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Twins = mother’s and family’s unexpected blessings

ORLANDO | Desperately eager to learn if she was pregnant or not, 22-year-old Ediana Valdez didn’t wait to get home to take her pregnancy test. Instead, she ran to the store bathroom.

It was positive.

She burst into tears, not knowing how she could possibly keep the child when she and her partner, Louis Venta, were already struggling to feed themselves and their 2-year-old daughter.

The couple shared a twin bed in a small room at the home of Venta’s parents. Their daughter slept in a cramped playpen next to them. Scammed out of their life savings from a business venture gone awry, they moved back to Orlando to be near family. Life was a far cry from the early days of their courtship.

They met in 2017 after Valdez moved from Puerto Rico in her junior year of high school. She spoke almost no English and met Venta in a class. By summer, they were texting frequently and eventually began dating.

After high school, the couple moved in together and had their daughter. Both worked hard and when the promise of a food truck business presented itself, they went for it hoping to start a business of their own. But their would-be partner took off with their savings. With the little money they had left, they hired a lawyer to pursue the case, but to no avail. The ordeal left them penniless. Valdez was miserable.

“We were doing so much to have a better life, but we kept getting pushed back further. I couldn’t take the situation anymore,” Valdez recalled. “It was a struggle mentally and emotionally.”

On the night she went to get a pregnancy test, she found herself crying uncontrollably and begging Venta to buy her a pizza. He could barely afford it. It was the intense craving that made her realize she might be pregnant. But the discovery brought no relief.

“I’m not going to bring kids into this life to struggle,” she told Louis. “We’re far from getting our own place, and we don’t have space where we are, let alone adding another kid. I can’t have this kid. I’m so sorry,” she told him.

She asked God for forgiveness. She thought to herself, “I know I wasn’t raised like this. My family is Catholic.”

She said, although she thought she couldn’t have another child, her heart kept telling her she couldn’t have an abortion. “My heart was telling me, ‘You’ll figure it out. You have to have this baby. You’re meant to do this. You did it with your first, you’ll do it again.’”

But fear overcame her and the next day she called Planned Parenthood. They didn’t have an appointment for two months. Not knowing how far along she was, she feared she would exceed the 15-week time frame during which a woman in Florida could have an abortion at the time.

Unable to see her, Planned Parenthood sent her to another abortion clinic. There she could be seen in one week, but she would have to pay $500 upfront for a sonogram and the abortion. As she had no money, they sent her somewhere that would help her financially. Despite getting $250, she needed more. The couple tried to pawn belongings, but nothing would sell.

Discovering she could get a free sonogram at a local pro-life pregnancy center, she decided to go. At least she would know how far along she was and if she could go forward with the abortion. On their way to the sonogram, Valdez told Venta, “The only way I’m keeping this pregnancy is if I’m having twins.”

She said she wasn’t sure where the idea had come from, except that she had been caring for fraternal twins at home. She believed it was the Holy Spirit at work.

After watching videos explaining abortions, the birthing process, and adoption, a woman came in and spoke to Valdez about her decision. She reiterated, “My decision is already made. I’m having an abortion tomorrow. I just came to see how many weeks I am.”

The woman appealed to Valdez’s Catholic upbringing. Valdez told her the situation took precedence over what she felt her faith asked of her.

“I think this is the right decision right now,” Valdez said.

The woman asked her to reconsider and quickly went to catch the sonogram technician who had just clocked out for the day. Learning Valdez already had an abortion scheduled, the technologist agreed to stay and help in the hopes Valdez might change her mind after seeing her baby in the womb.

“As soon as I laid down in that bed and she put the wand on my stomach — right away I saw the two little sacks,” Valdez said, crying at the recollection. She was seven weeks pregnant.

“Did you just see what I saw?” she asked. Turning to Venta, she reminded him of what she had said regarding having twins. She asked if the technologist was sure. “Yeah mama. They’re twins,” she answered. To be certain, they sent another employee to confer.

“We were all crying,” said Valdez who had instantly decided not to go through with the abortion. “I was overthinking the abortion knowing there was one child. Imagine for two?” she said. She believed Jesus met her where she was, in her doubt, to give her clarity of direction.

Florida Catholic interviewed Valdez on the twins’ first birthday.

“My whole life has changed,” she said. “The partner I had was a kid and he turned into a man.”

Venta agreed. “When I realized we were having twins, I felt a mix of surprise, excitement, and most of all fear for what was to come,” he said. “As a father, partner, and provider, I experienced a shift in priorities and responsibilities. Becoming a parent brought a greater sense of duty and love into my life. I made my family my first priority.”

Looking at his three children, especially on the twins’ first birthday, he said he felt “incredibly grateful and filled with love.”

“It’s a special milestone that highlights the joy and blessings of our family. We actually survived this crazy year.”

Although he admitted he’s not as strong a believer as Valdez, he acknowledged seeing the blessing of having three healthy children.

“Those twins have changed everybody. They have touched lives, they don’t even know. It’s crazy,” Valdez said breaking down with tears of joy intermingled with sadness at the thought of what she almost did.

She changed too. She began praying and taught her family to make the sign of the cross and pray. She is slowly making her way back to the Church. Just before the twin’s first birthday, she learned of a job opening at Catholic Charities of Central Florida. Two days later she got approved for childcare through Community Coordinated Care for Children (4C). She felt it was a sign from God it was time to go back to work.

Now she goes to Mass in the chapel at Catholic Charities every Friday. “Little by little, I’m getting all that I need to show Louis, God is there and He’s for us,” said Valdez. “I’m hoping it will make him curious to ask me more about it. I know God’s working through me to work through him. In the meantime, I’m going to keep going to my Mass, keep being me and going with God.”

Reflecting on all that happened, she said she used to think having money would make her happy, but she learned that money isn’t everything. “To be honest, the unhappiest I was in my life was when I had the money and lost it. I’ve been happiest after having the twins and we moved to our little casita,” she said. “It’s just us, our three kids and our dog.
And our life has started getting better now.” She was able to buy a car. The kids are in school, her relationship with Louis is good, and she’s growing in her relationship with God. She said, “Everything is where it should be.”

By Glenda Meekins of the Florida Catholic staff, May 08. 2024