Our Little Therese
by Pat Callahan
Hi all,...I wanted to write the story of our adoption miracle. To me and my family, it's just such a witness to the power of prayer.
In 1991. I watched the 20/20 show on Romanian adoptions. I decided I'd like to adopt a child. My family and husband agreed wholeheartedly with this desire. I gathered all the information I needed and even called Bucharest (Romania) at 4 in the morning to hear a man with a very thick accent say, "Yes we have many babies."
Well I went running to my kid's rooms crying, "There is a baby waiting for us!"
The man I spoke to said he would send an 'appointment' in the mail and sure enough, an appointment came to go to Romania in October of 1991. We were ecstatic, especially at how easily it was all going...
Just a few days later I was walking, just walking!, to pick my daughter up from dancing school. Somehow, I ruptured my achilles tendon. At the hospital the doctor told me he had good news and bad news. The good news was that I did not need surgery for the moment, the bad news was that I was going to be in a cast and wheelchair for several months. I would have to literally learn to walk on that leg again.
I couldn't believe it. I screamed at him, "I can't do this now, there is a baby waiting for me in Eastern Europe and I have to be on a plane!" "Well," he told me, "you might be on a plane, but it will be on crutches." I went home in a non-weight bearing cast and spent my 39th birthday in bed crying.
This was a very, very dark time for me. I could not understand what was happening. I had been praying so hard to Saint Therese to find me a little girl. I could not understand why she had found one for me, and then let me get hurt so that I couldn't get to her.
Then someone gave me the book, "St Therese, Her Last Conversations." I started to read it. This book was my conversion book. If she could suffer at 24 years of age and die of TB by suffocation and still love her God, well I could sit around in that stupid cast and learn to walk through pain. I began a Novena to Saint Therese asking for help and healing.
Still, that Mother's Day I was pretty despondent. I was in my wheelchair and my mom kept asking me to go to the window. My dad was outside by our shrine of St Therese, and he was planting something for me. Now my dad and mom knew nothing of my spiritual journey then or about Saint Therese or about my novena to her. My mom kept saying, "Go to the window" I kept saying I didn't want to. When I finally looked out the window, I saw my dad planting a Peace rose bush totally covered in blooms. Well, I started crying,"She has answered me!" My mom, not knowing what I was crying for, started crying with me.
The day I had my cast taken off, the doctor first warned me that if it didn't heal I would need surgery. This would mean another year off my life and plans learning how to walk again. I was confident though, that Saint Therese had taken care of things.
Well, the doctor took the cast off and said, "This is miraculous!" I started crying again and told him about Saint Therese. He asked me if Jewish doctors could pray to her. I told him of course.
I continued to get better. But by July Romania had closed. We had lost all hopes of getting our baby girl.
We went to the social worker for our scheduled appointment anyway. She told us to forget about Romania and go to Chile. Well, to tell you the truth, Chile was the last place I would think of, I didn't even know where it is.
But as I started to look at pictures of children from Chile, I got interested and hopeful again. I said to my friend St Therese, (by now, she was a good friend) "If you find me a little girl there, I will name her after you." I put Saint Joseph in charge of the paper-work, SaintMichael in charge of protecting her, St Therese in charge of finding her,and Our Lord and Our Lady in charge of her soul...and mine. We were surrounded and enclosed by love and protection. Surely nothing could go wrong now! So we waited and waited, and did the tons and tons of paperwork.
I asked one large favor of St Therese - 'Please have my little girl's birthday between the dates of January 2 (Saint Therese's birthday) and January 11 (my dad's birthday)' I lost a child at 14 weeks in 1976 to miscarriage and it had been due on January 11. I felt very bold asking her to do this.
In January of 1992, I was at work when my phone rang. The lady from my adoption agency said, "We have a little girl for you in Chile." My heart was racing! Then she said there were two children; aged 2 weeks and 2 months and which one did I want?
WHICH ONE DID I WANT? HOW COULD I MAKE THAT CHOICE? Stalling for time, I asked a little about them. The lady said (more miracles!) "One child's birthday is January 10th." I started crying tears of Joy.
