Balmoral Kidnapping That Never Happened

In 13 History on 2011/10/07 at 1:00 AM

My husband and I do not have any children.  We began the long and tedious adoption process in the early seventies, but few children were available and the waiting lists were very long.

Years of fruitless waiting came to nought.  Barren Rachels “were weeping for their children, and they were not” ( Mt 2:18 ) just as in the days of the slaughter of the Innocents when Herod sought to kill the Savior.  Roe vs. Wade had become the law of the land, the abortion holocaust had begun and there simply were not many children available for adoption.

In 1984, my husband and I found ourselves in the lovely town of Balmoral, Scotland where the Queen has a residence.  While my pastry-loving husband ambled to the bakery shop, I headed for a local yarn shop.  There on the bottom of a series of steps, a young woman had left a beautiful baby boy of about 5 months in his pram.  Not a soul was around.

Now, after years of hoping, wishing and praying for a child, there right in front of me was a beautiful baby.  My first instinct was to take that baby and run as fast as I could with him.  But, I simply could not.  My hands could not reach out to grab him.  My feet felt as if they were shod in lead.  I was catatonic.  My mind, though, raced with thoughts about how I could smuggle him with me through customs.

Like two lawyers arguing a legal case, my mind stated one argument and then countered with another: “I have no right to take this child; it belongs to that young woman.”
Then, the counter-argument: “She can have others.”
Another counter: “It is morally wrong to take this child.  It’s a sin.”
And then came the truth I had been wrestling with: “But, I want this child.  She can have others.”

How long the debate went on, I simply do not know.  My face must have betrayed my internal struggle, for when my husband returned, he asked me what was wrong.  Without waiting for a response, he led me gently away and out of temptation’s path.

My ordeal was not yet over.

Back in California, I went to Mass one Sunday.  Having arrived a bit late, I slipped into the last pew.  A young woman asked me if I would watch her baby while she went to Communion.  There it was again . . . temptation.  At Mass, no less. I was in my home parish.  For a brief moment, I considered running away with that child.  I was absolutely sure I could slip out of the church and escape with that child.  But, I did not.  In spite of the temptation to give into my overwhelming desire to be a mother, I realized, and accepted at that moment, that it was not God’s will for me to be a mother . . . not this way, at least.  For me, the ordeal, the temptation to exercise my will over God’s in this particular matter, was over, the argument settled.

After years of struggling and longing for what I could not have, I finally accepted God’s will in the matter and continued teaching other peoples’ children for another 36 years.  I often think of the Scottish baby who would now be 27, but I’ve learned to think about and accept what is rather than dwell on what could have been.

Later, I shared this story with my high school students and, thanks be to God, several young girls told me that because of it, they gave their babies up for adoption rather than aborting them as others were encouraging them to do.  For me, that was a great consolation.

I’ve learned through these struggles that we are often tempted by our nature, by our good desires . . . something as pure and natural as being a mother.  The temptation lies not in the desire for something good, but rather in the desire to give more importance to those desires, to our wills, than God’s will.  I’ve learned that God often has something far better planned for us, something we might not even be able to imagine in the midst of our struggles.

We must never forget that God is always there, in the midst of our struggles and temptations, loving us.  He has only our good in mind.  Ours is simply to trust Him and to let Him love us.


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