Thursday, 17 January 2013 09:54
By Carolyn Utter
Birthmothers searching for healing and peace are invited to the next After the Gift retreat March 8-10 at the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita.
As a presenter at After the Gift retreats, I’ve met some remarkable women. Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, each of them first made the choice for life, in a society that leans toward the destruction of life as the solution. Each of these strong women made the very difficult decision to make an adoption plan so her child could have a better life than she could provide at that time.
Being faced with an unplanned pregnancy is very frightening, and choosing adoption for your child is a very sacrificial and loving decision, but it leaves behind an emptiness and grief that all too often leaves birthmothers with nowhere to turn for help. After the Gift retreats provide that help by affirming and supporting the sacrificial love of birthmothers in their gift of life through adoption by offering hope and healing in Christ.
All of the women who have attended the retreat are so deeply thankful that the weekend offers them an opportunity to acknowledge and talk openly about their child, something they rarely have an opportunity to do. For these birthmothers, After the Gift is a positive path toward healing and peace through a renewed relationship with God and new relationships with other birthmothers.
One of the more rewarding benefits of the weekend is to see birthmothers, often before even speaking a word to each other, forging a bond through their common experience. “Finally,” she thinks to herself “someone who knows how I feel.”
After the Gift is for birthmothers of all ages, whether it’s been a few months or many years. The Diocese of Wichita sponsors the retreat, but it is not limited to Catholics.
A priest, birthmother, social worker, and member of the diocesan respect life office are presenters during the weekend. It is a spiritual and practical mixture of scripture and prayer, learning about grief and forgiveness, celebrating life and choice, and strategies for moving forward.
As a pro-life community, we ask for your prayers for birthmothers, and prayers for the success of the retreats. We also ask you to spread the word about the retreats so that birthmothers who need this help can find it, during their After the Gift weekend.
Want to attend the retreat?
For more information about the next After the Gift retreat, call the Respect Life office at (316) 269-3935 or visit the Respect Life website at http://catholicdioceseofwichita.org/healing-ministries/after-the-gift.