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 | Father Dwight Ezop

Thankful for adoption

For as long as I can remember I have known that I am an adopted child. In some circumstances, such knowledge might have proven to be hurtful. In my life, knowing that I was adopted as an infant has always brought me a sense of being loved and chosen.

I was born in 1965 in Ann Arbor, at the old St. Joseph Hospital, which at that time was located just off the campus of the University of Michigan, and very near to St. Thomas the Apostle parish, where I served as parochial vicar from 1997 to 1999. At the time, the office of Catholic Social Services of Washtenaw County was located near both the hospital and the parish. It was Catholic Social Services that coordinated my adoption shortly after my birth.

Although I don’t know anything about my biological parents, given these few details I have assembled what I consider to be the most likely circumstances that led to my adoption. I have always surmised that my biological parents were both likely university students and that one or both of them was Catholic. I suspect that they were not married and that they were not in a position to make that commitment to one another. It being 1965, one or both of them were likely scared by the reality of being unmarried and pregnant. In that era, there were few options for a young unwed mother to bring a child safely into the world. Being a young unwed mother would also likely mean a crushing burden of poverty for her and her child. Without the support of family, which could have been very unlikely, both mother and child would have very limited options and a bleak future.

Given all this, I thank God for the adoption option. Perhaps one or both of my biological parents attended St. Thomas parish, and perhaps it was a parishioner there who helped to make the connection with Catholic Social Services. What I do know is that they worked with Mrs. Barry, a Catholic Social Services social worker, who in turn worked with a young couple by the names of Jan and Gene Ezop from Saginaw. They are my parents. They provided me with a life filled with opportunities and possibilities. They surrounded me with love and faith and helped me to know that I am their child, perhaps not by biology, but by choice.

My story is just one out of those of thousands of children whose lives have been saved and made better through the work of Catholic Social Services and Catholic Charities around our diocese. In 2001, Michigan enacted the Safe Delivery Law, which allows a parent or parents to safely and legally surrender their newborn, no more than three days old. A newborn may be given to a uniformed employee who is inside and on duty at any hospital, fire department, police station, or to an emergency medical technician or paramedic by calling 911. The Safe Delivery Law helped to save the life of little Wyatt, who is the answer to the prayers of his parents, Chad and Christina. Foster care is another option made possible through Catholic Charities and Catholic Social Services. The foster care path has helped Shana and Bobby to have the family for which they longed and prayed. You can learn more about the stories of both families in the pages ahead.

Thank God for the work of Catholic Social Services and Catholic Charities in making these stories possible. They literally are saving lives – my own included. And so, our journey in FAITH continues.