would have remained lone, and probably unknown, without Tonto. George Burns wouldn’t have been much of a comedy act without his wife and sidekick Gracie Allen. And frankly, can you even imagine “M” without “& M”?

God understood in creating us that when we’re two, the whole is often greater than the sum of its parts. It can be just a matter of finding each other, which can happen in the most amazing ways. In December 1943, 21-year old Charlie Brown was piloting a B-17 bomber on his first mission over Germany. Anti-aircraft guns on the ground and German fighter planes in the sky offered heavy resistance. The B-17s’ size and relative slowness made them extremely vulnerable to counter-attack. Brown’s plane was savaged; holes were blown wide open in its sides. One crew member was decapitated, and others were horribly hurt. Brown miraculously kept the plane flying, but it was no more than a wounded duck limping through air.

Back on the ground after shooting down two B-17s, German ace Franz Stigler saw Brown’s bomber fly over his base. Stigler re-joined the fight and caught up with the plane. It was just aching to be finished off. But Stigler was shocked at the condition of the plane and disturbed by seeing the injuries to the crew. To the amazement of the Americans, he didn’t shoot. “This will be no victory for me. I will not have this on my conscience for the rest of my life.” So Stigler escorted the wounded bomber to the sea, away from German fire. By God’s grace, Brown safely landed the bomber in England. Stigler could not tell commanders what he didn’t do for fear of court-martial and execution. And Brown was ordered to not tell anyone lest they believe that Germans were humans. It was wartime.

Both Brown and Stigler made it though the war, but they could not stop wondering what happened to the other. Years later, Brown began a search that would take four years. In 1990, the two were able to embrace each other as brothers. They remained best friends until death.   Tears flowed freely as Brown’s family met the man—Stigler—who was as much a husband and father to them as was Brown. The unlikely duo had turned the tragedy of war into a symphony of life. It’s all wonderfully chronicled in the bestseller, Higher Call.

Around 1960, another story began. A newborn baby was left on the doorstep of a downtown Chicago church. She was just another Jane Doe. Seven months later, a couple adopted her. Today Karen is a married, successful businesswoman in the Chicago area. Through DNA testing, she’s learned that she has brothers; they even look like her. A family was brought together. The story continues.

Karen’s story became a story because a struggling mother would not let her baby die by her hand. She didn’t want it on her conscience. The mother wanted to know that her baby would have a chance to be who God wanted her to be; after all, she left Karen on a church doorstep, not an alley. And Karen’s story became a story because a couple knew they could love Karen as their own child even though she was born of other parents. The duet of loving mother and loving couple turned into its own symphony.

This is adoption, the loving alternative to abortion. Adoption unites what otherwise would be separated. It mends what otherwise would remain broken. At conception, a bond between mother, father, and child is created. Hopefully, the bond grows stronger with each passing day. But sometimes, it breaks. The reasons can be many, ranging from a lack of maturity, an unwillingness to commit to parenthood, existing family size, problems with finances, or the difficulties in dealing with parents or friends. Whatever they are, the reasons are very real. For the birth parents, the pregnancy was a big mistake. But the developing baby isn’t. The baby is a gift of God, His greatest creation, sent to earth for a reason. God makes no mistakes. So though the timing might not be right for the birth couple, it is just right for the child. Adoption allows a birth couple to start over, while allowing their child to grow and develop into the person God intends. It answers the call to “live and let live.”

Recently, a poor mother distraught at having another child drowned her nearly full-term baby in a toilet. Planned Parenthood performs 83 abortions for every one adoption referral. A reporter actually said that the Parkland school shooting could have been avoided if the mother had aborted the shooter instead of placing him for adoption. It’s all a sad reflection of today’s cultural attitudes towards life. It’s doubly sad because so many loving couples would adopt unwanted children sight unseen. They are couples whose hearts ache over their inability to conceive a child and yearn for the fulfillment of parenthood. Couples who want to provide a home for homeless or forgotten or rejected little ones. And couples—like my wife and I—who simply decided to add to the joy of our family life.

For them and for us, adoption is an opportunity to grow further in love with God, His children, and each other. It is a chance to experience the joys and sorrows, the harsh and tender moments, the triumphs and failures that come with helping each other reach our full potential. Our three South American children are so much like us—they laugh, cry, smile, shout, make a mess, do well, do poorly, make mistakes, and grow. Like us, they have minds and wills, hearts and souls. They share a common bond and ancestry with both their birth parents and us: everyone comes from the same God. In the end, it’s all that matters.

As Church, we need to be more attentive to the possibilities that adoption offers for birth parents, their unborn children, and couples so longing to adopt. Adoption is like a duet, two coming together to make music, the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. The birth couple and the adoptive couple. Oh, what music they can make!


Paul V. Esposito is a Catholic lawyer who writes on a variety of pro-life topics. He and his wife Kathy live in Elmhurst, Illinois and have six children.

© Paul V. Esposito 2018. Culture of Life. Permission to copy and distribute for pro-life purposes is granted. Visit us at and on Facebook.

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