“October Baby” and a December Baby

I’ve just returned from the local movie theater, where Terri and I watched October Baby the new movie by Jon and Andrew Erwin. Jon and many of the others who worked behind the scenes on the movie have also been a part of Sherwood Pictures. Provident Films made a wise decision in being behind this movie.

It was obvious there was wise counsel in the writing. The “feminine touch” in the writing added a powerful dimension to the script. This is a heart movie. It pulls at your heart. Theresa Preston, who co-wrote the script, did an excellent job. Jon and Andrew are to be commended for how they have crafted all this into a cinematic benchmark. Every movie dealing with the issue of adoption and abortion will have to look back on “October Baby” as the standard.

This is the kind of movie our culture desperately needs. It is honest and deals with a painful and often divisive issue in a graceful way. I cannot imagine anyone, regardless of the budget or cast, doing a better job. Let me be clear, the movie is enlightening, encouraging, and edifying. I would consider it a must see movie for every teenager and parent. It should be recommended by every pastor and priest in our land. There is power in this movie that can only be explained by the hand of God upon it.

From a purely movie making standpoint, it is stunning in its cinematography. It is well shot, well edited, and well written, and the acting is superior. The characters are believable. It’s as powerful a movie as any I’ve ever seen. There was humor, but, more importantly, the movie touched a deep chord in my heart. I found myself wiping away tears during much of the movie.

The message hits close to home. If you don’t know my story, you may not understand. Without going into all the details, the young lady in the movie found out she was adopted when she was a teenager. I found out I was adopted when I was 39. She was angry at her parents for not telling her. I can still remember the anger I felt with my parents for not telling me. I found out in a bizarre way that caused me to go into the tank and to be filled with anger. It took me a long time to come to grips with all of this and to find victory in it.

I found myself, twenty years after learning of my adoption, reliving those emotions as I watched the movie. Not the anger, but identifying with the anger. I had “been there, done that.” I knew exactly what the girl was going through because I had felt the same thing. I knew the struggle because I had the same struggles.

For the longest time, I was angry with my parents for not telling me. Then, to top it off, a woman who knew my birth mother refused to tell me who she was or where she lived. I tried to write my birth mother a letter and tell her who I was, tell her I was grateful she didn’t abort me, and tell her about her two grandchildren, Erin and Hayley. I didn’t get that chance. The letter was returned to me, unopened.

I never got to resolve the issue with my parents. Of course, I was born and adopted at a time when you didn’t talk about adoption. Although it seemed everyone in my home church knew I was adopted except me, I was never told. Through an amazing and bizarre, set of circumstances, my wife found out and had the painful responsibility of telling me one night.

When I discovered the extent to which my parents had gone to hide the facts from me, I was at a loss for how to ever talk to them. The details are boring, but suffice it to say it was, at some level, deceptive.  I’ve often asked myself, “Why? What harm would it have done to tell me?” Then I thought about the line in the movie when the adoptive dad said, “I wanted to tell you, but days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months and years…” I guess that’s what happened to my folks too…but they never told me.

I don’t think their failure to tell me was malice, but more out of fear. So, for lack of honesty, my parents lived their days in fear. Fear that I would find out. Fear that I would reject them. Fear that I would discover who my birth mom really was. How many parents have lived with fear because of a failure to be honest?

I was born in Jackson County Hospital in Pascagoula, Mississippi, just 29 miles from Mobile, Alabama, where part of October Baby was filmed. The birth records are long gone. The chances I’ll ever know all the facts are slim to none.

I was born on December 25, although my birth certificate has been revised so I doubt if that was my actual birthday. I think my parents saw me as a Christmas gift to them, since they were unable to have children, and had the official date of birth changed by a judge.

My middle name is the name of the doctor who delivered me. He was our family doctor. He’s been dead for a long time and all his records are gone. Believe me, we’ve explored all possible avenues. About all I know about my birth mom is that she was an airline stewardess and that our daughter Erin (according to some who know what my birth mom looked like) looks just like her.

I would love to have the opportunity to say to the woman who gave birth to me, “Thanks for not having a back alley abortion. Thanks for giving me up for adoption. God worked it all for good. I love you for giving me life, and I thank you for loving me enough to give me up for adoption.” I truly love a woman I’ve never met.

I wish I had the opportunity to have the resolution with my parents on this issue. Both died rather suddenly, and I was never able to get release from the Lord to talk to them about it in their declining years. The scene at the end where the daughter and dad get it right is something I’ll not be able to do this side of heaven. I am grateful for being placed in a Christian home. I am grateful for parents who wanted me when my birth mom didn’t, or couldn’t.

