It was in the late 1960s that Kerry’s wife, Joseph Ozefina Groka, discovered that she could not conceive. He had been married for only a few years, indignant and heartbroken, but decided to love and one day take care of his own child, he contacted an adoption agency in Cork, where the priest said he would do what he could. Joseph Ozefin was put on a waiting list.
In fact, the priest promised to have a son as soon as it became available.
It was expected that out-of-wedlock pregnant women would adopt their children in those days. The young women were “seen off” before the baby was born. The baby was delivered at birth, ուղարկ a heartbroken mother sent to the world expected to lead a normal life.
A few weeks after Joseph Ozefina’s adoption application, the phone rang in the hallway of her home on the Burnwood House-Listwell, Ballingford.
It was the priest. Hearing his voice, Joseph ozefina’s heart was probably thinking sharply. Finally, it was time to adopt.
Because getting married outside of marriage was considered a disgrace, women desperately needed to go somewhere safe before giving birth. The priest asked Joseph Ozefina to take the pregnant girls and worry about them until the end of the pregnancy.
He told Joseph Ozefina that he would “complete the list” for the baby he wanted if he agreed. He told her that if she did that for a year, she would have a daughter, while doing that for two years would give her the right to have a son.
It was business for the Catholic Church in those days to make vulnerable women pregnant or trying to conceive. It created a steady stream of income that filled Irish society with a relentless stream of sexual sin.
“I had an operation to get pregnant, I did not succeed. I had more to do when I decided to adopt. I gave my name to a boy, “said Joseph Ozefina.
“The priest said he would come back to me. After a while he called and said: “Can you do anything to help me?”
“She said she had unmarried, pregnant women who would send me. I agreed to do it on a trial basis. The rest after the first girl is a story.
“As I look back now, I think, ‘How did I overcome that?’ Burntwood House is isolated. I did not know many people in the area because I did not mix. I am a very private person. This made it an ideal place to keep their privacy. I kept these girls, no one knew I had them except my own family. The people of Listovel never knew what I was doing. “The girls kept going to the liturgy, but the priests around Listwell never got the wind,” she said.
The first pregnant girl arrived at Joseph Ozefina’s door in 1974. Eight more women were to be sent back until the last one, in 1983. Of the nine babies born to Joseph Ozefina, only three were cared for by their mothers, and the rest were left for adoption. The name of the first pregnant girl was Maura. She soon left for America, where a couple took care of her before adopting her child. After that, all the women who visited Joseph Ozefina were given the name “Maura” to protect their identity.
“I found that there is every danger that can come out of who these girls are. They were all called Maura, and I explained to them why. Each of them was different. They all had different personalities, I met rough and smooth. I treated them all the same.
“I really enjoyed it. I was told everything about their lives, how they got pregnant. We also had happy times. You had to fall for them because you could not keep them otherwise. “Getting pregnant out of wedlock was a heinous crime at the time, and you would not even dream of saying it in public.”
Most of the pregnant women Josephine cared for came from poor families in Cork. To hide their “shame”, they were sent to Listovel to complete courses, often in the field of hairdressing, or to find work. In any case, it says that the families and relatives were convinced at home.
Looking back, Joseph Ozefina was a woman before her time. A progressive, caring woman who helped these women through an emotionally crucial moment in their lives.
She also trusts her parents to support her in giving her a “broad” compassionate look. It should not be easy for Joseph Ozefina either to see pregnant women coming to his door who are forced to give up their children while he desperately wanted to get pregnant.
Joseph Ozefin and the girls went to the maternity ward of Saint-Catherine Hospital in Tralle, Listowell Regional Hospital.
She accompanied them to doctor visits, and although she was not yet a mother in a biological sense, she was a surrogate mother for broken women in need of upbringing.
In the postpartum stages, they stayed with ozefina for eight weeks. Ozefina explains how it was most difficult to see women leaving the hospital without their babies.
He said. “When they got home, they were in bits.” “Then I had to deal with different girls before giving birth.
“They were completely devastated after the children left. I can say that one for each of them. Looking back affected me, but I overcame it. In a way, it was the end of their journey, but the end was much different than they expected.
“After that, they went through hell. I remember one of the girls went down completely. He was crying, he said. “I do not have a child.” They were shedding tears, and I was shedding tears for them. I still feel that piercing pain. ”
On more than one occasion, Joseph Ozefina took women to a social welfare office in Listowell, Kerry, where he struggled to receive benefits.
“Still behind the counter, I see the man as clear as day. I told him. “This is an unmarried mother, she came home from her house hiding.”
“I told him he was hiding with me, I would cover everything possible for him,” said Joseph Ozefina. “His exact words were, ‘We do not give money to such women.’ It went on for a while, ընթացքում within a week he called me and said he would deal with that money.
“It simply came to our notice then [the girls] They were mine and it happened. Some of the girls had nothing, they were coming from the damaged parts of Cork City. “They often went home with more than they could afford,” he said.
Fate ozefina, by fate, gave birth to her own daughter in 1976. She was to continue to have three children. Joseph Ozefina took care of the pregnant women for another seven years, even though she finally had the family she had always dreamed of.
“When I got pregnant, the doctor told me to lift my legs. I left and stayed with my parents for eight months. It was then that I felt my own side of it.
I remember when I told the priest in Cork that I was pregnant, he said, “That’s right,” thinking that I would not be against other women.
“But then I came back with my own child and said, ‘I’m going to try to take more care of these women,'” she said.
In another twist, Joseph Ozefina’s eldest daughter, Esther, chose to pursue a career in obstetrics. He found a box of letters in the family home that the women had written to their mother, thanking them for everything they had done for them. Esther said the letters show how grateful they were, but it was a heartbreaking experience.
That’s when Esther և and her brother John on Pion encouraged their mother to tell her story.
“I covered it for years and buried it so that no one would ever know about it.
“Now I want to inform people about some of the girls who will never be recognized as having children.
It ozefin says. “It seemed like a lifetime now.”
Another outburst occurred recently at a Listovel store that persuaded Joseph Ozefina to tell his story.
“This lady approached me and greeted me. I knew him, but I could not name him. “She told me she had a baby years ago in a hospital in the Listovel area when I went in with a young girl,” says Joseph Ozefin.
“She remembered that I had been sitting with the girl all night because she had a baby.
“This lady asked the nurse who I was. The nurse told her, ‘She is with an unmarried mother with whom she has no one.’
“She told me she never forgot to see me there that night. It was a nice feeling to say that, because I was probably crying with the girl that night. ”
Eventually ozefina eventually stopped caring for pregnant women as her children grew. On one occasion, the parents of one of the girls came to the door looking for their daughter.
Joseph Ozefin had to say he was out, even though the girl was hiding in the kitchen.
“They are [her children] At that time they doubted, կասկած Esther said to me: “Mom, why did you lie when Maura was in the kitchen?” “I had to call one day because it allowed them to find out,” he said.
“I still think about some of the women. I hope they continued to find peace and happiness in their lives.
“It simply came to our notice then. I did it և sometimes I think it’s me at all. I’m proud և glad I did what I did. I shared their pain.
“I often wonder where the Mauras are“Today you just did not know what happened to them.”
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