Adoption, Birth Fathers, birth mother, Birth Parents, loss, Open Adoption

Love and Loss: A Birth Father’s Story

The story of Patty and Karl is one of immense love but also heartbreaking sorrow. After facing a lifetime of loss in a few short years, Karl needs our help honoring his recently departed wife’s memory and the love they shared. He and his wife placed a child with Adoptions From the Heart several years ago. We believe support for birthparents shouldn’t end with the placement of a child. AFTH set up a Go Fund Me and donated $500 to Karl, and now we are asking you for your support, too. Visit the Go Fund Me page and support Karl in this time of grief and hardship. Please share his page and donate, if you can.

Karl and Patty

Karl and Patty found each other early in life. They met shortly after Patty graduated high school when their best friends introduced them to each other. Their meeting felt like a wild stroke of luck since Karl was living in Oklahoma at the time and Patty in Pennsylvania. Once they met, sparks flew. In less than two months after they met, they became engaged. Years blew by, and they fell deeper in love. In 2017, the couple officially married. They wore matching camouflage wedding bands that captured the essence of their relationship.

Karl and Patty shared so many interests and were inseparable. They went to concerts and went hunting together. They even had matching couple bracelets that said “his doe” and “her buck.” Karl loved how outgoing Patty was. As a true people person, she treated everyone as if she’d known them most of her life. In their 16 years as a couple, Karl and Patty grew closer and stronger in their love and companionship.

Karl and Patty’s Connection with Adoption and Adoption’s From The Heart

Patty grew up in a closed adoption. Her adoptive parents cared for her and raised her alongside their biological daughter, Holly. The two grew to be inseparable and formed a special bond. She loved her family very much. Still, she couldn’t help but wonder who her birth parents were. She wondered about who they were and if they were similar or different to herself. A few years ago, she began her search for her birth parents. She planned to receive her original birth certificate and used her mother’s name on the document to track her down. Unfortunately, her plan never came to fruition, and the document was never obtained.

Later in life, Patty and Karl connected to adoption in another way. Several years ago, they became pregnant at a time when they had little financial means to provide for an addition to their family. The couple wanted to parent, but they put their child’s needs in front of their own. Faced with meager resources, the couple selflessly placed their son, Karson, putting his needs above their own desire to parent. The couple turned to adoption. They worked with Adoption’s From The Heart to find a fitting family. Almost right away, they found a young couple that just clicked for them.

After placing their son for adoption, the couple moved to Missouri to take care of Karl’s ailing mother. Although they moved far away from their son, they never let the 16-hour car ride keep them from traveling back to him for visits.  Due to COVID, visiting their son has been impossible. Instead, the past couple of years they relied on yearly updates which include pictures from their son’s birthday and several holidays. Karl looks forward to seeing his son in person post- COVID.

Post-placement, Karl kept in close contact with his AFTH social worker. Through their connection, Karl’s emotional and financial hardships became apparent.

A Lifetime of Loss in Several Years

Their family was no stranger to hardship. Several years ago, Patty and Karl started down a hard road, losing many dear family members along the way. Karson, the son they placed, wasn’t their first child. Patty and Karl lost their first child. They were informed early in the pregnancy that there would be severe complications, and the child was not likely to survive. Still, they kept hope alive, and they prepared to welcome their daughter, Sarah, into their world. Sadly, they never got to know her as she passed at birth. As heartbreaking as that loss was, only more grief followed.

Patty lost her adoptive mother to stage four breast cancer five years ago, and around that time, Karl’s father passed too. A few years later, Karl’s mother’s health started to fail, and the couple uprooted their life in Pennsylvania without hesitation. They moved into their mother’s house in Missouri to care for her. Together, they looked after her until she, passed from cancer in the middle of the COVID pandemic in April 2020. Last month, Karl was again devastated by loss as cancer stole away another member of Karl’s battered family, his beloved wife Patty.

Losing Patty

After finding a lump in her breast just over a month ago, things moved very quickly and Patty quickly found herself hospitalized for stage four breast cancer, the same stage and cancer that took her adoptive mother. Patty was only given a few weeks to live. The news was devastating. After more testing, her life expectancy dropped to mere days as doctors found the cancer already spread to her bones and brain. They decided to return home to Missouri to spend her final days in a familiar, loving environment. Karl and Patty’s sister Holly cherished their last few days with her. On April 2nd, 2021, Karl lost his best friend. Patty was only 34 years old.

The Aftermath

After Patty passed away, Karl traveled back to her home in Pennsylvania and buried his wife next to their daughter, Sarah. With so much death in his family, he is no stranger to the grieving process. When he returned home to Missouri, he felt the weight of losing his wife tenfold. His wife’s possessions constantly remind him of what was gone, who was gone.

Talking about Patty isn’t as hard as seeing her possessions. He finds comfort in telling those who will listen stories and memories of his late wife. Now, he collects the possessions that have strong connections to Patty and keeps them in a memory box. Their wedding license, matching bracelets, and more all found a home in that box. Every time Karl leaves the house, he wears a necklace decorated with a cross, the breast cancer symbol, and some of her ashes in it. On this necklace, he also wears her wedding ring.

When Karl’s grief subsides to a manageable amount, he wants to honor Patty’s wish of finding her birth family. He wants to obtain his wife’s original birth certificate if he can and learn the identity of Patty’s birth mother. Then, if her birth mother is alive and willing, he’d like to share all of Patty’s life and memories with her. Karl feels he will gain some closure if he completes one of his wife’s final wishes.

How You Can Help

Adoption’s From The Heart cares deeply for all our birth parents, and seeing anyone go through such loss, especially in a short amount of time is heartbreaking. Before Patty’s death, the couple was just recovering financially from past hardships. Now, Karl is struggling once more, not just emotionally but financially. AFTH set up a Go Fund Me page for Karl to help alleviate some of the financial burden of the funeral. Click here to go to the Go Fund Me page. AFTH donated $500 to Karl to kickstart his Go Fund Me page. Our goal is starting at $5,000 to cover the funeral expenses; however, if donations exceed this goal, any excess will be used to provide for Karl in household expenses and groceries during this difficult time. Please donate! Anything you give will help in immeasurable ways.

Please consider making a donation, no amount is too small. Let’s come together to show Karl love and support and help Karl give Patty a funeral befitting the woman that she was: a loving wife, strong mother, doting daughter, and loyal friend. Any amount of money you can donate will be put towards Patty’s funeral expenses.


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