Adoption…The Greatest Act of Love

August 2, 2011

Embracing Life

Photo courtesy of

Cesili’s Story

“I was 18 when I found out I was pregnant… and I was petrified!” Recalls Cesili when discussing the heroic journey she began for her son about six years ago. “I was very scared not knowing what my family would say, and I felt alone and lost.” The teen eventually talked to her family–and plans for adoption started to unfold.

“Parents make sacrifices. My sacrifice was to put my feelings aside and do what was best for the baby–to put the child first!”

And what about the birth father? “We wanted what was best for our son and that meant making the sacrifice of placing him for adoption.” Cesili says with a loving smile.

Eventually, Cesili and her family knew it was time to search for an adoption agency, and they were hoping to place the baby with a Catholic couple. Unsure of where to turn, Cesili’s mom glanced at a Pro-life Across America magnet on their refrigerator. She decided to call the number listed on the advertisement. She talked to the director of “The Billboard People,” Mary Ann Kuharski, who gave them the information they desired, delivered with the motherly warmth for which she is known.

Holy Family Catholic Adoption Agency

Wanting to reach out to women who are feeling desperate and to make adoption available to Catholic families, Holy Family Catholic Adoption Agency acquired their license ten years ago, and they have placed 20 babies in loving homes. Five of these infants were placed with Holy Family because the birth mothers were in contact with the Sisters for Life in New York City.

A few weeks ago, I met with Mary Ball, the director of the agency, in her office in the former convent at St. Agnes.

I couldn’t help but notice the tranquil paintings of the Madonna and Child adorning the walls of this tidy space, as she explained how they carry out their mission.

“When a birth mother decides that she can’t properly parent, adoption can bring her peace and joy,” she said.  But because it is such a momentous decision, the agency is careful not to present the adoption option as the ‘preferred’ choice for every birth mother.

“We let each woman know that she has every right to parent. We’re here to give her detailed information about adoption–and to support her. God will help her if she chooses to parent — and we will help her with the placement process if adoption is her decision. “  

Mary added in her caring, gentle voice:

“When I see these birth mothers and adopting parents hugging and crying, it gives me such joy to witness this greatest act of love!”

When Cesili went to Holy Family Catholic Adoption Agency with her parents, she found it very comforting–and she appreciated that Mary Ball and the people there were non-judgmental. “They put me at ease,” she said. “With my decision of placing my child, I felt great comfort and joy!”

The Adoption Process

Cesili states on

“I viewed profiles and found a family that seemed perfect! It was like they were heaven-sent. The baby even has a great older sister. It’s comforting knowing that he is at their place.”

Instead of requesting the normal adoption fees, the agency asks the following of the couples who are hoping to adopt:

1) To commit to an hour of adoration in front of the blessed sacrament

2) To reach out to those who are pregnant and see if they need any help

Currently, Holy Family has 10-12 couples waiting with high hopes to be blessed with a little bundle.  Most of these are couples who have been ‘fired in the furnace’ of infertility and have had to reshape their lifelong dreams.  Their journey has brought them here to WAIT with unbelievable patience and trust in Divine Providence.   

Unconditional Love

Cesili put her unborn child’s needs and happiness above her own. “He’ll know I wanted nothing but the best for him; that’s unconditional love–being unselfish.” She admits that saying goodbye to him was hard, but joyous.

“Seeing the look on the adoptive parents’ faces was priceless. It was complete joy!”

The baby Cesili gave birth to is now about five years old. Holy Family Catholic Adoption Agency gives her pictures and updates regularly. “It’s comforting knowing he has a great family! He’s very lucky!”

I’ll say he is!  

Cesili and other birth parents are my heroes. By their sacrificial acts of love, they embrace life and assist God in a remarkable way: They help create families.

(For adoption information please call Holy Family Catholic Adoption Agency at 651-298-0133 and talk to Mary Ball. You’ll like her–She’s an angel!)

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About Kathy Schneeman

After graduating from The College of St. Thomas, I taught at Nativity in St. Paul until our oldest was just about born in the classroom (What a great lesson on life that would have been for my students!) I then became a stay-at-home-mom while teaching religious education classes and working very part time at UST. Recently, I served as the Archdiocese's Life Coordinator in the Office for Marriage, Family and Life until twins arrived (I was almost 43!) When I have a few minutes of quiet time, I like to run, eat chocolates, scones and Mexican food (that's why I run), read, and have a beverage with my husband at night. We have a whopping nine kids (yes...same husband and same wife; we get that question a lot!) and we attend St. Joseph's in West St. Paul--where we first met when we were in grade school.

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