My co-workers thought me mad, as did my patients. I was working as nurse in the junior high in my district. I could not wait to tell my children and husband about our new little girl. I called my husband and told him he had a daughter. He was speechless. I don't think he thought it would really happen. We were all tremendously happy and excited.Then, of course, we had to wait some more for our paper-work to be approved.
Even though it seemed long to us, our agency said that our paper-work was going fast, the fastest anyone had done through Chile. Finally we had a date. We were supposed to leave in March. We were packed and ready! Almost at the last minute, I got a call from the agency. Our paperwork had been thrown out because of a stamp that was not approved. They assured us it was a little "glitch" but that because of it, we would have to wait another 20 working days.
I was devastated. I straight went out to the Shrine of SaintTherese and doubled my prayers. I had everyone praying for us. I told SaintJoseph he had better get those papers right. "Men," I said, "give them a job!" I said a new novena to him.
By Holy Thursday in April of 1992, the agency called again, to tell me to make my travel plans. Our papers were approved! This was two days before they were supposed to be done. We made plans to leave the Friday after Easter. Only another week to wait!
Well, after 12 hours on a plane, we made it to South America. It was a culture shock, it really was a different world. After a crazy taxi ride to our hotel, we were told to go to bed and wait for our Lawyer.
I was so tired, I fell asleep with my clothes on, and awoke some time later to English-speaking voices down in the lobby. I quickly ran down the stairs and saw a young woman coming into the hotel with an older man. She was carrying a baby. We were ushered into another room.
Everyone was speaking Spanish, of course, and it was confusing, especially since I had just woken up, but I couldn't take my eyes off the child. Surely this was the little girl who's picture had been on my refrigerator for three months. I asked if she was our child and the young woman said, "Yes." She then gave her to me.
It had been 11 years since I held a baby in my arms. I quickly moved to the window in the dining room to be away from everyone so I could cry and thank God out loud for this wonderful moment. He and His Mother and the angels and saints had found a daughter for us 8000 miles away, and she was beautiful.
My story of my miracle does not end here, there is more. We signed the papers for Therese that Monday. That Friday our lawyer came to our hotel looking very, very worried. A couple who had flown in from California was leaving without their babies. So, I asked him what was wrong. What else could go wrong?!
He told me, "The courts are closed." There had been a scandal...I asked him what was going on. I couldn't believe my ears when he told me that the Chilean authorities thought babies were being sold and they had closed down the courts. The couple who was leaving without their babies had lost their babies and 30 thousand dollars.
When we asked our lawyer what would happen with Therese's case, he said "Therese's case is OK...She is the last infant to leave Chile."
'The last infant to leave Chile,' 'the last infant to leave Chile,' it kept going over and over in my mind. If our paperwork had not been approved two days early, we probably would have been going home without our Therese. OH THANK HEAVEN.
We were very happy to leave Chile. We never met Therese's birth mother but hope one day to bring her back to visit the country where she was born. We had a huge welcome home party. We took her to Mother's Day Mass and everyone in my choir cried tears of joy. Our children gave me a baby shower. We have a mass said for Therese, usually every April at the shrine of the Little Flower on Long Island.
Therese with some of her family, including Pee Wee the dog.
Therese is now 6 years old.She is beautiful. And of course it has nothing to do with being her mother that makes me say that! She has a statue on her wall of St Therese of the Andes who I know had something to do in helping us adopt Therese. Saint Therese of the Andes was also a Carmelite, just 19 years old when she died. She was made the Saint of all the Andes by Pope John Paul II.
Our Therese was recently invested in the brown scapular. She tells me she talks to St Therese and she holds her hand. She has told me that Saint Therese stayed with her when she was so lonely waiting for me to come, (she was 3 months old at the time.) I truly believe that she did see Saint Therese and that she does hold her hand. We are truly blessed beyond measure.
If you never believed in the power of prayer this is your answer... as the visionaries of Medugoria report Mary has said, PRAY UNCEASINGLY. MIRACLES DO HAPPEN
To Jesus through Mary, Pat
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