Author tells her story of healing
It's not an easy story to tell, but for Kathleen Arndt, it's one she feels she's been called to share. And to write.
A Woodbury resident and a first-time author, Arndt recently released her autobiographic book, "Given a Choice," which centers on her eventual healing from a lifetime of struggles rooted out her unfolding identity: a child who was given up for adoption only to became a young mother who was forced to give up her own first-born child for adoption.
"I was 16 when I told my mother I was pregnant, and when I came home from school that day, I found all my belongings on the front lawn," Arndt recalled. "Everything. They wouldn't let me back in the house."
Arndt, who was attending Harding High School in St. Paul at the time, was then presented with a choice by her adoptive parents, who had raised her from infancy:
Go to New York and have an abortion or bring the baby to term and raise it on her own. She chose the latter, and raised her son in a home for young, single mothers, while working and finishing high school.
After a little more than two years of struggling to get by, Arndt begged her parents for help. They told her she'd first need to give the child up for adoption.
"It was so hard to do, and I felt such a sense of shame," Arndt remembered. "I didn't want to let my son go."
As the story follows the ensuing years, Arndt struggled in her attempts to repair her broken relationship with the only parents she'd ever known.
Her search for her own birth mother ends in rejection. She encounters the pain of divorce, and copes with the suicide of a family member. But she also begins to heal from those painful events and relationships.
And she is reunited with her son, Timothy, decades after she gave him up for adoption.
"The only reason I can tell this story today is because I am healed," she said "It wasn't an easy process."
Neither was writing the book. Arndt said she was inspired to tell her story in writing after feedback she received from close friends who heard her testimony of healing from a life of struggles during church service.
"Every time someone heard my story, they were telling me you have to write this down," she said. "People need to hear your story."
In preparation of writing the book, Arndt attending writing classes at South Florida University. She then found some helpful folks who helped her write and edit the book, which is available via print on demand website lulu.com.
In "Given a Choice," Arndt tells of an intense moment of healing, where some time after her adoptive mother's suicide, she was able to turn her life around because she chose forgiveness.
"Basically because of the help of friends, I was able to get to a point where I told God that he could have what ever is left of my messed up life," Arndt said. "I felt like my life was a mess, but today I realize that God was there with me through every single step. He allowed my life to be exactly the way it was for the very purpose of today."
Today, Arndt her husband Matt, who recently moved back to the Twin Cities after eight years in Florida, are focused on family.
"I have a father who we're taking care of who lives here in Woodbury, and a sister who lives here as well," she said. "Our children and grandchildren are up here (in the Twin Cities), so this is home."
Arndt will be selling and signing copies of her book Jan. 15 at the CityWalk Club House in Woodbury. The event will take place from 6 to 8 p.m.
For more information on Kathleen Arndt's book "Given a Choice" go to http://givenachoice.com