Mother, Her 'Hope,' Find Peace

December 18, 1993|By Ed Brandt | Ed Brandt,Staff Writer

It was Christmas Eve, 1973. Dee Ostrosky was 17 and an unwed mother when a nun and a social worker came to take her baby girl away for adoption in the first week of her life.

"They dressed her in a pink snowsuit," Mrs. Ostrosky recalled. "Then they said to me, 'Say goodbye. We have to leave. It's snowing.' "

The chill in Mrs. Ostrosky's heart lasted for 20 years.

Her personal purgatory ended the day after Thanksgiving this year when she was reunited with her daughter, Katie Rader, in Allentown, Pa. There was a long trail of tears in between.

"I didn't deal well with it," Mrs. Ostrosky said. "It got harder every year. I fell into a deep depression at Christmas. I wept the entire month of December. There wasn't a day when I didn't think about her."

Yesterday, Mrs. Ostrosky and her daughter were full of smiles and secret glances at the Gloria Brennan Salon in Pikesville, where Mrs. Ostrosky was treating her daughter to a "Full Day of Beauty," a head-to-toe present for her 20th birthday.

Mrs. Ostrosky now operates a medical billing business in the Philadelphia suburb of Bryn Mawr with her husband, Lee. She has two teen-age children and a stepson.

Katie lives in Glen Burnie with her adoptive parents, who moved from the Allentown area while she was in high school. She graduated from Old Mill High School in Millersville in 1991 and is now a secretary at the National Security Agency at Fort Meade. She is engaged to be married.

Mrs. Ostrosky gave birth to Katie at the Catholic Children's and Maternity Hospital near Scranton. She was a senior in high school.

"She had a cute, round face and piercing blue eyes," Mrs. Ostrosky recalled. "She was a calm baby, and I had an empty feeling when they took her away. I had named her Hope. She was baptized with that name, but her parents changed it."

Katie's eyes are now a warm brown, like her mother's.

Mrs. Ostrosky's parents made the decision to put Katie up for adoption.

"They're not horrid people. They did what they thought was right at the time," she said. "I was just a kid. I was against it, but I went along. I have no hard feelings toward them now."

Mrs. Ostrosky graduated from high school, married at 19, and had two children. The marriage broke up when she was 25 years old, and she was a single mother for more than 8 years.

"I was a typical single mother," she said. "I worked at two or three jobs, raised my children, and was very happy. Then I married again, and my husband knew right from the beginning about Katie."

About 10 years ago, Mrs. Ostrosky wrote Catholic Social Services and said she wanted to find her daughter.

"They called and said that I had no legal rights, but to write them a letter and they would put it in my file in case my daughter wanted to find me," she said.

It happened.

Earlier this year, Katie decided she wanted to meet her mother, and called Catholic Social Services in Allentown.

"My parents told me a long time ago that I was adopted," Katie said. "I didn't want to intrude on my mother's life, but I was curious and I learned from my parents how I had come to them."

The agency searched the files, found Mrs. Ostrosky's letter, then called Katie's parents, who agreed that they should meet.

"I want to say that we were very lucky with her parents," Mrs. Ostrosky said. "I can never thank them enough for being loving, supportive people. They were all for this."

An agency representative got a phone number through Mrs. Ostrosky's parents.

Mrs. Ostrosky was in her office when the call came.

"The woman said, 'There's no easy way to say this, but your daughter wants to meet you,' " Mrs. Ostrosky said. "I could not speak. I finally choked out a 'Yes.' "

They met for more than two hours at the agency office in Allentown.

"There was a lot of crying, hugging and staring," Mrs. Ostrosky said. "It made me feel at peace."

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