I met Patti soon after arriving in Phoenix, Arizona. A petite, cute, blonde who looks far younger than her physical age, Patti exudes life and energy.
Patti has a heart that embraces foster children, usually babies. She has seen almost everything there is to see in terms of this worlds brokenness. From crack babies to babies with fetal alcohol syndrome, babies abandoned and babies abused, Patti is a life line in the midst of a world that has been cruel to the most vulnerable.
I often wonder how she does it. She loves these babies for a month, two months, a year and longer. Then, when told, she gives them up. Sometimes back to their families, other times to a permanent placement, but it is never under her control. A comment she left on a blog post that I did in August gave me a bit of insight into what makes Patti do what she does.
The post I did was called “Babies and the Sovereignty of God” and relayed the pregnancy and birth of my youngest son, Jonathan. Patti made this comment:
“I found myself pregnant with our third “unwanted” child right when my ex-husband was falling in love with someone else! I didn’t know about her but knew things were going terribly wrong for us. So the answer we thought would be an abortion…….”we can’t have another baby” and on and on we rationalized. Thankfully I cancelled the appointment, five days before! Twenty days later he moved out. Two months later I found out about them. At that time I had a 4 mo old and a 5-year-old. I felt like Hagar….pregnant and alone in the desert. But God gave me strength and what a blessing it was to have David. His precious little life grew in me, while my marriage died. Twenty four years later and I can’t imagine my life without him.”
Patti went on to marry Keith, and he is God’s gift to her, embracing every child she brings home. Acting as father, grandfather and general caregiver when Patti needs a break, they are a team, giving babies a chance and loving them through the process.
Patti knows grace and strength. She also knows healing. It’s as though she took all the pain from being abandoned in her marriage and poured it into loving kids who have been abandoned. Most people I know who make a difference in the lives of hurting people, whether it be babies or grown-ups, know what its like to be hurt. It’s that hurt that compels them to care, and uses experiences that could have paralyzed them to move them into action.
Whenever I hear arguments about people who oppose abortion being unwilling to offer other solutions I think about Patti and her heart, for Patti’s primary motivation is not praise, but love of God. She lives out her faith through loving foster babies.
Yesterday when I asked Patti for permission to tell a bit of her story she said this:
Our little 14-month old baby girl (we got in May) is going to be moved to an adoptive home soon…..this one will be a hard one to let go.
I am grateful for the Patti’s in my life that help me check what I am doing, and what I could be doing. I don’t think it will be foster babies, but I too am called to live out my faith in a tangible way.
For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without actions is also dead. James 2:26