Only my wife and Jesus know the pain I have felt through the years. The movie is about an October baby. I was a December baby. For the first time in my life, I do feel like someone captured on film much of what I’ve wrestled with deep in my soul over these years. While the stories are not identical, there were so many reminders in this film of where I’ve been.

Like the young girl at the end of the film, I continue to walk forward, but glance over my shoulder tonight with gratitude for a heavenly Father who has guided my path and loved me unconditionally. I look back and thank God for parents who loved me, even though they often didn’t know how to tell me. I’m grateful for people who loved me and prayed me through the process of dealing with my pain. I’m grateful for a wife who listened to me and was patient with me as I wrestled with my emotions. I’m grateful that God blessed me with two incredible daughters.

Finally, I’m more committed than ever to our Alpha Crisis Pregnancy Center and our ministry to unwed mothers. I’m more committed than ever to the unborn. As the nurse in the movie says to the young girl, “They told me it was just unviable tissue.” And then she says something like, “but when you heard the sounds I heard and saw what I saw…” As one who was spared from abortion, I hear the cries of the unborn. As long as God gives me breath, I will not be silent for those who never had an opportunity to speak for themselves.

I am more than viable tissue. Jeremiah says, that God knew me before I was in my mother’s womb. Mom, wherever you are, if you ever read this, I was no accident. God had a plan for you and for me. Thank you for not having an abortion. Thank you for loving me enough to give me breath. I hope that one day you will see and know how God has used all this for His glory.

67 thoughts on ““October Baby” and a December Baby

  1. thats wonderful……..am longing to watch the movie. When will we have a chance here in Kenya to watch the October Baby?

  2. Dear Pastor Catt
    This is beautifully and wonderfully good because only God could’ve done this thro you. You have fulfilled God’s plan in your journey. I am encouraged.

  3. Pastor, in regards to this:
    “I would love to have the opportunity to say to the woman who gave birth to me, “Thanks for not having a back alley abortion. Thanks for giving me up for adoption. God worked it all for good. I love you for giving me life, and I thank you for loving me enough to give me up for adoption.” I truly love a woman I’ve never met”

    First of all, I do understand that you mean well, and I can see that you would say the above with love in your heart.

    However, I would think very carefully about rethinking what you would say to her. First of all, abortion may not even have crossed her mind and it could be very upsetting for a women to be “thanked” for something that hadn’t even crossed her mind. As for thanking her for loving you enough to give you up for adoption, she may have been in a position where she had no true option but to do so due to the mores of the times – she may desperately wanted to raise you but felt that due to lack of resources, adoption was the only way she could make you safe. Many bmoms from the 50s to 70s have been deeply damaged by the fact that they felt no option but to relinquish their child. If you want to thank her, it might be best to keep it “time specific”, eg say something like “I know you did the best you could for me given the options you had and the times being as they were”.

    Please all of you, you must be very careful in one thing – please do not counsel straight from abortion to adoption – it can be a spiritually damaging thing. Please remember that continuing a pregnancy is the alternative to abortion. Adoption is the alternative to parenting. They are decisions that should be made separately. If you are going to counsel a woman re her pregnancy, it must be about continuing vs not continuing a pregnancy and adoption should never be used as an alternative straight off the bat. Telling a woman that instead of aborting, she can place her child for adoption could cause both the woman and child problems in the future. Note that I am not saying one shouldn’t counsel a woman against abortion, I am not saying that at all, I am just saying not to use adoption as a hook for not aborting.

  4. What am amazing story Pastor Catt. You have so much courage and a strong character, you have handled the events that took place in your life with extraordinary humility. Take heart.I wish i could watch the movie already, it will be ages before we get it in the African market. I am not a stranger to the difficult and painful relationships we can have with our parents. I was raised by a father who was trained at Tuskegee Air Force Base in “Ole’ Miss”. Treated me like a stranger all my life, i can identify with the anger i have felt all my life.God bless you Pastor Catt.

    From Africa with love,
    Langat Kibet,
    Nairobi,Kenya(East Africa).

  5. Michael thank you so much for sharing. Your sentiments have moved me to tears. As an adoptive mother, I’m so grateful that my son’s birth mother chose life. And I’m grateful that your birth mother chose life..because God is truly using you in a mighty way.

  6. I too appreciate your transparency. I cannot imagine finding out that I was adopted at age 39. I am thankful that your birth mother spared your life!

