Celebrating Life in the Midst
Michael, Arlene, &
The words to a favorite song are especially meaningful to Arlene
Blondo as she cradles her infant son in her arms, gently rocking
him in the family glider rocking chair. It is customary in the
evening for this new mother to read story books, pray, and listen
to soothing music while little Andrew sits nestled in his mother's
lap enjoying the love and attention lavished on him. But this
evening is different.
It is September 11, 2001, and her husband, Michael, will not
be coming home at the usual time. Instead this detective with
the New York City Police Department will work a grueling 27-hour
shift at the site of our nation's largest ever crime scene - the
terrorists' attack on the World Trade Center in Manhattan.
Receiving a call from Michael immediately after the tragedy,
Arlene, like all Americans, was in a state of shock and disbelief.
She would spend the rest of the day at home with Andrew. Finding
comfort in music, in prayer and in the Scriptures, Arlene received
calls throughout the day learning the whereabouts of family and
friends as she was informed that each one in their wide circle
of influence was accounted for. Calls came in from across the
nation from those who knew that Michael worked for the NYPD, asking
if the Blondos were all right, and seeking to find out details
of an attack that left our nation stunned and shaken.
As people throughout the city, the nation, and around the world
watched continuous replays of that early morning bombing, the
NYPD and NYFD frantically searched for signs of life. Any glimmer
of hope, any signs of movement or cries for help, sent the workers
into a tireless search for life among the smoke and rubble.
The tragedy would take on an even greater meaning for the Blondos,
both natives of New York City, who just months earlier, had adopted
the baby Arlene held in her arms, a child she knew could have
been an unknown statistic among millions of others lost in another
tragedy - abortion.
Caught in a suffocating squeeze to abort the child she was carrying,
a courageous birth mother in another state broke free from the
emotional ties of a birth father demanding to make arrangements
to extinguish the life of his unborn child.
But God has other plans for little Andrew.
"Well, if you can't have a baby, then I think it is time
Over 4 years earlier that gentle nudge from a loving grandmother
at a large family gathering encouraged the Blondos to pursue adoption.
Familiar with Highlands through the Assemblies of God church in
Queens where they are members, the Blondos called Highlands, requested
that their names be placed on a waiting list, and then filled
out the necessary paperwork. Three long years passed as the Blondos
endured the most grueling part of the adoption process - the wait.
The teenage birth mother who had fled to Highlands for refuge
knew that she would not parent the child forming within her, but
neither would she allow the child to die. And it would be the
Blondos who would eventually be chosen to parent the child who
came to be known as Andrew.
Andrew is a gracious
"Look who is 1 year old! I can't believe that a year has
passed so soon. As I look at Andrew it still amazes me. I still
cannot believe the gracious gift of adoption that God has given
us. I have to pinch myself to make sure I am not in some wonderful
dream. Andrew is indeed an answer to prayer and a blessing beyond
our wildest dreams," Arlene Blondo said in a recent interview.
Andrew's first birthday was celebrated at a gathering with family
and friends. His life, spared from abortion, is filled
today with all the things that make for a happy childhood
and a close-knit, loving family. He enjoys playing with
his cousins and being "one of the boys." He
beams when he is with them. A smart, independent toddler
with determination and energy who enjoys being tickled,
kissed, and hugged, is no doubt destined for greatness
just like his father and all the heroes of the NYPD
and the NYFD.
|Alice E. Jones