I was born in Henderson, Nevada on November 9, 1965. Back in the day, the hospital was staffed by nuns. I have a visual of nuns walking the halls and singing songs from the Sound of Music.
In 1965, Catholic Charities referred many mothers who had chosen adoption for their unborn children to St Rose De Lima Hospital. This was the Catholic Hospital in Clark County and many babies were born here. There was also an un-wed mother’s home in Henderson called Miriam House. Catholic Charities took care of the mothers here as they waited to deliver. I always wondered if my birth-mother spent any time in this home.
There were 2 wings in the hospital. One was for babies that had 2 parents, the other wing was for unwed mothers. The idea of this has always felt sad to me. When a woman was ready to deliver, and adoption was the plan, the mother would labor and then enter the delivery room. After the baby was born, the mother was told the gender and then the baby was removed. The mother never saw the child she carried for 9 months. She never had the opportunity to hold this child or to smell the child or to make sure there were 10 fingers, and toes. And, the baby was never touched by their mother. The idea that the baby was whisked away without even a glance at the woman who bore them is devastating.
In St Rose De Lima Hospital’s delivery room, there were two doors. After I was born, my birth mother was taken out one door and I was taken out another door. Our eyes never met. Her hands never touched me. I never had her scent in my tiny nose. She only knew I was a girl. She already had 5 boys. She was 27 and unmarried. The boys were in foster care. It sure seems she did not have many options. She wanted me to have a family with two parents.
I have spent much of my life thinking about her and wondering who she was, where she was and did she ever wonder about me.
Sometimes, I have the opportunity to drive by old St Rose. It looks differently, more modern and it is not run by the nuns anymore. When I drive by, I feel a lump in my throat knowing that is the one place my birth mother and I were together – briefly – and then, we were taken away from each other.
This is where my life began. This is where my resilience started to form. This is where the nuns sang and took me to my new life. St Rose De Lima in Henderson, Nevada is where my journey back to my birth family began.