    I do not share your embrace of October Baby, however. It scores high in subtlety regarding the truth (unlike the Sherwood Films) with no clear teaching. I found it missing the mark in actually sharing God’s Word in any concrete fashion.

  7. Someone please take xyz’s comment off this post. Bro. Michael was merely sharing his feelings and being transparent by the way he feels about his adoption. While not all adopted kids are thought to be aborted I am sure is correct, your statement isn’t entirely correct xyz. Two of my three adopted kids were to be aborted. One survived and the other was talked out of it by the people in her current surroundings and counseled that adoption is best. It is not right to take a child’s life merely because you don’t want or can’t support it. Be careful to keep your toungue from being so quick to judge others feelings and the way they deal through things! There is a reason I guess why you don’t use your name on here.

  8. I am sorry, my bad. His award says he was trained and stationed at Keesler Air Force Base in “Ole Miss”. Tuskegee was in relation to something else.God bless you all nonetheless.

    From Africa with love,
    Langat Kibet,
    Nairobi,Kenya(East Africa).

  9. ABC – what is so offensive about my post? Pastor Catt is an adoptee from the BSE – most mothers from that time didn’t have much of a choice and she may not have even considered abortion. If he did get to meet her, he could inadvertantly scuttle a reunion before it got off the ground – thus my more gentle alternative.

    “Two of my three adopted kids were to be aborted. One survived and the other was talked out of it by the people in her current surroundings and counseled that adoption is best. It is not right to take a child’s life merely because you don’t want or can’t support it.”
    You missed my point – I am merely saying one should be careful about how one counsels a woman with an unplanned pregnancy. I am actually happy that your children’s bmoms continued their pregnancy – I just hope they both received full and proper counselling about parenting as an option as well.

  10. I dont think u have to thank some1 in a way like that.
    The way u wrote ur story is a good one and good way to thank your mother.
    I would love to see the oct. Bby movie..

  11. Hmmm. I realy congratulate pst Michael for sharin your experience with d world. May God continue to console your heart and bless you and the ministry. We love to see the movie in Nigeria too.

  12. dear Pastor Catt, i was touched by your story. Im praying that God will lead you to your birth mom loving arms… and whatever her reasons i believed the love of a mother still there in her wounded heart. one day you will be in her loving arms, embracing you so lovingly and deeply.. In His time! God bless you dear Pastor! Ms. Nanie Figueroa UAE

  13. I was extremely touched by the story. My younger sister is the result of a failed bathroom/coat hanger abortion. She has had numerousmedical problems, in which included surgeries. My Father walked in on my Mother and stopped the abortion.

  14. Pastor Catt,
    Thank you for sharing your very personal and painful story. It’s also, however, a story that is full of hope and love. My story comes from the other side of the situation: I became a birth mother in 1986 to a son who just turned 26 on March 25th. As in every other year, I cried last week over the loss of surrendering him to his adoptive parents. I had no choice at the time; my parents were completely unwilling to support me financially if I didn’t place him for adoption. My birth son, his mother, and his father are not willing to have communication with me, and they may never be willing. I don’t understand why, so I just pray that he knows Christ and is a well adjusted human being. Giving birth to him as an unwed mother was an event that has completely shaped my entire life, and I’m still experiencing the impact of that decision so many years ago.

    God placed another adoptive mother in my life several years ago who is now one of my best friends. She has been so helpful to me in understanding what it’s like to be an adoptive parent. I’m so thankful for my friendship with her. God is so good.

  15. Thank you so much for sharing your story. We have 4 adopted children. Our youndest survived an abortion attempt. We was born at 26 weeks after his birthmother tried to self abort. He spent the 1st 7 1/2 months of his life at UVA, fighting for his life. He is doing well but will have a lifetime of medical issues. He has CP, lung issues, heart diease, along with many other issues. God has been so good! And our precious boy is a miracle. Although the movie was terribly hard for us to watch we are so grateful the story was told. My husband and I went and saw it then later the same day I took our older children.

  16. Thanks for sharing your story. I was also adopted, but was told at age 6. I was told that I was chosen and that I was special. I was placed in a baptist home, like was my bio family. At the time my parents had not gotten saved, but you said God had plan for my life and He placed me just where I needed to be. I have had a wonderful life. There have been bumps and obstacles, but overall it has been awesome. I have wanted to find my bio family, if just to thank them for not aborting me. Again thank you so much for sharing your life story and may God bless you.

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